Friday, April 03, 2020

Palmless Sunday

Skip the Sticks

It's an old joke that everybody turns up at church when you're giving out free dirt and free sticks; this nods to the popularity of Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.  We saw it on Ash Wednesday, when everybody wanted ashes, but most of those people also wanted mercy, a chance to repent and be faithful the Lord, and a reminder about God's merciful forgiveness.

But we are not going to see it on Palm Sunday; not this year, with the virus quarantine.  Fathers Berhorst and Russo and I have been talking about it, and we want you to get your palms; in fact, we have already received the palms we ordered for the occasion.  But for very good reason, we cannot distribute palms now.  We might distribute some else, and far worse, at the same time.  

So we hope to offer you palms in a couple of months, when we can distribute things safely once more.  They'll be dry and brittle by then, so you won't be able to weave them into crosses and such, but you might still be able to put them behind your crucifix or Sacred Heart picture.

Meanwhile, we all have to have to follow Jesus on this, the way of the cross, during the week that He Himself made Holy.  

Eyes on us!

Many of you are already watching Mass online or on television; that is a good thing.  But some Masses are better than others, where viewing is concerned.  My parents are watching EWTNbetter yet, I recommend Bishop Robert Barron's online Mass from Word on Fire, which Father Russo gave you instructions to access.  The setting is made to be broadcast; the production values are high; and the preaching is guaranteed to be good.    

And because it would be good to see Mass offered in YOUR church, by YOUR priests, we are setting up a video feed right here from Saint Bernadette.  It's still being set up, but you could see something as soon as Palm Sunday!  Stay tuned to Flocknote for details as they become available.

It's what you DO, not something you watch.

But Mass is NOT something you watch; you know that, and you are used to that.  Mass is worship, and worship is what we give and what we do.  So if you are cut off from Mass, which most people now are, simply watching will not fulfill your need nor express your gift and gratitude.  We use all our senses, and our whole bodies, to direct our mind and our inmost being toward God.

Make Sunday happen at your house

First, get everybody in the house into one room, and leave your phones and devices in a different one.  Use Magnificat or some other aid to go through the liturgy.  (We are giving away 500 free copies of the April and Holy Week Magnificat on the tables in our church.) 

Stand and make the Sign of the Cross; pray the penitential rite together, out loud.  Take turns reading out loudthe readings.  Assign parts for the Passion and read it out loud -- the whole thing!   Shout, Crucify him! when the time comes, and kneel in silence when Jesus hands over his spirit.  

Monsignor Smith