The Honour of Your Presence is requested
At Old St Patrick’s This Holy Week, 2019.
Sunday, April 14
I was with a group of our young adults during this past week, just sitting around and having some casual conversation one evening, when the subject of Holy Week came up. To both my delight and my surprise, I heard them collectively express their excitement for the upcoming celebrations of Holy Week, and particularly Holy Thursday. “It’s my favorite mass of the year,” one of them said.
I guess I’ve never been one to actually judge or rank my “favorite” liturgies (although if I had to vote, Thanksgiving Mass at OSP gets a pretty high mark from me), but I was thrilled to hear of the enthusiasm for Holy Thursday from these members of a younger generation. It’s awesome. And I too share their excitement for what we are about to celebrate during this holiest week of the church year. I was also told by Mark Scozzafave, our brilliant Music Director, that he expects about 50 (!) choir members to be with us this Thursday, April 18 for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which begins at 7:00 pm.
Because I have been around Old St. Pat’s long enough, I am also keenly aware of our shift from the past, which included Holy Thursday community masses and dinner together. A long tradition that lasted for over 30 years which, for many, was a hallmark moment of bringing together people around tables to share in this sacred feast of fellowship, community building, and the Paschal Mystery. We made the prayerful decision that perhaps this was the year to start something new. And I am really excited about this.
Old St. Pat’s is synonymous with generosity. And more than just being generous, the people who gather at the Lord’s Table every day know already that what we do at the Table, doesn’t just stay at the Table. It’s meant to be that which drives our Mission and our vocation to live God’s deepest truth of who we are in the world. To be Bread for the world! This Holy Thursday, instead of us gathering for a meal with each other, we want to be those who bring the bread (a meal) into the world for someone else. I look forward to unpacking this more when we come together on Thursday of this week.
And not to overshadow the significance of the other days, I hope you will also make time to celebrate the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday. Our “all star” line-up of presiders will lead us well as we walk the Way of The Cross with Jesus on Good Friday. Fr. Cusick will preside at our 12:00 service, Terry Nelson-Johnson will lead the Stations of the Cross at 3:00, and Fr. McGrath will preside at the 5:30 service.
On Saturday, I will have the privilege and honor, on behalf of all of us, to preside at the Easter Vigil, where we will welcome 40 adults into the Catholic community of Faith through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. There’s no greater sign of Easter Life than witnessing these incredible young adults choosing to be a part of this great journey of Faith with us.
I pray this Holy Week will be an enriching time of healing and renewal for the larger Church throughout the world and for all of us here at Old St. Patrick’s.
Father Tom Hurley