Maybe your house is like mine, in that it has settled down and gotten very quiet by this time -- as I write, it's almost eleven at night. It is the dwindling hour of "Spy Wednesday", an ancient name for this day of Holy Week that I have always particularly liked. Tomorrow there is no morning Mass, even in a normal year, because it will be Holy Thursday, and the Mass of the Lord's Supper is in the evening.
Yesterday, Father Ben Petty joined us here in the Holy House of Soubirous. You will remember how glorious was his ordination weekend last year, and his First Mass here. He went back to Rome to finish his degree, but because of the Covid crisis, he was obliged to evacuate. He passed his quarantine and came to his "church home," Saint Bernadette. He will be with us for a week, maybe two.
He is a seminary formation classmate with Father Russo from the beginning, and a classmate of Father Berhorst at the North American College in Rome for four years, so he fits right in. It should make for an even more fraternal house here at the rectory, and an even more convivial table.
Father Petty will also join us in the sanctuary for all the liturgies of the coming holy days, where you will see him if you watch our video, livestream or later. I didn't want you to be caught off guard, wondering who that "other guy" might be. He is glad to be home for them, and we are glad for his presence.
Though you cannot be with us in the church because of the restrictions, please join us virtually tomorrow night at 7:30 for the Mass of the Lord's Supper, coming to you live on our YouTube Channel here (I can't believe I am saying this!). We will be joined by a few altar servers, and John Henderson and four of our singers will provide music. I will miss washing feet, and we will not be able to have our Eucharistic Procession to the altar of repose in the Monsignor Stricker Room as we usually do. But we will re-open the church after Mass, around nine o'clock, so you can come and keep watch with Our Lord until midnight.
Most of all, though, I will miss you. Tomorrow is the feast of the Holy Eucharist, and of the Holy Priesthood, both of which I love with every fiber of my being, but both of which exist by the grace of God for you.
So remember that even though you cannot be present with us, everything we do tomorrow will be on your behalf. And the saving grace of the sacraments is more powerful and more perduring than anything the internet can bring to your home, and real. Your desire for that grace is but a hint of this reality.
Oh, dang; there I go, starting in on the power of the sacraments again. I'd better stop, and go to bed. Tomorrow will come soon, and it's not as if I can sleep late tomorrow anyway, even without a morning Mass to pry me out of bed.
May the reality of the Paschal Mystery unite us all in Christ's saving love.