Voices of Faith

The Fifth Sunday of Lent

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Dear Friends,

This week we begin the final week of Lent before entering into the week we call “Holy.” From the perspective of those who work in the Church, Holy Week is crunch time because so much of what we do culminates in the events and activities of those days. For all of us who follow Jesus, though, Holy Week has great significance on a much deeper level. The days of Holy Week commemorate the pivotal events of God’s saving deeds for us in Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

This week affords us time to prepare to celebrate with great joy and solemnity God’s great love for us. You might put in one final bit of effort to live up to your own Lenten promises or to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) on our Reconciliation Day on Thursday (the full schedule is included in this bulletin), which also includes Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament taking place all day. And this is a great time to look ahead to carve out time in your own schedules to make Holy Week truly holy. Allow for some time for reflection, for silence, and for participation in the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good, Friday, and Holy Saturday.

This past week the Church of Baltimore gave thanks and bade farewell to Cardinal William Keeler,14th Archbishop of Baltimore (and one of three Baltimore Archbishops since 1974 whom we have prayed for as “William our Bishop”). He was my Archbishop from time I entered seminary in 1990 until my assignment to the USCCB in Washington in 2007. Much has been said about his accomplishments in supporting Catholic schools, leadership in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, and inviting Pope St. John Paul II to visit Baltimore. It was his humble, gentle, but sometimes firm manner that drew many to him which made him such an authentic
shepherd and pastor. The Church of Baltimore is stronger today because of his dedicated and faithful service. May the Lord welcome him to the banquet of eternal life.

God’s peace to you this week,
Fr. Rick