Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A priestly first
Holy Week was oh, so, busy! The week before Holy Week I had spent some days off in Oklahoma City and also attending the seminary visitation trip as well as assisting at a Senior Class day of reflection for one of our Catholic high schools. I returned to my parish for Passion Sunday and then was back on the road for the Chrism Mass on Tuesday of Holy Week. I came back to my parish on Wednesday. Then, the very next day, I packed up some things and drove to our mission an hour away. I stayed there Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, celebrating the whole Sacred Triduum. Since this particular mission parish is so isolated, the associate pastor (that's me) typically goes there and does the whole Triduum.

It was so beautiful! And it was a priestly first for me to be responsible for all three sacred liturgies on those holy days. Up until now, the Good Friday Service of the Lord's Passion was the only one at which I was principal celebrant. As associate pastor, you typically concelebrate with the pastor on Holy Thursday and at the Easter Vigil. All the ceremonies went very well. The servers responded well to my training sessions. I also managed to make some parochial visits to a few homes while I was in that town. And, most importantly, the ceremonies were solemn and grace filled. I pulled out all sorts of old candelabra and candle holders, putting them in the oven to melt the wax off and cleaning them up a bit. Our Holy Thursday procession at the transfer of the Holy Eucharist went outside and around one side of the church. And we had candles everywhere for the Easter Vigil. And it was my pleasure to receive three people into the Catholic Church. We have two more awaiting some marriage cases before they can fully enter and we have another who actually completed his initiation before the Easter Vigil due to a hospital visit in which it was feared he might die. A great group for a small mission church! May it continue.

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