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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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"Upon the road, René was always occupied with God. His words and the discourses he held were all expressive of submission to the commands of Divine Providence, and showed a willing acceptance of the death which God was sending him. He gave himself to God as a sacrifice, to be reduced to ashes by the fires of the Iroquois, which that good Father's hand would kindle. He sought the means to bless Him in all things and everywhere. Covered with wounds as he himself was, Goupil dressed the wounds of other persons, of the enemies who had received some blows in the fight as well as those of the prisoners. He opened the vein for a sick Iroquois. And he did it all with as much charity as if he had done it to persons who were his best friends."
— St. Isaac Jogues (writing in 1643)

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Hebdomas Sancta
published 2 April 2012 by Fr. David Friel

The theme of our week has been set: we are about meditation on the Lord’s Passion. It would be fitting for this meditation to extend throughout all of the coming week.

Whether one is able to attend the parish Triduum services or not, this week is an opportunity to delve into the Passion. It is an occasion to imagine its scenes and to relive these ancient events anew.

For my own part, every year I like to choose a different character in the story and spend Holy Week trying to experience things as they would have experienced them. I have found it a very fruitful practice to choose a character who speaks directly to me at this time in this particular year.

Maybe you want to spend some time as Mary, with all her special qualities as the mother of Jesus. Perhaps you’ve been asked to do something you really don’t want to do, and so you identify with Simon of Cyrene in the Fifth Station. Or maybe you’re struggling in your faith, and Peter appeals to you. Perhaps you feel like G.K. Chesterton, who wrote a famous poem from the point of view of the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Or maybe a name that you have never before given any attention caught your attention during the reading of the Passion this year: Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus or Barabbas or Mary Magdalene or Veronica or Salome or the Good Thief.

Wherever you feel drawn, try to imagine what Jesus looked like to that person, and how they felt, and what they might have been thinking. If we engage in that kind of meditation on the Passion, this week has the potential to be truly “Holy.”