By David Carollo –
On Good Friday, the most solemn day of the year, it is important to immerse oneself in the reality of what we commemorate. The greatest act of love and mercy in history took place on this day. The sin of Adam and Eve was cancelled and the human race was once again reconciled. “He who was without sin became sin for our sake.”
I have just returned to New Jersey with my wife as I write this blog. We are returning from Chicago where we attended a funeral of a good friend on Wednesday. Please say a prayer for Jerry. We decided to stay an extra day and spend Holy Thursday, as we have for many years, visiting five of the city’s churches in remembrance of Our Lord’s journey on that day.
After leaving us the greatest gift of Himself in the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Our Lord began the journey of His Passion, taken prisoner and brought to Annas, then to Caiaphas, to Pontius Pilate, to Herod and then back to Pilate. We have always upheld the tradition of making this pilgrimage by visiting different churches each year.
Growing up on the south side of Chicago I only needed to walk a short distance to one of the many parishes of the neighborhood. Each was rich in the ethnic makeup of the parish, but all had the same focal point, the repository tabernacle where Our Lord remained present in the Blessed Sacrament.
We began at St. Andrew the Apostle in Calumet City where His Excellency Bishop Joseph Perry offered the Mass of the Last Supper, then to St Jude in South Holland where the sound of chant drew us to the sanctuary. Afterwards we visited the parish where I was baptized, received my First Communion and was confirmed, St Anthony of Padua, on the south side of the city. This Italian parish where my immigrant grandparents came to more than 100 years ago, and where my parents met and were married, is now mostly Hispanic and African American. The liturgy now reflects the new ethnicity just as it had when my family worshiped there. The Carrara marble Sanctuary which the Italians used to construct the church is still present just as the newer decorations adorn the church today. In front of the altar the table of the Last Supper was set and the many worshipers graced the nave. We finished off our pilgrimage with visits to the magnificent Jesuit parish of Holy Family and to St. Francis, getting a few hours of sleep before heading to the airport. We often reflect on this annual journey with great joy, one of the many rich customs of our Faith.
On Good Friday we fast and pray, on Holy Saturday we wait in anticipation and on Sunday there will be much joy and fellowship. We must however remember there is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday. What was freely given to us on that day is more valuable than all of the material wealth of the world. Our Lady came to Fatima 100 years ago to remind us that we must become worthy of the great gift that was given freely on that day. It is the day of great mercy. Let us pray for a profound understanding of this so that we will work without resting to bring souls back to God. We can do no less.
On behalf of the trustees, employees and members of the World Apostolate of Fatima – Our Lady’s Blue Army, I want to wish you a most deep understanding and appreciation of Passion of Christ and the union that Our Lady shared with Him. Happy Easter. He is risen.
David M. Carollo