APRIL IS THE MONTH OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST.
Holy Week and the Easter Octave.
THE CROSS: SOURCE OF FORGIVENESS & THE EUCHARIST
On Thursday, the Sacred Triduum begins. It is a three day long service in which the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord are remembered, celebrated and re-lived by The Church. It begins on Maundy Thursday evening with ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ and finishes on Saturday night at the Easter Vigil with ‘Go in peace Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia’. The Mass is central to this three- day celebration because before Jesus was arrested, tried and crucified to death, he left us a perpetual connection with the sacrifice he was about to make. On the night before he was killed, at the Last Supper with his disciples, he instituted the Holy Eucharist, that the offering of Himself for our salvation on the Cross might be made present to us for all time.
The Catechism says, ‘ The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are ONE SINGLE SACRIFICE’. It quotes The Council of Trent : ‘The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner is different. In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the Cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner’.
For this reason, at every mass before every altar throughout the world we stand on Calvary and kneel at the foot of the Cross.
It is also why the day of the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross -Good Friday- is the one day of the year that the Sacrifice of the Mass is never celebrated. Because on this day, it is the Cross itself that we venerate and so remember the Great Sacrifice which continues to be offered through time in every mass. On Good Friday, we go back to the source of grace: instead of genuflecting to the Body of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, we genuflect to the Cross of Christ’s Sacrifice and the means of our Salvation. Therefore, the Eucharist begins the Triduum on Thursday and ends it on Saturday night at the Vigil, but at the centre of it, on Good Friday, there is no Eucharist. At the heart of the Triduum is the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, from which Christ’s life emptied and continues even now to flow through our daily masses. By this same Sacrifice on the Cross, God forgives us when we confess our sins and receive absolution through the Sacrament of Penance.
The Catechism states ‘It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptised can be reconciled with God and with the Church’. It is through this sacrament that God forgives us because Jesus sacrificed and offered up his life for us on the Cross. Every time we confess our sins and receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance, we return to that same Cross.
It is said that the greatest words any Catholic can hear are:
‘this is my body, this is my blood’, because by our continued connection to the Cross of Calvary in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is made present to the Church still today. Who would not want to kneel in awe and reverence before Him?
‘Through the ministry of the Church, I absolve you from your sins’ which are the words of absolution given to the penitent after making confession. Who would not want to receive God’s forgiveness given to us through the Cross in the Sacrament of Penance? Saying ‘I forgive myself’ or just presuming God’s forgiveness is not the Catholic faith. It is only by returning to the Cross in the Sacrament of Penance that we can be assured of God’s forgiveness. Who are we to trust that we are forgiven until we hear these words from the priest which the Lord commanded his apostles to say in this sacrament?
Jesus went to the Cross to pay the debt of human sin. It is through the outpouring of his Precious Blood from the Cross that we receive God’s forgiveness and grace when we receive the sacraments. The Eucharist and Penance show us that God loves us still by continuing to give us the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist and forgiving our sins in the Sacrament of Penance. On Good Friday, let us go back to the source of this grace and love in these sacraments and behold the wood of the Cross, give thanks and adore!
April is the month dedicated to the Holy Eucharist. There will be a Holy Hour with the Lord of silent adoration and benediction at 4.00 p.m. on Palm Sunday afternoon: a Holy Hour to begin a Holy Week watchfully with the Lord. There will be an hour of watching in the presence of the Lord on Maundy Thursday night after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and finally, an Hour with the Lord of silent adoration on Sunday 16th April at 4.00 p.m.
This month we can give particular praise and honour to Jesus Christ, in the most Holy Sacrament and ask ourselves if we are frequently receiving Holy Communion: do I make due preparation for receiving the Lord in Holy Communion by receiving the Lord’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Penance at least twice a year or if I’ve committed a mortal sin? Have I prepared to receive the Sacrament this Easter by making my confession? Or do I think I don’t need this sacrament of salvation? Am I living in a state of grace and so able to receive Holy Communion? Do I keep silence in church before mass and prayerfully prepare myself for the Lord and so also help others to do so or do I distract them by my noise and chatter? Do I show true reverence in my manner of receiving the Lord? Do I give thanks after receiving Holy Communion?* O praise be to you, Jesus Christ, in the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist!
Additional confession times are available this Holy Week and are listed in the schedule below.
*An example of a prayer of thanksgiving is at the end of the newsletter
RECOMMENDED EASTER BOOK for CHILDREN
‘BEHOLDING BEAUTY – AN EASTER MIRACLE’ by Madeleine Carroll, illustrated by Pedro De la Puente.
‘’Where Jeremiah was born the sun glittered silver on a lake full of life. Crashing waves on the rocks in winter storms were always loud, and in spring the air was fresh with shore flowers. Each season brought its own smells, blowing in over the Sea of Galilee. Jeremiah was blind, but, although his world was dark, it was full of sound and love…..BEHOLDING BEAUTY is an Easter story of joy, healing and beauty, with excerpts from Scripture included at the back of the book.
Many of you have enjoyed previous books by Madeleine. They are beautiful and very fine presents to give your children to mark our Great Feast Days. Madeleine is a catechist with ‘Catechesis of the Good Shepherd’, as well as author and mother. Pedro is a freelance artist and illustrator, with his own YouTube channel ‘Little Lamplighters’. He loves teaching kids how to draw and is passionate about art. You can find out more about his work on www.littlelamplighters.com
If you would like to buy a copy of ‘Beholding Beauty’ or what like to buy one for a child in this parish, we have some copies available after mass, price £5.00.
HOLY WEEK MUSIC: ERBARME DICH: by Bach sung by Kathleen McLaughlin accompanied by Helen Ratcliff on organ.
After Peter has denied that he knows Jesus three times, he hears the cock crow and is reminded of what Jesus has said to him.
`Before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times'. Peter cries bitterly and the aria is his prayer while he is weeping.
The English translation of Erbarme Dich Mein Gott, written in German by Bach.
Erbarme dich mein Gott. Have mercy, you, my God
Um meiner Zahren willen. For the sake of my grief.
Schaue hier, schaue hier See here, see here.
Herz und auge The heart and eye
Weint vor dir bitterlich Weeping before you bitterly.
Peter`s sorrow and remorse is expressed in the words and music of Bach`s aria as he repeats the prayer through his tears.
PARISH YOUTH NOTICES
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR HOLY WEEK AND THE EASTER OCTAVE