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Easter Vigil

Holy Week & Triduum

Holy Week & Triduum

Dear Parishioners,

We have now entered Holy Week with the celebration of Palm Sunday. On Monday, the priests serving in the Archdiocese of Portland will gather for the annual Chrism Mass at 7 PM at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. There we will renew our promises that we made on the day of ordination. Also, the Archbishop will bless the Holy Oils (Oil of the Sick, Oil of Catechumens, and the Sacred Chrism) which will be brought back to the parishes. 

Triduum

We then get ready for the Triduum (pronounced, “trid-oo-oom” which encompasses Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Both Holy Thursday and Good Friday services begin at 7 PM. The Easter Vigil will begin at 8:30 PM.

Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday, we commemorate the Lord’s Supper. At this Mass, the Gloria is sung for the first time in since just before Ash Wednesday. During that Gloria, an Altar Server will wring the hand bells all throughout. In past years, the bells actually came loose and fell off, leaving the server a bit confused. We’ve since then glue them in place with Loctite! After the homily,  the symbolic “washing of the feet” takes place. Pre-selected representative members of the church will come forward to have their feet washed by the priest. Then Mass continues. A collection is taken up and then brought forward, along with the Holy Oils that were blessed at the Chrism Mass.  The Mass ends with a procession of the Eucharist to an altar of repose where the faithful are encouraged to remain in a vigil of adoration.  

Good Friday

On Good Friday, we will host an Ecumenical Stations of the Cross including members of several churches in the Grants Pass area.  This will take place at Noon.  

Later in the evening (7 PM) of Good Friday, the liturgy of the Triduum continues with the priest, deacon, and servers entering the church silently. The priest then prostrates himself upon reaching the front of the sanctuary. All are encouraged to kneel. After the prostration is concluded, the Liturgy of the Word commences, climaxing with a dramatic reading of the Gospel’s Passion Narrative. Following is the Solemn Intercessions which are explicit prescribed so that all Catholic Churches are praying the same thing that day. A collection for the Holy Land is taken up. Then the Rite of the Adoration of the Holy Cross takes place. A single cross is brought into the church so that the faithful may come forward to venerate the cross. Families and groups are encouraged to come forward together to offer their veneration. This is not a Mass, but Holy Communion that was consecrated on Holy Thursday is given to the faithful. Afterwards, the Altar is cleared and the priest, deacon, and servers depart in silence.

Holy Saturday

On Holy Saturday, the community will gather around a fire in the courtyard of the church.  From this fire, the Paschal Candle will be blessed and lit. A procession will form into the church, lead by the deacon carrying the Paschal Candle. The Exultet will be chanted followed by an extensive series of Scriptures proclaimed. After the last Old Testament reading, hand bells are run all during the singing of the Gloria. Let’s pray that the bells can hold on through it all! After the Liturgy of the Word, those who are to be baptized will process to the baptismal font. There, the baptismal font will be blessed and our Elect will be baptized. After the newly baptized have changed into dry clothes, they will join the Candidates to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.  The Liturgy of the Eucharist will take place where our new Catholics will receive their First Holy Communion.  

I hope that you will make an effort to participate in these amazing celebrations of Christ Paschal Mystery. They carry the power to deepen our faith and fill us with joy as we walk along the path with Jesus from his passion to his resurrection. 

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Holy Week Approaches 

Holy Week Approaches 

Dear Parishioners,

We are near the end of Lent and about to enter Holy Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday, the Church gears up, liturgically speaking, to help guide us, spiritually, to celebrate the most important mysteries of Christianity—Christ’s Paschal Mystery: His suffering, death, and resurrection. While we are still just a week out, might I suggest you consider marking your calendar for the following events:

April 14 - Palm Sunday (ST. Anne, St. Patrick, Our Lady of the River)

April 15 - Chrism Mass w/ Priests’ Renewal of Promises & Blessing of Holy Oils @ 7 PM
(St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland)

April 18 - Holy Thursday Mass @ 7 PM (st. Anne & St. Patrick)

April 19 - Good Friday Ecumenical Stations of the Cross @ Noon (St. Anne)

    Good Friday Service w/ Veneration of the Cross @ 7 PM (st. Anne & St. Patrick)

April 20 - Easter Vigil Mass w/ Blessing of Fire and Paschal Candle, Exultet,
Extended Scripture Readings, Baptisms, Confirmations, and
Eucharist for RCIA @ 8:30 PM (St. Anne)

April 21 - Easter Sunday Masses

St. Anne: 8 AM, 9:30 AM, & 11 AM (bilingual)
St. Patrick of the Forest: 11 AM
Our Lady of the River: 9 AM

Please consider inviting family, friends, and neighbors to join you in these most important mysteries of Christianity. Again, mark your calendars!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Holy Week

Holy Week

Dear Parishioners,

Some very special and holy days will soon be upon us. Here’s a short summary of these amazing days.

