Father Jose Cruz, a Catholic Priest in the Bronx, prepares his Parish for the Church’s most important days of Holy Week and Easter
— Nearly 300 parishes in the Archdiocese of New York are preparing for religious ceremonies that will take place from April 2 to 9, 2023—
New York City, March 29th, 2023 – The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish is busy preparing to support its community of about 1,800 families of primarily Latino, Spanish-speaking and African parishioners during Holy Week and Easter, the Catholic Church’s most important days of religious observation. Catholic churches throughout the New York area are busy with similar preparations.
Father José Cruz has led his parish, located near Yankee Stadium, for over two years and boasts a vibrant community with particular growth in African Catholics recently. According to Fr. Cruz, the parish has been incorporating programs to welcome new members into the community, and for several months, some of them have been training to participate in the live processions that will be dramatized on Good Friday. “I attribute all this enthusiasm to the fact that the parish has experienced a sudden increase in parishioners in recent months, which I attribute to the fact that we have survived the pandemic, although the virus still remains among us,” he said. “There is even greater sensitivity now, and we have realized that our human relationships are essential and our communication with God is vital.”
The priest expressed excitement about the upcoming events, noting that parishioners have been actively involved in organizing and performing in them. “Our community has shown great creativity and devotion in preparing for Holy Week,” he added. These same preparations are underway in parishes that serve all kinds of communities and people. Media are invited to Father Cruz’s parish as an example of what is going on in many parishes.
Exemplary of other Catholic communities, Father Cruz’s Parish will be a hub of numerous post-pandemic family gatherings, showcasing the creativity and devotion of parishioners in organizing live dramatized processions, vigils, visits to monuments until midnight, and concerts featuring religious and sacred music.
A list of special days of religious observance, Masses, and events at Father Cruz’s parish in the Bronx and other locations from April 2nd to April 9th, include:
Palm Sunday, April 2nd, while schedules may vary from parish to parish, at Fr. Cruz’s Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Mass in Spanish will be held at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm. In observance of Palm Sunday, attendees will receive blessed palms to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. For more information on local parish activities, visit http://archny.org/parish-finder/.
Reconciliation Monday, April 3rd, the dioceses of New York, Brooklyn, and Rockville Center will be offering the sacrament of confession at all their parishes from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. No appointment is necessary to receive this sacrament during Holy Week.
Tuesday, April 4th, at 4:00 pm, The Chrism Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral will be led by His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Among those attending the ceremony will be the auxiliary bishops, and all the clergy serving in the Archdiocese, as well as delegations. This Mass is a special occasion during Holy Week where the oils used for anointing the sick, the newly baptized, and newly ordained priests are blessed.
Wednesday, April 5th, at 7:00 pm, The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, located at 1253 Shakespeare Avenue in The Bronx, NY, will host a conference on “Lent in the Family” that will be open to the public. The conference will be led by Father Rafael Villa, dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Archdiocese of Guadalajara in Mexico. Please check the schedule of the nearest parish in your county or neighborhood at the following link http://archny.org/parish-finder/
Thursday, April 6th, at 7:00 pm, The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, located at 1253 Shakespeare Avenue in The Bronx, NY, will hold the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the Washing of the Feet. This religious tradition, which involves preparing the altar of repose, is deeply rooted in Latin America. In addition to this tradition, the faithful are invited to visit the monuments set up in various religious centers, reviving a Latin American cultural tradition where they plan to visit seven churches until midnight on Holy Thursday. Please check the schedule of the nearest parish in your county or neighborhood at the following link http://archny.org/parish-finder/
Friday, April 7th, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish will offer a silent prayer for the faithful from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm. Please check the schedule of the nearest parish in your county or neighborhood at the following link http://archny.org/parish-finder/
At 12:00 pm on the same day, community members will dramatize the Passion of Christ in the streets of the Bronx in a procession that is expected to host nearly 1,000 faithfuls. The procession will start from Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish at 1253 Shakespeare Avenue and will pass through various streets in the Bronx. Please see the procession route below.
• Meeting Point: Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish (1253 Shakespeare Avenue, The Bronx, NY) at 11:30 am
• 168 St towards Nelson Avenue
• Nelson Avenue to 164th Street
• Woodycrest and 164th Street
• From 164th Street to Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish
Friday, April 7th, at 6:30 pm, the reading of the Passion of Christ and the Veneration of the Holy Cross will take place at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish (1253 Shakespeare Avenue, The Bronx, NY). Please check the schedule of the nearest parish in your county or neighborhood at the following link http://archny.org/parish-finder/
Saturday, April 8th, from 8 pm to 10 pm, Easter Vigil will take place at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish (1253 Shakespeare Avenue, The Bronx, NY). During this ceremony, the fire will be blessed, and the psalms will be sung. Twelve adults will receive the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation. The Easter Proclamation, a song of salvation, will be performed by a large choir with Spanish guitars.
Also on Saturday, April 8th, The Old Basilica of Saint Patrick, located in Soho, will welcome forty young adults who will receive the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation. That night, thousands of people will be welcome as new members of the church through these sacraments. Please check the schedule of the nearest parish in your county or neighborhood at the following link http://archny.org/parish-finder/
On Easter Sunday, April 9th, Masses will return to their regular schedule.
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The Archdiocese of New York serves the pastoral and spiritual needs of 2.5 million Catholics in nearly 300 parishes throughout its three boroughs of New York City and seven counties to the north. The archdiocese includes 172 Catholic schools serving more than 53,000 students, helps more than 400,000 individuals each year through Catholic Charities, and provides compassionate care to patients and families through ArchCare, the healthcare ministry. The Good NewsroomTM is the digital news outlet of the archdiocese with daily updates and stories about the good works of the Catholic Church in our area. Learn more at thegoodnewsroom.org