(By Baxie) It’s Holy Week in the Catholic Church. This is Catholicism’s version of March Madness. The entire ecumenical calendar centers around the preparation Easter—just like in the Bible where I believe the apostles spent three days looking for multi-colored boiled eggs that Jesus gently laid throughout Jerusalem…or something to that effect. The problem that you have is that Holy Week runs concurrently with the Final Four and the Men’s NCAA College Basketball Tournament. And that, my God-fearing friends, is problematic.
I’m sure by now everybody is aware of Sister Jean Delores Schmidt. She’s the 98-year-old nun who has become, for all intents and purposes, the unofficial mascot for the Final Four-bound Ramblers from the University of Loyola-Chicago. Loyola, an 11th seed, is about to face #3 seeded Michigan on Saturday at 6pm. Loyola (and Sister Jean) will be looking for a miraculous act of God to advance into the National Championship.
Here is where things become complicated. In order for Sister Jean to attend the Final Four she will have to fly to San Antonio during the regularly scheduled Holy Week festivities. This means that the Sister could miss the entire Easter Triduum. She’s already missed Palm Sunday. But what will this mean for the remainder of the week?
She could forced to miss everything else. This includes:
- Good Wednesday which commemorates the bargain of Judas and the Parable of the two debtors.
- Holy Maundy Thursday which acknowledges the Tenebrae of the Last Supper and the washing of feet.
- Good Friday! For all we know, she could miss the veneration and the stations of the cross which signify the fourteen events detailing the Holy Passion of Jesus! And don’t get me started on all of that fasting and almsgiving that she’s going to miss out on.
- Easter Vigil. Because of the 6pm tip off, Sister Jean would also miss the entire Easter Pascal Vigil on Saturday. This includes, among other things, the services of light, the Paschal Preaconium, all seven readings from the Old Testament, the reception of catechumens, and the renewal of Baptismal vows. You know, all the good stuff!
Loyola is a Jesuit college–just like the one that I went to. Basketball or no basketball, if this lady thinks that she can get away with skipping out on 2000 years of Holy Catholic tradition to watch a basketball game—then she is sorely mistaken. And before you give me that what whole phony Dispensation argument, let me tell you this. Unless the Pope is filling out a set of brackets—there is no March Madness dispensation! Trust me. I’ve already asked. So, go ahead support your basketball team at your $60,000/year Jesuit University. At 98 years old, you’ll have some explaining to do if Loyola doesn’t win!