From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy
This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday as we focus on the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Palms are blessed at Mass and distributed to the faithful to be used for personal devotion throughout the year. In our faith tradition, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week during which we commemorate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. The following prayer called “A PRAYER FOR PALM SUNDAY” provided by the Catholic website, “Explore Faith” reminds us of the significance of this day:
GRACIOUS GOD, THE ENERGY AND EMOTION OF A PARADE CAN GENERATE JOY.
YET THE JOY OF YOUR PARADE INTO JERUSALEM TURNED SO QUICKLY TO PAIN SIGNALING THE SACRIFICE OF YOUR OWN SELF.
LET THIS DAY REMIND ME THAT WHILE EMOTIONS CAN BE FICKLE, YOUR FAITHFULNESS AND LOVE REMAIN TRUE.
MAY I SEE IN THE GIVING OF YOUR LIFE THE POWER TO GIVE MYSELF FOR OTHERS SIMPLY FOR LOVE.
WHEN LIFE’S STRUGGLE SEARS MY SOUL OR SACRIFICE STRIPS ME OF HOPE, STRENGTHEN ME WITH YOUR SPIRIT THAT STRODE INTO JERUSALEM
TO FACE DEATH EVEN AS PALM BRANCHES WERE STREWN BEFORE YOUR PATH
AND THE CROWD CRIED “HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST.”
As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that this week is the holiest week in the Church year. It is a special and important time spiritually. In a past Palm Sunday homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to focus on the importance of Holy Week and strive to more fully appreciate what Jesus has done for us. He stated that Jesus “invites us to walk on His path. Let us turn our faces to Him, let us ask for the grace to understand something of the mystery of His obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this Week.” Pope Francis further stated, “May nothing prevent us from finding in Him the source of our joy, true joy, which abides and brings peace; for it is Jesus alone who saves us from the snares of sin, death, and sadness.”
As we begin this special time, please carefully review the schedule of our Masses and our other liturgical services for the week and plan to participate to the extent possible. Details can be found in the Parish bulletin and on the Parish app and website. Today, as we celebrate and experience the joy of Palm Sunday, as we shout “Hosanna”, we are challenged to heed the words of Our Holy Father and strive to embrace this week in a spirit of humility and reverence.