The Triduum

Nestled within Holy Week is the Triduum, the three holiest days of the year. They are neither part of Lent nor part of Easter. I love the Triduum more than I love Christmas and Easter combined. Is that crazy?

It is rooted in the traditions I had as a child. We would always attend the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The pomp and circumstance associated with this Mass has always fascinated me, especially the use of Latin. I pray that our churches never relinquish this practice. I love the whole idea of washing the feet. I always wished I could be one of the chosen to do the washing. How cool is that! To do something truly in the image of Jesus for others! I never miss the opportunity to have my feet washed, as I strive to be the servant leader that Jesus wants me to be.

With Holy Thursday Mass being later into the evening, it made coming home from church foreign to the usual Sunday morning ritual. I remember how odd it felt coming home from church at night and wondering, “What do I do now?” Nothing seemed quite right. I imagine that’s how the apostles felt upon the arrest of Jesus at the garden – nothing felt quite right.

Good Friday is deeply steeped in memories. My younger brother and I ALWAYS had to watch “Jesus of Nazareth”. I credit my knowledge of the gospels to this annual viewing.  It is in watching this mini-series, year in and year out, that helped me to really know Jesus and appreciate what He did for me, for us. My parents kept Good Friday sacred. We truly fasted and it was tradition for our family to go to 3:00 services on Good Friday, followed by a good dose of reconciliation. I ALWAYS cry if “Were You There” is sung. Show Stopper. I have experienced death enough in my life that Jesus’s dying is real. I identify with it. I don’t apologize for it.

Admittedly, we rarely went to the Easter Vigil. Therefore, I never fully appreciated it until my sister-in-law was baptized 18 years ago during the Easter Vigil. What a rich ceremony! It is an evening to learn the history of our faith. It is beautiful!

As an adult, there remains this excitement, as I try to maintain the traditions that helped me fall in love with Jesus for my own family. My own life experiences, especially as a mother, and as I get older, help me to identify more and more with the passion of our Lord and the suffering endured by His mother. By intentionally allowing myself to visualize and be in the story, in real time, as I often did with my students, I “get it” more and more. Our faith is a gift, meant to be reopened time and time again.

Allow the Triduum to work inside you, to make you fall in love with Jesus for the first time or the fifty first time.

Peace.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

Advertisements

Sgt. Pepper’s and the Sermon on the Mount

Several years, Rolling Stone Magazine chose the top 500 albums of all time. Number one on the list, was The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The magazine said: “Sgt. Pepper’s is the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time.”

The album, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, is filled with timeless hits, still played by millions today. The beauty of these “hits” is that all of the songs on the album fit perfectly together; they form one cohesive theme and sound.

What if we ranked the greatest hits in Scripture, Jesus’s theme or message? What would be our number one?

I think The Sermon on the Mount would be ranked extremely high, if not right near the top by Christians everywhere.

Think about the “hits” from these writings:

  • We learn the Beatitudes (“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”)
  • We hear about salt and light (“Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”)
  • We hear the teachings about the law (“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”)
  • We hear about anger (“But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”)
  • We learn to pray (“This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”)
  • We learn the Golden Rule (“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.”)

And the hits just keep on coming, all with one cohesive theme and sound.

These words challenge us. They make us ponder who we are. They ask us to examine how we are living our lives every single day.

We often return to a classic or favorite album, listening to it over and over for joy and comfort.

Wouldn’t it be nice to do the same with these inspiring words?

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK

 

 

I Can Do All Things in Him Who Strengthens Me

Do you ever feel you are not worthy of God’s love? I do, but thankfully, He thinks I am.

Or do you ever fall into the trap of thinking that God will love us no matter what, and He will, and therefore we can go around doing what we want whenever we want?

We have been created to love and be love to others. We are created in His image and likeness, a privilege not a one of us has asked for, but was freely given.

Just as in any relationship, freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. We have a tremendous amount of freedom, but we have a responsibility to use it to do God’s will. This is a huge responsibility and thankfully, He thinks we can do it. He empowers us with gifts of grace and virtue to make it happen. He provides us with sacraments to help us stay true to that gift.

Why in the world don’t we take it? Do we really not want to receive it?

Heaven is not a given. Then why do we hesitate to fully participate in our responsibilities to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves? Why do we restrict ourselves from our full potential?

