Greetings and welcome to Holy Week. Remember that Good Friday, this Friday, is a day of abstinence from meat for anyone aged fourteen or older, and it is a fast day for anyone from age eighteen through age fifty-nine. Thanks, and blessings on this most sacred of days.
Our parish’s Triduum commemorations, conducted at Our Lady of Peace Church, are as follows:
- Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m.
- Transfer of the Blessed Sacrament. An outdoor procession to the Repository will occur, weather permitting. We will process through our parish grounds, near the conclusion of Mass, and return to OLP Church for visitation at the Repository.
- OLP Church is open for visits to the Blessed Sacrament until 11:00 p.m.
- Outdoor Stations of the Cross at Noon – weather permitting
- Commemoration of the Passion of The Lord at 3:00 p.m.
- Blessing of Easter Foods at Noon in the Church
- The Easter Vigil will commence at 7:00 p.m. with the blessing of the Easter Fire on the Peace Plaza along Milmont Avenue. The Easter Vigil Mass begins immediately afterwards with the procession of the Paschal Candle into the Church.
- Mass of the Resurrection of The Lord will be celebrated following the traditional Sunday Mass schedule: 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Peace; 10:00 a.m. at Notre Dame de Lourdes.
The palm branches that you receive today represent our desire to place ourselves in service along the pathway of our Redeemer. We wave palms as we acknowledge Jesus as our Savior seeking from him his blessings for our journey. Eventually these palm branches will be burnt and their ashes used for the crosses that will be placed on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday – February 14, 2024, a fitting way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the cross, the ultimate expression of love.
The first ritual of Baptism is the placing of the Sign of the Cross, by the parents and godparents, upon the forehead of the child to be baptized. This is performed silently, without any visible trace that it happened. But we know that it is there and that cross, traced with love, will always be there.
The cross traced on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday is visible, at least for one day. It is a visible sign of God’s love for us, and a sign of our faith, hope, trust, love of God, and our need for his grace to bring about a desired Lenten conversion. The cross of ash may no longer be visible on our foreheads but it remains, invisibly, upon our hearts.
A good way to prepare yourself to receive palms today is to recall the signing of Ash Wednesday. Sign your forehead to embrace the wisdom that you have received this Lent. Next, sign your heart as it welcomes the presence of Jesus in each person. Then, sign your soul that sparks whenever it senses grace. Next, sign your feet as they are guided along the way of peace. Then, sign your hands as they are extended to share your resourcefulness. Next, sign your eyes that they witness beauty. Then, sign your ears to listen to the Good News. Next, sign your lips to speak truthfully, and with words that sanctify and uplift. Finally, sign your nose as the filter for all that enters.
Once fully signed the reception of palm branches is our affirmation that we are ready. Our faith, hope, and trust in God has freed us from the impediments that have kept us from following Jesus fully and embracing his love.
Have the ashes made an impact in your life? Have you achieved the conversion you were seeking? Are you ready to serve? Are you ready to wave the palm?