Palm Sunday

Dear Friends,

Happy and Blessed Palm Sunday! We begin our Holy Week, the most important and most beautiful week of our Liturgical year. We enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery of our Lord’s dying and rising! May it bring great peace, comfort and hope to everyone in these difficult times.

Last year we re-instituted the practice of covering the statues in Church in purple cloth for the last two weeks of Lent. In the Roman Missal for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, it states “the practice of covering crosses and the images throughout the church from this Sunday may be observed.” Most of us probably remember this practice from our childhood years. It was a practice that faded for a while after Vatican II but is being taken up in more earnest over the last many years.

Why do we cover the images and crosses at the end of Lent? It intensifies our abstinence and fasting. Walking into Church and seeing the statues and crosses covered grabs our attention. They don’t belong there, and they won’t be there for long. We are “abstaining/fasting” from the beauty of these objects in order to focus our attention all the more on the prayers of Mass, the words of Scripture and Jesus present to us in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The covering signals the closeness of Holy Week and the need for our immediate preparation for Easter.

Helping us prepare for a Sacred Triduum and joyful celebration of Easter, we have many things available for our parish family this week…

On Monday evening, Grade 8 from Holy Cross Regional Catholic School will present their Living Stations at 7 pm in Church. All are invited to experience this moving portrayal of our Lord’s Passion by our students. It is a blessed start to Holy Week. On Tuesday evening, we will have our Easter Confessions. A large number of priests will be available to hear confessions beginning at 7 pm until all are heard. We are grateful for the many priests who come and help us to ensure that confessions are easily available to our people.

Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which ends with a short procession to Chapel afterwards. Mass is at 7 pm. The chapel will remain open until Midnight for visits. Good Friday, we celebrate the Passion of the Lord at 3 pm, which includes the veneration of the cross and Holy Communion. In the evening, there will be simple Stations of the Cross. On Holy Saturday, there is our third Easter Egg Hunt (10:30 am) and Blessing of Food (12

Noon). The beautiful and dramatic Easter Vigil begins at 7:30 pm. It is truly one of the most beautiful liturgies of the entire year. Our two catechumens will be fully initiated into the Catholic Faith, receiving Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. I hope that many of you will make plans to attend.

Our Easter Sunday schedule of Masses is again different this year (but the same as last year). We have added a 6 am Sunrise Mass in Church. We hope that many will plan to attend Mass at this newly added time for Easter. We had about 250 people attend last year. Please remember that there are no “overflow” Masses in the gym on Easter. The rest of the Easter Sunday schedule is: 7:30, 9, 10:30 am and 12 Noon. There is NO 7 pm Mass Easter Sunday night. We will have the TV monitors including one in the Chapel working to accommodate the crowds.

May you, your loved ones and our entire parish family have a truly blessed and holy Easter!

God bless you, God love you,

Monsignor McCulken

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