Saturday, April 9, 2022

It's beginning to look a lot like Holy Week

We have arrived at Holy Week in these spring days of early-mid April. Lent remains but it is now reduced to its last few days.  We celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend as we hear of the triumphant arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem amid shouts of honor, praise and joy only to be sentenced to death on a cross with shouts of Crucify Him, Crucify Him.  All the palms are cleaned and ready to be blessed and distributed.  The coming days will bring the Chrism Mass in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, confessions on Wednesday night and then the Triduum, beginning with Holy Thursday.  All of the various liturgies are being planned and ready to offer to worship God.  We commemorate these high holy and solemn days climaxing in Easter glory.

For us back home in Abita Springs we have had a full and robust Lent.  Our Lenten mission with Fr. Louis Guardiola from the Fathers of Mercy was well attended, well received, challenging and inspirational.  So many confessions were heard during that week.  We followed the mission with a healing Mass and the healing ministry of Alan Ames from Australia.  Again, well attended, well received and many healings while others attended confessions.  All throughout Lent we offered Stations of the Cross every Friday as our Knights of Columbus were offering fried fish and shrimp dinners next door in the hall.  I believe over 3,000 meals were served this year.  In addition to offering meatless meals for Lent, this event is a huge fellowship gathering for all of Abita, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.  And now, these dinners are complete for yet another season of Lent.

As a Deacon for my parish and my responsibilities as a pastoral assistant I enjoy being so involved in all the planning stages of our various devotions, events and liturgies.  I've managed this year despite another bout with Covid, extreme issues with arthritic knees and back and even a potential blockage in one of the renal arteries.  But we persevere and trust in God.  we were really challenged this week as my wife Wendy was involved in a scary car accident that left her black and blue, a little bloody and without a car, for now.  Yet she will recover, no one else was hurt, and we navigate life's latest challenge all with faith and trust in God.

I'm still not back to my prison ministry as the Covid shutdown was only recently lifted but I still had to manage the medical challenges discussed above.  I hope to be back in during the month of May.  I'm also looking forward to a few other events centered around the ministry of the Deacon including the ordination of yet another new class of ministers of service.

For each of us now is the time to review our Lenten practices and assess how we did, not in terms of quantifying do's and don'ts but how did Lent help me grow closer to God and help me on my journey towards heaven?  In the days ahead, reflect on the gift and graces of Lent and prepare to properly celebrate the Triduum and arrive at Easter glory next weekend.

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