My Dear Parishioners:
Holy Week is the most important time of the liturgical year for us Catholics. In it we celebrate the paschal Mystery – the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The word “Paschal” has reference to the Jewish Passover, when Jews celebrated God’s mighty acts to save them from slavery in Egypt. In Jesus’ death, which occurred at the time pf the Passover, God acted to save us from sin and death. It is a “mystery” not because it is a problem to be solved nor a darkness to stumble around in. Rather, mystery blinds with an excess light: God revealing something of himself and we are incapable of looking at the dazzling truth.
The Holy Week services bring to us today the final events in the life of Jesus which comprise the Paschal Mystery. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey to the praise of the townspeople who laid palms or small branches in his path. But the heart of the Holy Week is the Easter Triduum – from the evening of Holy Thursday to the Easter Vigil. Holy Thursday commemorates the Lord’s Supper, which he shared with his apostles on the night he was betrayed and arrested. Good Friday is the day of the crucifixion and death of our Lord. A service is held at three o’clock in the afternoon (the hour Jesus is believed to have died). Church bells are silent. Altars are left bare. The solemn, muted atmosphere is preserved until the Easter Vigil. Holy Week culminates with the Great Vigil of Easter, which consists of four parts: 1) Lightning of the Paschal candle, a symbol of the risen Lord in his glory. This paschal candle will be used throughout the season of Easter, remaining in the sanctuary of the church and throughout the year at baptisms and funerals, reminding all that Christ is our life and light; 2) Liturgy of the Word; 3) Liturgy of Baptism; 4) Celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. This is the high point of the Vigil. In the fullest sense, this is the Easter sacrament, celebrating the Paschal Mystery.
Holy Week is a time to clear our schedules of unnecessary activities, and focus our minds and hearts on our Lord Jesus Christ and what he did for us. We strongly encourage everyone to participate in all our Holy Week services.
However, I understand that, because of the pandemic, some may be hesitant to come to the church. Well, let me tell you that we have tried our very best to make the church safe for everyone. Every after Mass, the church is sanitized using, not just an ordinary sprayer of hand wipes, but a Hydro Fogger. Fogging is the best approach to effectively sanitize covering large areas for both surfaces and the air. Moreover, since January 2021 we hired MENDOZA BROS. CLEANING SERVICE for deep cleaning and sanitizing of the church twice – on January 26, 2021 and March 22, 2021.
I hope to see you and your families in the church this Holy Week as we celebrate and reflect the dazzling truth of the greatness of God’s love shown to us in Jesus Christ.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Anacleto S. Asebias, Jr.