Thursday, March 29, 2018

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord - March 25, 2018

When I was in sixth grade, I began thinking about the priesthood. Over the years there were many times when I questioned if that was what God wanted of me. There were two times each year, though, when I always felt more confident in my vocation. One was when I served the Midnight Mass at Christmas, and the other was when I served the glorious Liturgies of Holy Week. At this time of the year, our Salvation becomes more real to us.

Today, with Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, we commemorate the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week, but we also read the Passion and thus set the tone for the remainder of the week.

Monday through Wednesday of this week are mostly ordinary days, though a little more somber than usual. We have Confessions available 3:00-4:00 Monday through Wednesday, 6:00-7:00 Monday and Tuesday evenings and 7:00-8:00 Wednesday evening. Please note that there are no Confessions after Wednesday of Holy Week.

Holy Thursday has three main themes. At the Last Supper, Christ gave us the Eucharist, He instituted the priesthood and He gave an example of service by washing the feet of His Apostles. Our Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which begins the Sacred Triduum, will begin at 7:00 in the evening. Church will remain open until Midnight, and our parish bus will leave for the seven church tour right after Mass.

Good Friday is the only day of the year on which we do not celebrate Mass. There is a Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at 2:00 (after Stations of the Cross at Noon). The Liturgy is divided into three parts: a Liturgy of the Word at which we proclaim the Passion of the Lord, the Veneration of the Cross, followed by Holy Communion (from the Eucharist consecrated at Holy Thursday). This liturgy is very simple but very powerful. The Divine Mercy Novena is at 4:00, and the Living Stations of the Cross (followed by Veneration) are at 7:00.

Holy Saturday is a very quiet day, with no official liturgy during the day (although we will have the blessing of Easter food at noon). That night, however, we have the most joyful liturgy of the whole year. The Easter Vigil begins at 8:30 (as it cannot begin before dark) and is always the liturgical highlight of the year for me as we begin our celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection and our share in His new life through our baptism. At that Mass we welcome the newest Catholics, who have been preparing through the RCIA.

Finally, last year I made a special request that you not give me food for Easter. I have always appreciated people’s generosity, but in the last couple of years I have been trying to watch what I eat. I am not speaking for Fr. Russell, but I would rather try to behave myself. I will have the box for donations to Focus on Renewal at the blessing of Easter food on Holy Saturday, and I would ask you to give to the F.O.R. or the St. Vincent de Paul Society instead of adding to my waistline. Thank you.              

                                                         Father H