This was my first time through the Sacred Triduum as Pastor! There were so many memorable moments which spoke to me of how the risen Christ is present among us at Holy Redeemer, especially when we gather in his name to pray.
This year the washing of the feet was done so that some sat just outside their pews. This enabled more people to see up close this powerful moment, which calls us to serve one another. Then Fr. Chris shared with me that when he got up to retire the Blessed Sacrament from Clare Hall at 3:00am, he found close to 15 women still praying there.
On Good Friday, I experienced my first outdoor Via Crucis in many years, a beautiful Mexican religious tradition. I know that all those involved in planning and acting in it spent many Sunday afternoons practicing. There is something powerful in seeing the Passion Play reenacted and staring at the three crosses standing erect before you. The only time it rained this weekend was during the Via Crucis and it really rained. The cold and the rain added to the suffering of the one young man playing Jesus, who did it with heartfelt passion.
On Holy Saturday, we gathered around a roaring Easter fire to begin “the mother of all liturgies.” At the indicated time, I was finally able to enter the baptismal font. We were privileged to baptized 9 young people, who were then confirmed and made their First Communion. It was a powerful moment for me to baptize them while pouring copious amounts of water over their heads. It was also the first time that I ever confirmed anyone and I applied a generous amount of Chrism oil to their foreheads, which is so wonderfully fragrant. Seeing them line up together for their First Communion, the rite made provision for me to direct some words about the meaning of the Eucharist to them. In speaking with some of the young people after the liturgy, I could see that they were deeply moved by it all.
I feel so grateful to all who made these days so prayerful, especially our choirs, lectors, deacons, altar servers, and Fr. Chris, who oversaw all the planning and practices. He and Teresa Markgraf also did so much to instruct and prepare those baptized at the Easter Vigil. Surely the risen Christ smiled upon it all, given that it was all done in his honor and in his name. May the peace and joy that the disciples experienced at Easter be in your hearts, as well!
Yours in Christ,