I think I will ponder on that.

“St. Paul said, ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me.’ You must come to the conviction that with Jesus, you can do all things. Even the weakness that troubles you, you can get rid of with him.” – Mother Theresa, Thirsting for God

 
Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School

Jesus Prayed

“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.” -Luke 6:12

If you travel to the Sea of Galilee today, you notice that the towns where Jesus frequented are very close together. While Jesus would often welcome the crowds as he spoke, He often found himself needing some time alone. He frequently retreated to nearby desolate places, seeking out some quiet time.

In fact, there’s a cave not far from Capernaum where many think He spent a great deal of time praying. They call it the Eremos Cave. (Eremos means solitary—it’s where we get the word Hermit.)

This got me thinking…Jesus? Prayer? Wasn’t He the Son of God? Why did He need to pray?

While Jesus indeed was the Son of God, He was also a human being on Earth. The prayers that we know He spoke often reflect our own humanity:

  • Fear (“Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”)
  • Desperation (“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”)
  • Gratitude (“And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples.”)

Jesus faced similar challenges and emotions that each one of us faces on a daily basis. But what Jesus understood was that in order to overcome the earthly challenges and to handle the strong daily emotions, He needed his Father in his life. He connected to God through prayer.

Jesus was indeed a human, but He was also the Son of God. And He believed in the power of prayer.

Is there any doubt what I should be focusing on this Lent?

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK for St. Dominic Catholic Parish.

 

The Light that Awaits Us at Easter

A Message from Sarah Daszczuk

We’ve now finished the third week of Lent. Historically, this is the point where I start slacking off in my Lenten resolutions. Like this dark winter, Lent seems to go on endlessly, and I just grow tired of it.

But, I am reminded of the Light that awaits us at Easter. 

In 2 Chr 36:14-23, we get a recap of Israel’s relationship with God throughout the Old Testament. The people whom God had chosen to be His own, “added infidelity to infidelity,” and God responded by sending prophets often, “for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.” But, Israel would not repent and could not be faithful to Him, and so God allowed their enemies to take over their land, to burn Jerusalem, and to take the Israelites into exile.

Sound familiar? Have you had seasons of your life where you felt in exile from God? Have you ever allowed sin to overtake your life to the extent that you can’t hear the voice of God? I have. Like Adam and like the Israelites, I too have told God that I know better than He and that I trust myself more than I trust Him.

But, here is the Good News of Easter: God never gave up on Adam, or Israel, or me, or you. He gave Adam hope, He brought Israel out of exile, and He gave literally everything He had, to win us back.

So, in these dark last weeks of Lent, let us persevere, remembering that Light has come into the world, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…that the world might be saved through Him.” -John 3:16-17

 

Sarah Daszczuk is the Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry & Evangelization at St. Dominic Catholic Parish

Keeping Her Family Strong

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” -Isaiah 43:2

Last week I met Mariam and Amal. Mariam is a Syrian Refugee, a mother of 11 children. Amal is her bright, funny, smart, fifth grade son. When you meet him, you would never know what his family had recently experienced.
 
Mariam’s family has been in the U.S. for over a year, and they are still struggling to establish their home and make ends meet. When asked what her biggest worry is, Mariam smiles and says, “I don’t have a worry today. I used to worry that someone in my family would not make it through the day without being killed. God watched over us. So, I have no worries today.”
 
Mariam’s faith is what kept her and her family strong.
 
For many, worry is a horrible thing. Some people are held hostage by it. But it truly is one of the ways that prevents us from completely connecting with God.
 
  • What would happen if you truly trusted that God will guide you in every decision you have to make?
  • What would happen if you believed that God was there to hold your hand and walk with you through frightening times?
  • What would happen if you simply told yourself to stop worrying and ask God to watch over you?
Next time your anxious or full of worry, think about Mariam. Think about Amal and the rest of their family. Think about the fear that they endured…and how they survived.
Think about the trust they put in God’s hands and where they are today. 
It puts our world in perspective, doesn’t it?   

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK and a member of the Marketing Committee at St. Dominic Catholic Church.

