The Nurse Manager of The Children's Specialized Hospital in Tom's River accepts the Easter egg decorations our Pre-K students made for the hospitalized children.
The unction, or anointing of Christ, a painting by Maria Stankova depicts the scene from this morning's gospel from John.
Mary is shown anointing Jesus' feet (for burial) with sweet smelling anointment and drying his feet with her hair, such was her great love for Jesus and her reverence for his message.
It is a wonderful image with which to begin Holy Week.
It was really quite foggy at the ocean this morning, but at least for a moment or two, the sun burned off the haze and we were able to process across the bridge from Seabright to Rumson in the sunshine. Since Easter is late this year, it wasn't freezing cold as it has been in the past.
This was our biggest crowd of parishioners ever! I thank you all for coming out to witness our faith in public on the joyful feast of Palm Sunday.
This year's procession from Seabright to Rumson across the Shewsbury River was the biggest yet! Thank you to those who joined us for this public profession of our faith. Here is some video of the procession.
Mass today is typically in the evening hours, The Mass of the Lord's Supper. Every mass takes its form from the Last Supper, but tonight's mass marks the end of the Lenten season and begins the Sacred Triduum, (three days) of the Easter Mystery.
We usually think of Jesus' Two Commandments, to God and love neighbor, but Maundy Thursday is a shortened form of "commandment" or "sending" Thursday. When Jesus washed the disciples' feet, he set and example and told us to go and do likewise.
Please join us as we begin the Triduum at Holy Cross Church - three continuous days of grace-filled liturgies. The Mass of The Lord's Supper begins at 7 PM.
After communion, we will process with the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose in the chapel where it may be worshipped until Night Prayer at 11 PM.
Today is a good day, not only to reflect on Jesus' generosity toward us, but to cherish true friends in our lives.
May we honor and trust our friendships with others and never betray them with needless gossip, tweets, twitters or worse - especially for a few more so-called friends on Facebook.
Thank you to all who joined in our procession from Seabright to the 10:30 AM Mass in Holy Cross. It was a blustery morning, but we avoided some of the light rain which fell throughout the morning and early afternoon.
What a perfect start to Holy Week! Please join us for one of the Holy Week Liturgies on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or the Easter Vigil Mass. Please pray for our priests as we gather Monday evening with our bishop to bless the Holy Oils and the renew our priestly commitment.
Join us tomorrow as we process from Seabright to Rumson for our Annual Palm Sunday Procession. We will gather for the blessing of the Palms in Seabright, followed by a procession to the 10:30 AM Mass at Holy Cross. The weather looks promising and it is always a brisk and joyful walk as we proclaim our faith. It is the perfect start of Holy Week.
Our Palm Sunday Procession is an exciting and colorful profession of our faith. Join us for the procession across the bridge. We will assemble in Sea Bright and begin our procession at 10:15 AM for the 10:30 AM Sunday Mass in Holy Cross Church.
Once again this year, thanks to the help of those who raise and lower our Rood from above the altar and to the help of our crucifers who carry the cross during the Veneration liturgy, we were able to revere the cross which hangs atop our congregation all year long.
It affords us some interesting views:
Having watched our church under construction, many of us have seen the sanctuary in various stages of completion, often without sacred furnishings. Still, the sight of an empty tabernacle and bare altar stirs to prayer on a starkly quiet Good Friday morning.
Veneration of the Cross and Communion Service 3:00 PM
Stations of the Cross followed by private confession 7:00 PM
It's an old term, not one often used in the Latin church for Holy Wednesday but it makes a good point. The gospel on this day describes Judas Iscariot's agreement to lead his enemies to Jesus under the cover of darkness at a place and a time when no crowds would be present.
The eleven disciples with Jesus at the Last Supper didn't seem to know Judas' plan and to misunderstand or not hear Jesus' dialogue with Judas. Otherwise they would have restrained Judas from fleeing into the night to put his plan in motion.
