Category Archives: Holy Week 2012

Holy Saturday – Morning Prayer and Basket Blessing

Each day of the Triduum we come together as a community at 9am, to pray Morning Prayer. It is very beautiful and if you have not been, please consider joining us next year. Saturday morning is particularly moving for a few reasons. One is that we are gathering in community as Jesus sleeps with the dead – an important time for our church family to be together. The second reason, for me anyway, is the reading of an ancient homily from Holy Saturday. What you see at the link is not the exact order of service that we use, but includes the reading if you page down. This is from that reading… “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

The third reason is an important one! We also bless all the elect and catechumens who will be baptized or brought into full communion with the Church at our Easter Vigil. After Father Pat blesses them, we are all invited to do the same.

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Then at noon, we have our annual basket blessing – or blessing of the food. It is a beautiful tradition and what a treat to see the amazing foods that people will enjoy at their Easter table. Eggs, sausages, pierogis, bread of every sort, candy, horseradish, spices, and many Baranek Wielkanocny, or Polish Butter Lambs.  There is so much more, have a look at the photos in the slideshow below, which captures the essence and mood of this joyful event.

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Filed under Basket Blessing, Holy Saturday, Holy Week 2012, Morning Prayer, Triduum 2012

Holy Saturday – Don’t attack evil, love it. To death.

“So what was Jesus’ plan to overcome evil? Attack it? No! Love it to death. What is given to God is always returned transformed.”- Richard Rohr, OFM


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Filed under Holy Saturday, Holy Week 2012, Hope

Good Friday at St. Edward the Confessor

Another amazing and moving night at our parish.

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Filed under Community, Holy Thursday, Holy Week 2012

Holy Thursday at St Edward’s

Each year, this service gets more beautiful. We had so many people and the combined choirs… fantastic. The power of community, the rich gifts of faith make this a great and beautiful place to find God and one another.

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Lenten Reflections – Holy Thursday, April 5, 2012 by William Thornton

I have often said that there is a piece of Gregorian chant that fills my head during some liturgical seasons and acts as a “theme song” for the season. For Holy Week, it is to me one of the most beautiful melodies. It was once was the Gradual for the Mass on Holy Thursday.

The text is taken from Philippians ch. 2.

“[Christ became] obedient [for us] to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.

The brackets at the beginning of the quotation is to indicate a change made to shorten the text. The second set of brackets enclosing “for us” indicates as addition to Paul’s original text made by the Church to stress the redemptive purpose of the Cross. The composer of the music stressed this addition to the text, in Latin “pro nobis,” by setting it to a lilting musical phrase that makes the singer[s] spend a little more time on these words so he can meditate on them briefly.

As I was listening to Mark’s passion on Palm Sunday, one verse jumped out at me.

“Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me …”

Have you ever heard a more poignant prayer? And we already know how the Father would answer it. The author of Mark put the word “Abba” at the beginning of the prayer. This is not in the other two versions of the passion that recount this prayer. “Abba” is a word often heard today in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel, as well as in heavily Jewish neighborhoods in this country. Jewish children use it as our children use “Daddy.” Mark used it here to stress the intimate nature of Jesus’ plea.

The next phrase, “all things are possible to you,” is also missing in Matthew and Luke. [Actually, Matthew inserts “if it is possible.” Seemingly the opposite to Mark’s approach.] It seems as if Mark wants us to understand that Jesus’ suffering was not necessary to save the human race; that God could have saved His people without suffering and bloodshed; and, perhaps more importantly, that Jesus knew it.

Mark seems to want us to ask, “Then why didn’t God just “rear back and pass a miracle” to pardon our sins without the necessity for Jesus to suffer?” I don’t know the answer, but I do know this: Lover’s never stop at “good enough.” They want to go as far as they can to prove their love to their beloved. And when the Lover is love itself, and when he loves with an unlimited and everlasting love, “good enough” is nowhere near good enough.
St. Paul marveled at the overabundance of our salvation in Colossians where he wrote:

“Even when you were dead in sin and your flesh was uncircumcised God gave you new life in company with Christ. He pardoned all our sins. He canceled the bond that stood against us with all its claims, snatching it up and nailing it to the cross.

[As translated in the New American Bible, 1970 ed. More recent revisions to the NAB are more literal and, therefore, less colorful.]

With respect to this last sentence, I have a visualization [certainly not a vision] of it that gives me a great deal of consolation and confidence. I see the legal document itemizing all my sins and failures nailed to the cross just below Jesus’ left hand. The blood streams from his wound onto the bond, and, as it does, the stream turns into handwriting that spells out “ Paid in Full – Jesus.”


Filed under Holy Week 2012, Lent 2012, Lenten Parish Reflections, William Thornton

Lenten Reflections – Tuesday of Holy Week by Doreen Salse

Reflection for Tuesday of Holy Week

Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going you cannot come.”

