We now begin the most solemn week of the church’s year.
ON TUESDAY the following churches will be open for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 6.30pm to 8.00pm and priests will be available for confession. You have the choice of going anywhere in the deanery: St. Anthony, Fordhouses; St. Chad and All Saints, Sedgley; St. Joseph, Wolverhampton; St. Mary and St. John, Wolverhampton; St. Michael, Penn; Our Lady and All Saints, Stourbridge; Our Lady of Lourdes, Kingswinford; St Patrick, Wolverhampton; The Sacred Heart and Holy Souls, Tipton. This is the last chance to go to confession before Easter as the sacrament is not usually supposed to be celebrated between Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday.
ON SPY WEDNESDAY there is no Mass in the parish as all the priests concelebrate Mass with the Archbishop at 11.30 am in the Cathedral in Birmingham. At this Mass all the sacred oils are blessed for the sacraments in all the parishes for the next year. If you want to watch this, go to https://www.mcnmedia.tv/camera/st-chads-cathedral-birmingham
Really, the three great services of the Triduum should only be celebrated in one church, but so that all three communities within our parish have an opportunity for some of the services, we celebrate Maundy Thursday in St Bernadette & SS Peter & Paul and then on Good Friday in St Michael’s and SS Peter & Paul and then the Easter Vigil in St Michael’s. As we are one parish, please realise that all three churches belong to you.
ON MAUNDY THURSDAY we remember the last Supper that Jesus celebrated with his apostles. On this night he gave us the commandment to love one another, (Mandatum in Latin, which eventually in old English became Maundy) and the sacraments of the Holy Mass and the Holy Priesthood. At this Mass we recommission all the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion of the parish. (If you are not around this week, please let Fr Mark know so that you can be recommissioned at a later Sunday in Eastertide) At the end of this Mass the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the main tabernacle to a side chapel to commemorate Jesus’s agony in the garden of Gethsemene. It is a wonderful tradition to remain in silent prayer after this Mass or to return later for a period of time for the “watching of the Blessed Sacrament” watching and praying with Jesus in the garden.
At this Mass we have a collection for the poor. This year the proceeds will go to food vouchers to be given out in our local food banks.
ON GOOD FRIDAY we remember the moment when Jesus offered his life for the salvation of the world on the cross on Calvary. The most important service is the Solemn liturgy at 3.00pm but as well as this, we traditionally mark this day with moments of prayer, such as at Matins, the stations of the Cross and Walks of Witness. This year the young people of the parish will lead us in a walk of witness in the city centre at 1.00pm.
ON HOLY SATURDAY we remember that Jesus truly died and laid in the tomb. It is a sombre day and the celebration of Matins is a moving liturgy commemorating the emptiness of this day. No sacraments are to be celebrated usually on this day (apart from in danger of death). For this reason, there are no confessions at St Michael’s on Saturday morning.
ON HOLY SATURDAY NIGHT after the sun has set, we gather at St Michael’s at 8.30pm to celebrate the Solemn Easter Vigil. At this service listen to how God prepared the people of Israel through the Old Testament for the coming of the Saviour. We then celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and we renew our baptismal promises. Those adults who have been preparing for baptism are then baptised and confirmed and receive the Eucharist for the first time. At the end of Mass, the Paschal Candles for each of our churches are lit and we process outside where there will be Fireworks to celebrate the Resurrection.
The full Bulletin with times of Masses and Services can be downloaded from the Home Page.
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