April 26, 2014 – The Last Two Weeks

Yep, I dropped the ball again. With all of the activity last weekend surrounding Easter, Confirmation, etc., the blog had to take a back seat. But I am back this week with a refreshed mind and renewed inspiration (well, not really, but it sounded good). Of course, as any good Catholic knows, Easter is not just a one day celebration, but is a 50 day observance of the most important event in history. So it is not too late to wish you a Happy Easter! I hope you had a great Easter celebration with your family and friends, and I hope that the spirit of Easter joy continues to inspire you!

So let’s chronicle the events of the last couple of weeks, shall we? The week before last was of course Holy Week, which began with Palm Sunday. This day sets the tone for the events to come. Jesus enters triumphantly into Jerusalem as the Jewish people think they are welcoming a leader who will lead a violent revolution against Roman rule. However, as we see, the triumphant entrance quickly makes a 180 degree turn as Jesus is put on trial under false pretenses and eventually is put to death. The Paschal Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday takes us through the meal Jesus had with his apostles, a seemingly simple meal in which Jesus established the priesthood and the basis for our faith – the Eucharist. It then takes us through the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, denial by one of His closest friends, a corrupt trial, seemingly endless suffering, and then the cruelest of deaths. Then, the Triduum makes another 180 degree turn as Jesus fulfills the promise He and the prophets made by rising from the dead. Our last couple of Confirmation classes have been asked to attend all of the services during the Triduum, which I think if very beneficial for them. It allows them to live out the story of how their Christian faith came to be as they enter into full membership in the Catholic Church.

I thank everyone who made our Masses and services during Holy Week very special and prayerful. All who worked in decorating and un-decorating church, those who participated in the liturgies, all who came to the services, and of course Fr. Gene who hung in there and delivered very reverent and thoughtful liturgies.  Fr. Gene didn’t know it, but I caught a photo of him following Easter Sunday Mass that I wanted to share with you:


I must also recognize our junior high and high school students who once again made our Good Friday service a very moving one. This has become such a wonderful tradition in our parish that hopefully will continue for years to come.

Easter Sunday brought mixed emotions for our family. We were able to bask in the glory of the resurrection as God provided us a beautiful day. However, late in the morning we learned of the passing of my sister-in-law’s Mother. She was 90 years old and had lived a long, full life. She had been back and forth between nursing care and the hospital the last couple of months with heart and other issues, so it was a blessing for her to be relieved of her suffering. However, it is still difficult of course to lose someone who is an integral part of your life. It is still hard to put into words, but it was somewhat surreal to learn of the passing of someone on Easter Sunday. It somehow seemed “appropriate” for it to happen on this day when Jesus showed us that there is life and hope after death. It became even more surreal when I learned that she had recently made the comment that she hoped to die on Easter Sunday. From now on, I’m sure Easter Sunday will hold even more meaning for me than ever before, as we not only celebrate the fact that Jesus rose to new life, but that we know He offers us the same opportunity.

Many of us barely had a chance to catch our breath as we then celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation at the Cathedral in Belleville with our 22 now Confirmed Catholics, along with the parishes form Ellis Grove, Evansville, and St. Nicholas in O’Fallon. I continue to be asked on occasion why we are going to the Cathedral for our Confirmations. There are certainly practical reasons. There is the fact that we can work with other parishes on preparations and can spread the duties out a bit. There is also less worry in setting up as the Cathedral staff does much of this. It also saves the Bishop from having to make even more trips during this very busy time for him. However, most importantly, I think it gives our Confirmandi another opportunity to see that we are not just a local church. We are indeed a universal church, which is an important fact to realize as we restructure our local church, and more parishes will have to come together in order to stay viable.

I am happy to say that our Confirmandi were prayerful and reverent during the Mass. It was a wonderful Mass with inspiring music and a full Cathedral. We as a parish have one more opportunity to recognize our group tomorrow (April 27) during the 9:00AM Mass and at a reception after Mass at the KC Hall. I am going to miss working with my group of 7 in PSR. They have been dedicated in their preparation and they are flat out just a good group of kids. I am truly blessed to have now helped prepare 8 Confirmation classes, and God willing there will be more in my future.

Well I have spent so much time talking about myself that I have left little opportunity to talk about the big event of the weekend, which is of course the canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.  I’m sure I will be posting like a madman on our Facebook page about the events of the weekend.  I’d also like to direct you to a couple of links for coverage of this historic time in the church.  Fr. Robert Barron will be posting videos throughout the weekend.  Here is a link to his page:


Also, EWTN is providing mega coverage all weekend.  Here is a link to their programming guide:


What an exciting time to be a member of the Catholic Church!  Enjoy it and be proud of it!  Have a great week!  Peace.

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