Thank you, thank you, thank you! Throughout this Lent, we have been praying an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for our fellow parishioners each day! Let’s continue during this Holy Week! Each of us need these prayers that we might have the fortitude and grace to persevere in our Lenten exercises of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
This week, we need them so that we can enter into the Holy Mysteries of the Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We are in this together as one parish family of faith. Let us assist each other with our prayers.
I would like to issue an invitation to each of you. Join us as we walk through the Holiest of Weeks celebrating the beautiful mysteries of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Delve deep into the beauty and mystery of the faith with your brothers and sisters of St. James the Less! Bring someone with you – a fellow parishioner who hasn’t been to church in a while, a friend, a family member, a colleague. Invite someone to spend these Holy Days with you and with your St. James family.
Thursday night, we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6:30 PM. This is the only mass that day. The most important thing we celebrate this Holy Thursday night is the institution of Eucharist, the first mass. Our Lord left us his Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity to receive and nourish us in our faith and strengthen us in our journey. The night ends with a procession to a beautiful alar of repose set up in the Gym/Parish Center. This procession is like the procession of Jesus and the Apostles to the Mount of Olives where he prayed and Judas and the crowd came and arrested him. Altar of repose will be open until 10:00 PM for adoration and prayer. Will you stay up one hour with him that night?
On Good Friday, The day begins with a Tenebrae service at 8:30 AM. This beautiful service recalls the shadows passing over the land and darkness coming with the death of Christ. Candles and lights will be extinguished as we proceed through the psalms and readings. At Noon we will have the Stations of the Cross. We walk with the Lord Jesus as He carries His cross on the road to Calvary. At 3:00 PM, the hour of mercy, we will celebrate the Liturgy and Adoration of the Cross. Our God showed us the extreme depth of His love for us as He took our sins upon Himself and died for our sake on the cross. Jesus offered Himself on our behalf. In doing this, He paid the price for us. Come and remember all He gave us.
Saturday morning, at 8:30 AM we begin with Tenebrae which will be another service of darkness commemorating Jesus’ time in the tomb. Saturday evening, the Easter Vigil begins at 8:00 PM. We will begin with the blessing of the Easter fire and the Easter Candle which represent Christ Jesus, the Light of the World shattering the darkness of sin and death. Everyone baptized person will receive a candle and then process into a dark church. The candles signifying the Light of Christ and the Light of our Faith which burns in each of our hearts. At this liturgy, we welcome men, women, and children into the Church with open arms through Baptism, Profession of Faith, and Confirmation. It is an honor to receive them all into the Church. Please come and help me welcome them!
Easter Sunday morning our mass schedule changes slightly. The schedule is Mass at 7:30 AM, 9:30 AM in the Church, 9:30 AM in the gym, and 11:30 AM in the Church. Please note the change in mass times. We celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! He died and was buried on Good Friday and reconciled us to God. On Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead and opened the gates of Heaven for us! Because of His Resurrection, we have eternal life. We can live a life of joy, happiness, peace, and love!
I invite you to journey with our Lord Jesus and your fellow St. James parishioners this Holy Week. Come to these masses and services to experience the beauty of our faith. The beauty, goodness, and truth of our faith shine forth this week in an extraordinary way in these Holy Days. I look forward to seeing you there.
May the Lord abundantly bless each of you and your families this Holy Week!
~ Fr. Daniel Firmin