Christ is Risen!
This year our Holy Week was very special. Both churches, Sacred Heart and Christ the King, of Christ the Redeemer Parish in Manville, NJ were beautifully decorated. The Liturgy of the Holy Week had received more faithful in attendance than in previous years. Confessionals were besieged every day, not only during the Lenten retreat, but also throughout the Holy Week by the Polish and English-speaking residents of Manville and surrounding parishes.
Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord's Supper began with a presentation of the Holy Oils consecrated by Bishop James Checchio during the Chrism Mass on Holy Monday. After the fiery sermon by Martin Zubika CSsR, we witnessed the rite of washing of feet in which the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Holy Communion has found its culmination. After the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to the place of reposition, we stayed a little longer with our Lord in adoration. In conclusion, the priests distributed the bread that was arranged around the altar and the tabernacle.
Good Friday is time to contemplate the mystery of the Passion of Jesus Christ. In the morning, the faithful gathered in Christ the King church for the Way of the Cross. It was prepared and presented by the children attending CCD dressed in costume from the time of Christ. The liturgy of the Lord's passion and the adoration of the Cross were held in English at Christ the King church at 3pm and in Polish at Sacred Heart church at 6pm.
Holy Saturday begins with a traditional blessing of foods that the faithful eat during their Easter breakfast. We had the great pleasure this year to have our food blessed by Bishop James Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ. With the beautiful sunny weather, we were able to conduct our noon blessing outdoors in front of the Sacred Heart of Jesus church with a great number of parishioners. After the food blessing rite, the bishop gave a short speech reminding us of the resurrection of Christ and the difference this event makes in every person's life. Holy Saturday is also the time of vigil at the Tomb of Christ. Throughout the day, our altar servers guarded the tomb while the parishioners visited His tomb reflecting with silence and prayer upon what Christ has done for us.
The Easter Vigil started in our parish at 8pm. The faithful gathered in front of the church to participate in the blessing rites of fire and the paschal candle. After entering the church and kindling the candles brought in by the people, the Easter message "Exultet" was solemnly sung. The Easter Vigil readings invite us to meditate upon the great works that the Lord has made since the beginning of the world and to profess our faith in God. The baptismal water was then blessed. Baptismal promises were renewed by the faithful and our candidate for confirmation, who later received the sacrament of confirmation.
On Easter Sunday morning, the solemn resurrection procession around the Sacred Heart church took place encouraging people to proclaim to the world that Christ is Risen!
Sincerely in Christ the Redeemer,