Take a SIP with SPA! (Take a Shelter-In-Place with Saint Paul the Apostle!)

Dear SPA family,
This Sunday, we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord that marks the beginning of Holy Week in which we commemorate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hailed during Palm Sunday, ridiculed during Good Friday, but exalted on Easter Sunday. All of these events we will unfold this week, especially during the Triduum. 

But the question is, how can we make this week holy, while staying in our homes, in order to get into the paschal mystery that Jesus endured for us? Let me share with you the thoughts of Fr. Jerry Orbos from the Philippines, who came up with a meaning for every letter of the acronym HOLY WEEK.

H – Halt! Stop for a while or at least slow down. We feel the sadness and anxiety at this moment. We hold in prayer and in our hearts all those who have been touched by this disease. And now more than ever we must lean on each other to be a church of courage, responsibility, hope, and prayer.
That’s why, please join me and fellow parishioners from around Chicagoland in prayer as Cardinal Cupich and auxiliary bishops celebrate the Palm Sunday Mass and Holy Week liturgies. All liturgies are available at https://radiotv.archchicago.org/television/broadcast-masses,  www.youtube.com/user/CatholicChicago
After the Holy Week we will return back to SPA for the virtual weekend Mass, celebrated by Fr. Joe and me.
O – Off with your worldly concerns. Turn off your cellular phones if you have to, so that you can focus on your spiritual life this week. Don’t let the world and its cares disturb the tranquility of your mind and soul this week. Let the world go by and let the Lord take care of everything.
L – Listen. If you are in the Off or Silent Mode, then you can really listen, pray and meditate. Take time to listen to God and tell Him what’s happening with your life. Allow the Father to wrap His loving arms around your shoulders once again and just listen. Is there something you are missing in your life? Is there something more you need to do in your life?
Y – Yield to God. Let go of your grip on your own life. Be on the lookout for His road signs as you travel on. Listen to His instructions and you will find your way.

W – Warm up your Relationships. Time to allow your loved ones feel that warm-and-sunny spring you, not the cold and-cloudy-winter you. Reach out to the people you have taken for granted or left out altogether. Time to call a friend or family members. Call, text, write, and smile. Use anything that will help you repair, restore and revitalize your relationships.
E – Erase the burdens of guilt and sin with a good, honest and humble examination of conscious. Heed God’s call: “Come back to me with all your heart. Don’t let sin keep us apart. Long have I waited for your coming home to me.” In response to God’s love, may we also say to God, especially this week: “Create a clean heart in me, O God. Give back to me the joy of your salvation.” Time also to erase hurts, resentments, anger and ill feelings. Forgive people who hurt you and ask for forgiveness from people you have hurt.
E – Express your love. Whatever you do, especially this week, like praying, fasting, works of penance and deeds of charity, let them all be expressions of your love and gratitude to God. Let them be done, not out of fear or out of obligation.
K – Kneel down. In humility, kneel down in prayer before God and thank Him for suffering so much, for dying on the cross and for rising again for our salvation. Somebody died for you and me. Let us not allow this week to pass without personally thanking Him.

I hope that Fr. Jerry’s thoughts can help to us a HOLY WEEK!
Christ is our Good Shepherd and He will continue to strengthen us. Be assured that I am praying for you and your loved ones daily. And, I’d like to repeat some of the words form the last week letter to you because I am so fascinated with your generosity. I sincerely appreciate the assistance you provide for SPA at this difficult time for all of us. I’m in awe of all the phone calls, emails, notes, letters, cards, Facebook messages and comments, and all 👍🏻, 🙂, and ❤. 

I’m truly thankful for your steadiness, patience, and amazing digital, financial and spiritual involvement with our spiritual SPA home while we are all taking the SIP.

We are the SPA Family and we are in this together!
Stay safe, healthy, and have a HOLY WEEK, blessings,
Fr. Chris Ciastoń


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