Spiritual Growth

03-15-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

You may notice how beautifully our main church is prepared and decorated for this penitential Season of Lent. I appreciate the many positive comments and "thank yous" for making our magnificent stained glass window in our sanctuary the main focal point during this season in preparation for the Sacred Triduum and the Feast of the Resurrection. Certainly the magnificent jewel tones of the stain glass contribute to the poignancy and depth of feeling in the Crucifixion scene that is displayed before us. Coming into Church during this season with the great work of art before us can inspire us to deeper reflection upon the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Throughout most of the year, this window recedes into the background because of other appropriate decorations, but in this season this scene of the crucifixion of Christ on the cross can seize hold of us in graced and powerful ways. Note also that there is a second crucifix brought forth in the sanctuary at this season of the year. It is the "Processional Cross" donated to our Parish by the Sacred Heart Knights of Columbus Council. This cross displays Mary beside her beloved Son. This stands at the ambo (pulpit) and reinforces the sacred words of scripture which during this season are preparing us for the celebration of her Son's death and Resurrection. The addition of various colors of purple and violet reminds us of the seriousness of this season.

Also during this special season of penitence and preparation, we have special music which helps our hearts and spirits to prepare for the joyful season of Easter. The special Penitential Rite which we sing allows our hearts to feel sorrow and remorse for our wrongdoings and failures to live as followers of Christ. Each week our outstanding choir sings at the 10:30 Mass and helps inspire us to feel more deeply the meaning of our faith in Jesus Christ. Our Choir helps us to deepen our faith by the faith-filled singing and the resulting inspiring beauty of their sound and words. Our choir, under the direction of Terry Kerr, provides a truly deep spiritual experience at Mass each Sunday. At our 9am Mass the special Children's Liturgy of the Word is assisting our young people in gaining understanding of their faith as found in the Sunday Mass readings. They, like all of us, are journeying along with Jesus to get to Jerusalem for the "great events" that will take place.

On Friday evening at 7pm each week, the stirring Service of the Stations of Cross is conducted in the chapel on the lower level by a different Parish Organization under the direction of Deacon Guy. This year with the far easier winter and with day light savings time now in effect, you may be able to come and join in prayer and meditation with other parishioners.

During March, I conduct in an "in church" class called "Catholic Customs and Traditions" with most of the students in our lower Religious Education Program. It helps the students to learn about many of the beautiful customs and ways Catholicism is offered and lived. Much like your family at home and at larger family gatherings, there are customs and rituals which bring meaning to our life. Fr. Jack will be offering a Conversational Lecture on Saturday afternoon March 28 from 2:30 until 3:45 to help us grow in knowledge and understanding of the Holy Week Scripture and Services. If you attend this, make sure you bring a bible. Stephen May, our Pastoral Associate, will offer an Evening Program called "Making Good Decisions & Choices" on Tuesday, April 21 at 7pm for all who are "Sanctuary Ministers" and interested parishioners.

Spiritual growth occurs in obvious and also in subtle ways. In this liturgical Season of Lent and the coming Season of Eastertide, I invite you to grow in your spirituality and faith life.