April begins in a few days. This newsletter arrives as we begin our journey into Holy Week. On Easter morning we will be reminded that we have been chosen by God to be witnesses to all His Son said and did. How will we live out that witness?

Our newsletter discusses that question. It also contains information on our Holy Week and Easter schedule, our upcoming Basket Social (only two weeks away), on those great Easter traditions that connect us to our heritage, and so much more. Come and witness to Jesus along with us right here in Schenectady.

You may view and download a copy of our April 2015 Newsletter right here.

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Let us be poured
out for Him.

When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me.”

Twelve days after Christmas we celebrate the visit of the Magi, the Kings, the Wise men. They came to pour out their gifts for Jesus – gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. So too they poured out the time (almost a year), effort, and treasure it took to make the journey. Their gifts were poured out with joy in recognition of Jesus’ kingship and were also poured out in preparation for His burial.

Jesus comes to Jerusalem, well aware of what was to occur. As He enters the city the people pour out praise. They acclaim Him King, the One who comes in the Name of the Lord.

Today a woman comes and pours out costly perfume for Jesus. Mark notes that she anoints His head. John says she anointed His feet and washed them with her tears. In either case, she pours out her time, treasure, and tears for Jesus. She stands up to ridicule and pours out an embarrassing amount of love for Jesus, her Savior.

In Good Friday’s reading of the Passion we hear of Joseph of Arimathe’a and Nicode’mus who will come, risking their lives before Pilate and those who plotted against Jesus, asking for His body. Nicode’mus pours out a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight.

Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry people came to Him. They poured out their sins, needs, troubles and tears. They poured out their expectations and their love. They poured out hatred and mistrust as well. For thousands of years since people have continued to do the same.

For all that humanity has poured out, Jesus came to pour out far more. He did not limit His ministry to what was being poured out to Him, but rather poured Himself out to take all darkness away. Through His pouring out we have been freed. Even what we fear to pour out is taken away. The deepest and darkest recesses of our lives – the places were sin and evil have taken root – Jesus came to take those away. Psalm 116 asks: What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me? Let us pour out faithfulness, love, praise, worship and thanksgiving to Jesus who poured Himself out for us.

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The schedule below notes all services for Passiontide, Holy Week, and Easter. Please join us as we recognize all the God has done for us and rejoice in His victory.

  • 3/29 – Palm Sunday: Blessing and Distribution of Palms and Holy Mass at 9:30am, Holy Mass at 11:30am
  • 3/31 – Holy Tuesday: Clergy Conference and Holy Mass of Chrism, St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Cathedral, Scranton
  • 4/2 – Maundy Thursday: Holy Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, 7pm
  • 4/3 – Good Friday: Church opens at 10am for Cross Walk. Church Open for Private Devotion at 2pm. Lamentations at 3pm, Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified and Opening of the Tomb at 7pm
  • 4/4 – Holy Saturday: Holy Saturday Liturgies – Blessing of new fire, holy water, renewal of baptismal promises, blessing of food, 4pm
  • 4/5 – Solemnity of the Resurrection: Procession and Solemn High Holy Mass, 8am, Holy Mass at 10am. Easter Repast/ Święconka after each Holy Mass.

Risen

March is here and we begin to think about Easter. It is getting close and we wonder, will I go back there (to church). We reflect on the fact that Jesus welcomes us and opens His arms to us regardless of our mess-ups. This March we go deeper into our Lenten experience. We also have news about our Holy Week and Easter schedule, our Outrageous Valentine’s Raffle winner, and answer more Church Questions (should’t we read the Passion on Passion Sunday?). Remember too that we now have an expand Holy Mass schedule and find tons of great information in our Newsletter. Come be welcomed by Jesus no matter the mess-up – right here in Schenectady.

You may view and download a copy of our March 2015 Newsletter right here.

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Reflection for Palm Sunday 2014

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Then Jesus said to them, “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed; but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.”

The Liturgy of the Palms is one of the most emotional liturgies for many clergy members and the faithful.

While we know that this day marks Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we also know how the week will progress. It will later be marked by the betrayal of friends, a harsh night before false witnesses and a fixed court, mockery, a cold night in prison, the degradation in the Court of Pilate, crucifixion, death, and burial. These realities stand in stark contrast to this moment of joyous entry.

During the Liturgy of the Palms we hear the loud knock of the cross upon the door of the church. The doors swing wide and we enter as Jesus entered.

The congregation gathers around the church’s center aisle carrying palm branches. The veiled cross goes before us – always before us.

When we reach the center of the church we stop and kneel singing: Let us adore the Savior who rode in royal triumph into Jerusalem.

Then we progress to the front of the church, on the step before the altar, laying the Holy Cross down upon a pillow. We recall Jesus’ words: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed. As those words are sung we scourge the crucifix, a solemn, salient, and very emotional recollection that His triumphal entry leads to the pillar and the cross. This is sung three times. Three times we are brought to that moment in Jesus sufferings where our sin, our abandonment of Him wounded Him so deeply.

We now enter Holy Week and we are called to live very deeply in this moment. We are called to walk with Jesus not just in His moment of triumphal entry, but also through the entirety of His Holy Week journey.

