This weekend is Palm Sunday and I invite you to join us this week for the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. These days are the most important celebrations of the Church year. On Holy Thursday, we gather at 8:00 p.m. to celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the evening before His death. Members of our community will have their feet washed, just as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper.
On Good Friday we gather at 8:00 p.m. to reflect on the Passion according to John, venerate the cross, and receive communion that was consecrated the day before.
The liturgy on Holy Saturday is the most solemn liturgy of the entire year. It begins in darkness with the lighting of the Easter fire. An extended selection of scripture readings recounts the great events of salvation. At the Vigil we will be welcoming Sarah Blackburn, Bonnie Bryan, Kourtney Lester, Erin McDowell, Shane Pilarczyk and Robert Williams into full communion with the Catholic Church.
It is important during this Holy Week to remember the teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the historical responsibility for Jesus’ death. Although one might gain the impression from the reading of the Passion this weekend and on Good Friday that Jewish people are to be blamed for Jesus’ crucifixion, our Church clearly teaches that such a conclusion is erroneous. The Romans under Pontius Pilate were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. Although Jewish Temple authorities were likely involved in this process, Jesus’ death cannot be held against the Jewish people as a whole, either in Jesus’ time or ours.
Finally, allow me to draw your attention to a small change on Holy Thursday. At the end of the liturgy, the Blessed Sacrament will be carried into the Large Hall in solemn procession. It is customary to provide a period in which parishioners may spend time in personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. In the past that period lasted until 11:00 p.m. What we found, however, was that many people stayed for the first 30 minutes and then a few came at the end of the period. This year we have decided to shorten the period and will conclude with night prayers at 10:00 p.m. This will leave about 40 minutes for adoration. I am hoping that many of you will remain after the 8:00 p.m. liturgy so that this period will be well attended. Please consider staying. It is an ideal time to thank God for all the ways you have been blessed and to pray for your own needs and the needs of all the world.
SOCIAL JUSTICE/ST. AUGUSTINE – Our volunteers will NOT be serving a meal at St. Augustine on Easter, Sunday, March 27th.
SECURITY ALERT – Last weekend during the 5:00 p.m. Mass, two cars were broken into in our parking lot. Two purses which were left on the front seats were taken. Police reports have been filed. The Willoughby Hills police have asked us to remind parishioners not to have any valuables visible in your car. It is becoming more attractive to criminals to vandalize cars in parking lots, especially at venues which have publically scheduled events (such as weekend Masses.) So please be wise and take appropriate precautions.
EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS, SACRISTANS & SERVERS – Please sign up for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. Sign-up sheets are on the bulletin board outside of the kitchenette.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL 2016 – Save the date! VBS will be held during the week of July 11th – 15th. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details.
PARISH DAYTIME RETREAT – On Wednesday, April 6th, from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., we will discuss “Transformed by God’s Amazing Grace.” Call Fran for more information at 440-625-1228. There is no charge, but for those that are able we suggest a donation of $6 to cover lunch. All are welcome!
LENTEN CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER – continues this Tuesday, March 22nd from 7-8 p.m. in the Resurrection Room. We will reflect on Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. We conclude the series on Tuesday, March 29th by welcoming the Risen Jesus, the Christ. All are welcome.
ADULT EDUCATION RESOURCE CENTER (AERC) AT ST. NOEL – Please promote the AERC to anyone you know who might be interest in obtaining a GED or who needs extra help in Math or English (reading). Pick up a flyer on the table in the narthex. The AERC is open on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
LENTEN RICE BOWLS: HUNGERING TO BUILD COMMUNITY – We follow Jesus this week on our Lenten journey as he enters Jerusalem, a community he knew well. CRS Rice Bowl asks us to prayerfully enter into our own communities, to find those who are hungry and thirsty, those who need our help. How does our Lenten journey motivate us to serve those we encounter in our daily lives? Visit crsricebowl.org for more. Please return your rice bowls to the parish office. Thank you!
LENTEN BAGS – Please return your filled bags to the bins across from the clothing bins near the food pantry door. Thank you for your generosity; each of the agencies is extremely grateful.
PARISH PICTURE DIRECTORY – We have enlisted the services of Universal Church Directories to handle the creation of our new Parish Directory, and are excited to get the process underway. We could still use 1-2 people to serve on the directory committee. Are you interested? Please contact Anthony at the parish office to learn more (440-946-0887). All talents are welcome!
NEIGHBOR TO NEIGHBOR MEAL – Our next meal is Thursday, April 7th. Thanks to all who came and shared a meal with our neighbors. If you would like to volunteer to help with setup or cleanup, please email Sharon at [email protected]. This time of year a number of our hard working volunteers are down south and others will be taking vacations. Don’t be shy! Come and eat; come and serve; do both!
PAYPAL & SOCIAL JUSTICE – you can now donate to the Social Justice Fund directly from the St. Noel website. Go to the Social Justice page (https://stnoel.org/social-justice/) and click on the yellow donate button. It’s a simple & secure way to support the outreach efforts of St. Noel. All money is tax deductible, and donors receive an electronic receipt for all transactions. In addition to help with rent, utility bills, and other expenses, the Social Justice Fund also supports the Neighbor to Neighbor Meal, Adult Education Resource Center, New Beginnings Re-Entry Ministry, LEAF, and more. Visit the St. Noel website to learn more.
