March 28th

This Sunday is known as Palm Sunday and it marks the beginning of Holy Week.  Palm Sunday commemorates Our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem shortly before His Passion.  On Palm Sunday, we all receive blessed palms, which remind us of the palm branches that the people spread on the road before the Lord as He processed into the city amidst the acclamation of the crowd.  At the Palm Sunday liturgy, there may also be a more solemn entrance procession, which, is yet another external reminder of our Lord’s solemn procession.

The entire purpose of the liturgical year is to help us to walk with our Lord in the various events of His earthly life.  During all of Lent our focus has been directed to the Passion of Our Lord in a general way.  Holy Week focuses us in a particular way on each of the last days of Our Lord’s life before His Passion, death and Resurrection.

Wednesday in Holy Week was traditionally called “Spy Wednesday” because on that day the Gospel reading recounts how Judas began to conspire with the Pharisees to put Jesus to death.

Holy Thursday is a day in which we remember the Lord’s Last Supper as well as the institution of the ordained priesthood.  In the morning there is a Mass at the Cathedral with the Archbishop.  At that Mass priests are invited to renew the promises that they made at their ordination.  It is also at that Mass that the Sacred Chrism will be consecrated.  That Chrism will be used to anoint the hands of the men who will be ordained this coming May.

In the evening of Holy Thursday, we commemorate the fact that Our Lord washed the feet of His Apostles.  At that Mass, the priest liturgically re-enacts that sacred event by washing the feet of twelve men from the parish.

Good Friday is the only day of the entire year when we do not celebrate Mass.  On Good Friday we remember the day Our Lord died for us and was buried.  We have a liturgy in which we are all invited to come forward and venerate the cross.  We also have a Communion service, but Mass is not celebrated on that day as a reminder of that day that Our Savior spent in the tomb.

Easter Vigil (Saturday evening) is one of the most important (and my favorite) liturgical celebrations of the entire year.  It begins with the blessing of the Easter Candle and a candlelight procession.  There are many beautiful prayers and the Gloria is sung while the bells peal and ring out as a sign of our joy.  There are several readings from the Old Testament, which recount Creation and Salvation history.  During the Vigil the candidates who have been in the RCIA will be Baptized, Confirmed and receive first Holy Communion.  It is truly a extraordinary celebration.  If you have never attended an Easter Vigil, I highly recommend you come and experience it for yourself.

God bless,

Father White

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