A very informative article of what our Bishops are doing in Rome. Please keep Bishop Silva, Father Gary Secor, and all the other California Bishops and Priests in Rome now.

Easter Triumph! Easter Joy! Easter Nostalgia! ~ A Seminarian’s Easter


Joy to the World! He is Risen, Alleluia!

Here we are, Easter Thursday, the fourth day in the Easter Octave. Yes! the Easter Sunday is so big for our Church that we need eight days of Easter. This Easter was a time of triumph, a time of joy, and a great time of Easter nostalgia. For me, it was a time of great emotion as I participated and served at the various Triduum Masses. Many people say that Christmas is a time of nostalgia and sentiment and true it is. Call me the hopeless sentimental, but this Easter was even more a time of sentiment and nostalgia.

I spent my Easter break serving at Saint Anne’s Church in San Francisco with my friend and confer JR Jaldon. Sometime during the week, while having our “Starbucks” moments and walking around the city, JR asked me a question. He asked me “EJ, what’s your favorite day of the Triduum?” I had to think about that for a little. Everyday from Thursday to Sunday has a very special moment for me. While all of the liturgies have their beauty, I shared, my favorite moment of the Triduum is the “Gloria” of The Great Easter Vigil. The lights of the Church are turned on, candles are lit, and the bells ring. It sends shivers done my spine! Death has been conquered and I have been redeemed by the passion of the Cross and the Risen Christ.

Over the last few days, for whatever reasons, I have been thinking of my Easter’s past. As a child I remember being so excited when asked to Serve at the Masses. I remembered my late Grandmother Dorothy Texeira and how she would forbid us to do anything on Good Friday. “No T.V., No Radio, No Work, No go out! Sacrifice, Jesus is on the cross!” is what I remember her saying. In many ways, that has been instilled in me on Good Friday. To make sacrifice even if it is turning off the t.v. for a few hours. Then I remembered waking up early on Easter Sunday to attend the 6:00 a.m. Mass at Hanamaulu Beach where hundreds of people would gather to welcome the “rising son.”

However, this Easter, while I still felt that joy during the “Gloria” at the Vigil, it was at the 10:30 a.m. Family Mass which came to be a reality for me in my discernment. After a wonderful celebration all were invited for fellowship and the Children did their egg hunts with the Easter bunny. It was wonderful! Then the families began to leave together for their Easter celebrations. It donned on me the reality of my call to the Priesthood. I had no one to go home with. This was an amazing moment, because I grieved the fact and accepted that I will never have my own family, a wife, and kids. It’s a struggle but then I realized, that in this moment of loneliness I was not alone. The risen Jesus was with me to help me with this struggle and I have my fellow confers too. Yes, there are sacrifices and struggles, but I joy that I experience serving my King and His people trumps it. Truly another grace filled moment in my journey to the priesthood. Easter night, JR and I treated ourselves to a steak dinner in celebration and relaxation. We both agreed, that this is what the priesthood is about, Prayer, Service, Friendship and Joy. Happy Easter to you. Pray for your Priests and pray for vocations!

A special shout out to JR Jaldon and the beautiful people of Saint Anne’s Parish. God Bless You all in the Risen Christ. He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

High Altar of Saint Anne's Church ~ After the Easter Vigil

Manolito "JR" Jaldon and I after Serving Easter Masses

Holy Saturday ~ A day of Waiting, a day of Anticipation, a day of Vigil

 

From the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday. Couldn’t say it better…

The Lord’s descent into the underworld
Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
  He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
  I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
  See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
  I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
  Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Good Friday ~ It is not finished

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One of the seven last words spoken by Christ on the Cross was “It is finished,” and yes it was. Through Christ’s death on the Cross, he finished what he came down to earth to do, to ransom us sinners and to give us life through His death. However, Jesus also says “…Today, you will be with me in paradise.” So, while his earthly life may have been finished, his eternal life was not. 

This is the same for us and what Jesus wants of us. God gives all of us a reason to be here on earth, and while temporary, we must remember that life does not “finish,” rather, we go beyond the scandal on the Cross of Christ and our own crosses to return once more to our maker in the paradise He has promised us.

…And now, we keep vigil at the tomb of the Christ buried and await our new life. Another chance of it here on earth, to get a foretaste of what is to come. 

The three gifts of Holy Thursday

This morning, at the celebration of Lauds for Holy Thursday, the pastor here at Saint Anne’s in San Francisco shared in his reflection of the three gifts of Holy Thursday. These three gifts are: The Priesthood, The Eucharist, and The Great Commandment of “Love.” All of these gifts are given to us tonight as we commemorate the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper. At tonight’s Mass we will see these three gifts unfold in very symbolic ways all interweaving in one another.

Tonight, the Lord Jesus eats with his disciples the annual passover meal. This symbolizes the Jews freedom from slavery and bondage and brought into the “promised land” by Moses. Jesus becomes the sacrificial Lamb tonight to free us from our own slavery and bondage with the blood of the Cross. Tonight Jesus gives himself to us through his Body and Blood in the form of Bread and Wine. The ultimate sacrifice, the commandment of Love to give oneself freely out of love for another.

Then as the master, Jesus becomes the servant by washing the feet of his beloved disciples. This is the gift of the priesthood. Where a man comes “to serve and not to be served.” Jesus the priest sets the example for Priests and all people to be servants to one another. The gift of the priesthood is, yes, becoming a servant, but by the power of the Holy Spirit at ordination, a man become “in persona Christi,” in the person of Christ. He becomes Christ and does as Jesus does. The priest gives us each day Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This is the commandment of love, the ultimate sacrifice, becoming a servant to another.

Jesus then tells us, “to love one another, as He loved us.” How are we to fulfill this commandment? We do this by becoming like Christ and imitating him. We become servants by washing each other’s feet and continue the mission which Jesus gives us in the Eucharist. At the end of tonight’s Mass, the Eucharist will be reposed to a side altar for adoration and prayer. Spend some time with Jesus. Pray to become a servant. Pray to become the gift of love. And, pray for your Priests that they too may be like Christ, the servant, the priest. Happy Holy Thursday!