This past week the principals from our Catholic elementary and secondary schools and the clergy from our diocese came together for our annual Lent Faith Formation. This year the gathering was virtual, and the facilitator was Catholic teacher, missionary, and speaker Joe Farris from North Carolina. Joe has spent the last 25 years serving the Catholic Church. He has worked as a youth minister, teacher, missionary, and leader of three nationwide ministries.
There is one thing in particular that Joe spoke about that jumped out at me. He noted the need to “create space to encounter Jesus.” Whether we are in Church or in our homes, we need to set everything aside. We need to set aside the grocery list, what I need to remember, the things that I have to do later today. We simply need to create a space to be fully present to our God.
I really appreciated this for as you know, at the beginning of Mass I will often say that we bring our petitions to the foot of the cross, and also our prayers of thanksgiving. But going one step further, in order to be fully present, we need to set aside as Joe says, or again place at the foot of the cross, the grocery list, all the things that need to be done, whatever it may be that is distracting us and perhaps pulling us away, and simply be. Be still. Be in the moment. Listen to the words of Sacred Scripture and how God is speaking to us. Listening to the Eucharistic prayers as if we were listening to them for the first time, or even the last time, because those prayers are for us, the church, for we make up the church, the Body of Christ.
Going even one step further, it is my prayer that we continue to create a space to encounter Jesus here at St. Julia. I truly believe that our new crucifix has done exactly that by transforming our worship space and giving us focus, focus on what Jesus did for us.
That is what this week, Holy Week, is all about. It is my prayer that I create a space for us to journey with Christ into Jerusalem as we cry out “Hosanna” this Palm Sunday. On Holy Thursday, to create a space where we gather around the table to listen to Jesus’ command to each of us to “take this all of you and eat of it.” On Good Friday, a space where we will hear Jesus give a loud cry and breathe his last. Then at our Easter Vigil, a place of prayer, silence, and darkness as we wait for Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This is Holy Week, and it is at our spiritual home of St. Julia where I want to create a space, where we as a parish family will create a space, to encounter Jesus.
I pray that each of you have a truly blessed and grace-filled Holy Week.
May God bless each of you and those that you love,
From Our Pastor