Chrism Mass
To start off these events, the Church will celebrate, here in the Archdiocese of Portland, the Chrism Mass. This Mass will assemble nearly all of the priests serving our archdiocese at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, the mother church, the place where the “cathedra,” the chair of the bishop is located, the sign of the authority of Archbishop Sample. At that Mass we priests will renew our promises and join with the archbishop in prayer for the blessing of the Holy Oils (Oil of the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens, and the Oil of Chrism). From that Mass we will return to our respective parishes where these oils will be presented before the community on Holy Thursday.

Palm Sunday
This coming weekend, we celebrate of The Passion of the Lord, also known as Palm Sunday. In this Mass, we begin, in earnest, “Holy Week.” We will be given blessed palms which will be used as signs of remembrance of the the triumphant entry of Christ to Jerusalem. We will listen attentively to the Gospel’s account of the Passion of our Lord in a interactive way, as is our custom. I recommend everyone to wear read that day.

Holy Thursday

Later in that week, on Thursday the 29th, we begin the Triduum, the three holy days that start with Holy Thursday. At that Mass, we hear about the Last Supper and how Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles. After the homily, the priest will wash the feet of people from our community who represent our different ministries. The Eucharist will be received as per usual at Mass, but the conclusion of the Mass will differ. Instead of just ending the Mass, we will offer a period of time (until 10 PM) for people to stay and be present to Christ in the Eucharist on the altar.

Good Friday
On Good Friday, March 30th, all are invited to go to the First Christian Church (305 SW H St.) for an ecumenical Good Friday Service. I have been asked to preach. Later in the evening (7 PM), St. Anne will offer our Good Friday Service where the presider will enter in silence and prostrate himself at the altar. Then we will listen to an extended and interactive narrative of the Passion of the Lord. There will be special intercessions followed by the popular Veneration of the Cross. Lastly, Holy Communion will be offered, and all will leave in a solemn silence.

Easter Saturday and Sunday
On Saturday evening, all are invited for the pinnacle of the Church’s celebrations: The Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday. This Mass will begin outside with the lighting of the Easter Fire, blessing of the new Paschal Candle, and procession into our gathering space (this year our Parish Center). The deacon will proclaim the “Exsultet.” Then the community feasts on a large portion of the Scriptures reflecting on the history of salvation. After this, the Elect come forward to be baptized. Then they join the Candidates to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This celebration culminates in the reception of their First Holy Communion. The next day, on Sunday, St. Anne will hold all the Easter Masses in the Gym across the street at Lincoln Elementary School. The celebration of Christ’s glorious Resurrection is the reason for our hope. It is the goal for which we long. It is the reason for the season  and the days that follow.  

I hope that you will be able to find time to be part of every moment of these holiest of days ahead.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Holy Week

Holy Week

Dear Parishioners,

We have begun Holy Week, the week that begins on Palm Sunday and concludes on Easter Vigil. It is the highlight of the entire Church year.  On Monday, all the priests serving in the Archdiocese of Portland gather at the Cathedral on Monday at 7 PM for the Chrism Mass.  At that Mass, we rededicate ourselves in ministry and the Holy Oils (Oil of the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens, and Oil of Chrism) are blessed and given to us to bring back to our parishes. We return to our parishes and then prepare for the Triduum, the holy three days from Thursday to Saturday. 

On Holy Thursday Mass (7 PM), we will celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood.  Historically, twelve people would come forward to have their feet washed as a commemoration of the events of the Last Supper.  Pope Francis officially changed that ritual which spoke of selecting "men who have been chosen” to “those chosen from the among the People of God.” This means the ritual includes men, women, children, and any of those representing the variety and unity of the People of God. Pope Francis chose to make these changes “so that it might express more fully the meaning of Jesus’ gesture in the Cenacle, His giving of Himself unto the end for the salvation of the world, His limitless charity”. At the Preparation of the Gifts, we formally receive the Holy Oils at our church.  Mass continues with solemnity. The conclusion of the Mass calls for a formal procession with the ciborium with all the consecrated hosts to a place of repose and adoration.  We will be processing to the Parish Center.

