DIOCESAN LENTEN APPEAL: It’s that time of year. Again. Yes, the Bishop is asking for YOUR help. The Diocese of Greensburg (just like our parishes!) can’t function without the financial support of faithful (and even not-so-faithful!) Catholics. Unfortunately there is NOT an orchard of money trees growing in the fields at 723 East Pittsburgh Street, Greensburg. Let’s face it, if such trees can’t take root along the idyllic shores of the Youghiogheny they sure as heck ain’t gonna grow in the concrete jungle of Greensburg!

Now WHY should I support the DIOCESE, you may ask. Why NOT, I retort! The Diocese is not some distant, alien entity over and above us. No, WE are the Diocese, each and every one of us. It is a false dichotomy to pit “Parish” against “Diocese.” It isn’t an “us” and “them” situation; we are in this together. In Catholic ecclesiology (the theological discipline that deals with the study of the nature and structure of the Church) the Parish cannot exist without the Diocese, nor the Diocese without its Parishes. The truth is the Diocese IS us; WE are the Diocese! And without the help of the Diocese we would NOT be able to make it on our own.

For years now we have had an arrangement; I keep talk about the DLA to a bare minimum and YOU do YOUR part. I don’t want to yap on and on and on about it ad nauseam and you don’t want to hear me go on and on and on about it. My goal is to briefly address it ONE Sunday at each Mass. A fort-night ago Saint Aloysius and Saint John heard the “pitch.” Last week was Immaculate Conception’s turn. This weekend Saint Rita heard the “good news.” My apologies if you attend different Masses each weekend and had the unfortunate experience of hearing me blabber on twice (or GOD FORBID, THRICE!). Luckily it was only a short spiel at the end of the homily. Except forat Saint Aloysius that is.

Why did Saint Aloysius get such special treatment? (Or why were they mercilessly punished might be a better phrasing of the question!) Since this is the first DLA campaign in which they have been part of the fold I thought it important to go into greater depth. Basically I laid out the case there as I had done in Connellsville years ago, in order that we all might be on the same page. The rationale led me to dedicating space in Rambles to the DLA message.

I am extremely proud of the people of this community. For seven straight years all three Connellsville parishes exceeded their target (remember, everything raised over the target is OURS, free and clear!). I am SURE that this year we will have FOUR parishes in the “Winner’s Circle.” THANK YOU for all YOUR help!

THE PASCHAL TRIDUUM: As we all should know, Lent comes to an end on Holy Thursday and with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper that evening the holiest time of the year, the Christian “High Holy Days” begin. The Paschal Triduum (the three days of the Lord’s “Passover”) consists of that Holy Thursday evening Mass, the Service of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, and the Great Vigil in the darkness of Holy Saturday night. In the liturgical theology of the Catholic Church these three liturgies are not stand-alone celebrations but 3 facets of ONE celebration, namely the SINGLE Paschal Mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus it is envisioned that the three celebrations occur in the SAME Church. For years now in Connellsville the Triduum has been celebrated at Immaculate Conception, as it holds the most people. This year the people of Saint Aloysius are welcomed into our glorious celebration.

The rationale for NOT having a separate celebration of the Triduum at Saint Aloysius is two-fold. First, one of our RCIA candidates for full communion with the Catholic Church is a Saint Al’s parishioner and we don’t want to separate her from the other fourteen people with whom she has made this journey. Second, to properly celebrate these most important liturgies of the Church year requires A LOT of preparation and trying to divide our energies between two Triduum celebrations would be to the detriment of BOTH. And that is NOT something I am willing to countenance. Hopefully our new Dunbar folk have learned that I take the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries VERY SERIOUSLY. There is nothing more important that I do as a priest!

COVER PHOTO: Last Friday I was driving up Snyder Street on my way to the Middle School for “The Addams Family” when I was entranced by the scene the late afternoon sun created at Hill Grove Cemetery. So I parked the car and started shooting away! This dead tree, soon to come alive with green once spring has sprung, seems a fitting symbol of Lent. WE are dead, waiting to spring back to life at Easter.

BTW, the musical was FABULOUS! As was the high school’s production of “Les Misérables” and Conn-Area’s “The Lion King.” Next weekend Don’t miss Geibel’s production of “Mama Mia” starring yours truly! (Well, maybe not STARRING …)


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