Today now goes by the name of “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.” Like today’s liturgy itself, this name reflects the dual mood of joy and sorrow. With palms and the proclamation of the gospel of the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we rejoice to hear Jesus acclaimed as “the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” Yet, just as that week would soon bring cries of “Crucify him,” so the liturgy soon offers us the solemn proclamation of the Lord’s passion. The liturgy interprets our Lord’s passion in the light of the suffering servant in Isaiah’s prophecy, who trusts in the Lord God (First Reading) and who became “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Second Reading) Those who have seen The Passion of The Christ will have some vivid images come to mind of what “death on a cross” means. Listen more attentively this year to the proclamation of the Lord’s passion today and on Good Friday, but remember that the story—the Good News—does not end there. As we have sung so often during the season of Lent:
Abide with us, that through this life
Of doubts and hope and pain,
An Easter of unending joy
We may at last attain!
OPERATION RICE BOWL
With Lent concluding it is time to turn in your Operation Rice Bowl donations, which support the work of Catholic Relief Services. Baskets will be in the church entryways to receive your rice bowls. Envelopes can be dropped into the collection boxes. Thank you.
Remember that Good Friday is a day of abstinence from eating meat for all Catholics who are 14 and older; and a day of fast for all Catholics who are 18, but not yet 59. The law of fasting allows one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening. If possible, this paschal fast should continue until the Easter Vigil.
On Good Friday we traditionally take up a collection for the shrines in the Holy Land. These shrines commemorate the places where Jesus lived and where the acts of our redemption, which we commemorate this week, occurred. Wars, unrest and instability continue to plague the area and are especially hard on Christians. In these times of crisis, the Pontifical Good Friday Collection provides humanitarian aid to refugees as well as support for area Catholic parishes and schools. There is an envelope in your envelope packets for this collection. Please be generous.
The Lenten discipline of prayer and penance finds its completion in a good confession and act of contrition. If you have not yet had an opportunity to prepare for Easter by going to confession, confessions will be heard at both churches on Holy Saturday morning, March 31, from 10:30 until noon.
Please remember and try to attend the Stations of the Cross and Benediction one last time at 6:00 PM on Wednesday at St. Charles. Plan also to participate in the solemn liturgies of the Easter Triduum, which commemorate the events from the Last Supper through the resurrection. The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, March 29, will begin at 6:30 PM at St. Charles and at 8:00 PM at St. Peter, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 10:00. The Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, March 30, will begin at 1:00 PM at St. Peter and 5:30 PM at St. Charles. Deacon Rider will lead Tenebræ on Good Friday at St. Peter’s at 8:00 PM. The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, March 31, will begin at 8:30 PM at both churches. The Masses on Easter Sunday morning will be at the usual times. All are welcome to attend the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral on Tuesday, March 27, at 10:30 AM, when Bishop Callahan will bless the oils to be used in the administration of the sacraments in the coming year.
Pray the Rosary this week for all who are preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation this Easter, and for the young people of our parishes preparing for their First Holy Communion or Confirmation. Pray for Christians in the Holy Land and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.