Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
We enter today into our annual observance of the heart of our faith and our salvation: the celebration of our Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection from the Dead. Of course, we celebrate these events each and every time we celebrate the Mass, but we pause this week to ponder, to reflect, and to stand in awe at the love of our God for us shown in what his Son did to save us. Last weekend we prayed with the Psalmist, “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy!” (Psalm 126:3) Those words of praise should always be in our hearts. Even as the rituals of Holy Week are marked at times by a sober silence, we are still filled with joy and have much cause to celebrate, because we recognize through the liturgy of the Sacred Triduum (“The Three Days” from Holy Thursday evening through Easter Sunday) what the Lord endured and suffered in his Passion and what we gain by it.
We call this week “Holy Week.” That name says that this week ought to be different for us, marked not just by time off from work or a break from school, but marked by time for prayer, reflection, devotion, and participation in the Church’s rituals and worship. Carve out some time during these days to pause, to reflect and pray, and to join the community in the primary ceremonies and liturgies. I encourage you, especially if you have struggled to know or appreciate the Lord’s love in your life, to join us to commemorate the Lord’s saving deeds by joining in the liturgies of Holy Week, which culminate in the great Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night. This year we will joyfully welcome 10 new members to the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation on that night, and another six parishioners will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. Come and show your support, encouragement, and welcome to them!
Next weekend as we celebrate the joy of Easter we have much reason to rejoice as the Lord’s victory over death becomes our victory! On Easter Sunday we will welcome a large number of visitors and extended family members who are returning home to celebrate the feast with us. As has been our custom, we have added extra Masses to help accommodate crowds. We will have masses in the School Multi-Purpose room at 9 am and 10:30 am (with music led by our Contemporary Ensemble with Family and Children’s Choir). At 12:30 pm, there will also be an additional Mass in the Multi-Purpose Room, which will be the Spanish Mass.
The Archdiocesan Appeal for Catholic Ministries is continuing, and I want to express my thanks to all who have committed to supporting the appeal and the vital ministries that are made possible through it. We still have another $40k to raise to surpass last year’s total, and we are currently THIRD in the Archdiocese (behind St. Mary’s, Annapolis and Nativity) in pledges and gifts, and we are hoping to grow our participation rate this year. Even if you can only give $25 or $50, I encourage you to do so… every gift helps us to serve those in need.
Best wishes for a blessed Holy Week!