Dear Holy Family, St. Mary and St. Anthony Parish:
“He breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,...”
Glorious! Our Holy Week celebrations were glorious! The beautifully decorated sanctuaries pictured on the front of this bulletin are outward signs of the invisible Spirit and passion that moves through our three parishes. As rich and powerful as our Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday celebrations were, the Easter Vigil was clearly the highpoint of the week.
Even on the small picture on the front of this bulletin the exuberant joy of those Baptized and Confirmed that night is clearly visible. After the two hour celebration people stood and talked for almost another hour! We didn’t want to leave. We didn’t want the beautiful evening to end. Welcome Sarah Settingsgaard! Welcome Cody Scheel! Welcome Sadie Rutherford! Welcome Linda Troutt! We are so blessed God called you into our faith family and so grateful that you said yes!
There are so many people to thank for the rich experiences we shared this past Lent and Holy Week. There are so many I hesitate to mention names. If you walked into church and thought, “there must have been an army in here arranging all of these flowers and furnishings”…. You would have been exactly right! Thank you to all of you who had a part in helping us see something of the glory of Christ’s resurrection and the beauty of heaven.
And the music! The Easter Vigil alone involved 17 pieces of music! Then add the special music for the Holy Thursday and Good Friday liturgies. Choirs, directors, accompanist… thank you for all of the rehearsal, all the time away form family, all the rest forgone, so that we could be immersed in inspiring song. Thank you readers, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, cross bearers, and secretarial and maintenance staff for all the behind the scenes work done.
I know there were many people at our services who we don’t see very often and even some who came for a first time. And I am certain they experienced something of God’s Mercy while here. If they didn’t hear it in the scriptures and prayers, they couldn’t have missed it in the beauty and warmth of our community gatherings which all proclaimed: This is a new day! Arise! There is forgiveness here and the chance to start anew.
There will be many fond memories to savor as seven of us get on the bus and join another 43 this Wednesday morning and begin our journey to the Holy Land. The brief description of our trip reads:
Three days in Jordan seeing Mount Nebo where Moses saw the Promised Land before dying, the Baptism site of Jesus at “Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, Mt. Mukwir where John the Baptist was martyred, and the valley of Moses in Petra, the famed Red Rose City and newly named Wonder of the Ancient World.
Then in Israel, three nights along the Sea of Galilee, boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, Mount of the Beatitudes, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, and four nights in Jerusalem to walk the Way of the Cross, see Calvary and the Tomb of Christ, Garden of Gethsemane, and Mount of Olives.
We return the evening of the 19
. In the meantime Fr. Joe Arokiam will be covering all the liturgies. The majority of people I have spoken with find him quite understandable. And everyone finds him a delightful spirit. I am confident that with a little patience all will come to understand his speech. And he is here to get feedback that will help him be more effective when he gets assigned his own parish. So he needs the practice time.
I am looking forward to my first trip to the Holy Land with great anticipation. I am hoping that by standing where our Lord once stood I will receive an increase of his Spirit…. especially his Spirit of Mercy. Fortified with His Spirit I also look forward to returning and getting a Convent turned into a Transitional Living Center, planting gardens in Sekairi Kenya, welcoming the un-churched through Alpha, and in many other ways Spreading and Growing the Good News here in the Heartland! See you after the 19