The Riches Hidden in Christ

Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects. Through Christ our Lord.
— Collect (opening prayer of the Mass) for the First Sunday of Lent

Friends in Christ,

This weekend more than forty couples from our parish attended our Cana Dinner at Elsie’s to give thanks for the gift of marriage and rededicate themselves to living it as a path of holiness. Our prayers are with them and with our engaged couples preparing to enter into the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. May they be fortified to live out their marriage vows. 

Wedding vows are not merely about words, but much more about choosing to will the good of the other in a habitual way throughout a lifetime. Couples sometime forget their first fervor of love and dedication. We now approach the threshold of the season of Lent. It is a season given to us to rekindle our desire for God and recommit ourselves to living the Faith. We often emphasize how this season is about strength of will and inner resolve expressed in “taking on” or “giving up” certain practices, foods or disciplines. What we must not forget is that ultimately this is all about love! We are reminded of this as we begin the Lenten season on Valentine’s Day! 

Lent is a time for greater generosity and self-restraint. While strength of will is certainly an important ingredient in our ongoing conversion, perhaps even more than this, Lenten penance is aimed at “confronting our illusions about ourselves…not to confirm us in our sense of virtue but to bring home to us our radical need of salvation” (M. Searle, “The Spirit of Lent”). If we are first loved by God then we are called to love Him and our neighbor as the only satisfactory response. In this way the Lenten-triad of prayer, fasting and almsgiving show their interconnectedness; they are all about growing in love.

Lent is given to us as a “yearly observance” to call, evoke, invite, facilitate, deepen and purify our ongoing discovery of the “riches hidden in Christ”. These riches are real and abundant if only we dedicate ourselves to pursue them. The Lord longs to encounter us throughout this Lenten season to pour every gift and grace upon us, especially to prepare us for the grace of celebrating the culmination of the Church’s Liturgical Year in Holy Week.

I mentioned in last week’s bulletin that I would share our plan for celebrating the Paschal Triduum as one parish. Although even last year, three distinct celebrations of the Triduum took place at Holy Cross, St. Clement and St. Hedwig, the documents of the Church strongly urge us to gather for a single celebration of Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil.

This is an adjustment mentality, but if there are any liturgical celebrations for which we should be together it is these. In order to celebrate with proper solemnity, it is essential that we work together. Having spoken and consulted with various groups of parishioners, volunteers and staff, this is what we have decided upon for this year:

† Holy Thursday – Celebration of the Lord’s Supper (English/ Polish) at Holy Cross – 7 PM followed by extended Eucharistic Vigil at the Altar of Repose

† Good Friday – Distinct celebrations of the Lord’s Passion with the Veneration of the Cross will take place at each campus:

  • St. Hedwig – 3 PM
  • St. Clement – 3 PM
  • Holy Cross – 6 PM (Solemn)
  • Holy Cross – 7:30 PM (Polish)

† Holy Saturday – Celebration of Easter Vigil at Holy Cross –  8 PM with the celebration of the Easter Sacraments for our catechumens and candidates

Additionally, Morning Prayer will be prayed each day of the Triduum and other devotions as well as a Musical Passion Play on Wednesday of Holy Week. Stay tuned for these details to follow.

I look forward to seeing you this week at the Sauerkraut Supper and at Ash Wednesday Mass as we enter into this Sacred Season in the pursuit of the riches hidden in Christ.         

-Fr. Howe