Fr. Daniel Gifford
Drawing Near to the Cross of Christ
As we come to Holy Week at last, rather than focusing on a saint whose feast fell within the past week, I want to feature three important saints who help us to remain with Christ at the foot of the cross: Blessed Mary, Ever Virgin, St. John and St. Mary Magdalene.
These three offer us a glimpse of the diversity within the Body of Christ. Mother Mary brings the wisdom of years of motherhood, having had the humbling honor of raising the Son of God Himself! Mary Magdalene stands (or rather kneels in bitter weeping, as we can see in the 13th Station) as one who has been delivered from a dark and painful past, as one who loves much because she has been forgiven much. Meanwhile, Saint John brings a kind of youthful innocence, as he is believed to be the youngest of the Apostles. As such, he brings the hope of a promising future, as he will become a great elder of the Church, who will later author the fourth Gospel and receive the great Revelation which concludes the Scriptures, while exiled on the island of Patmos. Whatever our past or our struggles of the present, the Merciful Love of our Lord calls us to His Cross, where the Church is born from the Divine Mercy flowing from His pierced side. He offers us all the hope of a new life, and has a glorious vocation in mind for us. In just a few days, many diverse souls will draw near to the Cross of Christ, at the Good Friday Service of the Passion of Our Lord. They will be invited to come forth and kiss the crucifix (front cover) that has hung for many years in the foyer area of our school building, having watched over our school children for many years and now still watching over them, when they come in for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. What a great, concrete reminder of the abundance of grace Christ has bestowed upon our parish throughout the generations!
LENTEN SERIES, FINALE: Ever heard the phrase “No need to reinvent the wheel?” Or how about “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, that kind of thinking made the decision of how to conclude our Lenten Series, since the class and its “centerpiece” are now behind us, very simple. We will conclude by continuing to follow the ancient traditions of the Church, designed to help us enter into Holy Week & The Sacred Triduum. Later in this bulletin, you will find the details of our plan for these holy days that are finally upon us (it might look familiar).
ADULT & YOUTH BIBLE STUDY & MORE: Last week, our Adult Bible Study group completed its journey through the Great Adventure Bible Study. I want to take the opportunity to thank Sister Anne Germaine, and Dennis & Rose Buchanan for their work in leading parishioners in this study. We have had a number of studies and small groups active this past year, which have given many parishioners of all ages the chance for communal prayer, study, spiritual growth and camaraderie. The list of parishioners who have generously given of their time and energy into leading and participating in these groups is quite lengthy! I want to especially thank all of our leaders, who have given unsparingly of themselves to make these opportunities available: Rachel Bystry, Justus Bystry, Mario and Diane Carlone, Mary Beth Crowe, Tom and Patty Daluga, Steve and Colleen Harmon, Caylee Kennedy, Dave and Katie Lawrence, Paula Lough, Jacob Mead, Julia Mead, Susanna Prushinski, Jacob Quiram, Tim and Aggie Smith, Tim and Jane Taylor, and Jim Whitmore.
FISH FRY THANKS: It brings me great joy to report that we had another very successful Parish Fish Fry, serving 450 patrons and yielding a significant profit that will help to support great events designed to engage our children and families, such as our second annual Parish Family Easter Celebration coming up again on Divine Mercy Sunday (4/28). I want to offer a very sincere word of thanks to Laury Mavity, who has done an excellent job coordinating this massive event, yet again, along with Megan Evans, Emily Moats and the rest of their team. Thank you to all who helped make this event such a great success.
PARISH FAMILY EASTER CELEBRATION: As mentioned, this year we will again hold our grand Parish Family Easter Celebration on the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday (4/28). This whole celebration consists of two parts, which are meant to go together: the prayers and the party! The Divine Mercy Sunday Prayers will begin at two o’clock in the Church. Then, at four o’clock, the party begins with food and fellowship in the Parish Hall and loads of fun activities for the children centered around the gym, including an Easter Egg Hunt.
PALM CROSSES: This year, we have an additional blessing for our Palm Sunday Masses. The family of our dearly beloved parishioner Karen Swanson, who was a very faithful and active parishioner until her sudden passing last winter, has donated special Palm Crosses in her honor. They are distributed by African Palms USA, which has its roots in Tanzania and helps to fund various humanitarian aid projects, to support parts of Africa. Meanwhile, one of the happy and inspiring memories of Karen that many of us share is the fact that the cross was always her greatest prize. May we allow these gifts to not only remind us of Karen, but as she would surely desire, to remind us to cherish the Cross of Christ above all else.
ONE MORE THANK YOU: I want to also thank all of our parishioners who showed me kindness and generosity on my recent birthday, whether in the form of a card, a gift, even just a short message, and extra prayers. I am most grateful and happy to be with you all here at Saint Louis Parish. God bless.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!