The other day, a newspaper reporter asked "what your church does for Easter and why what you do is important". Here is the answer that was sent.
Nativity Catholic Church in Darien - like Catholic churches all over the world - celebrates Holy Week mostly through the solemn liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Night. These are the biggest and most celebratory services of the whole year, the most important liturgies in the life of the parish community.
On the night of Holy Thursday, we remember how the Lord gave us His body and blood before He died. The priest washes the feet of parishioners and urges them to follow the example of Jesus in humble service to the poor and vulnerable.
The liturgy continues on Good Friday, when we read the Suffering Servant Song from the prophet Isaiah, chapter 52, as well as the story of Jesus' crucifixion from the gospel of John, chapters 18 and 19. The Catholic community prays in intercession for all Christians, for Jews, for Muslims, for believers of all faiths, for every person who seeks to lead a right life, as well as for the leaders of this world.
The parish gathers again on Saturday night for the Easter Vigil, called in ancient tradition "the mother of all liturgies". It starts with a bonfire outside and proceeds to the many readings from the Bible. We start with the story of Creation in Genesis and continue to the story of Christ's resurrection in Luke. In many parishes, adults and children are now baptized, converts welcomed into the faith and many Catholics receive their confirmation. Then we celebrate the communion service together.
These are the most important things that we do at Nativity. They are important because in this way, the people share in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are one with the church throughout the world, from the biggest cathedral to the smallest village chapel. We reaffirm our faith in Christ's resurrection - for if Jesus is not risen from the dead, nothing else that Christianity says or does makes any sense. Easter is the center of our faith.