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A Message from Fr. John for Palm Sunday



A Message from Fr. John for Palm Sunday

Dear St. Denis Parishioners:

The holiest week of the year begins on Sunday, April 5, which is Palm Sunday.  Normally, everyone would come to church to attend Mass and receive blessed palms.  But that’s not possible this year because all of us have to stay home in order to stay safe from COVID-19. 

So, how can we celebrate Palm Sunday at home?  First, I recommend watching a live or recorded Mass on the Internet or on television.  St. Denis will livestream a Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday (please see the Media section below for details); and the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels will livestream a Mass with Archbishop José Gomez at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday (please see the “Coronavirus Update (3-31-20)” section below for details).  In addition, EWTN (the “Global Catholic Television Network”) will broadcast a live Mass (with replays throughout the day) on its cable and satellite television channels and on its website (EWTN.com).

When watching a Mass on the Internet or on TV, please participate as much as you can—e.g., by saying the responses and prayers aloud and by standing, kneeling, and sitting at the appropriate times.  I also recommend praying St. Alphonsus Liguori's “Act of Spiritual Communion,” which is available here.  Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

In addition to celebrating the Mass as described above, I recommend reading the Passion narrative from Sunday’s Mass (Matthew 26:14—27:66) either by yourself or with your family (perhaps with different family members reading several paragraphs at a time).  Then, after reading the Passion narrative, everyone could answer the following questions:  (1) What incident in Jesus’s Passion caught your attention or spoke to your heart?  (2) Why did you choose that incident?  (3) What is God, through Jesus’s Passion, calling you to do, to think, to feel, or to be.  Then, conclude by praying the “Our Father.” 

Finally, because you won’t receive palms at church this year, I recommend going outside in the morning of Palm Sunday and cutting off (or finding) a green branch from any kind of bush or tree, and then affixing it to your front door to show that we Christians are still connected with each other and still celebrating with each other, despite the social distancing.  We are physically separated from each other, but united as the body of Christ. 

Furthermore, this placing of a green branch on our doors will remind us how the Israelites, during the first Passover, put a lamb’s blood above their doors (Exodus chapters 11-12) so that the Lord would spare them (“pass over” them) when the tenth plague struck Egypt.

We need to pray that the Lord will spare us the worst of the coronavirus, and that this plague, which has brought the world to a virtual standstill, will soon end.

May God bless you and your families as we begin Holy Week.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Fr. John
 

 
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