Pastor’s Piece – April 18

If you missed the Easter Vigil, you missed the most solemn important and perhaps most beautiful Mass of the year. We had a good turnout from all three communities of the parish: SKD and SSM English & Spanish speakers. In fact, we had a great turnout from those same groups for Holy Thursday. It was a real treat for me to see so many of you that I serve in different places and languages in one place for these solemn events united in prayer.

Back to the Easter Vigil, it was a real honor to be able to minister the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion to a variety of the six people who completed their Sacraments of the Initiation. This solemn Mass with its different ceremonies is begun with the Lucinarium that includes the blessing of a bonfire, the procession with the Paschal Candle and the singing of the Exaltet. During this song, I sing the praises of Easter represented in a candle that is our symbol of the Resurrection.

Here is a sample:

This is the night, when once you led our forebears, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea. This is the night that with a pillar of fire banished the darkness of sin.

With such fanfare made over one candle, we can see from where our tradition of lighting candles in churches comes. At SSM we have installed a candle rack in front of the BVM statue in order to exercise this tradition and help you offer votive prayers. Because of this custom’s great popularity and because of our limited space, I need to address = some issues of equity. The smallest candle offered burns for four hours. I charge $1.00 (.25 cents an hour). The next sized candle, in the red globe, is a ten-hour candle, but I only charge $2.00. For equity’s sake, I’m increasing the asking price for this candle to be $2.50. And so, as you can see, our three-day candle for $5.00 is way underpriced. Hence, people complain that they can never find a large candle to light. The size of our candle rack is limited by space. And so, the only fair thing to do is raise the price of the large candle. The price is now $20.00. Some may object and claim that .25 cents an hour brings the price to $18. That may be, but I’m offering you the convenience of not having to light candle for three days. Consider the extra $2.00 a service charge.

I’ve noticed that with Easter and nicer weather, many of you are returning to the pews or experiencing our solemn high barn Mass for the first time. There are some things worth familiarizing yourself with that I have found helpful over the past year. Such as, when I bring you Holy Communion. Regardless of what you’ve heard elsewhere, it is best to remove your mask when I present you the Sacred Host. Placing the Most Blessed Sacrament in the hands of somebody who has to hold the Host with one hand while fooling with a mask in the other hand makes me nervous. This is why I wear the mask at this point in the Mass. Please, don’t misunderstand. I’m not worried about COVID-19. I wear it so that you might feel more comfortable. Regardless of whether you welcome my advice or not, I will be more insistent with your children, as I’m sure you can understand.

Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Murphy