Peter stood up to boldly say (as usual): “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.”

We boldly say the same, and often fail as Peter did. Our faith is too often shaken and we, like Peter and the others, fail. We deny Him in big and small ways.

The key question for the week ahead and for the rest of our lives is: Will we persevere in our walk with Jesus daily? This Holy Week let us commit to walking with Him. Let us enter in triumph with Him today. Let us walk with Him to the upper room on Thursday, along the way of the cross on Friday. Let us walk to the tomb and wait there watching. Finally, let us take His hand on Easter Sunday and walk with Him into the promise of everlasting life.

Join us for Holy Week and Easter in Schenectady

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Please come and join us during Holy Week and Easter. Jesus looks forward to our company during Holy Week as we commemorate His passion and death for us. Having stood by Him through these trials we hold unto the promise that we will rise again with Him.

The schedule below notes all services for Passiontide, Holy Week, and Easter. Please remember that Holy Week is a week of fasting.

  • 4/13 – Palm Sunday: Blessing and Distribution of Palms. Service of Worship and Holy Communion, 9:30am
  • 4/15 – Holy Tuesday: Clergy Conference and Holy Mass of Chrism, St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Cathedral, Scranton
  • 4/17 – Maundy Thursday: Holy Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, 7pm
  • 4/18 – Good Friday: Good Friday Cross-walk at 10am. Church opens at noon for private devotions. Services at 1pm (Stations), 2pm (Lamentations), and 3pm (Opening of the Tomb), Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified at 7pm
  • 4/19 – Holy Saturday: Holy Saturday Liturgies – Blessing of new fire, holy water, renewal of baptismal promises, blessing of Easter baskets and food, 4pm
  • 4/20 – Solemnity of the Resurrection (Easter): Procession and Solemn High Holy Mass, 8am, Service at 10:30 Free Lunch on Sunday/Easter Breakfast 10:30am

Join us and other Mont Pleasant Churches for a Good Friday Cross-walk

Cross_Walk_GreenThe Churches of Mont Pleasant in Schenectady are holding a Good Friday Cross-walk on Friday, April 18th starting at 10am. There will be a brief (approx. 15 minute) message or prayer at each church, with a theatrical performance by “The Living Gospel Experience” and refreshments at the conclusion of the Cross-walk.

  1. 10am Begin at Holy Name of Jesus National Catholic Church, 1040 Pearl St., Deacon Jim Konicki;
  2. 10:35am New Creation in Christ Ministry, 1073 Howard St., Rev. Eloy Binnon;
  3. 10:55am Global Prophetic Worship and Healing Ministries, 859 Crane St., Rev. Paul Mangroo;
  4. 11:25am St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church, 550 Lansing St., Deacon Joe Cechnicki;
  5. 12pm (Noon), The Bridge Christian Church, 735 Crane St., Rev. James H. Bookhout.

April 2014 Newsletter – Holy Week, Easter, and more

It is April and our newsletter has arrived. It is filled with information on so many holy and exciting events. We start by looking at Low Sunday and what fellowship really means. We invite you to take part in this wonderful and holy season, to connect and enter into fellowship with Jesus and us right here in Schenectady. Lots of other news too including new movies, our Basket Social, and legends. You may view and download a copy right here — April 2014 Newsletter.

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Reflection for Palm Sunday

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Who is that?
It is the Messiah! Hosanna!

And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.”

Scripture tells us that Jesus reacted emotionally to the things He witnessed: When He saw the poor, the hungry, the ill, and people sinning. Scripture says repeatedly that “…He had compassion on them.

There are only two references, however, to Jesus crying, once at the grave of His friend Lazarus along with Mary & Martha. Jesus wept with them. He wept for them. He entered into their grief with compassion and He identified with their sorrow and despair.

This was the 2nd time, as He looked at the city of Jerusalem. He saw the faces, the mass of humanity crowding there and realized the emptiness of their lives. They had not heard the message of peace. They did not understand the purpose of His coming. The people had eyes, but they didn’t see. They had ears, but they didn’t hear. They missed the whole point of the message that God had given to them.

Certainly they waved palm branches, because that is exactly what their great-grandparents had done when the Maccabees overthrew the Syrian oppressors and reestablished worship in the temple. By waving palm branches they were showing that they expected Jesus to be another warlord, another general of the armies one who would lead them to overthrow the Romans. They were saying that they were ready to pick up their swords and shields. They were ready to go to war if He would lead them!

That wasn’t Jesus way. His was the way of love, not of war. The nation of Israel had completely misunderstood Jesus’ mission. He wept over them because these were His chosen people but they did not recognize or understand His as He walked in their midst. They saw His healing as sinister, His words as a challenge to their authority.

Both Matthew & Luke tell us that earlier Jesus had looked down upon the city crying out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

Today, like Jerusalem, we find ourselves in the presence of Jesus. If Jesus sees us as worried about ourselves, our lives and our fixes to every problem, He would have to cry. If Jesus sees people who recognize Him for who He is – The Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, He would rejoice.

What’s all the commotion – here we are, waving branches, because we recognize You Jesus, our Lord and God. Hosanna in the highest!!!