This week I had to go to the hospital for a blood draw in preparation for a doctor’s visit. For those of you who may be wondering about this, please don’t be. As Sergeant Friday would say, “Purely routine.” Of course, blood draws mean needles and I hate needles – I am a big fat scaredy-cat about needles! This time the poor phlebotomist had to “search” for a vein. That means poking and then moving the needle around until she could find the vein. She knew she was hurting me – big strong man that I am. She informed me that she was going to have to poke me again because the vein just got away … (Those pesky veins, you’ve gotta watch ‘em all the time!)

So, what’s my point? The best way that I make any sense of all this “blood-letting” is to unite my “suffering” with that of Jesus. I am certain that there are so many folks who can read these words right now suffering much more than I every day, in so many ways. God bless you, folks, I pray for you daily.

The suffering of people has so much value when it is united to the suffering of Jesus. The suffering of Jesus accomplishes our salvation and our entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. Our participation in that suffering goes a long way in participating in what Jesus did for us. Hope you can think about that the next time you get a shot – or a blood draw – or when a pain runs through your body.

Holy Week already. There is so much to offer your prayers for. Please try to get to the Cathedral on Tuesday for the Chrism Mass at 10:30 AM. The new chrism will be consecrated at that Mass. All the babies who will be baptized this year – all the adults who will be baptized this year – all the young people who will be confirmed this year – all the new priests who will be ordained this year – all of them will be anointed with this new Chrism! I sure hope you will join all the priests and many of your brothers and sisters from throughout the diocese for this wonderful celebration of our unity and for the great celebration of the institution of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Please join us to congratulate our priests as they once again renew their solemn commitment to remain celibate, obedient, and loyal as priests in the Roman Catholic Church. This ceremony ushers in the great Triduum – the Sacred Three Days – when we remember the actions of Jesus that led to His Passion and Death and our Eternal Salvation! The climax, of course, is Easter Sunday and the joyful celebration of our new life in Christ through His Rising from the dead!

All of these celebrations will take place at our Cathedral or at a Catholic church near your home. If you have never done so, this may be the year for you to join your brothers and sisters and me to celebrate the central mysteries of our Faith by joining in some of the most impressive and symbolic liturgical expressions and rituals you’ve even seen in your life. The central mysteries of our faith – Christ, who was dead, is alive – to the glory of God the Father and the Eternal Life of all who believe in Him! Amen! Alleluia!

Now do you know why I’ll see you at Sunday Mass??!!

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