It was fascinating to experience Holy Week and Easter as a bishop for the first time. It brought home to me how little of parish priesthood is the actual liturgies for those days, and how much is the planning and preparation for those liturgies and the surrounding activities. As bishop, I planned almost nothing except my sermons. I dropped in to parishes to preach and preside, greeted people warmly, and was the beneficiary of hospitality and prayers and good will.
Which is to say that I did not:
- Plan worship
- Move furniture
- Proofread bulletins
- Schedule acolytes and servers
- Rehearse liturgies
- Decorate anything with veils, flowers, or palms
- Bake anything for the post-Easter Vigil celebration
- Stress out about a failure–my own or something else’s–in any of the above activities
It is an incredible joy to be your bishop–and I discovered that I missed all those things this year. It’s not that I want (or need) to do them, but it was a very different experience of the Triduum, and one that will inform how I do it slightly differently next year.
But for all those reading this E-pistle who DID do those things: thank you. Your parish thanks you. Your efforts matter, and you have helped your congregation experience again the death and resurrection of Jesus. Hallelujah!