Welcome to Bishop Guglielmone and Holy Week

03-25-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

First, we give a very warm welcome to our Bishop, the Most Rev. Robert Guglielmone, who is here to bless the new mosaic of the Blessed Mother in the garden after the 11am Mass. Be sure to wish him also a happy anniversary of his ordination as Bishop!

As we begin Holy Week, allow yourself to walk with Jesus in His final steps to save you and, in fact, the whole world. Make time to spend with Him. Some highlights of the week:

Tuesday (March 27) at 11:00 AM – the Mass of the Oils at the Cathedral in Charleston. Three oils will be blessed by the Bishop: Oil of the Sick (for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick); Oil of Catechumens (used before Baptism); and the Sacred Chrism (for the baptism of infants, Confirmation, and the ordination of bishops and priests). All the faithful are invited to attend. (Please note that St. Mary's will have no 5:30pm daily Mass or Confessions this day, although we will have the 6:30am Mass.)

The Sacred Triduum (Three Days) then begins with Holy Thursday, concluding with Easter. Liturgically, this is one continuous celebration. These are the events that make us who we are and have changed our place in time and eternity.

Holy Thursday (March 29) is The Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7:00pm (bilingual). We celebrate the institution of the Holy Mass and the Sacred Priesthood. At the end of Mass, we go with Jesus in procession down Park Avenue to our own Garden of Gethsemane – the Altar of Repose – at Old St. Mary's (weather permitting). "Could you not watch with me one hour?" (St. Matthew 26:40). The point is simply to stay with Jesus, pray, and be with Him in His last hours. Old St. Mary's will remain open until Midnight for prayer.

Good Friday (March 30) is characteristically quiet and solemn. On this day Catholics observe both fast & abstinence from meat. See the full schedule of liturgies and devotions in this bulletin and on our website. The solemn Liturgy of the Lord's Passion at 3:00pm (bilingual) is the high point of the day. It takes place at the traditional time Our Lord died on the Cross.

Holy Saturday morning (March 31) finds the Church waiting in quiet prayer. Gathering in the courtyard of the church after sundown, we begin what St. Augustine called the mother of all vigils, the Great Easter Vigil (bilingual). (Please note that there is no 5:00pm Mass on Holy Saturday.) The liturgy of the Easter Vigil is ancient and entirely unique. Full disclosure: It does last over two and a half hours (we are in vigil, after all), and it is one of the most beautiful and inspiring liturgies of Holy Mother Church. On this night, those who have been preparing to enter the Church through Baptism or a Profession of Faith will be brought into full, visible communion.

Easter Sunday (April 1) finds the Church rejoicing in glorious splendor as Jesus rises bodily from the dead. This is the day that began it all. Let us pray more fervently for each other in this holiest of weeks, especially for our Christian brothers and sisters who are persecuted and suffer today as Christ suffered for us.