Father Larry's Letters

"Father Larry's Letters" are a weekly letter/journal about the many events occurring within and around the St. Luke's community.

Holy Week - From Death to Life

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

On Saturday 3/17, I woke up to at least 3 inches of new, wet snow! Winter is still with us! But by the time you read this, Spring will be here. Maybe we have to let the weather forecasters know about the change of seasons.

With our masses today on Palm Sunday, the Holiest Week of our church year has begun. We rejoiced with the people joining in the procession with Jesus into Jerusalem. They declared him the messiah and king. They sang joyful songs and waved palm branches. We had our procession and took our palms as well.

The whole mood of joy and celebration quickly changed when we then read the passion according to Mark. I am always struck by how quickly all of this happened. Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, it was likely 9:00 pm on Thursday. He was betrayed by Judas, arrested and tried at the High Priest’s courtyard. Friday morning the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate also tried him. He was sent to crucifixion by 9:00 am - suffered until 3:00 pm when he died and then was buried before dark.

The whole thing was over in less than 24 hours! Think of any 24 hour period of our own life - what significance did it have? This 24 hour period with the resurrection of Jesus in only a few more hours - accomplished our salvation—our forgiveness of sin - the end of death forever - our now being able to share in eternal life. These sacred hours are truly astounding. May we celebrate them as we come to the Triduum this Holy Week.

The 1st day of the Triduum is Holy Thursday. We will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday at 7:00 pm. You and members of your family are invited to sign up to have your feet washed after the homily. We will process with the Eucharist throughout the church and bring the Eucharist to an altar of reserve in the Narthex. You can stay in prayer and adoration until 10:00 pm that night.

The 2nd day of the Triduum is Good Friday. There is no mass that day but the service is a combination of several elements. The readings include the reading of the Passion from the Gospel of John. It is followed by a short homily. Then the Solemn Intercessions conclude the Liturgy of the Word. All are then given a chance to participate in the Adoration of the Holy Cross. It is then followed by communion from the Eucharist in reserve from Holy Thursday.

The Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday celebrations are the 3rd day of the Triduum. At the Vigil we will welcome our 6 candidates for full communion in the church as they receive Confirmation and Eucharist. In our Easter celebrations, Alleluias ring out proclaiming in joy the resurrection of Jesus from the Dead. We truly have reason to celebrate and to know joy in our hearts.

I invite you to take part in this Holy Week beginning with our Holy Week Mission Palm Sunday evening, March 25 at 7:00 pm. Our Mission speaker is Jon Leonetti who is the author of several books working with Matthew Kelly. He is the Iowa Catholic Radio host on the 7-8:00 am time slot. He is a speaker at parish missions throughout the USA. Please plan on coming Sunday and Monday evenings at 7:00 pm in the church.

Don’t forget to turn in your Annual Diocesan Appeal pledges. We still have a long way to go. If everyone makes a pledge or gift, we can meet and surpass our goal. Please be generous.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann