Fr. Britto's Blog

Holy Week

A great French Catholic writer, Pierre Babin, wrote, “Pain is the law underlying all masterpieces.” Come to think of it – his words are so true. No great masterpiece that has survived the passage of time was created without blood, sweat, and tears. Michelangelo was an old man when he lay on his back to paint the immortal frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He suffered much not only physically but also mentally and spiritually as he sparred with certain ecclesiastics. Without Mahatma Gandhi’s sacrific, India would not have achieved her freedom from colonial rule.

The great masterpiece of God’s plan of redemption was no exception to this rule. God did not work out our salvation without pain and suffering. His Son bore every pain that we encounter in our lives – physical pain, mental anguish, rejection, sense of abandonment, betrayal by a friend and ignominy. He underwent the most painful, shameful death on the Cross. He laid down His life not to quench the blood lust of an angry God but to make us aware of the boundless love of this God.

As I write this column, things are changing by the day. Just today (March 20), our governor declared a stay at home order. We are allowed to go out of our homes only for essentials. I understand the reason for the guidelines offered by both the civic and church authorities, but it is so hard to be disconnected from our parish community during this holy time. I exhort all of us to enter into the Holy Week in whatever way we can. As a parish we will do our best to bring the celebration of this sacred time through technology. However, I am not sure right now what it will look like. We will certainly decorate our church with Easter decorations (unless prevented by some new development). We will designate a Sunday at a later time when we will celebrate Easter as a community.

As we enter into Holy Week, we recall the great sacrifice made by the Son of God for each one of us. All of us need to share in His suffering and death so that we may partake of His resurrection. The Church offers us great opportunities during the Holy Week. Let us welcome Jesus into our hearts just like the crowds did as He rode into Jerusalem riding on a donkey on Palm Sunday. Unlike those crowds, we will try to be loyal to Him and not turn against Him on Good Friday.

Next we move towards the Holy Thursday liturgy in the evening when the Church celebrates the Lord’s Supper. Just as Jesus broke Bread with His disciples, He shares His Body and Blood with all of us. The ceremony of the washing of the feet reminds us to serve in imitation of the Master who washed His disciples’ feet. Let us accept Jesus’ challenge to love one another as He has loved us and thus live the New Commandment in our lives. Let us pray for priests everywhere so that following the example of Jesus, they may lay down their life for the faithful.

On Good Friday the Church returns for an evening liturgy wherein she intercedes for the many needs of the Church and of the world. She venerates the cross, the symbol of our faith and the pledge of our redemption. She listens to John, the evangelist, as he describes for us the last hours of Jesus’ life. She waits in expectant silence as Jesus’ lifeless body is cradled in the arms of His mother and then laid to rest in the borrowed grave of a friend.

On Holy Saturday the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist because she awaits her Lord’s resurrection. She gathers her children together on Saturday night to celebrate Christ our Light. She keeps vigil as we make an epic journey through God’s Word and relive the history of God’s salvation. She sings the praises of Christ, the Light of the World, Who drives away the darkness of our lives. She rejoices with the catechumens as they enter the baptismal font to be reborn in the Spirit. She welcomes the candidates into full communion with the Catholic Church. The edifice of the church resounds once again with the sacred strains of alleluia because the Lord is risen.

I know that we will NOT be celebrating the Sacred Triduum as a parish community. However, I exhort all of us to participate in these sacred liturgies in whatever way we are able. Let us enter into the paschal mystery of Jesus, our Savior, and in some mystical way receive the marks of his passion on our bodies. The gloomy darkness of Good Friday will make room for the joyful light of Easter morning.

Please hold the parish in your prayers, and may the mysteries of the Holy Week be seared into our souls. Let us earnestly pray that through the Paschal Mystery, this heavy veil will be lifted from our world and that all of us can return to our daily lives with our families and with our church community.

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel