From Our Pastor: Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is such a moving liturgy to begin Holy Week. It is beautiful and gut wrenching. At one moment you are hailing Christ as King and in the next breath calling for Him to be crucified and experiencing His death. We must remember that it is us crying for Him to be crucified every time we sin, every time we turn to the world instead of the Lord. As the ancient poetic hymn in Philippians states: Christ was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, for you and for me. What a wake-up call to continue to hail Christ as King, but then we must make Him the King of our lives and turn away from sin; to turn to Him always and follow His model of humbling ourselves and dying to ourselves that we may rise with Him. We must follow Christ to the Cross to truly ride into the new Jerusalem with Him victorious. He has won the victory! He has opened the way to life everlasting. Now we must follow the path He has given us.
This weekend we thank Fr. Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap., for preaching all the Masses to start the kickoff into the parish mission. Please come each night: Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Father is a fantastic preacher and will lead us well in this parish mission. Please bring your families and know that you can come to the mission even if you are unable to make every night. Now, I encourage you to make it every night, but don’t let that be a reason not to come if you can’t be there every night. This wonderful Franciscan will inspire us greatly in the life of faith, and we are overjoyed to bring him here. He may be a different “flavor” or branch of Franciscan than our OFMs, but the OFM Capuchins are a branch of the same family.
Congratulations to our third graders on their Confirmation and First Communion that they received this Saturday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. What a blessing for us for their reception of these great sacraments that continue to re-create them as another Christ. Sunday at 11 a.m. Mass they will have the opportunity for a solemn reception of the Holy Eucharist here in the midst of our parish community. They will witness to us the joy we should still hold in our heart for the reception of communion, remembering that moment of our First Communion and the excitement we all had. Let us see them dressed up so beautifully and see it as a call to make sure we always dress up for Mass, reminding ourselves that not only at this solemn reception of holy communion, but in EVERY Sunday Mass we should be dressed to meet Christ and dressed up to remind ourselves that this action of coming to Mass is different than any other moment in our week. Dressing up helps us remember this is different and special, but then also helps us remember to wake up to the excitement we felt at our First Communion. Hold that excitement and joy in your heart every time you receive the Eucharist. Congratulations to our young people and thank you to them for their witness to us.
Lastly, this week, in Holy Week, I highly encourage you to attend the special liturgies: Holy Thursday, 7 p.m.; Good Friday, 3 p.m. for the Liturgy and 5:30 for the Stations of the Cross; and 8 p.m. Easter Vigil and 7, 9, and 11 a.m. Masses on Easter Sunday. Come to them all. Bring your children. These are spectacularly beautiful and unique liturgies. Come to Adoration after Mass on Holy Thursday for some part of it until Midnight. Join us at Midnight for night prayer together, which is quite moving. These liturgies are the most spectacular experiences of the Church life; some of the most moving and breathtaking moments. Bring your whole family as they will thoroughly enjoy them. Come to Easter Vigil, my favorite liturgy to pray and experience. Come welcome Mackenzie as we baptize her and confirm her and give her the Eucharist for the first time and bring her fully into the life of the Church. Come walk this Holy Week path with us and celebrate with us. This is the most special time and moment. Don’t miss it.
-Rev. Steven Arisman