In some ways, our approach to Holy Week will be the same as in the past. As we prepare for the holiest days of the year, we will pray over the prayers and texts of the three-day liturgy and will take the utmost care with the many details that accompany these days. Often, our approach to the Sacred Triduum may be different, for we have been changed by the events of the past year, but also because the loss of celebrating the Triduum as a gathered community in 2020 has so greatly affected us. We may then come to these days with a deeper openness to the paschal mystery experienced in our lives.
Rev. Randall R. Phillips explores the experience of the members of his parish, St. Blase, Sterling Heights, Michigan, celebrating the Triduum "together yet apart" a year ago and how that may inform this year's celebration. He writes that parishes may want to examine how they connected with the faithful, especially those without internet connectivity, and how that can be improved. No matter what accommodations in the liturgy are made for safety, he notes that still the Triduum will be celebrated with a lively faith and devotion, for the Body of Christ proclaims and bears witness to the resurrection.
Stephen P. Millies' article "Fratelli tutti Calls for Familial Regard for Every Person" explores the ways Pope Francis challenges us in his encyclical. Millies, the director of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union, posits that Fratelli tutti and Laudato si' are the magnum opus of Francis' papacy, building on Catholic social teaching since Rerum novarum to respond to the signs of our times by offering a framework for how Catholic believers should embark on the rest of the twenty-first century.
Rodica M. M. Stoicoiu, Ph.D, director of liturgy and adult faith formation at St. Agnes Catholic Church, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, will write the "Liturgical Spirituality" columns this year. In this issue, she considered the option of Psalm 51 for the responsorial psalm to the seventh reading at the Easter Vigil, Ezekiel 36:16 - 17a, 18 - 28, writing that the psalm is a response to God's love.
Mary Patricia Storms, pastoral associate at Our Lady of the Presentation Parish, outside of Kansas City, Missouri, has returned as the author of the "Liturgical Environment" articles. Her article "Holy Week Offers Opportunity to Form Environment Team" explores how parishes can enhance their teams through careful organization and a spirit of welcome.
The article "The Scrutinies Support the Elect in Deepening Their Conversion," by Kyle Lechtenberg, examines the importance of these rites during the period of purification and enlightenment as well as accommodations to be made for safety reasons during the pandemic. Christian initiation teams will want to discuss this article with their pastor and parish musicians.
Finally, parishes will want to be sure to distribute the downloadable articles "Blessed Psalms Help Children Enter into the Sacred," by Kathryn Ball-Boruff, and "Sacramentals Help the Faithful Encounter the Divine," by Kathy Kuczka. Besides handing these articles out with the bulletin and in faith formation sessions, they may be posted on your parish website and in social media.
May your days be blessed.
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
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