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Passion

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

Prayers & Passion

Dear Parishioners,

Just over a week ago, I had to put down my dog, Gracie. She was 17 years old and definitely showing signs that the end was near. For the last 11 years, she was my companion in my priestly journey. She was the quintessential “parish dog.” She loved everyone, young and old. She especially loved all you who snuck her treats when I wasn’t watching! Thank you all for your kindness to me. I must admit that her passing was much more emotional than I expected. I want to especially thank Dr. Jean Manhart who served as my Veterinarian, and who gave Gracie and me the best of care and guidance. Many of you who are or have been pet owners shared your suffering with me in the days that followed. Again, thank you.

At risk of sounding trite, the days ahead are new territory for me, as I’ve not really known what priestly ministry is like without Gracie. I’ve suffered the loss of my dad, brother, and many friends, each a unique loss with unique pain. I know the pain I experienced losing Gracie is nothing compared to the pain that so many of you who have lost your spouse or close friend have experienced. It is through my own pain that I have a greater appreciation of how difficult it must be for you.

One thing I can say with conviction is that we must not run from our own crosses of suffering and death. We must go headlong into these difficult places with Jesus by our side. For it is by living through and not avoiding our own suffering that we can be raised to new life in Jesus. This is the fabric of being a Christian. I believe it with my whole heart and have my own personal history which testifies that it is true.

In the coming weeks, we will celebrate the Passion of the Lord on Palm Sunday. Just a few short days after that, we begin the holy three days of the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday’s Easter Vigil). These liturgies emphasize the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Please make every effort to come and reflect on the last days of Christ’s life. Please embrace your suffering in your own life, and know that Jesus walked that path before you. Join your suffering to his. Do not avoid that which will ultimately make you whole again. May these final weeks of Lent bring you an openness to the grace that God wants you to have.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor