Dear Brothers and Sisters,

How strange it will be not to celebrate Holy Week and Easter in church! Nevertheless, despite these difficult times I hope you will continue to work with us to make the best of our celebrations, remembering Jesus’ promise that “wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of you”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that there are five ways to experience the real presence of Jesus alive in the world:

  1. In the Body of Christ the Church. The church consists of all baptized believers, so even where a few are gathered, Jesus is there.
  1. In the Sacred Scriptures. The Word of God reveals the Word who was made flesh. Jesus is present as we read and meditate on the sacred Scriptures.
  1. In the person of the poor. Jesus said, “when you minister to one of them you minister to me.
  1. In the person of the priest. The priest is especially and uniquely configured to Christ.
  1. In the sacraments of the church—especially the Holy Eucharist.

Therefore remember, although we cannot receive communion at this time, Jesus is still with us. He has promised to never forsake us and we must cling to that promise while we pray for ways to return to the sacraments as soon as possible.

With all this in mind, here is our schedule for Holy Week and Easter. Katie Orbon will publish a separate sheet of resources full of activities to help our devotions and to get family members involved.

Holy Week and Easter

(All masses in church are closed to the public) 

Sunday, April 5 – Palm Sunday 

  • Deacon Mike and Fr. Longenecker will celebrate Palm Sunday Mass in the Upper Church.
  • Fr. Ballard to prepare a worship aid. This will include creative ways to celebrate Palm Sunday using other branches.
  • Fr. Longenecker to provide a video homily.

Thursday, April 9 – Holy Thursday

  • Fr. Ballard to prepare worship aid and record a video homily.
  • Fr. Longenecker to participate in live streamed liturgy from St Mary’s.

Friday, April 10 – Good Friday

  • Fr. Ballard to provide an at home Stations of the Cross using his own published meditations.
  • Fr. Ballard’s Stations of the Cross can be used with Sue Bannio’s YouTube video of OLR stations HERE.

Saturday, April 11 – Holy Saturday

  • No vigil Mass.

Sunday, April 12 – Easter Day

  • Fr. Longenecker to celebrate private Mass at OLR.
  • Fr. Ballard to produce worship aid.
  • Fr. Longenecker will provide a video homily for Easter.

Please observe these few instructions:

  1. For Palm Sunday, the worship aid will include instructions on how to use other branches to celebrate the day.
  1. If you need the key code to enter the church for private prayer please contact Beth Jones at (724) 458-0196.
  1. If you do go to church for private prayer there should not be more than ten people in the building and you must observe proper social distancing guidelines.
  1. Please do not gather in church on Good Friday afternoon. Observe Good Friday devotions at home.
  1. While there is no Easter Vigil, we will provide a worship aid to help celebrate the light of Christ and renew baptismal vows.

Thank you for your patience and prayers during this time. Remember our faith grows stronger as it is tested, just as our bodies and minds become stronger when they are stretched and challenged!

With prayers and affection,

Fr Longenecker