The Archbishop’s Message for Easter 2014

Archbishop Peter’s Easter Message

NCC UK & Ireland

The Resurrection Is What Makes Us Different

On the first day of the week, the third day of his Passion, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Today is his day.

Many great historical figures have led exemplary lives, taught wise doctrines, and even died for the truth. But only one has risen again.

Among the vast array of humanity’s greatest heroes, only about Jesus Christ can we say: “He rose again on the third day, in fulfilment of the scriptures.”

Only in Christ’s resurrection do goodness and power finally unite. The good guy wins! Only in Christ’s resurrection does love prove that it is stronger than death. In Christ and in his resurrection, a new – a wildly new – hope dawns for all mankind, the hope that if we stay united to him through faith and grace, we will rise with him, rise from our very tombs, and live…

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Holy Week and Easter 2014

Regretfully I have not been able to post as often as I would have liked recently. However, I am able to give details of the Masses and other Liturgical Functions for Holy Week and the Easter Triduum which are as follows:

Sunday 13th April – Second Sunday of Passiontide (Palm Sunday) [Station of St John Lateran]- HolyMass at 10.00 am

Monday 14th April – Second Day of Holy Week [Station of St Praxedem] – Holy Mass at 6.00 pm

Tuesday 15th April – Third Day of Holy Week [Station of St Priscam] – Holy Mass at 6.00 pm

Wednesday 16th April – Fourth Day of Holy Week [Station of St Mary Major] – Holy Mass at 6.00 pm

Thursday 17th April – Maundy Thursday: Chrism Mass at 10.00 am; Evening Mass of The Lord’s Supper at 8.00pm followed by watching at the Altar of Repose until Midnight

Friday 18th April – Good Friday [Station of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem]: The Solemn Liturgical Action of the Passion and Death of Our Lord at 3.00 p; Stations of the Cross at 8.00 pm

Saturday 19th April – Holy Saturday [Station of St John Lateran]: Easter Vigil at 7.00 pm followed by the first Mass of Easter.

Sunday 20th April – Easter Sunday [Station of St Mary Major]: Solemn Mass at 11.00am

Monday 21st April – Second Day in the Octave of Easter [Station of St Peter]: Holy Mass at 6.00 pm

Tuesday 22nd April – Third Day in the Octave of Easter [Station of St Peter]: Holy Mass at 6.00 pm

Wednesday 23rd April – Fourth Day in the Octave of Easter [Station of St Laurence outside the Walls]: Holy Mass at 6.00 pm

Thursday 24th April – Fifth Day in the Octave of Easter [Station of the Twelve Holy Apostles]: Holy Mass at 6.00pm

Friday 25th April – Sixth Day in the Octave of Easter [Station of Our Lady of the Martyrs]: Holy Mass at 6.00pm followed by Rosary and Benediction

Saturday 26th April: Low Saturday [Station of St John Lateran]: Holy Mass at 6.00 pm

Sunday 27th April: Low Sunday (Divine Mercy Sunday): Holy Mass at 9.00am; Solemn Mass at 6.00pm

As usual, all Masses are celebrated in accordance with the 1962 typical edition of the Roman Missal.

Ad Limina

Bishop Michael will be visiting from Friday 25th April for both an Ad Limina visit to the Archbishop and for Scouting duties for the annual St George’s Day Celebrations. Please pray that he may have a safe journey from and back to his new home in Gibraltar.

The Canonisation of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II

The Canonisation of both Popes John XXIII and John Paul II (of happy memory) will take place in Rome on Sunday 27th April, their Sainthoods being pronounced by the Bishop of Rome Pope Francis. We very much hope that the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be able to be present in person for the Mass. Unfortunately due to other commitments neither Archbishop Peter nor Bishop Michael will be able to be physically present in Rome for the Canonisation Mass; but we will both be there in spirit and prayer.

On the evening of Sunday 27th April Archbishop Peter, assisted by Bishop Michael, will celebrate a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving which will include the formal announcement of the dates on which the National Catholic Church will commemorate both these holy men of God. All are asked to offer up a Te Deum on that day in thanksgiving. Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.

Holy Week

Some two thousand or so years ago, two processions entered the city of Jerusalem – but from opposite directions.

In one procession, seated on his horse and accompanied by his legionaries was the Roman Governor, Pilate. It was his custom to be present in Jerusalem for all the major Jewish festivals, quite possibly so that he was able to be there with his soldiers to direct the keeping of order and to quell any potential rebellion.

The other procession was a complete contrast. The adopted son of a carpenter, a humble man, riding into the city on the back of a donkey. A donkey. Not a horse, a donkey, that lowliest member of the equine species, a symbol of poverty and simplicity.

And this man knew that the next time he left the city, it would be by an entirely different route, going to an ignominious and extremely painful death carrying the cross to which his hands and feet would be nailed.

One can only speculate that the Chief Priests and Elders of the Jewish Temple heard of the entry into the city of this man, heard of how the people chose to go to greet him, laying a carpet before him of olive branches and their own clothing, and began to get very worried about this man. A man from Nazareth – Jesus, Son of Joseph –  and maybe they asked themselves “given his age, how did he manage to avoid Herod’s massacre thirty-three years before?”

No doubt they had heard of the crowds who had been flocking to hear this man speak, and given that he was a direct challenge to their authority – and therefore to their privileged position with the Roman occupiers – had already determined that they were going to get rid of him, somehow.

Of course, Jesus knew all of this. He knew that within a few days the crowd, now welcoming him to Jerusalem would turn nasty, and, whipped to a frenzy by the High Priests and Elders of the Temple, would be baying for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be crucified, despite Pilate stating that he could find no case against Jesus.

But before anybody starts thinking that this was some sort of evil plan, it was far from that. It was all God’s work coming to fruition. It took centuries before the Roman Church finally acknowledged that the Jewish People bore no blame whatsoever for the death of Jesus. But Jesus Himself knew that at the time – even in the depths of His suffering. He knew exactly what was contained in His Father’s plan and he accepted what was to happen willingly and with humility.

As we enter Holy Week we think of Our Blessed Lord: he has entered Jerusalem for the last time – a triumphal entry, not of His devising, but by acclamation. We read in the Gospels how He was tested by His enemies; yet He said nothing that would incriminate Himself. He knew far better than to say anything that would dilute faith in His almighty Father, or that would lead anyone to believe that He was anything less than the Son of God.

Perhaps it could be said that He was the “ultimate politician”? Maybe so, but whereas some people don’t think that today’s politicians can be trusted, there are far more of us who know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can be trusted.

And it is in Him that we place our trust; entering Jerusalem on that day, then five days later being hung on a cross like some common criminal.

Blessed John Henry Newman summed this up many centuries later when he wrote his meditation:

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.

Yes, Jesus came into this world to do His Father some definite service – to die on the cross in order that the sins of the world may be forgiven and that all people may be drawn closer His Father, our God of Love sitting on His Throne of Grace.

In the name of the Father, ✠ and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen