Holy Week is over. What a week it was for our two parishes! We prayed together on Palm Sunday, at weekday Masses and Adoration, Stations of the Cross, the Mass of the Last Supper, Good Friday, an evening Tenebrae service, Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. We became one community of believers celebrating the biggest week of our church liturgical year with 18 liturgies, including the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral.
Combining two unique parishes into one, week long, celebration was no small task. Planning began last January with a combined team from both parishes. Many people, adults and children alike, spent long hours and late nights pulling together all the little details so these Sacred Liturgies would be joyful celebrations of our rich Catholic heritage. I counted over 100 volunteers between our two parishes working together as lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, servers, masters of ceremony, choir and musicians, ordering supplies, setting up, and preparing our churches for worship. Many went unnoticed behind the scenes. I couldn’t possibly begin to name them all, but it couldn’t have happened without all of them involved.
From the beginning of planning in January, to the end of the last Mass on Easter Sunday, we had only one goal in mind – a joyful experience giving glory and praise to God with our two parishes worshipping together in harmony. Despite all the planning, not everything went smooth. We had miscues, disagreements, last minute changes, and mistakes (including myself). Some you may have seen, others you didn’t. And, yes, some things we will change for next year. But, with God’s grace, we persevered. You would think after planning and celebrating these liturgies for almost 2000 years, things would just go “perfect” – that we could get it right at least once. But, as Kimberly’s Grandmother used to say, only God makes things perfect.
We hear in our first reading today from Acts about the first-generation Christians living immediately after Jesus ascended into Heaven. It says, “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common (Acts 4:32).” I’m sure they had their fair share of miscues and disagreements, too. After all, they were human like us. But in the end, they must have figured it out or we wouldn’t have celebrated Easter last Sunday. Our job is to be like them. To work out our differences as two unique parishes and worship as one faith family – two parishes, one flock, one pastor, one Shepherd. I think last week was one more step in bringing us together in Christ.
As the early Christians used to say in greeting each other, “HE HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN INDEED!!” May you have a blessed and joyous Easter Season!