HOLY WEEK AND EASTER
The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men." But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow [him]," for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps." In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.
O truly blessed Night, sings the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil, which alone deserved to know the time and the hour when Christ rose from the realm of the Dead! But no one was an eyewitness to Christ's Resurrection and noe vangelist describes it. No one can say how it came about physically. Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses. Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles' encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history."
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Schedule for Holy Week and Easter
Palm Sunday, April 12-13
Monday in Holy Week, April 14
Tuesday in Holy Week, April 15
Wednesday in Holy Week, April 16
Holy Thursday, April 17
Good Friday, April 18
Holy Saturday, April 19
Easter Sunday, April 20
DIOCESAN PASTORAL PLAN
On January 12, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Diocese of Richmond released a new pastoral plan. The paragraphs below are from the introductory section of the plan; more details will follow.:
Encounter the Joy of the Gospel and Set the World Ablaze is the Diocese of Richmond’s pastoral plan for announcing Jesus’ joyful Good News far and wide. It is a five-year plan that is more about becoming vibrant witnesses to His amazing love story than it is about time or programs. The plan calls for individuals and parishes alive in the Spirit, sharing the Gospel in both word and deed. Both are necessary in this skeptical age. The plan is about unleashing the Spirit promised by Jesus, about unbinding rigid ways as Jesus unbound His beloved friend Lazarus, and about unlocking the doors so that this joyful message can flow freely into hearts and homes, counties and countries. This pastoral plan is our way of encountering the Risen Christ anew. This is a pastoral plan which enfleshes Christ’s vision of a people set apart, different from others because they have met Him, been healed, and then sent forth to tell their stories. The plan hopes to inspire a rethinking of “business as usual” in favor of individuals and whole parishes finding new ways to unleash the stories of justice, mercy, compassion, and of a kingdom coming now, even as we wait for it to come in fullness. Let us dare to suffer through the kind of self-examination that precedes transformation, just as Jesus showed us. Let us trust the Spirit’s white-hot fire to burn away that which is not fruitful, and thus leave our parishes ready for this new life in Christ to flower.
This five year plan is both unique and challenging. What is unique about this pastoral plan is that to implement it is to first stop, to pray and reflect on our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Then it calls for a time of honest individual and communal discernment with regard to the degree to which our relationship with Jesus is transforming how we relate to others. Jesus told us the measure of our love for God is how well we love our neighbors, and Pope Francis is making it abundantly clear that we must have particularly tender hearts for the most vulnerable and the poor. Once we have honestly assessed our personal and communal practices using the Great Commandment, we then begin to listen to the Spirit’s call to change. This is a conversion journey, not a program to be implemented.
What is challenging about this pastoral plan is tha t the Lord is calling everyone affiliated with a parish to this work. Pastors, lay ecclesial ministers, parish leaders, and all those who call our parishes “their” parishes have a role, a call, a vocation to share the joy of the Gospel and set the world ablaze. This is not the work of a few, nor can it be carried out with the implementation of a program. It is a way of life; it is Jesus’ Way. Its transformative power will rest in the degree to which each baptized believer’s heart is touched by the Lord Jesus, and they are then given methods, opportunities, and encouragement through the work of the parish so that they share the joy of the Gospel in word and work.