Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is This On Your Religious Bucket List?

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A post from our President and CEO, Msgr. John Enzler, on Holy Week 
In my current role with Catholic Charities, I often write about service to the poor and the many blessings it provides to not just to those who are served but also to those who do the serving. This time, I’d like to focus on serving yourself, especially your prayerfulness and spiritual journey. Holy Week presents us with a unique opportunity.

As a priest, I am blessed to attend at least one retreat a year. This is true for my fellow priests, many religious and lay people as well. At the same time, I know many others who have difficulty finding time for a retreat because of what’s going on in their lives. I encourage them – and all of us – to make Holy Week our own personal retreat.

This means participating in the liturgies of Holy Week, which allow us to experience the Church in its fullness, celebrating these holiest of days and Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. If you’ve never done this before, I highly encourage you to consider it for this year. 

Experiencing Holy Week should be on everyone’s religious bucket list, and once you’ve done it, you’ll want to do it again.

Throughout these liturgies, the idea of procession – or journey – comes to mind:

  • Palm Sunday: We process with the palms into the church as Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem.
  • Holy Thursday: Many people process to have their feet washed as Jesus did for his disciples, and many also process as the priest removes the Blessed Sacrament from the church to the altar of repose, where it will remain until the Easter Vigil on Saturday night.
  • Good Friday: We process through Stations of the Cross and to venerate the cross.
  • Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil: The light of Christ returns with the resurrection, and we begin with a newly lit fire outside of the church and process inside with candles.

Holy Week is a gift, a chance to truly walk with the Lord on his journey as he walks daily with us on ours. It is an opportunity to better understand the depth of his love and sacrifice, which can only draw us closer. And it is a chance to finish Lent strong, whether or not it has gone as you had hoped up to this point. With God, we always get another chance.

I wish you a blessed Triduum and joyous Easter. If you have a chance to make it your own personal retreat, you will join Peter in his exuberance at the Transfiguration and say, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” (Matthew 17:4)

Happy Easter!

Msgr. John Enzler