Children and Lent

A Message from Stacey Irvine

Every year, I have the privilege of speaking with Lifelong Faith Formation students in K3 through 6th grade about the season of Lent. It was refreshing to hear what many students already knew about Lent and what it means for them in their own lives. Their responses included helping to set the table, taking laundry out of the dryer, reading a book to a sibling, not fighting with a sibling as much, and praying more together as a family. My heart was still.

This made the next conversation about the Pillars of Lent; prayer, fasting, and almsgiving easy.

Some may wonder, do children even know what these mean?

The answer is, yes!

Even more incredible is that these children find ways to be able to give alms to help support  our Lenten Outreach Project. They work their mom and dad to earn some money or skip the weekly trip out to dinner or a special treat and eat at home instead. These kids get it. They want to help others.

Please pray that the Holy Spirit continues to guide our children in prayer, serving others, and being charitable.

 

Stacey Irvine is the Director of Children’s Ministry for St. Dominic Catholic Parish

The Classroom of Silence

How is your Lent going?

I have been intent on prayer. The kind of prayer with lots of words. While words are important, I now realize that I need to retreat to the “classroom of silence.”

The concept is connected to such minds as C. S. Lewis, Matthew Kelly and others. The devil wants to create so much noise that men and women can no longer hear the voice of God in their lives, which would gain more souls for him. Therefore, our  goal is to remain connected with God by shutting out the noise.

“The classroom of silence is where we go to break the wheel. For a few minutes, every day, we go to hear the voice of God in our lives. It is in the classroom of silence that we finally are able to listen to God and life can finally start to make sense. It is in the silence that the whole world starts to make sense.” (https://dynamiccatholic.com/everyday-life/theclassroom-of-silence.)

In my classroom of silence, I must also fast. I need to get rid of my distractors. I need to shut it all off. The distractors are making me miserable. So, my Lent is starting over during this second week. I know that God is good with that, because at least I am trying.

How is your Lent going?

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

 

Our Tekton

“Is he not the carpenter,* the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” -Mark 6:3

When Jesus was on Earth, we referred to Him in the early part of his life as a “Carpenter.”  We pictured him as a man sawing, hammering and assembling pieces of wood. A craftsman.

Many scholars, however, point out that the word “Carpenter” may not be entirely accurate.

First of all, the majority of homes in Jesus’ time were constructed with stone. Jesus and Joseph would have created most of their projects by chiseling or carving the stone or stacking building blocks.

Secondly, Jesus was actually referred to as a “Tekton,” a Greek word that when translated to English is “Carpenter.”

According to experts, a Tekton was known as a person who repaired things. When you had something that needed mending, redesigned or built, he was the Man to call. He was what we would refer to as “Mr. Fix-it.”

So isn’t it remarkable that 2000 years later, in the middle of the holy season of Lent, that we’re still calling upon our Tekton? We’re asking Him to repair our lives. We’re praying to Him to mend our souls.

We’re acknowledging that we need His help to fix what we can’t fix on our own.

Share your thoughts with us. What has Jesus repaired in your life?

To Be Transfigured

A Message from Paul Burzynski

Have you ever had a life altering experience? A car accident? A fire? Maybe consider something less intense; the birth of a child? Buying your first home?

All of these experiences, without question, would change your life. One drives more cautiously after an accident, and surely, life is never the same after the birth of a child—all life altering experiences. We all have them. Most of them are completely unexpected.

 When Peter, James and John, journey up Mt. Tabor with Christ, that experience would change them forever. Imagine being in their place when suddenly, you see Moses, Elijah, and your friend (Jesus) transformed before your eyes, and you don’t understand it. How can you not be changed by that!

I’ve always wondered why this gospel reading is proclaimed on the Second Sunday of Lent. It certainly is an intriguing and exciting story, but why the transfiguration account every year?

Maybe our personal Lenten challenges have made us grow weary already. For some, maybe not. Perhaps the reason why the Church gives us this reading today is to help and encourage us in our journey up our own Lenten Mt. Tabor; to remind us early on, that through our self-discipline, our prayer, our fasting, and our alms-giving, we too can become transformed.

Let us pray that through the Pillars of Lent, we might seek Christ, know Christ, and become Christ, that at the end of our journey, we too might hear the words, “This is my beloved.”

 

Paul Burzynski is the Director of Music & Liturgy for St. Dominic Catholic Parish