Today’s celebration of Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. While it seems that we have learned to live with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, it wasn’t all that long ago that we were not able to gather in person to celebrate these most sacred days.
I remember the feeling of emptiness when I had to watch my favorite liturgy of the year—the Chrism Mass—on tv (even though I was living at the Cathedral). I remember the eerie silence on Holy Thursday when I would normally be busy preparing the last-minute details of the coming celebrations. The same was true of Good Friday and Holy Saturday which had their culmination in the Great Vigil of Easter celebrated in a small chapel without the normal fanfare and solemnity. In those moments I promised never to take the beautiful celebrations or the opportunity to gather with my community for granted.
While we are now a few years removed from that reality, I encourage you to remember those moments of longing and the desire of your heart to simply be close to Jesus. With them in mind, I invite you to make a firm resolve to participate in the liturgies of Holy Week to the best of your ability. Although they are not holy days of obligation, I would go so far as to say that unless your schedule absolutely prohibits you, these days should be set aside to worship with your parish community and to enter into these sacred mysteries. Even if you will be traveling, find ways to keep these days sacred.
A good way to prepare for these days is to make a good confession. St. Aloysius and Old St. Mary’s offers opportunities for reconciliation before every Mass. Additionally, any of the priests in our family of parishes welcomes the opportunity to meet you outside of the normal confession times if necessary. We are also grateful for the ministry of the Capuchin Friars at St. Bonaventure Monastery who hear confessions from 9:30am-4pm Monday through Saturday. If you haven’t been in a while, there’s no better time than now to receive the Lord’s great gift of mercy.
On behalf of all the clergy and lay leaders in our family of parishes, I extend my prayers to you and your family for a very blessed Triduum and beautiful celebration of Easter.
God bless you,
Fr. Mario Amore