Holy Week began with evening prayer and the anticipated Masses of Palm Sunday this past Saturday afternoon. Whether celebrated Saturday or Sunday the liturgy was so different. A Gospel was read at the entrance of the Church describing the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Palm branches were held high as they were blessed. The vestments were red. When it came for the Gospel, the Priest(in most cases) read the parts of Jesus' own words, a narrator proclaimed most of the Gospel and the congregation was able to participate. For the congregation how poignant to proclaim the words: Crucify Him. The homily helps us to enter fully into the celebration and mysteries of Holy Week.
Mass ends and Holy Week is fully upon us. For me, I was able to bring Holy Communion on this Palm Sunday to my daughter and to bless baby Brennan. The evening concludes with evening mass, night prayer and we move on to Monday of Holy Week. I spent the day at work, but I left to assist at a funeral Mass of a wonderfully faith-filled parishioner, almost a matriarch of the parish. I think that she would be well pleased that her funeral Mass occurred during Holy Week. After an afternoon back at the office I was off to pray the Stations of the Cross with our PSR students, grade 1-10. They did a great job and we offered the Stations with special reflections for children. Monday of Holy Week is complete.
On Tuesday, while I have to be at work, the Archdiocese of New Orleans will celebrate the Chrism Mass. Our clergy, mostly all the Priests along with many Deacons, will gather to celebrate their Priesthood and to receive the holy oils, the oil of anointing, the oil of the sick and the sacred Chrism oil. Each Pastor returns to his home parish with these oils to be used for the year until next Easter.
Wednesday is known as Spy Wednesday; to be explained in a later post, followed by Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Easter celebrations begin after dark on Saturday evening.
This is a beautiful week, this is a spiritual week, this is a faith-filled week. Enter fully into this special Holy Week.