Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
Lent officially ends April 13th. On Thursday April 14th we begin the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, in particular the Vigil on Saturday night. Easter is the only day of obligation required by the Church. However, we should never consider the Easter celebration apart from Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The Sacred Triduum lies at the heart of our faith.
On Holy Thursday morning the Bishop along with the presbyterate of the diocese blesses the Holy Oils for the coming year. Those holy oils are: Oil for the Sick, Oil for the Catechumenate, and the Sacred Chrism Oil. The priests of the diocese also renew their commitment to our Bishop and the Diocese of Lansing. Then on Holy Thursday night we have the Mass of the Last Supper. This is our Lord's gift to us of the Eucharist, as He was approaching His death. At the end of the Mass we process to the altar of repose and there is a period of prayer for anyone who wishes to remain. The adoration of the Eucharist will end with night prayer at 10:00 p.m.
Then on Good Friday we have the Passion of the Lord. At this ceremony we read the Passion of Our Lord, reverence the Cross and receive Holy Communion. After the service there will be the Stations of the Cross.
Last, but surely not least, we then begin our Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. It begins with the Easter Fire, blessing of the Pascal Candle, the Liturgy of the Word, and reception of catechumenate, and Sacrament of Confirmation. We then follow with the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Some members will be making their First Communion that night.
We then have Easter Sunday Mass as our usual schedule. What has always been disappointing to me is that the attendance at those services which are not obligatory is low. The Sacred Triduum really should be viewed as one pilgrimage or prayerful journey of three days. Easter is more than the Resurrection of the Lord. Easter is the beginning and sustaining miracle of the Church. The entire Easter Season leads us to Pentecost where Our Lord bestows the final great gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit holds us together as the Body of Christ. The Church will never end because the Body of Christ will never end. When we choose to come together in prayer as the Church, the more each of us will be empowered to demonstrate the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ to those who hunger for that Love.
You are all in my prayers and heart. I look forward to praying with you at the Sacred Triduum.
Holy Mary, Mother of Flint pray for us and our sad world.
Fr. Tom Firestone