The Sacred Triduum

04-10-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary's,

This evening we begin the Solemn Celebration of the "Sacred Triduum," which means we gather to celebrate Holy Thursday and the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, Good Friday and the Lord' Death, and also on Saturday evening the Easter Vigil and on Sunday Easter Mass, both which proclaim with great joy that Christ is risen from the dead.

This year we will not be gathering in our most beautiful sacred sanctuary of our church with festive decoration and magnificent choir and passionate singing. We will instead gather around our flat screens in union with thousands upon thousands of people from around the Archdiocese as Cardinal Seán celebrates at the Cathedral in Boston (catholictv.org). This is disconcerting for us, but if we look with eyes of faith, it is reassuring that hundreds of thousands of us Catholics around the Archdiocese are united in our belief in the hope, light, and strength of the Risen Lord in these most difficult and scary days.

Belief can carry us through these days. It gives strength to our resolve and it shines light on our path before us. Now, and for years to come, politicians, educational experts, social commentators, media and social media, know-it-alls, self-acknowledged experts, and actually just about everyone will have theories and opinions on why this has happened, whose fault it is, or even how it did happen. Ideological political points of view, arcane or elitist theories, or even personal pet theories or any such public or hidden agendas do not help us at this time. Instead they hurt us. What does help is that we are people of faith, sometimes strong, sometimes questioning, sometimes weak, but our faith rests on the Risen Lord. In these days, we have hope, trust, strength and light for our lives and our loved ones because of Jesus Christ. With strong spirit we can face each day with meaning and purpose with a sacred mission of protecting others and ourselves for "Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again!" — and also face whatever comes before us.

Saint Vincent de Paul's work for the needy and the frail continues to grow, but they are quietly and humbly assisting people in need. The food pantry this week could use donations of "pancake mix, cereal, mac and cheese, jelly, crackers, and pasta sauce." These can be placed inside the side wooden church door at the very top of the driveway. St. V's has provided a "Resource Sheet" of places — used and recommended by the Saint Vincent's — where people may find assistance. St. V's also appreciate the financial donations which have been coming in the mail, online or via the Rectory mail slot. People are so willing to share in this time of worry; it is impressive.

I continue to be extremely grateful to the many Parishioners who have been sending their financial support in by the mail or at the rectory side door and also by our online giving program (found on our website: stmarysfranklin.org). Each week additional people sign up for online giving. Remembering to assist and care for our parish at this time is a wonderful and generous act. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I remind you of the Invitation and Challenge which Cardinal Seán has given to those who can help their parish in an extra way at this time (see Resources).

We remember that our prayers are made through the special intercession of our patron Saint Rocco and through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, to whom our church is dedicated. We pray that all of us and those within our hearts be kept safe and strong through these difficult days and weeks.

Letters can get too long, so I will close. This year our Easter Gatherings will be very different, but they are to be enjoyed because we will be with some of our loved ones. Skype, Facetime, and other software programs and our smart phones will allow us to connect with the people of our hearts. We are blessed with this technology at this time, but we are especially blessed for we believe that Christ has risen from the dead.

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