LEAF (Listening, Empowering, Assisting Families) – LEAF meets this Monday, March 21st at 7:00 p.m. in the Resurrection Room. LEAF is a non-denominational ministry for relatives and friends of those incarcerated. Meetings are anonymous and registration is not required. For more information visit www.leafministry.org or call the parish office at 440-946-0887 and ask for Anthony Camino. LEAF meets on the third Monday of each month.
SPRING CLEAN-UP – The youth of the parish are providing basic yard clean-up for parishioners on Saturday, April 30th. If you or someone you know could use assistance, contact Erica Zalar by April 22nd (440-946-1128 x121)
CEDAR POINT TRIP – All youth in grades 6-12 are invited to spend the day at Cedar Point on Monday, June 20th. Parents are welcome to attend as chaperones. We will arrive at St. Noel at 7:30 a.m. to load vehicles and depart at 8:00 a.m. All teens must pack a lunch. Snacks and water will be available at the park throughout the day. The price for the trip is $45.00 and due by Monday, June 13th. Permission slips are available at stnoel.org and can be dropped off in the parish office. The contact person for this event is Sean McCafferty ([email protected]).
NOEL FELLOWSHIP – Meetings are held on Thursdays at 12:00 Noon in the St. Noel Banquet Center Small Hall. Activities are: NO meeting on March 24th (Holy Thursday). On March 31st, Bingo, Birthdays & Anniversaries. Bring something for the food pantry and get a free 50/50 ticket. Everyone is welcome!
BREADTH OF LIFE – “Feed My Lambs…Tend My Sheep” presented by Maureen Dowd , a certified Lay Ecclesial Minister for the Diocese of Cleveland with a B.A. in Religious Studies. She has ministered in the Diocese for 39 years. She currently serves as Pastoral Associate for St. Gabriel Parish. This will be held in the Banquet Center on Wednesday, April 13th from 12:00-2:00 p.m. The luncheon is $18. For reservations call Joan at 440-946-6932 or John at 216-486-3706 by April 6th.
XLT (an abbreviation for the word “Exalt”) is a night for the high school youth and young adult community of our Diocese. This monthly event, taking place again on April 28th, begins with praise and worship at 7 p.m., followed by a talk, then the main point of the night – Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament – and wraps up with a pizza social and optional night prayer with the seminarians. The evening takes place at Sacred Heart Chapel, on the campus of the Center for Pastoral Leadership. Contact Sean McCafferty if you are interested in attending ([email protected])
YOU ARE JOYFULLY GIFTED! – Spend a day coming to know the gifts you already have. St Mary’s (Chardon) Evangelization Team in partnership with the Cleveland Diocese Office of Evangelization will be offering a “Joyfully Gifted” retreat on Saturday, April 30th in the Banquet Center. All ages (18 and up) are invited to attend this no cost, daylong event. Registrations are available on the St. Mary website. Look for the ‘Evangelization’ tab to find the registration to print out and complete.
THE ROSS AND CARMELLA DEJOHN SCHOLARSHIP AWARD – This scholarship is based on more than grades or athletic achievement. It is offered to graduating high school seniors who have exemplified the FIVE STAR STANDARDS of Independence, Integrity, Excellence, Fairness and Professionalism. The scholarship winners will receive $500 that can be used toward college or technical school. Applications are available in the kiosk. For further information call 440-516-5555.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (in Willoughby) – is hosting a program called Catholics Returning Home to help non-practicing Catholics return to the Church. The six week series begins Wednesday, March 30th at 7:00 p.m. To register or for questions, please call Lee Jarocki at 440-728-6640 or email [email protected].
CITY OF WILLOUGHBY HILLS – will hold their annual all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, March 20th from 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at Willoughby Hills Community Center, 35400 Chardon Rd. Ticket prices are Adults $7.00, Children ages 5-12, $4.00 and kids 4 & under are free. The WH Lions is sponsoring March 20th.
DIVORCE RECOVERY FOR CATHOLICS – An eight week support group is designed to meet the needs of those who are divorced or separated. It will begin Thursday, March 31st, and conclude on May 19th, at St. Gabriel Church, 9925 Johnnycake Ridge Road, Concord. The group meets from 7- 9 p.m. in the Religious Education Office of the school building. Sessions are designed to offer direction, support, and the tools for coping with this life-changing experience. For more information or to register, please call Catholic Charities at 352-6191 or 1-800-242-9755, or email [email protected]. There is no charge for this program, all materials are provided, and it is open to people of all faiths.
GILMOUR ACADEMY SUMMER CAMPS – With 20 new offerings, including web design, entrepreneurship, leadership, fly fishing, CSI Glmour and more, Gilmour camps have something for everyone. Camps are offered from June 6th through August 12th. For additional information visit www.gilmour.org/summercamp or call 440-684-2733 to learn more.
SAINT JOSEPH ACADEMY SUMMER ENRICHMENT PROGRAM – Challenge! Inspire! Grow! Saint Joseph Academy’s Summer Enrichment program is a fun, educational opportunity for girls entering the 7th or 8th grade. This three-week program helps students prepare for the challenges of high school. Please visit www.sja1890.org/summercamps for more information or to register. Questions? Email [email protected] or call 216-251-4868.