Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
I am writing this letter on Saturday of Holy Week. I noticed that trees are beginning to have a green look instead of that gray-brown winter look. I have noticed that most lawns are pretty green - flowering trees are losing their red bud covers. The glory of God’s creation at the resurrection of His Son Jesus is at hand in nature and in our Liturgical year.
I want to say thank you to all who shared in the ministries and preparations for our Holy Week and Easter celebrations. I truly do appreciate the willingness of many people to work together making all these liturgies a meaningful time for St. Luke’s.
By now, you know the good news that our 1st Phase construction of St. Luke’s Church and School has begun. It all came together Thursday of Holy Week when all the legal documents were signed by all the appropriate persons including Bishop Pates. That included the Tax Exempt Bonds through the city of Alleman for St. Luke’s School, the Mortgage and the Construction Loan with West Bank and with our contractor The Hanson Company. Friday and Saturday of Holy Week, the trees came down and some earth moving began. We are underway! Praise God!
This weekend, April 27th, we have the joy of celebrating 1st Communion with our 2nd graders from St. Luke’s at our 9:00 am Mass. It is a great time to celebrate the joy of receiving the Eucharist for the 1st time with our young people. It is a great time to recall that same experience of Jesus coming to you and me for that 1st time as well. May they always be blessed with the presence of Jesus within their hearts.
This weekend is also the time when the whole Church celebrates the canonization of Popes John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. It is wonderful to have two great leaders in the Church of my and perhaps your memory, be officially recognized as saints. They will serve as wonderful models for us all as we strive to share the joy of the risen Lord with those who make up our lives. And lest we think things are not complicated enough, this is also Mercy Sunday. The Sunday after Easter was declared Mercy Sunday by Pope, now Saint, John Paul II. It is come to the Church through the inspiration of St. Sister Faustina from Poland and the messages and images that were revealed to her by Jesus. The risen Jesus came to earth so that all human beings could share in the mercy and forgiveness of our loving Father. May this day be a time for us to open our hearts in prayer to the gift of Mercy from the risen Lord Jesus.
Monday of Holy Week, I met with the bankers, lawyers and Bishop Pates to review all the documents that we signed later on Holy Thursday. Monday evening, I celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation at St. Anne’s while the choir was rehearsing for Holy Week. I found a nice spot outside the church with some Gregorian chant on a CD for background.
On Tuesday, I went out to Omaha to see my aunt Dorothy who is in Hospice there. She was in good spirits and we had a good visit. On the way back I stopped at the Elmcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation facility in Harlan to visit my mother. She is doing well with her physical therapy. She can always give me a good run for my money in cards - most of the time she wins!
Besides the signing of documents, the rest of the week was spent in preparing for and celebrating the services for Holy Week. I look forward to next year when we should be preparing for the glory of this week in our own place.
May the blessing of the risen Lord come to you on this Mercy Sunday. May all our 1st Communicants be blessed with joy as they celebrate with their families.
Fr. Larry Hoffmann