Easter Vigil Surprises:
Each Easter Vigil has its fair share of “surprises.” This year I had a few “surprises” that made me laugh. The first happened just as I was getting ramped up with my homily. It was about 9:25 p.m. The
was sung. The readings had been proclaimed. And, the Alleluia was sung with great gusto. It was now time for my homily. I was wound up and ready to hit it out of the “ballpark” when all of a sudden the alarm on my smartwatch went off. Boy, was I distracted. I tried to keep talking while I tried to disable the alarm but I was having no luck at all! It was precisely 9:30 p.m., the time I always call my mom and dad and the alarm was my reminder! There was no way to work around this distraction. I had to pull up my hand, slide back my vestments to make my watch visible so I could disable it. At this point, I probably should have just called mom and dad too! Thankfully, I was able to get back on track with my homily.
The second “surprise” or funny thing happened immediately after I baptized one of our younger students. I just got don’t done pouring LOTS of water on him for a third time. With his head still down in the baptismal font and still dripping wet he muttered to himself, “He just got water all over my shoes.” Okay, yes, you got drenched … there’s no doubt you were baptized!
As you might imagine, a ton of work goes on behind the scenes to make our Holy Week liturgies so beautiful and prayerful. There are many people to thank and I would like to express my gratitude to them for their hard work and devotion.
I’m grateful to Gene Fedeli, who started our Holy Week off by teaching us the art of palm weaving. With his talented help, we had some of the most beautiful woven palm decorations to accent our sanctuary.
I’m grateful to the children and teachers at school who participated in the annual Passion Play. Watching the Passion Play and then hearing from the students themselves about what the Passion Play means to them certainly puts you in the mood for all the events of the Triduum.
I’m grateful to Father Rich, a.k.a. Father Sunrise, who VOLUNTEERS every year to take the Sunrise Mass. Fr. Rich also gets major kudos for the beautiful flowers on the big cross. On behalf of all of us at SJA, I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to you Fr. Rich for your generosity and love in putting that big flower-filled cross together. That flower-filled cross has become a much anticipated annual centerpiece of our Easter environment. It is wonderful to watch how many families take pictures in front of the cross or who simply admire it up close.
I would like to express my thanks to John Perna, our Director of Music Ministries, the Guitar Group, led by Ken Madeleine, who handled the music for the sunrise and 8:00 a.m. mass on Easter Sunday, the Anthems, led by Eleonore Ellero-Groth, who handled the music for the 12:00 noon mass, the Choirs and to all of our wonderful cantors, accompanists and singers of the various music groups who did such an OUTSTANDING job with all the music throughout Holy Week. I am grateful for the time and sacrifice they make to provide us with such an outstanding music program.
I am grateful to the ushers, the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the lectors, the altar servers, the sacristans, led by Sally Heythaler and Fran LaRose, the Parish Center Staff, our maintenance staff, the Art and Environment Committee, the joint Parish Life and Worship Committee, and last but not least Fr. Joe, Fr. Rich, Deacon Mike and Deacon Tom who did so much to get us ready for the great liturgies of Holy Week. Thank you one and all!
I would also like to single out the RCIA team: Adele Grady, Jeremiah Baur, Mary Carroll, Charlie Lauhoff, Rose Nagy and Josie Strasz. These wonderful and generous people serve as catechists and mentors to those preparing to receive the sacraments at Easter. A great RCIA team is the dream of every pastor; I’m grateful we have such an outstanding team who walks with our candidates throughout the year.
The Easter Vigil is certainly the highlight of the entire weekend. By God’s grace we were able to witness the baptism of Morgan Gains, Matthew Gino, Kailey McLeod and Jeffrey Roybal. We saw Scott Campbell, Harry Sellars, Courtney Sellers and Jillian Terry be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. We were able to witness Jamie Adamo, Katherine Knitter and Danielle Roybal complete their Christian initiation by receiving the sacrament of Confirmation. And, finally, we witnessed Joanne Terry make a commitment to deepen her relationship with Christ and the Church. Congratulations to the entire RCIA Class of 2017! May all of our newly baptized, newly received and newly confirmed continue to conform their lives to the life of Christ as they go forth thanking God for all the good work he has begun in them.
It was another awesome Holy Week at SJA! May we, like the early disciples, continue to proclaim the joyful news of Christ’s resurrection and all that it means to us!
Festival Raffle Tickets:
By now, every registered family should have received their packet of festival raffle tickets (get this … the festival is only 26 days away)! Please note that the deadline to qualify for the early bird drawing is immediately after the 12:00 noon mass on April 30. Four lucky winners will then each win $500. To qualify for the 100% club and thus earn a chance to be placed in the drawing, you must sell or buy your allotment of 14 tickets (or 7 tickets if you are a senior). If you need more tickets, please stop by the Parish Center!
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers.