April 2012

Dear Parishioners:

Holy Week and Easter are upon us. So the question that first must be asked is: “How was your Lent?” Are you transformed? Are you renewed in the Word and Sacraments? Are you repentant and accepting of God’s loving grace and mercy? Are you in a deeper relationship with our Lord?

We now come to the highest and most holy season of the year. Holy Week changes our focus we have had during Lent. Holy Week brings our focus to what Almighty God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has done for us. Holy Week allows us to enter into the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. What a great opportunity for us! What a great gift God has given for us! Are we grateful? Are we allowing such love to penetrate our very being? Are we living and moving in what these great events mean for us? In other words, are we being examples of a godly and holy life to each other, our neighbors and our world? Are we making our decisions and choices based upon what our Lord has done for us, the Good News, or are we making them based upon the voice of the world?

Holy Week and Easter can only have meaning for us if we participate in these great events of our Lord and Savior. As we say each and every Sunday in our Eucharistic Prayer, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Remembrance is not a passive activity. Remembrance as used by our Lord and by his Church is an active participation. It is not just a memory we call forward in our minds and smile. It is being present and participating in the event that God has done once and for all. It is a present participation in the action that God has done that is alive and active through all time, space and history. As we again say in Rite II Eucharistic Prayer A: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” Through these simple phrases we proclaim our God is active and alive in the past, the present and the future. Our faith is a living faith in a living and active God. This is why we must always make our decisions and choices in the light of Christ, who calls us; gives us purpose; and gives us a way to life. Anything else is the way of death.

As your priest and rector, I call you to be present and experience Holy Week at St. Alban’s. There are Eucharists on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 6 pm. The Scripture readings focus upon the events before Maundy Thursday in the life of our Lord. Maundy Thursday we will celebrate the commandments that our Lord gave to us: “Do this in remembrance of me” and after washing the disciple’s feet, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” Following the Maundy Thursday Eucharist, the Sacrament is moved to the Altar of Repose for us to respond to the question, “Can you not watch with me for one hour?” The Altar of Repose is open all night for us to come and pray and watch in the presence of our Lord. On Good Friday we have Stations of the Cross at noon. The Stations of the Cross are the fourteen stations that mark the events of our Lord on his way to the Cross and his death. Stations of the Cross are an excellent way to begin our journey on Good Friday, but it is not a substitute for the Good Friday Liturgy and Mass of the Pre-sanctified. The beautifully sung Passion Gospel; the starkness of the furnishing; the prayers lifted up for the church and the world; the Veneration of the Cross and finally the reception of the Pre-sanctified Sacrament not only brings the harsh reality of what our God has done for us but prepares us for the joy of Easter and the Resurrection.

The Easter Vigil is one of the oldest liturgies of the Church. It is the first joyful celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a moving celebration from the beginning of the new fire, the lighting of the Paschal Candle and the spreading of Christ’s Light throughout the Church. We hear in Scripture the great salvific acts of our glorious God throughout history. We hear the proclamation of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior and we celebrate these glorious acts as his people and children. On Easter Day we continue our celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord at 8 am and 10:30 am.

In advance, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Choir, Organist, and Choir Directors. It takes many hours of practice to prepare for the great celebration of Easter; to our Altar Guild who prepares, cleans and polishes and offers all their work to the glory of God for each Liturgy: to our Acolytes; Lay Readers; Chalice Bearers who are here to serve God and his Church faithfully; to Ushers, Greeters and Oblationers who offer their service of hospitality to all who come to our doors; to our Flower Guild for beautiful work with God’s creation of flowers and give generously their time and talent for the great celebrations of Holy Week and Easter; to our Ultreya for sponsoring and preparing the Seder Dinner in which we commemorate the Jewish feast in which our Lord instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Many thanks to my staff for all the ministry and hard work in preparing for this high and holy time of the year.

My gratitude also to Thomas Rinn for arranging our Lenten Concerts and our speakers, Fr. Jerry and Bishop Iker for enriching our knowledge, understanding and offering us a time of spiritual reflection during Lent. If you missed any of them, you missed not only a great experience but an opportunity for growth.

If you have not picked up an Anglican Relief and Development Mite Box, I hope you will. This box will be collected in October to help those who have disaster happen to them such as the tornados that caused great destruction in our country or because a people or area are in great need such as famine, war or natural destruction. You may use the box in a positive manner such as counting your blessings; giving thanks to God for his help and mercy; answer to a prayer. You may also use the box in a negative manner such as every time we say something we shouldn’t be saying; every time we become angry at someone because of selfish motives; every time we do something we know we should not be doing. You may use it both ways if you so desire. Either of these ways or both, our offering may add up to aid those in need. Please pick one up and use it continually through September and then return it to the Church the first of October.

Looking forward to May, we have a number of events planned: our parish picnic; our recognition of our Seniors and appreciation for our Sunday School Teachers; Youth Sunday; Mother’s Day of course; and the first of our Organ Concert series. Please watch for details in the May Legate and Sunday Bulletins.

May you have a blessed and transforming Holy Week and a wonderful celebration of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. Remember to invite family, friends and neighbors to join us. Let us spread the Good New—-Alleluia! Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2012/04/01/april-2012/

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