Holy Week is considered to be the most sacred moments of the Catholic Faith. I can say that this year’s Holy Week at Saint John felt like the most reflective, enlivening, and faith-building week for our Parish Family in a long time. Father John said as much to me after we met on Easter Sunday, tired from all the preparations, but glowing with the joy of service to our family and friends.
There are truly too many people that are involved in our Holy Week efforts for me to thank each by name, even though they all deserve such praise. First and foremost is our clergy, the men who have dedicated their lives to living out the Gospel and forming us all in our faith. Each of our priests and deacons bring a unique perspective on the church and help us see the better in others and ourselves. The Liturgical Ministries include the Sacristans, Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Arts and Liturgical Environment, Musicians, Choir, Ushers, and Altar Servers. The amount of planning and dedication that transformed our church (and the Garden of Repose in the Ballroom) on a daily basis as well as the powerful Masses and Services we encountered, could never have become a reality without all these Ministers working together as a team. Our church staff supported them every step of the way, assisting with the worship aides, hanging the purple coverings on the church, setting overflow seating outside and in the Ballroom, and ensuring the church and other buildings were ready for the massive amount of people we had descend on our campus (counts on Easter Sunday put us at well over 5,500 people on that day alone). Additional Ministries supported our Holy Week activities as well. The Knights of Columbus were able to give thousands of dollars for the disabled of Naples from their Tootsie Roll Drive on Palm Sunday. The Men’s Club ensured all the children of our Parish Family had a wonderful Easter Egg Hunt on Holy Saturday. All in all, we had a beautiful Holy Week, and it is all due to these amazing individuals and Ministries living out our Mission: To Know, To Love, and To Serve God in His Church and Our Community.
My words are unable to reveal the complete gratitude of our Parish Family for such an amazing Holy Week. Instead, I want to provide two thank you notes I received:
I wanted to get a note to you to say Thank you for
a wonderful Holy Week. Certainly Fr. John and his group
handled all the services very well but without his Operations
Staff, it just wouldn’t (couldn’t) happen.
So, once again I stand in a long line to present Kudos (despite those stubborn doors.)
Dear everyone involved with bringing the events of this Easter week to us,
My husband and I attended services and events every day this past week. Thank you to each and every volunteer who leaned in to help make each event so special. We were served in many ways throughout the week. This morning we even watched team members find seats for as many people as possible, including giving up their own seats and standing throughout the service.
Father John, I am truly humbled by the reflections you wrote for the Prayer Around the Cross & Adoration. Your words took us to the experience as though we were there; our emotions were touched deeply and our understanding of the magnitude of the events was taken to a new level. Your words were brought to life so incredibly by the volunteers who spoke the words; we were lost in them as though we were listening to each person who was, or was not, there. I cannot even imagine how much time each participant invested becoming so authentic in their presentation.
The church was always spotless and everything was ready for us each time we entered. That takes so much preparation and extra effort so our experience is so effortless. Many thanks to everyone who kept the restrooms clean, the pews prepared and the church set up for each event. The music was beautiful and all the work the music team invested paid off in our appreciation of our favorite hymns.
We know we are fortunate to be part of such a wonderful and caring church family.
Have a great day,
Jack & Sue Ryan
God Bless you all!