The intentions of Pope Francis for the month of April:
- Universal: That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as God’s gift.
- For Evangelization: That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church.
Dear Parishioners of OLM & OLS:
Holy Week invites the entire church into the emotional experience of loss, fear, and redemption. We remember the One who died for us. We accompany his waning days, attentive to his final words and actions discovering anew our love for one who is lost – and the joy of one who returns.
The risen Christ abides in the hearts of believers born generations after his days in Jerusalem. These same believers reconnect with him in the rituals of Holy Week. These rites proclaim the Gospel as Jesus commanded. They reawaken the faith of believers. They frame these beliefs in the context that human beings most crave: narrative. The liturgies of Holy Week are not reenactments of the passion and resurrection of Christ. Rather, they are means by which the faithful enter these mysteries. Each participant will ultimately experience not just the death of a loved one but also death itself. Through Holy Week, each believer prepares for the day of the body’s destiny and the soul’s soaring freedom. [Glory in the Cross, Paul Turner]
We hope that you can join us in our Holy Week Services. Please try to be with us – and bring a friend. All are welcome. We are blessed when you are with us.
My love and my prayers,
Our Communal Celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance or Confession)
Tuesday, March 31st at 7:00pm
Why Do We Need to Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we are taught: “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.’ One must appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us in the sacraments of Christian initiation in order to grasp the degree to which sin is excluded for the one who has ‘put on Christ.’ But the apostle John also says: ‘If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ And the Lord himself taught us to pray: ‘Forgive us our trespasses,’ linking our forgiveness of one another’s offenses to the forgiveness of our sins that God will grant us.
Conversion to Christ, the new birth of Baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Body and Blood of Christ received as food have made us ‘holy and without blemish,’ just as the Church herself, the Bride of Christ, is ‘holy and without blemish.’ Nevertheless the new life received in Christian initiation has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life. This is the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us.
Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, ’clasping sinners to her bosom’, is at once holy and always in need of purification, and follows constantly the path of penance and renewal. This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a ‘contrite heart,’ drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first.
This experience of renewal is called the sacrament of conversion because it make sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin.
It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrated the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.
It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a ’confession’ – acknowledgement and praise – of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful humanity.
It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent ‘pardon and peace’.
It is called the sacrament of reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to the God.” The one who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the lord’s call: ‘Go; first be reconciled to your brother or your sister.”
COME CELEBRATE THIS MARVELOUS SACRAMENT. COME WHETHER IT HAS BEEN FOUR DAYS OR FOUR DECADES SINCE YOU LAST CELEBRATED THIS EXPERIENCE OF GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU. COME BE RENEWED IN CHRIST!