Palm Sunday

03-29-2021From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Palm Sunday has always been one of my favorite days of the year, and I’m so glad that many of us can celebrate it together in Church this year. We know there is still a long way to go until things are truly back to normal. But celebrating Mass on Palm Sunday with at least some of you in Church is a wonderful step in the right direction.

Palm Sunday begins the holiest week of the year for us. This is when we remember the events that stand at the very heart of our Catholic Faith. I usually encourage everyone to fill our Church to overflowing on these days, and most years you do just that.

But this year we are well aware that some of you still cannot come to Church in person due legitimate concerns about your health. Others cannot come due to our need to limit the crowd on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. But we can still celebrate Holy Week prayerfully.

Those who cannot come to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday or the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday can follow these Liturgies on the parish website: spsj.org. The Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday evening will also be livestreamed and posted there.

Please know that our Church will remain open until 11 PM on Holy Thursday for prayer and adoration. No reservations are required, but we do ask that those making a visit observe the usual precautions: Wear a mask and social distance. The same is true for those who wish to attend the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday evening at 7pm and the Blessing of Easter Food on Holy Saturday at 12:30pm. I’m sure it will all work out if we all do our part, which the good people of our parish always do!

Another Mass that will be done differently this year is the annual Chrism Mass. Many of you know that this is the Mass during which the Bishop blesses and consecrates the oils that are used in some of the Sacraments, such as Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick. It is also the Mass at which the priests of the diocese renew their commitment to their priestly commitment.

In past years this Mass was celebrated on an evening of Holy Week. The Cathedral was packed with people gathered to pray with and for their priests. This year it will be pretty much just the priests and bishops at a morning celebration. But we still would like your prayers as we celebrate this Mass on Tuesday morning. Thanks in advance!

Finally, I want to wish everyone a very blessed and happy Easter! I’m not sure, as I write this, where I will be after Mass that day. But I’m sure I’ll be with at least some of my family. I hope many of you have the opportunity to celebrate with those close to you. Let's pray for each other as we do.

Have a great week!
Fr. John

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