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"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Col 4:2

by Fr. Mark Pavlik March 1, 2009 Don't you ever wish you had some time to yourself to just "be?" Wouldn't it be a nice gift to yourself to take part of a day to step out of your daily routine and spend some time working on your relationship with Jesus? There's good news -- the opportunity is presenting itself in the near future. On Saturday, March 7, I will be leading our annual Lenten retreat entitled "The Easter Triduum: Seen Through the Writings of St. Paul." During this year of St. Paul, the Holy Father has been encouraging the faithful throughout the world to focus on the writings of St. Paul, and we at St. Olaf have taken a few opportunities to look at different aspects of Paul's writings. For our parish retreat this year, we are going to again use the epistles of St. Paul as the basis for a day to consider the Easter Triduum. Each of the liturgies of the Triduum is rich in symbolism and tradition. Because they come only once a year and there are different rituals one day after another, there is not always time to fully understand and appreciate the depth of these rites. This retreat is meant to give us a chance to examine theological, liturgical and spiritual significances that are found in these rites. We will look at Holy Thursday, which celebrates the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood as well as Jesus' mandate of service: "I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." We will also examine the celebration of Good Friday, which is marked with simplicity and reverence as we hear the reading of the Gospel portrayal of Christ's Passion and celebrate the veneration of the Cross. Finally, we will look at the beautiful rites of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, such as the blessing of Easter fire, the renewal of baptismal promises, and the rites of initiation for those who are joining the Church. In all of these, we will consider their significance for our journey with Christ in light of St. Paul's Epistles. It is a perfect part of a day to set aside for prayer on your Lenten journey. It will give you new perspectives into the rituals and splendor of the Easter Triduum and your relationship with Christ. I hope many of you will be able to give yourself that gift of time and join us for this time of prayer.

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