This was my first time to experience the whole of the Holy Week liturgy here at Holy Redeemer Church. I was personally deeply touched by everything that took place, not simply the vast numbers of parishioners who attended our services but also by the very evident devotion and grace shown by so many people throughout the week. It was indeed a privilege for me, as your new parish priest, to celebrate the various liturgies and to find myself deeply moved by the beauty of our Holy Week liturgy and its significance for us all.
I just wanted to highlight some of the features of our Holy Week that meant a lot to me. The first was the choice of having the newly formed young adults group to be our representatives for the ceremony of the washing of the feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. I know that each of them was moved by this ceremony, and for me it served to highlight to all the parish that our young adults are a vital part of our community.
A second highlight for me was that at the Good Friday liturgy our Redemptorist community were the ones who took part in the veneration of the Cross and shared in the distribution of Holy Communion. This was meant to indicate to the whole parish that this parish is blessed and largely sustained by the whole Redemptorist community that serves us all in so many ways.
The third highlight was that at the joyful celebration of the Easter Vigil we were able to receive so many people into full communion with the Catholic Church. I am sure that it was a moment in life that they will never forget. My prayer for them is that they will continue to grow in the love of God and in their service to their brothers and sisters at Holy Redeemer.
I would like to express a personal word of thanks to the many people who went out of their way to comment on the spiritual and moving way our Holy Week services were conducted. But, on behalf of the parish, there are so many others who ought to be thanked for their contribution to the quality of our liturgies. First and foremost I would like to thank all the sacristans who gave up so much time and put so much effort into preparing the Church for each service during the whole week. Our sacristans are often the unsung heroes of our parish, working behind the scenes and in all humility. The same holds true for those who clean the Church and those involved in decorating the Church with beautiful Easter flowers.
A special word of thanks must also go to our Altar servers. They were remarkably dignified in all that they did, and were able to help me in so many ways as I experienced Holy Week here for the first time.
Thanks too to our readers, to all those involved in the music and to anyone else who contributed to making our liturgies experiences of spiritual depth and beauty.
Finally, on behalf of our Redemptorist Community, I would like to thank all of you for your kind and generous Easter offering to us. May we all continue to be blessed with the joy of Our Risen Redeemer.
Fr Gerard, CSsR