Our celebration of the holy season of Lent is coming to an end as we've entered into Holy Week and are getting ready to move into the celebration of the Sacred Paschal Triduum. The Triduum is the time between Lent and Easter - it comprises the days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, and it's the holiest time of the year for Catholics, with some of the richest, most mysterious and sacramental celebrations of the year.
Holy Thursday gives us a chance to enter into the celebration of the Last Supper with Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. We gather together - just as they did - to pray, to share in the joys of the Eucharistic celebration, and to gather strength from our community. We strive to recognize ourselves in the obstinence of Judas, in the brashness of Peter, in the youthful exuberance and trust of John, and in the tumultuous preparation for the passion of Jesus. But we also take solace in the gift of the institution of the Eucharist that night, and rejoice in the gift of Jesus' own presence in our churches, in our homes, in our famines, and in our hearts and lives.
On Good Friday we gather together to journey with Jesus on the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross. We follow our Lord and Master as the Suffering Servant, willing to give everything - even his very life - as an example of sacrificial love. Every Catholic tabernacle in the world lies open and empty - every sanctuary lamp is dark - we commemorate the day, even the very hour, of the death of Jesus.
But on Saturday at the Easter Vigil, we gather together in the evening to once again to celebrate the coming light of the Resurrection. We finish the liturgy begun on Holy Thursday, we brandish fire to chase away the darkness of death and despair, and we join our voices in a glorious Alleluia to our Risen God and to our own eventual resurrection.
As we prepare to finish our Lenten journey as a parish and school community, I urge you, as parents and as the first teachers of the faith, to make time - wherever you may be - to lead your family to the prayers, the rituals, the sacraments, and the mysteries of the Sacred Paschal Triduum, so that we may more fully appreciate and celebrate the gift and the joy of the Easter resurrection. Like Jesus, may we be bringers of this Good News into the lives of those around us, especially those young lives gifted and charged to our care.
May each and every one of you have a blessed and wonder-filled Triduum and Easter celebration.
Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
During the blessing given to the mother and father of a newly baptized child at the end of the Baptismal Liturgy, we hear these words: These parents will be the first teachers of their children in the faith, may they be also the best of teachers by what they say and do. The Second Vatican Council called each home and family “the domestic church.” With this in mind, the season of Advent provides an excellent opportunity for parents to nurture the faith of their whole family.
Buying (or making) an advent wreath and then setting up a prayer area in your home (somewhere near the living room or dining room, where it is clearly visible) to place it on is a good first step. Blessing the wreath, and then lighting the candle(s) before or after dinner each evening can become a way of keeping the focus of this Advent season on the coming of the Light of Christ.
Setting up a Jesse tree (especially a homemade one) can be another way of marking the days during Advent until we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Setting up Christmas lights inside or outside the home can be another way of remembering the light of Christ, especially as our days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.
Traditional Posadas or praying the rosary together are another way to fully prepare for the coming Christmas season both as a family and as an extended community. And of course, the best way to prepare is to attend Holy Mass together during the season of Advent every weekend and holy day—it helps to prepare the whole family to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus at the beginning of the Christmas season.
There are several documents you can download as part of this post (below my signature) that have prayers, activities, and ideas on helping families keep their focus not just on the fun of preparing for Christmas, but also on the preparation of our hearts, lives, and homes during the Advent season. In whatever ways your family prepares, remember that Jesus can stay at the center of our lives only with our attention and devotion to him—may we give God the best gift we can give him this Advent and Christmas season: our time.
Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
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