Opinion Columns

All are welcome this week

By Father Thomas Graf

The Spiritual Side

It is amazing to realize that we are already approaching the end of another Lenten season and preparing for that most sacred of all weeks within our church calendar: Holy Week.

When I was leading Children’s Chapel this week, one of our beloved “little ones” asked me, “Father Tom, are we going to do our Jesus march again this year?” What a precious little memory she has.

Yes, just a year ago, our children from St. James Children’s Center re-enacted the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Each of them receiving a blessed palm and processing, or should I say marching, through the church as they sang: “Jesus Loves Me This I Know…” What a precious memory our “little ones” have, how important it is for us all to remember.

Perhaps the best way to categorize this coming week is the Holy Week remembrence. We know that the special services we attend this week are not meant to reenact the suffering, death and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He did that once and for all over 2,000 years ago. However it is important to remember and to pass on our memories and traditions.

Unfortunately, there is a growing number of individuals classified as the “nons.” They have no religion, or better yet, they have not been offered the opportunity to understand some of the “traditions” that have become so sacred to us. Why? Solely because their parents have not passed them on, nor offered them the opportunity to understand by attending some of these most sacred “remembrances.”

We will be celebrating and remembering the last days of Jesus’ life here on earth this coming week. Our Church of St. James the Fisherman (As well as the children of our Children’s Center) invite you to consider attending one of the many opportunities that will be available TO REMEMBER. Please consider attending and remembering along with us. ALL ARE WELCOME!!! Our services will be:

Palm Sunday: 8 and 10 a.m. Holy Wednesday: A Tenabrae service (Also known as the Service of the Shadows) 6 p.m. in church. Maundy (Holy) Thursday Service: 6 p.m. in church. Good Friday Service: 12 noon in church and 6 p.m. at The Caribbean Club Interfaith Service with Coral Isle Church (Pastor Kerby and I will be leading reflections on the Last Seven Words of Jesus. (Along with the Adoration of the Cross.) Easter Sunday: Mass of the Resurrection 8 and 10 a.m. at church.

St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church is located at mile marker 87.5, bay side.

The Rev. Tom Graf is pastor of St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church in Islamorada. He can be reached at tomgraf7@gmail.com.