Worshiping the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob
Yes, talking with God can be embarrassing because it cuts to the heart of who we are. There is no sense hiding from God who sees us as we are. What a marvel our Faith opens up to us: the possibility of friendship between Creator and creature! We come this weekend to contemplate the Lord’s Sacred Presence during our annual parish observance of the traditional Forty Hours Devotion. Let us be overwhelmed by the staggering truth that our God desires to be in relationship with us as with Moses, as with the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets, as with the multitude of New Testament saints, as with our ancestors in faith down through the ages. This is brought home to us in the fact that God reveals Himself to Moses from the enigmatic and iconic burning bush by drawing attention to three generations of a family: grandfather, son and grandson (see this weekend’s first reading). In other words, God’s identity is revealed in His nearness to the people whom He calls to know Him and worship Him. God is not a distant figure, aloof from His creation, but rather a Heavenly Father who expresses care and concern for His family through His providence and mercy at work in history.
As we celebrate Forty Hours this weekend, I am grateful for the common expression of Eucharistic devotion that brings us together from the opening Mass on Thursday evening to the Solemn Closing with the presence of Archbishop Hebda on Sunday afternoon. I am grateful for each individual and family who came to spend time in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord. I am grateful for those who assisted with all of the preparations for this annual celebration. I am also truly grateful for those who are helping with our wine and cheese social and dinner for visiting priests and deacons. As Fr. Hagan and I often draw attention to the patron of our common life and founder of the oratory, St. Philip Neri, perhaps it is worthy of special note that St. Philip Neri was one of the great champions of the Forty Hours devotion which became prominent in Rome during the sixteenth century.
Fr. Frederick Miller, a contemporary priest of Newark, NJ wrote eloquently on St. Philip’s deep understanding of the importance of Forty Hours as a privileged place of conversion of heart: “Philip was aware that the grace of conversion — communicated by God primarily through preaching the Gospel, the teaching of Catholic doctrine and the practice of frequent confession — has it first effects within the human heart, and then manifests itself in personal transformations that are often startling. In the recognition of how powerful the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is in the process of conversion, Saint Philip spent much of his free time as a layman promoting the Forty Hours Devotion in Rome. His zeal for this devotion continued after his priestly ordination.” We are given the grace of a deepening conversion this weekend. Thanks be to God!
If you missed Forty Hours this year, there is always next year. But you don’t have to wait until then: there are still opportunities before Lent is through for spending time quiet adoration, making a good and humble confession, engaging in almsgiving and the works of generosity and in personal prayer and dedication to love as the Lord calls us to love. Don’t miss the grace of this season: primarily a season to turn our hearts to the right worship of God. This was the whole premise of the Exodus from the slavery of Egypt, so that God’s people could be free to worship Him wholeheartedly and as a people united in faith.
A few reminders of what is upcoming:
+ Stations of the Cross have been well attended thus far. This is one concrete way we can live Lent. How appropriate that we would cultivate a strong devotion to the Stations of the Cross (the Via Crucis) in this parish under the patronage of the Holy Cross! If you haven’t been with us yet, please don’t let Lent pass without making an effort to be present. If our communal times don’t work, they can also be prayed individually. Did you know? --- a beautiful version of the Stations is available near the back of the Pew Missal.
Saturday, April 13 we are hosting our first all-ages ‘Drive In’ Movie Night in the Holy Cross Gymnasium. It will be a great occasion to be together. Stay tuned for the movie selection. Concessions and snacks will be served. That same weekend, Palm Sunday, we will have a Bake Sale at Holy Cross to bring home treats for Easter. Times for this year’s Holy Week and Triduum have been finalized. Plan ahead as well for the traditional Easter basket blessing (święconka) at Holy Cross and St. Hedwig. The schedule is available on p. 7 of this bulletin. Be sure to note which times are English and which are Polish!
Our Fish Fry and Soup Supper season are rolling right along! Thanks to all those who are helping make them such wonderful occasions of fellowship for parishioners and visitors. One more reminder: if you have a child or grandchild enrolled in Catholic School and would like to be eligible for scholarships through the Don Bosco Youth Fund, please plan to sign up to volunteer. Sign-ups can be accessed online at: www.OurHolyCross.org/volunteer
Save the date: Our next Youth Night for students grades 8-12 is set for Friday evening, May 24th—Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Although some families may be away, this promises to be another fun occasion to keep building momentum and friendship among our parish youth. Our recent March 2nd youth night was our best yet with fun, food, tie-blanket creation, music and games in the gym! As usual we also incorporated prayer into the evening with Night Prayer. Stay tuned for details for our next event. There are no costs to attend; young people are invited to bring a friend.
If you are still interested in joining our efforts to support and visit our homebound parishioners, note that a follow up informational and training session will take place on Sunday, April 7 at St. Hedwig, following the 10 am Mass. Even if you are attending another Mass that weekend, stop by St. Hedwig at 11 am for an opportunity to hear more about the Bread of Life Apostolate and how you can help. The session will run about 45 minutes. No need to RSVP.
Don’t miss Lent as an opportunity for investing in your marriage. As we are encouraging our Engaged Couples along their path to the altar, we want to be sure to build up our married couples and offer resources. A great website is available at www.ForYourMarriage.org - we have also posted a free .pdf document on our parish homepage with a Lenten themed devotional for married couples, courtesy of Marriage in Christ. Check it out!
Mark your calendars for the St. John Paul II Catholic Preparatory School Gala on Friday, May 3rd. This year’s dinner will be at Jax Café. Further information and tickets coming soon!
Let’s together commit to living the remainder of Lent deeply,