BY CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN
With Palm Sunday we commence the “journey of a lifetime,” a trip bringing us not just back home here but to our true home of eternal life.
It’s Holy Week!
We unite with Jesus this Palm Sunday recounting His entrance into the holy city of Jerusalem, a faithful Jew on His way to observe the Passover, acclaimed by the crowd lining the road and waving palms as the “Son of David,” the long-anticipated savior. The exultation of our procession with palms, professing our faith that this exceptional king riding a donkey is our redeemer, changes into somberness as we listen intently to the reading of the Passion, as the shouts of “hosanna” change to “crucify Him!”
On Monday, we’ll savor the chance to hand our sins over to Jesus so He can bring them with Him to be nailed to the cross. In every parish in the archdiocese, confessors will be available for the sacrament of penance, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. It’s Reconciliation Monday.
The Mass of Chrism is a cherished part of Holy Week, especially for priests, as we anticipate the Lord’s Last Supper. We will gather on Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to bless the oils of chrism, catechumens, and the sick, in time to use at the Easter Vigil. You’re sure all welcome to join us for this moving Mass at 4 p.m. We bishops and priests would appreciate your unity in prayer at this troubled time.
Holy Thursday evening at 6 p.m. we’ll begin the Triduum with Mass, during which we’ll recall the Lord’s dramatic example of service as I will wash feet, and after which we’ll process with the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose, as the Church unites with Jesus as He starts His passion.
Then Good Friday. The cathedral keeps the tradition of Tre Ore, three hours, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., as Monsignor Joseph La Morte leads us in a reflection on the “Seven Last Words of Christ.” Confessions will be available during the service.
At 3:30 p.m. the Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion occurs. At the end, we humbly approach the sanctuary to venerate the cross.
Things start to look up on Holy Saturday morning, as we sigh with relief, and acknowledge that, while our Savior is dead in the tomb, the worst is over, and the best is yet to come. I’ll be with one of our Polish communities at 10 a.m. in Saint Stanislaus out in Staten Island, to bless the “Easter table,” as folks bring their hams, eggs, sausages, breads, and desserts—and the kids their baskets.
The Easter Vigil begins at 8 p.m. at St. Patrick’s. It’s long but worth it. We bless the fire, process with the Paschal Candle, listen to God’s Word, bless the Easter water, baptize, confirm, and receive the profession of faith from our catechumens and candidates, who will also make their first Holy Communion. With them, we renew our baptismal promises.
And then, the glory of Easter Sunday. Not only will our shoes, hats, and clothes be new, but our souls as well.
This is the Passover of Jesus!
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee,
Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
This is our Passover as well.
A blessed Holy Week and Easter!