I was really happy to see a lot of people at our recent Penance Service. Given that a number of people went to Confession during the 24 hours of Adoration the previous week, I expected less people than usual at our Penance Service. But lots of you were there, testifying to your faith in Jesus' mercy and the power of Confession!
As we begin Holy Week, I want to encourage everyone to make a real effort to come to Church on both Holy Thursday (7 PM) and Good Friday (3 PM). Our church really should be filled on those most holy days. Indeed, if you can get to church on those days, you really should. They are the days on which Jesus gave us His greatest gift – His Body and Blood, offered on the Cross to take away our sins so we can have eternal life in Heaven! Our presence in church on Holy Thursday and Good Friday is a token of our appreciation of all that He did.
Please remember that Mass on Holy Saturday is at 7 PM – rather than the usual 4:30 PM. This is due to the Catholic Church's ancient tradition of offering Holy Mass after dusk on Holy Saturday. Doing this makes that Mass a true vigil for the Resurrection. While that Easter Vigil Mass is a good deal longer than an ordinary Mass, it is also very beautiful, inspiring, and well worth attending. As always, I promise to move it along as best as I can!
Tomorrow (Monday) evening, the priests of our diocese will renew their commitment to the priesthood at the annual Chrism Mass. At that Mass, our bishop will also bless the holy oils that are used in the sacraments – especially Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick. Everyone is welcome to attend the Chrism Mass in St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen at 7:30 PM. Whether or not you come to that Mass, please do say a prayer for me and all our priests as we renew our priestly promises that evening. Pray that we will really live up to those promises and become the kind of priests that Jesus wants us to be.
Finally, please be sure to check this bulletin carefully for the schedule for Holy Week and Easter. I look forward to worshiping and praying with all of you at this most holy time of year. May our good God bless us with a truly joyous and blessed Easter!