On Good Friday, there is no Mass, but services commemorating the Lord’s Blessed Passion.  At noon, all are invited to an ecumenical gathering of the faithful at Calvary Lutheran Church where various ministers from some of the Christian communities will lead us in worship and commemoration.  Later at 7 PM, we will offer our Good Friday Service where we listen to an extended proclamation of the Passion of our Lord, offer a solemn veneration of the Cross, and offer communion from the previous day’s Mass. At this service, the entrance and recessional are done in silence, for it is a sort of an "in-between” service bridging us from Thursday to Saturday.

On Holy Saturday, there are no other activities other than the Easter Vigil which will begin at 8:30 PM at St. Anne.  At the Mass, we begin with the blessing of the Easter Fire from which we light our new Paschal Candle.  After processing in the church with lighted candles, we listen to an extended portion of the Scriptures giving us an overview of salvation history.  Then we move to the rites of initiation where we will baptize (some by immersion) the Elect and receive into full communion those who have been journeying as Candidates.  Then all will be confirmed and receive their First Holy Communion.  The Mass ends with a reception in the Hall.

I want to strongly urge you all to make every effort to be present to the events of the Triduum.  It is by these Mysteries that the gates of Heaven were made open to us by the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Holy Week

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Dear Parishioners, 

As I write this post, I am in the Portland area for the Chrism Mass where all the priests of the Archdiocese gather around our Archbishop at Mass, renew our promises of our ordinations, and assist the bishop in the blessing of the Holy Oils (Oil for the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens, and Sacred Chrism).  This is generally the first of a series of important liturgical events which make up "Holy Week."  This year, however, due to a scheduling conflict at the Cathedral, the Chrsim Mass is much earlier. Holy Week proper begins with each Palm Sunday and concludes on the Saturday of the Easter Vigil.

At Palm Sunday, the Church gathers at Mass to reflect on the Scriptures which tell of Christ's entrance into Jerusalem, his passion, and death.  At our 7 PM and 11 AM Masses, we will begin in the Parish Center and eventually process into the church with our palms waving high.

The following Thursday is called, Holy Thursday.  It begins what is also called "the Triduum" or three days. On this evening Mass (7 PM), we recall the events of the Last Supper which includes a symbolic washing of feet.  This ritual is intended to remind us of our call to serve our brothers and sisters as Jesus did. During the Preparation of the Gifts we will formally receive the Holy Oils which were blessed at the Cathedral.  We commemorate the institution of the Eucharist where we conclude Mass with a solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament to an altar of repose (located in our Parsh Center) where adoration will take place until 10 PM.   The main altar in the church is stripped and the Eucharist does not return to the Tabernacle until Easter Vigil.  

On Friday, we will participate in an ecumenical Good Friday service at St. Luke's Episcopal Church here in Grants Pass.  In the evening (7 PM) we will continue our solemn memorial of Christ's Passion on Good Friday with a silent entrance into the Church, solemn proclamation of the Scriptures with a more elaborate reading of the Gospel, followed by the Veneration of the Cross. Communion will be offered in a simple way followed by a silent and solemn procession out of the church.  This is not a Mass, but technically a liturgy of the Word with Communion.  The entrance and recession are both striking, for they indicate that they are not beginning nor ending something.  This is true, as Good Friday is more of an "in-between" service with Holy Satruday being the conclusion.

On Holy Saturday, we will all gather outside on the East side of the church at 8:30 PM for the blessing of the fire and Paschal Candle.  We will all enter the church while lighting our own smaller candles.  The Exaultet will be proclaimed, a large selection of Scriptures will be proclaimed detailing Salvation History, and then we bring the Elect to the large Baptismal Fount in order for them to receive their first Sacrament, that is Baptism.  Immersion baptism is the norm, but we will see a variety of forms being offered that night depending on the person.  Then we will receive the Candidates into full communion and then offer both the newly baptized (Neophytes) and Candidates the Sacrament of Confirmation.  The Liturgy of the Eucharist is then offered where our new Catholics become even more in union with Christ through his most Holy Body and Blood.  That concludes Holy Week.

