Pastor's Desk Notes

March 24, 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The celebration of Palm Sunday introduces us to the holiest days of the Church’s calendar. Holy Week is an extraordinarily important time, as it is in these days that the Church marks the central mysteries of our faith. If the covering of images last weekend was to highlight the tension between belief and faithlessness, Palm Sunday brings that tension to its highest point. We begin Mass by welcoming our Lord with joyful acclamations of “Hosanna!” but will soon cry out with the same voices, “Crucify him!” Each day of Holy Week gives us an opportunity walk with Jesus, to break that tension, and to draw close to the one in whom we put our faith.

In the Diocese of Bridgeport, the Monday of Holy Week is Reconciliation Monday. At different churches throughout the Diocese, the sacrament of confession is available from 3 PM – 9 PM. Printed in this bulletin, you will find a complete listing of the parishes in Fairfield County where the sacrament will be available on Monday. In addition, confessions will be heard here at St. Pius on Wednesday evening from 7 – 8 PM.

On Holy Thursday, the Church celebrates the institution of the priesthood and of the Eucharist. As we are entering upon a more solemn time of prayer, we will stop Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel at 9 AM on Thursday. Only two Masses may be celebrated on this day: the Chrism Mass, offered by the Bishop with the priests of his diocese at the Cathedral in the morning, and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, joining Jesus and the Apostles in the upper room. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper ends with a procession with the Eucharist, symbolizing the journey Jesus made with the Apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane. At the altar of repose, we keep watch with Jesus. This year, we will process outside the Church and into the Adoration Chapel, which will be turned into an altar of repose. There, you will be invited to keep watch with Christ until 11 PM. Please note that, other than this time of prayer, adoration will not resume until Monday morning at 9 AM.

On Good Friday, we carry the cross with Jesus. The day begins with Morning Prayer in the church. At noon, we will celebrate the Stations of the Cross, followed at 3 PM by the solemn celebration of the Lord’s Passion. Though Holy Communion is given during the Passion celebration, it is not a Mass; Good Friday is the only day on which no Mass of any kind will be celebrated. Good Friday ends with the prayer of Tenebrae, an ancient prayer meditating on the psalms and Scriptures that foretell the Passion. Throughout the celebration, candles are gradually extinguished, symbolizing the darkness brought about by sin, a darkness pierced only by the light of Christ.

Holy Saturday represents a day of anticipation. We begin the day with Morning Prayer, followed at 10 AM with a blessing of Easter baskets at the front door of the church. With the apostles, we await the Resurrection. As darkness falls, we celebrate the most important Mass of the Church’s year, the Easter Vigil. In this Mass, we expand our Scripture readings significantly, reflecting on the whole story of salvation. We welcome new Catholics into the community of believers through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and share with them in the gift of the Eucharist for the first time. It is a joyful celebration and a beautiful way to welcome the light of Christ risen from the dead. Please note that on Holy Saturday, March 30, there is no 5:15 PM Mass.

If you have never participated in one or more of these celebrations, I want to encourage you to make this the year. Marking these sacred moments with the Church profoundly enriches the overall experience of Holy Week, and allows the joy of Easter to stand out with an extra vibrance. Please join us in prayer this week!


Fr. Sam