 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward.”

One of the first memories I have is crying because my father left the house to move his car in front of our house and I wanted to go with him; I must have only been two or three years old.  I remember not being able to stop crying, even after he told me over and over again that I couldn’t come with him and that he would come back in just a little while.

I was a child and couldn’t understand why this man, whom I loved because he took care of me, played and laughed with me, would ever go away.  Years later, when he was dying, my father looked at me and said, “I want to go now.”  And again I couldn’t imagine how it would be without this man who watched over me and loved me unconditionally all my life.

Today’s Gospel is an example of the same simple trust, love and fear that the apostles had for Jesus. If I could feel such sadness at being separated from my father, so too the followers of Jesus must have felt sorrow and confusion at the nearing departure of their beloved friend.  How could He leave them alone and without direction?  How could they manage to exist, to do His work, without Him?

The promise He made to them, that they would, “follow afterward” was a reminder of the saving mission of Christ.  The faith of the disciples was tested well beyond they could ever have thought possible when they lived side by side with their gentle teacher and friend.  During the Triduum we will hear the story of just how unbelievable it must have been to watch the way in which their Jesus was to leave them.

If the story ended there, it would have been just another tragic event in the lives of a group of people who happened to share several years together. Without the sacrifice of Good Friday, we cannot have the promise of eternal life that is Easter.  Without the tears and the sense of loss of the first event – “where I am going you cannot come” – we cannot understand the glorious promise of the second.  The disciples did follow him and they did see their friend again, just as He promised to them and to all of us.

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Filed under Doreen Salse, Holy Week 2012, Lent 2012, Lenten Parish Reflections

Palm Sunday, Part 2 – Silence, Suffering, Service, with photos

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Like any good Catholic, I tend to go to the same mass. And yes- I do sit in the same place. Actually, about 6 months ago, I did change seats for practical reasons. (Helping with mass has me getting up an down a lot!) So if you are looking for me, please come to the 4pm mass on Saturday and I will be on the right hand side, first row of the second section of pews. Yes, the one who is getting up and down all the time – that’s me!

Palm Sunday mass at 4pm on Saturday was where I was at, as usual. However, Fr. Pat had asked me to take photos of the church during Lent and I have done a little of that during the 4pm mass. Given that I had the time, I thought I would return to the 11am mass on Sunday and just be there to take photos.

Today I saw Christ all over the Catholic Community of St. Edward the Confessor. It was remarkable.  Anyone who thinks that our large suburban parishes are not diverse should come by one day. Yes, we are primarily white and middle and upper middle class; it is Clifton Park. That said – we are diverse in ways I had not always given thought to. Until today, that is.

Christ was in the throngs of people that poured in for this liturgy. Christ was present in the very young and the very old, the very well dressed and proper and those who might have been less so.  Christ was present in friends that I had not seen in a long time and present in people that I had never seen before. Christ was very readily apparent in the enormous group of kids that gathered to head off to Children’s Liturgy of the Word.

Christ was present in the combined choirs whose voices rang out with such clarity and grace, filling the entire sanctuary with amazing talent, shared so freely. At one point I, can’t even remember exactly when, I could hear Mary Jo playing the piano and it went straight to my heart; so beautiful and redolent with the presence of God.

Among the most moving visions of Christ that I experienced, were the numerous people who were in wheelchairs. Some were young, some were old, some were in the middle. Some were in ordinary wheelchairs and some were in very sophisticated ones that met their unique needs. There were also many people with canes and mostly elderly people with walkers.

And Christ was very present in the number of developmentally disabled people who were present, of all ages. Our altar server, Donny, is the most reverent server that I know – he was there. And so many others, along with him. The most touching thing I saw, Christ embodied, was the young boy with Down Syndrome, leaning against his dad’s shoulder, his dad had one arm around him and had his other arm around his front. He was Christ before me, rubbing his son’s hand in soft, gentle and rhythmic motion.

What about the rest of us, the ones who looked OK? Well we too are as wounded, we wear our wounds on the inside and Christ was present and around all of us and in us today. That is always the case, today the church was like a thin place; liminal space where we encounter God.

Fr. Pat’s homily hit upon all these things as he spoke to us about silence, suffering and service; the places where we meet Jesus. We need silence in order to hear God; we suffer and we are one with Christ if we surrender and allow it. Ultimately we meet Christ and we are Christ in and through service of all sorts.

Today Christ was clearly present at our parish and I am most grateful to have been there to meet him, in all these different ways.


Filed under Community, Father Butler, Grace, Holy Week 2012, Lent 2012, Lenten Parish Reflections, Music, St. Edward the Confessor, St. Edward the Confessor Clifton Park