Long before the Church enters Holy Week, parishes need to help focus the assembly on the celebration of the Sacred Paschal Triduum. After all, this season “shines forth as the high point of the liturgical year,” as the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar states. The question, though, is how to stir the faithful to realize the importance of these days that celebrate the centerpiece of the Christian community and its liturgical year.
In the article “Preparing for the Triduum: Connecting the Paschal Mystery to the Daily Life of the Assembly,” Stephen S. Wilbricht, csc, suggests that parishes link the paschal mystery to daily living to assist the faithful in understanding that they “are called to die to self in order to be raised up anew for others.” Turning preoccupation with the self to attentive sacrifice for others is participation in the paschal mystery, the author writes. Parish staff will want to study this article together to determine the ways that parishioners can be gathered around simple projects that will help them connect to Christ’s dying and rising.
Each Ash Wednesday, the faithful hear the Lord’s call, through the prophet Joel, to “return to me with your whole heart.” From her students, the Liturgical Spirituality author Claudia H. Herrera-Montero has found that many young people take up Lenten practices that bring about change and transformation. She writes in “Called to Return to God’s Gracious Mercy and Love” that some of the practices become an opportunity to live and flourish in relationship.
One of the roles of catechists in the Christian initiation process is to foster an appreciation for Scripture that will lead catechumens to seek out the Word of God on their own. In “Guiding Catechumens in Their Reading of Scripture,” Michael Cameron and Lorie Simmons discuss the Catholic approach to Scripture, strategies for approaching Scripture in dismissal sessions, and a contemplative approach to the Word of God. To enhance catechists’ understanding of the Word of God, the authors provide a list of recommended resources that includes Church documents, study Bibles, and books on Scripture. Christian initiation teams will want to discuss this article during a team meeting.
Finally, in the back cover article, “Renewing Our Hope through Prayer,” Jayne Porcelli explores ways that parishes can respond to Pope Francis’ call to join in a symphony of prayer as preparation for the Jubilee Year 2025, with the motto “Pilgrims of Hope.” Porcelli, recently retired from decades in pastoral ministry, suggests that parishes first consider the makeup of the parish and the prayer forms that move them to deepen their faith.
As we look toward our preparations for the coming seasons, keep in mind the conversations that have been part of the Synod on Synodality. Consider whose voices have gone unheard and whether a structured outreach needs to occur. Remember that the experience of walking together during this three-year synod will continue to influence the life of the Church.
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
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