PASSION (PALM) SUNDAY
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Holy Week starts this Sunday. It is a day we are asked to read and reflect on the account of the Passion of Our Lord according to Matthew. May I suggest you quietly read and reflect on this Gospel and hold in your heart and pray for all who are sick and infected by the Corona Virus and for all who look after them, for their families and friends.
It is important to believe in prayer and to realise that the outward expression and posture of the virtue of hope – is to be on our knees before Our Father in heaven. Did not Chesterton write “that we are never as tall as when we kneel.” It is when we pray we are at our best, holding ourselves in the fundamental truth of our lives that we are creatures and that God is the giver of life.
We will, please God, never experience again in our lives such a Holy Week like this one. A time when death stares all of us in the face. When anxiety and fear abound. When faith is tested and the word WHY looms high in our horizon. We cannot escape the reality of death and our own vulnerability and helplessness. Generally, in such times anger and a desire to blame is not far from the surface. Yet I feel in our present situation this is not apparent. What one is more aware of is solidarity. A feeling we are all in this together. It’s important to cultivate this disposition. We do so in prayer. When we allow ourselves to be in touch with the centre of our being and meet there the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. St. Paul tells us that “no other people has their God so close to them, as the Lord Our God is to us…for it is in him we live and move and have our being.”
The situation we find ourselves in, can be a time of temptation or a time of growth. Our vulnerability can be our downfall or our opportunity. St.Paul writes “When I am weak then I am strong.” Paul had learned to depend on Christ. His weakness was where God’s light found entry into his life. “God is close to the broken hearted” and we need the eyes of faith to both see and experience the truth of these words.
Another Gospel we are asked to reflect on this Sunday is the entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem. Our Lord entered the Holy City riding a humble donkey. It may strike us as strange that he chose a donkey, not the horse of war to reveal his Royal and Kingly Dignity! No. “Without a donkey you cannot show who you really are- you are a love that is defenceless, you are a peace-maker for the world”
We pray that this Holy Week will not only be different because of the Corona Virus but because we have discovered in a new and deep way that God will not and does not abandon us.
We priests continue to remember you all in our masses each day, asking God’s blessing and protection on you and your loved ones.
Fr Christopher OCD and community
Following the directive from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
‘ .. Palms should be kept until next year, or parish priests may wish to bless palms separately from the liturgy so that they can be available to their people at a later date when travel becomes possible.’
Therefore, palms will not be blessed and distributed in any way whilst we are in ‘lockdown’ against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
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Prayer of the Faithful
Opening Prayer:In the life, death and resurrection of his Son, the Father reveals the depth of his love for us. Secure in this love, we bring our needs to God.
Reader: … We pray that the Church throughout the world may be a sign of hope and a source of comfort to all who suffer: may Holy Week influence our lives to bear fruit in acts of kindness, forgiveness and love. . . . Lord, hear us.
Rd. … We pray that during this week we may be renewed in mind and heart, by dwelling on the passion and death of Jesus Christ. We remember all our Parishioners especially the elderly and housebound. May they know they are held lovingly in our prayers.. . . . Lord, hear us.
Rd. … We pray for the peoples of the Holy Land: may they come to live together peacefully in mutual trust and reconciliation. . . . Lord, hear us.
Rd. … We pray for those who are suffer from the Corona Virus: may they be spiritually strengthened, and may those who care for them be blessed with understanding, compassion and wisdom. . . Lord, hear us.
Rd. …. We pray for our deceased relatives and friends, and for those who died recently: Kathryn McCollin, Maria Basfold, Mary Norton & Beth Bates Arnego, and those whose anniversaries occur at this time : Michael Brennan, Sr. Mary Teresa McCarthy & George Cesar may they share the company of Jesus who is the resurrection and the life. . . .Lord, hear us.
Closing prayer… God our Father, help us to follow in the footsteps of your Son, and keep us mindful of his boundless love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.