April 6, 2020
Dear Saint Clement Parish family,
Greetings and peace in Christ, the Only Savior of the world. Please be assured of my continued prayers for you and your families during this COVID-19 pandemic, as we pray for God’s peace, strength, courage and healing for us all. We’re getting through this, with God’s help, by His grace. Let’s remember the words of Jesus Christ, “I am with you always…” (Matthew 28:20). I’m praying especially in my private Mass each day as we enter into the week that changed the world: Holy Week.
To help us keep Holy Week a holy week, please see the following two pages, developed by Bill Manthe, as well as the Diocese of Madison homepage for Holy Week at home for families, https://www.madisondiocese.org/holy-week-at-home. We might not be able to control the pandemic, but we can control our response, remaining faithful, hopeful and loving disciples of Jesus Christ, our Savior. As we practice social distancing, let’s remember to never practice spiritual distancing, as we strive to grow each day in our love for God and love for our neighbor. Thank you for your prayers and for your generous support of our parish during these challenging times for us all.
Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, help us to live in Your grace each day, proclaiming Your love and mercy in our words and deeds, focusing on faith, family and friends. Help us, O Lord, to find a cure for the virus and a morally responsible vaccine to end the pandemic; we ask for Your healing for all who are suffering and for all healthcare workers, first responders and U.S. military personnel, for all who have died, that they’re resting in Your peace in Heaven, for people to keep their jobs, businesses and farms and flourish once again, for the unemployed to persevere and return to work, for Your strength, courage, peace and healing for us all as we seek to serve the common good, and for Your grace to help us, our families and all people to grow stronger in faith, hope and love. Jesus, we trust in You. Mary, Mother of mercy, pray for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us. Saint Clement and Saint Raphael, pray for us.
With prayers for a blessed Holy Week and joyous Easter for you and your families,
Fr. William Vernon
KEEPING HOLY WEEK HOLY AT HOME
When Lent began, none of us would have imagined how quickly and drastically the world would change in light of the COVID-19 virus. Social distancing, safe-at-home orders, the suspension of public Masses were “foreign” words to us on Ash Wednesday. Now, sadly, they are part of our daily life but hopefully not for long. As Christians, let’s remember that we are people of faith, hope and love because Christ has conquered sin and death by His Passion, Death and Resurrection. As Jesus tells His frightened apostles in the upper room on Holy Thursday, “…in Me you may find peace. You will suffer in the world. But take courage! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Sickness, sin and death do not have the last say. God does. Jesus Christ has won the victory and “Alleluia!” is our song!
Ways to help you celebrate Holy Week while at home:
For Mass, instead of livestreaming the private Masses that Fr. William is celebrating daily, we encourage everyone as a parish to participate in the Masses and liturgies of Holy Week in union with our Bishop, Donald Hying, that will be livestreamed during the week on the Diocese of Madison website, www.madisondiocese.org/HolyWeek. The link may not appear until just before the start of the liturgy. You can follow Masses from other churches and locations as well, including EWTN.com on their website or television network.
To Follow the Daily Readings and Prayers use Magnificat, The Word Among Us or the diocesan site, http://www.madisondiocese.org/HolyWeek.
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
- Participate in the livestream Mass with Bishop Hying at 11 a.m. on April 5.
- Fr. William will bless palm branches and have them available at the entrances of the church on Palm Sunday morning. He continues to celebrate Mass every day and is praying for us all.
- As a family, when the palm branches are brought home, consider having a “procession” around the house before entering. When you come into your home, place the branches where you normally would, and read the Gospel of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, Matthew 21:1-11. Pray the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, and add any other prayers as you wish.
- On FORMED.org, watch “Opening the Word: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.”
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
- Participate in Masses broadcast online or EWTN television.
- Watch FORMED Daily Reflections.
- Pray at home or come to the church to pray.
- Participate in the livestream Chrism Mass with Bishop Hying at 10 a.m. At the Chrism Mass, the priests of the diocese renew their vows to God with the Bishop, and the Bishop blesses the Holy Oils that will be used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick.
- Pray for Pope Francis, Bishop Hying, Fr. William, Fr. Herbert and other priests you hold dear.
- Pray for those who are sick and ill with diseases of all kinds, for children and adults preparing for Baptism and their 1st Holy Communion, and for the teens of our parish preparing to be Confirmed.
Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper
- Participate in the livestream Mass of the Lord’s Supper with Bishop Hying at 6:30 p.m.
- Considering the uniqueness of the Last Supper, consider making your evening meal different from other weekday meals. Maybe eat by candlelight, use your good tableware, cook something out of the ordinary, put out flowers, etc.
- Read Matthew 26:17-30, The narrative of the Last Supper.
- At the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus urged His disciples to watch and pray. Spend time in prayer at home, or come to the church.
- On FORMED, watch “Lectio: Eucharist: The Last Supper and the Cross.”
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
- Participate in the livestream of the Good Friday liturgy with Bishop Hying at 12 noon.
- Remember that this is a day of fasting and abstinence.
- Read John 18:1 to 19:42, The Passion and Death of the Lord.
- Meditate upon your home crucifix. Consider placing it on a table, with lighted candles. Venerate the crucifix in some fashion.
- Pray the Stations of the Cross at home or at the church. Use FORMED and Search, “Way of the Cross,” for a video that uses the meditations of St. Alphonsus Liguori.
- Fr. William will be hearing Confessions from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Holy Saturday of the Easter Vigil
- The holy women in the Gospel used this day to prepare what they needed to anoint the body of Jesus on the following day. Prepare at home to celebrate Easter. Color eggs, begin the Easter meal preparations, etc. For those women, today was a special day. It is for us too, but for a far different reason as Christ is Risen!
- Consider continuing the Good Friday fast as we await the feasting of Easter Sunday.
- Participate in the livestream of the Easter Vigil Liturgy with Bishop Hying at 8 p.m.
- Consider lighting a candle at home once the Easter Candle has been lit. If you are not watching the Mass, light a candle some time after dark and read Genesis 1:1-2:2.
- Renew your promise to reject Satan, and profess your belief in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit by praying the Apostle’s Creed. Bless yourself with Holy Water.
- Fr. William will be hearing Confessions from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection
- Participate in the livestream Mass of the Resurrection with Bishop Hying at 10:30 a.m.
- Read Matthew 28:1-10, The Resurrection & Empty Tomb
- Have a special Easter dinner. Decorate your table with flowers.
- Enjoy celebrating the Resurrection as a family. Feast for the fast is over because Jesus Christ has Risen from the dead!
- Hunt for Easter eggs and Easter baskets. Traditionally, eggs are symbols of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
- On FORMED, watch “Opening the Word: Easter Sunday.”
Spiritual Communion Prayer
(adapted from St. Alphonsus Liguori)
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.