Category Archives: Holy Week

Palm Sunday

Our Lady of Lourdes with Palm - dscn9905

Holy week. Probably my favorite week of the year. I love the excitement and celebration surrounding Jesus’s triumphant return to Jerusalem. I love the promise of life that those green branches hold, especially after a long, cold winter. I love the bright red color on the altar and in the priests’ vestments. I love the procession in. In past years, I have celebrated Palm Sunday at St. Anastasia, where the procession includes kids and catechumens with loud clappers and everyone in the church waving their palm fronds. This Palm Sunday, I celebrated right after work at OLGC, at the 5 pm Mass. No one in church had any palms, and the only procession was made by the altar servers, Deacon Chris, and Fr. Clement. It felt like I was waiting for the Kings of Kings to pass me by.

But this week isn’t a week of all happy feelings. And this liturgy wasn’t all about being joyful. It was an emotional rollercoaster, to tell you the truth. Fr. Clement told us to pay particular attention to the Gospel today, lengthy though it was, and see what aspects of the story spoke to you. They wanted the parish to speak the part of the crowd during the reading of the Gospel.

I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to choose Barabbas over Jesus. I didn’t want to call for his crucifixion. But I am obedient, and so I participate. But in my heart, as I was saying, “Crucify Him!” I was also saying, “Please, don’t!”

But then, I thought of how I do this all the time. I am constantly choosing something evil over Him. I am constantly scourging Him and putting Him on the cross, and then asking Him to forgive me my sins. It was such a poignantly sad moment, being a part of this Gospel reading and realizing how very much a part of the crowd I was… am.

There was no music for the recessional. The altar servers, deacon, and priest left quietly. Many people, perhaps unaware that they were supposed to wait for the recessional, began leaving while they were still gathering at the foot of the sanctuary. Not quite realizing the full import of what was occurring. How often do *I* realize the full import of the Mass or what Jesus did for me? Not nearly as often as I’d like to think.

So, quietly, I stood and watched as the procession passed by, reflecting on the joy, the sorrow, and the sober realization of my own failings, but with the hope and knowledge that something incredible is going to happen in a few short days.

With Eager Anticipation

I woke up this morning exhausted. I was up very late working on a project, got a little sleep, and am up again — taking a day off work — to jump into the project again. It was a little odd, being home in the morning on a weekday — getting to watch the garbagemen pick up the garbage. I don’t think I’ve been home for this since I was a little girl. I should have gotten ready faster. I should have gotten up earlier. Someone was waiting on me and it’s never good to keep people waiting. But I just had to take a few moments. Enjoying the fact that others were already well into the work morning and I was just now taking my shower. Looking at the way the morning sun (or well the overcast brightening, we take what we can get) lights up the house. Savoring the quiet. Praying.

These are blessed days. Blessed moments. In just a few days, we will be celebrating our Lord’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I love the joy of this day. I also really love palms. 🙂 I know, I know. Palms are kind of not the point. And you are right. But I really like them, so they make me *extra* happy for this day. 🙂 I am particularly excited this year, because I finally remembered this year before Ash Wednesday and managed to remove all the palms from my house so that they might be turned into ashes. Come Sunday, I can decorate my house again with palms. They will lose their lovely green color over time, but I will still be able to look upon them with joy throughout the year.

Palm Sunday is great because it marks the beginning of Holy Week. My favorite week of the year! I usually take Holy Thursday and Good Friday off work, but this year I was too late in getting my request in. I did get Holy Thursday off, but I only got a few hours for Good Friday. So I won’t be able to celebrate with my parish in Troy as I usually do. However!!! I found out that my parish in Plymouth is celebrating Tre Ore a little later in the day, and I will be able to be with them for that!

Holy Thursday. Perhaps my favorite day. In the morning, I get to go downtown in Detroit and attend the Chrism Mass. Here, Archbishop Vigneron will bless the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick (MINE!), and the Holy Chrism. I love the smell of the Holy Chrism! It’s quite amazing to see all the bottles and large containers of the oils process in — such a huge sign of the sacramental nature of our Church. So beautiful.

But, as much as I like the blessing of the oils and the realization of the sacraments that they represent, they are not what I love most about the Chrism Mass. What I love is all the priests. Not all, but many of the priests of the archdiocese attend the Chrism Mass and concelebrate with the archbishop. While they are there, they recommit their vows of obedience to him and to the Church. THAT, friends, is the BEST PART EVER!!! The best, best, best part! I love watching them all come in together, and all recess out. Hundreds of priests (okay, I never really counted)!