I hope that you will arrange your week around these important moments of the Church.  If you have not ever been to the Triduum, I cannot encourage you strong enough.  It truly sets up Easter in such a context that, I believe, we can more fully enter into the mysteries of our Lord.  

May God Bless you during this Holy Week, 

Fr. William Holtzinger

Pastor

A Year of Gratefulness

Dear Parishioners,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! With all the bad news in the world that covers our headlines, it is important not just to be nostalgic, but to once again, root ourselves in those things that are truly good, beautiful, and true (cf. Philippians 4:7- 9). For in these things are true joy and peace. For in these things we encounter the Good News who is Jesus Christ.

This year, for me, I look back and I am thankful for the work of all our pastoral ministers who have tirelessly worked in the vineyard with equally passionate volunteers. Events such as Joe’s Camp to Summer Bible School to the events surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe show how much God had been working in the lives of our people. For a second year in a row, those who entered the Church through the Easter Vigil celebration, made up a group so large that the room where their classes where held was moved to a much larger one in the Parish Center. This year our sacristan crew (those who help prepare for Mass), more than tripled in size! I am so humbled to see their selfless dedication to this important task each week.

I am grateful that the Lord has blessed our school with a large increase in students which has allowed us to spread the Good News to more children and their families. The school community continued to grow in vibrancy. I am also so grateful for our wonderful teaching and administrative staff at the school. The sense of camaraderie and morale is inspiring.

I am excited about the work and direction our Core Building Committee who have taken a year to explore all the options for a new church building. Please note that I did not say renovation. In the course of our explorations, it turned out not be a significant cost difference to rebuild versus renovate the existing structure. So, early on after making that decision, we explored almost every location and arrangement of a proposed new church. In the Spring, we will have a feasibility study done in order to determine what financial potential there is in this project. I am so pleased with the discernment that has been so seriously undertaken in this task. I believe you will love what will come out of it all.

Finally, I am so very thankful for all the people who have newly come to worship here at St. Anne’s. They have helped us have new people helping with ministries. They have brought fresh eyes and ears to help us with our mission. I hope that we continue to be that church where Jesus is prophetically preached, hearts are healed, and the Mass becomes ever-more the center of our faith, for it is there that we encounter the sacrificed and risen Lord, Jesus Christ. In all, there is much for which to be grateful. May all these things give glory to God!

May God bless you all!

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Reasons To Rejoice!

Dear Parishioners,

Blessed Easter season and, especially today, Mercy Sunday.  So many wonderful things are happening about us because of God's work.  We received many adults and children into the Church via baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  Fr. José was the presider and did a great job.  I felt blessed to be able to have such a competent Parochial Vicar who can just take over.  Congratulations to all our Neophytes (that's what the Church calls the newly baptized and confirmed)!

Also today is a special day for the Church Universal, for we will be witnessing the canonization of two amazing new saints: Sts. Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.  I was not yet born when John XXIII was living, but I studied about him and his work in the Second Vatican Council when I was a seminarian.  What a loving and gracious man he was!  I am so very thankful for his openness to the Holy Spirit and his daring call for an Ecumenical Council.  Pope John Paul II is someone with whom I am much more familiar.  He has been the pope for most of my childhood and was a great inspiration to me in my journey to the priesthood.  This day, Mercy Sunday, was a special celebration for Pope John Paul II, and he was the one who called the Church to observe it as a special day for the whole Church.  Here's a link to the USCCB's website for more information about these canonizations.

On Tuesday, one of our own archdiocesan priests, Fr. Peter Smith will be ordained a bishop.  He was ordained a deacon at the same Mass where I was ordained a priest.  He is a member of the association of the People of Praise.  Our Archdiocese is large, and we have great need for an auxiliary bishop who can assist Archbishop Sample in the shepherding of our Church.  Congratulations to Bishop-elect Peter Smith!

In all, today we have many reasons to rejoice.  The greatest one is, of course, the reality that Jesus Christ is risen and has opened the gates of heaven for his faithful.  May this Good News be in your hearts and minds so that we can all rejoice together and spread the joy of this Gospel to all we know!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Blessed Easter!

Dear Parishioners,

Blessed Easter!  Christ is risen from the dead! Alleluia! Alleluia!

