4/18/12 | 520 views
Holy Week Masses, Services Focus on Life Jesus Gave Us
The question was almost deceptively simple: “Does anything in this world make you finally happy?”
Father Robert Barron posed it from the pulpit of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Good Friday, April 6, during his Three-Hours’ Reflection on the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ.
In today’s world, it seems, people are more tempted than ever to seek happiness in four ways: wealth, pleasure, power and honor. All are “substitutes for God,” Father Barron said. Instead of true happiness, they can lead to addictive behaviors, he added.
Father Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the creator and host of the highly watched television documentary series “Catholicism,” was reflecting on the second of Jesus’ Seven Last Words from the cross. “Amen, I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise” were the words Jesus spoke to Dismas, the Good Thief.
On the cross, Jesus possessed none of the four attributes that people traditionally think will bring them happiness. The lesson to absorb, Father Barron said, is that we must bring our focus into line with Jesus’.
“Love what (Jesus) loved—doing the will of his Father,” Father Barron said.
During the long service, the cathedral was mostly filled as new people entered as others were exiting. Along with Father Barron’s preaching, the congregation heard music and songs provided by the cathedral choir and a number of soloists, including soprano Camillia Johnson, who gave a stirring rendition of “Were You There?”
Cardinal Dolan, who presided, in his thanks to Father Barron, said, “You brought us close to the Lord.”
Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was the homilist at the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper Cardinal Dolan celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The night before Jesus died, he made it possible for his Church to renew the sacrifice of his death in the form of a meal, under the signs of bread and wine, Cardinal Rigali said in his homily.
“For 2,000 years, without interruption, the Church has taught that Christ truly changed the substance of bread and wine into the substance of his own Body and Blood.”
The Church, continued the cardinal, proclaims that the Body and Blood of the living Jesus Christ become present on the altar.
And for 2,000 years, the sacrifice of Christ’s death is renewed, he said. “The Mass always remains the Lord’s Supper, but it is also the Eucharistic sacrifice which re-presents and renews the sacrifice of the cross….
“Our holy Catholic faith also assures us that after the celebration of Mass, the living Jesus Christ remains present in the Eucharist, and that the Eucharist is to be adored….”
Citing the evening’s Scripture passages, Cardinal Rigali highlighted three aspects of Holy Thursday: the day on which Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist, the day he instituted the priesthood and the day he taught by example the full meaning of humble service.
Although she was already aware of the fact, an 11-year-old Catholic from Italy was captivated by Cardinal Rigali’s history lesson. “After 2,000 years, we’re still celebrating the Supper of the Lord,” said Sara Bergamini, of St. Donato parish in St. Donato, Italy, near Milan. “This means that it’s still true for us, after 2,000 years.
“We have supper every night” as a family, Sara said of her own kin, adding, “the Last Supper is something sacred.”
Sara, who speaks Italian, relayed her remarks to CNY after the Mass through an interpreter, her mother. Sara accompanied her mother and father to New York for Easter to visit her brother, Davide, a senior at Xavier High School in Manhattan.
By Holy Thursday, Sara had already gone to confession at home in Italy, in preparation for Easter, she said.
The Bergamini family planned to participate in the Good Friday Way of the Cross Over the Brooklyn Bridge, a devotion that commemorates Jesus’ journey to Calvary and crucifixion.
Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio presided at the mid-morning opening of the Way of the Cross April 6 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James in Brooklyn. The pilgrimage continued across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall Park, then to Zuccotti Park, near the World Trade Center Memorial at Ground Zero and concluded in the early afternoon at St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street.
Communion and Liberation, a lay ecclesial movement founded in Italy in 1954 whose U.S. national headquarters is in New York, sponsored the 17th annual devotion.
Nearly 1,500 persons entered or came into full communion with the Church in parishes across the archdiocese at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, April 7.
At St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Cardinal Dolan also celebrated the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday as well as the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death on Good Friday, April 6, and Easter Sunday Mass April 8.
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