Scholars speculate about Judas' motives for betraying Jesus, but the Scriptures describe an important reason: money. Whether or not Judas was disappointed at Jesus' interpretation of his suffering Messianic role and wanted a more powerful opposition to the Roman occupation cannot be known. Thirty pieces of silver was not a life-changing sum of money and hence the search for non-financial reasons for Judas' treachery.
Treachery needs secrecy and the cover of darkness. Otherwise good people can oppose it and win. Betrayal, by definition, must come from a friend.
Money, power, greed, mammon are all names for the same thing: temptations for potentially good people to do evil for a temporal reward.
Treachery is afoot. This Holy Week let us pray to be of one mind and heart in Jesus Christ. Let us admit our sinfulness and the ever-present temptation to trade eternity for temporal goods and ask God's strength to resist the power of Satan in our lives.
And let us pray for God's protection for Christians all around the world.
It may be true that Americans have reached a point of moral and compassion fatigue on many issues. But to have so many personal indignations in Washington, DC and in our cities and schools constantly paraded before us, while many of the most significant world-wide issues get little notice only numbs our spiritual sensibilities further.
Little notice and precious little outrage seemed generated by the innocent slaughter of Coptic Christians at Palm Sunday Liturgy.
Spared from the modernization of liturgy after Vatican II, Coptic liturgy seems more impenetrable than our own. Their priests and patriarchs sport beards and more elaborate headgear than our own bishops, but they are us. Tracing their roots back to St. Mark and the early Christian community, they separated from Rome due to theological disagreements over the Divine and Human natures of Jesus Christ. But even if we are no longer fully united ecclesially, we are united in Christ.
The blood splattered columns of St. George's church with the Stations of the Cross visible in the background, and blood stained palm-crosses amid the pews twisted from the explosion remind us of our shared discipleship with Jesus.
Whatever challenges we face finding the time to worship together pale in comparison to the sacrifices so many Coptic Christians make daily by simply deciding to practice their faith in a hostile environment.
Let us pray for their protection, for an increase of our own religious zeal and for the safety of our Holy Father who plans to visit this very region next week.
Join us in praying the Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7 PM tonight in the church as we close Lent and begin the most holy three days of the church's liturgical calendar.
At the beginning of mass, we will formally receive the sacred oils blessed by Bishop O'Connell and the priests of the diocese at the Chrism mass earlier in the week. The Oil of the Sick, The Oil of the Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism will be used throughout the year to celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick. Last year, the Sacred Chrism was also used to consecrate our altar and our church building.
At tonight's mass, we will celebrate the foot washing in commemoration of Jesus' actions at the Last Supper.
At the conclusion of the mass, the Blessed Sacrament will be processed from the church to the chapel where it will be placed in the Altar of Repose for the night. The tabernacle in the church will be empty.
We will pray night prayer in the chapel at 11 PM.
A brave band of parishioners gathered in the windy cold of Passion Sunday in the parking lot at Sea Bright steps away from the Atlantic Ocean to bless palms and process with them from Sea Bright to Rumson for the 10:30 AM mass at Holy Cross Church.
Stepping off at 10:15 AM, we were only several minutes late for mass, but arrived with blood flowing and invigorated for the beginning of Holy Week. For the first time in several years, our procession entered not through the doors of the gym, but through the main doors of our new church.
Please join us for one or more of the liturgies of Holy Week!
Two opportunities to walk with Jesus during Lent are coming in the next few days:
Stations of the Cross Friday night in the church beginning a 7:00 PM. If you haven't gotten a chance to go to confession during Lent, there are also confessions immediately after Stations of the Cross at approximately 7:30 PM.
Procession of Palm on this coming Sunday from the easternmost part of our parish in Sea Bright to the 10:30 AM Mass at Holy Cross. We will gather in the public parking lot in Seabright and after a blessing of the palms, begin processing to Holy Cross at approximately 10:15 AM. Please join us to witness our faith and support each other in prayer as Holy Week begins.