This weekend we celebrate Laetare Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent. It’s called Laetare Sunday for the opening antiphon of this weekend’s mass. “Laetare Jerusalem…”. In English it’s “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be Joyful, all who were in mourning; exalt and be satisfied at her consoling breast.” In the midst of Lent, we’re given this one Sunday to rejoice, to celebrate what’s on the way. Just like Gaudete Sunday in Advent, we use rose colored vestments, symbolizing the color of the sunrise. (I wasn’t able to wear them for Advent, because we didn’t have any. However, I’m happy to wear them this Sunday, thanks to the donation of one of our online viewers who purchased them for us).
This Sunday is meant to encourage us to look forward to what’s coming, realizing that although we still have to go through Good Friday, although there will still be a crucifixion, on the other side, there is also a resurrection to come! The image we get in our first reading of Cyrus, King of Persia I think perfectly sums up what’s going on. The Jewish people had lost the land God had given them. They had been carried off into exile in Babylon. They were mistreated and persecuted. Then, Cyrus, a new King in Persia issued a decree that the Jewish people were to be returned to their homeland. That didn’t stop the persecutions. They didn’t move right away, the actual move might be years away. It didn’t really change anything in their daily lives, but it gave them hope. That’s what this Sunday is about, for as dark as the world can seem at times, we’re called to remember that just like the sun and the son we too will rise someday. So whatever’s going on, whatever we’re worried about, whatever seems dark in our lives, we’re called to always live as a people of hope.
In our parish this week, the fun is about to begin! We’re kicking into high gear for our spring dinner next Sunday March 21st! I know it’s going to be a little bit different than we’re used to. The dinner this year will all be served via Drive-Thru out of the Garage. We’re asking everyone to turn up the hill onto St. Stan Avenue (the road between our lower parking lot and St. John Byzantine). You’ll turn left at the top of the hill and be routed into our parking lot. We’ll have two stations set up for cars at the garage doors where you’ll be able to get your dinners. Due to Diocesean regulations there will be no dinner sales in the church hall, please go straight to the garage. While you can still put your tickets in the collection yet this Sunday, if you haven’t turned them in by this Sunday March 14th, please do NOT put them in next week’s collection! There will be dinner tickets available to purchase when you pull up to the garage. I know this is a bit of a different format, but I hope you’ll join us and invite your friends to join us as well. Please also pray for us that everything will go well.
Of course, a dinner like this can’t happen without your help. We’re looking for lots of help from volunteers, both adults and young people. We can use lots of help in preparations over this week, please check out the work schedule posted on page 4 in the bulletin this week. [Also posted on the main page of our website]. If you’re able to help the day of the dinner, please stop down to the Church hall by 9am on Sunday. We’ll get you assigned to a place either in the Hall or in the Garage. Please note that anytime we’re working with food this year, masks will be required. Thank you all in advance for all of your help! Our religious education students will be receiving a sign-up form from Sister for the day of the dinner. Please help support your Church. This is one of our Church’s two major fundraisers. We hope to see you there with all of your friends!
God Bless You
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.