All during the season of Lent we’ve been preparing ourselves for this time.  Now it is upon us.  But what does that mean?  You might ask, what significance is that for me?  Well, simply put, it means that there is an opportunity for heaven for you and for me.  It means that we can be forgiven of our sins.  It means that Jesus broke the barrier of death so that we can live forever.  It is the fulfillment of the law and prophets. It means that death is not the end.  It means that the Eucharist is more than just receiving Jesus, it is a foretaste of heaven. 

Easter means that we have many new Catholics in our midst.  On Easter Vigil Saturday, we baptized 9 people, submersing them in the waters of forgiveness.  Sixteen were further confirmed and given their first Holy Communion.  It was a joyous time.  This year’s class of new Catholics were a real inspiration to me and our whole team.  From day one, our RCIA team knew that this would be a special year.  As we gathered for our first class, it became obvious that we could not fit in the room.  There were simply too many people.  What a delightful problem.  So, we simply moved to a larger room for the year.  What transpired was amazing, mysterious, and joy-filled.  I want to especially thank Jessica Bubien, our Pastoral Associate, as this was her first year directing our RCIA.  I want to thank the many persons on her team. Without them, we couldn’t have offered our RCIA well.  Thank you all!

So now that Easter has arrived, I pray that you and your family will have a time of peace and joy.  The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.  These are God’s ways of showing us how much he loves us.  But even then, they pale in comparison to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross and Resurrection from the dead.  So, let them always remind you of this cost of true love.  

May you all have a blessed Easter!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Merry Christmas!

Dear Parishioners,

Merry Christmas! It is my prayer that the amazing love of God who gave his only begotten Son to us will rest upon your hearts. By this, may your Christmas be full of the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Among the many things that have blessed us is the presence of our new Coordinator of Youth Ministry, the addition of many new Catholics during the Easter Vigil, a hugely successful Spring Clean-up Day, the creation of a new liturgical Environment Committee, the beginning of a new Grounds Maintenance Committee, and so many other moments where the community came together to help those in need. Again, looking back, I consider it a true privilege to be your pastor.

I now begin to look forward to the, yet to be seen, miraculous happenings of God in our midst as has been the case this past year. Thank you to all who have been part of the incredible things that have been part of the life of St. Anne.

If there is anything I can do, anything that I need to apologize for, anything where I have fallen short, or any way that I can help, please let me know. Let us then pray for each other now that Christmas is upon us. May the remembrance and celebration of the birth of our Savior bring you joy and peace.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

More Details Regarding Holy Week

Dear Parishioners,

Holy Week is almost upon us. Next Sunday, Parishioners will be invited to begin our Passion/Palm Sunday celebration with the blessing of palms outside the Church at the 9:30 AM Spanish Mass and in the Parish Center at the 11 AM Mass. All the other Masses will begin in the Church proper. This year, there will be two notable changes in our Triduum: The veneration of the cross and the baptisms.

Good Friday: After talking with our Liturgy Committee, I have come to understand that St. Anne’s has historically offered multiple crucifixes for venation on Good Friday service. However, the Church calls for only one cross to be used. It is an option to use a cross or crucifix. Since the theology of the veneration is directed towards the cross (recall the priests intones: “Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the savior of the world...”) and the rite is called the “veneration of the cross,” we will be using one very large cross and not a crucifix. Since it will be almost life-sized, it will allow several people to approach the cross at once and offer their veneration at the foot of the cross as well as the right and left arm of the cross. The size of the cross should aid in the timeliness of this part of the service. Examples of veneration include a bow, a kiss, a genuflection, or a simple touch of the hand according to the preference of the person. Families are encouraged to approach at one time instead of individually waiting for each person to venerate.

Easter Vigil: As mentioned in last week’s column, I described that we will be offering baptisms by immersion or submersion, that is either having water poured all over the person or actually dipping the person all the way under the water. If you have never seen this approach, you will be in for a special treat. I have done immersion/submersion baptisms ever since I was ordained almost ten years ago. For the truly inquisitive, I have posted a video describing how to make a temporary immersion pool and showing actual immersions on Easter Vigil. Go to http://www.frbill.org/frgeek.html to see it on your computer. The baptismal fount will be located between the front pews where there is plenty of space and will remain there for the entire Easter season. When you arrive to Church during the Easter season, you are encouraged to enter the Church, bless yourself from the large fount, and then go to your pew. Of course, the traditional holy water founts at the entrances of the Church will be available.

With the arrival of a new pastor comes some new approaches. It is a new day, and I hope that this Easter will be one of renewal and refreshment to all who come through our doors.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor