Palm Sunday

04-10-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

For some reason, I’ve always loved Palm Sunday. It was easy for me, even as a little kid, to see that Mass was a bit different that day. The blessing of palm, the longer Gospel, and the crowds of people at Mass all told me that there was something special about Palm Sunday. Indeed, there is something very special about Palm Sunday.

It’s the beginning of Holy Week, when we celebrate those events at the very core of our Faith. Jesus’ Last Supper on Holy Thursday, His Crucifixion on Good Friday, and – most of all – His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Let’s be sure to fill our Church on these most holy days. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at 7pm in Church this Thursday. It celebrates Jesus’ establishment of two great sacraments at the Last Supper: Eucharist and Holy Orders.

Most people know that Jesus began the Eucharist on Holy Thursday – when He took bread and wine into His sacred hands and said ‘this is My Body’ and ‘this is My Blood.’ But few are aware that He also established the Sacrament of Holy Orders that evening. By commanding His Apostles to ‘Do this in memory of Me,’ Jesus made them the first Catholic priests – empowering them to act in His Person and change bread and wine into His Body and Blood at Mass.

For this reason, Holy Thursday is often called the ‘Feast Day of the Priesthood.’ Indeed, Catholics who know this will often wish their priest a ‘happy feast day’ on Holy Thursday, which is always very nice. Even better is coming to Mass that day, and joining your priests in celebrating Christ’s institution of the Eucharist and Priesthood.

In keeping with Jesus’ request that His disciples spend an hour with Him on Holy Thursday, our Church will remain open until 11pm that night. Please stop by to spend time in prayer with our Blessed Lord that evening. It is a wonderful and grace filled Catholic tradition – one I hope you will share with your family.

On Good Friday we commemorate how our Lord gave His life for us on the Holy Cross. The Solemn Commemoration of the Passion at 3pm – with the Adoration of the Cross – is one of my favorite liturgies of the year. I love watching people come forward to venerate the Cross, and showing little ones how to do it. In addition to the Good Friday Liturgy in English at 3pm, we will have one in Spanish at 12 Noon. This should give everyone a chance to take part in this moving ceremony.

Finally, remember that the Mass on Holy Saturday evening is celebrated at 7pm. This, as I explained last week, is due to the ancient tradition of the Church which demands that this Mass begin at dusk or later. While this Mass runs a bit longer than most, it is a beautiful vigil for and celebration of the Resurrection. (We usually celebrate this Mass in about an hour and a half in our Church – so it’s really not that bad!)

Finally, Easter Sunday – the greatest day of the Catholic year! Masses will be offered at 7, 9, and 11am in English and at 1pm in Spanish in our Church. Each of these Masses will be a prayerful celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

I hope to see all of you, and many others, at Church on these most holy days. Indeed, our full Church is a testimony to our faith in Jesus, and our appreciation of all He has done to save us. It is also a prayer for help that only He can give us, and our world, in these troubled times.

Please remember to pray that Hail Mary for me every day, and add one for peace, too. I thank every one of you for your prayers for me, and promise to pray for you.

Have a great Holy Week!

Fr. John