Palm Sunday, APRIL 14

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday on April 14 which marks the beginning of Jesus journey to his death on Calvary and his resurrection on the Third Day. On Palm Sunday we focus on two events, Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem, followed by an account of his Passion and death in one of the synoptic Gospels which rotate each year among Matthew, Mark and Luke

Each of the Gospels gives a somewhat different view of the Passion. St. Mark gives a graphic picture of Jesus’ utter abandonment by both his disciples and God. We experience the Passion as complete dereliction, destruction, and loss. St. Matthew fills out St. Mark’s narrative adding all kinds of dramatic touches. For example, it is St. Matthew who tells us of Pilate’s wife warning him to let Jesus go because of her troubled dream about him. In St. Luke, Jesus’ agony in the Garden is portrayed as the stress and anxiety of an athlete about to begin his contest. This is the account where Jesus promises paradise to the thief and says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Because we now use all three Gospels, our sense of the Passion is both expanded and deepened.

We begin the liturgy outside. This is to commemorate the entry into Jerusalem. As we stand in a circle, we hear the story of Jesus riding on the donkey and the people spreading garments and palms along his way. They hail him as the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Of course it will be but a matter of days before they forget all this and turn on him. We bless some crosses that are made of palm branches and then pass them out and then process as a group into the Church.

Once we are inside the story turns, the atmosphere changes as we now plunge into the story of the Passion. The liturgical color is red to symbolize both Jesus blood, and his passionate love for us, that leads him to lay down his life.

The liturgy proceeds as normally, and we end with the hymn Ride on, Ride on in Majesty.

Palm Sunday is a very important day. For many people who don’t participate in the rest of Holy Week, it may be the only time they hear the story of the Christ’s death and reflect on it. In the end, things come full circle in that the palm crosses left over from the liturgy are gathered and stored. Next year they will be burned to become the ashes used on Ash Wednesday.

REFLECTIVE DINNERS, APRIL 15, 16, 17 @ 6:30pm

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week we will offer our wonderful Reflective Dinners.  At the Reflective Dinners we gather in the Parish Hall for a simple meal.  This year Parishioner Kelly Brandt will read from the book Breathing Underwater, by Fr. Richard Rohr, a must-read for any person who recognizes the need to go "inward" on their soul's journey to question what their relationship is with God, themselves, and others.  At the Reflective Dinners, it is as if we too are in the upper room with the first disciples listening as Jesus speaks to us through these readings and through the words of the Gospel of St. John.  We conclude with a Eucharist around the table celebrated alternate evenings by Pastor John Santoro and Fr. Bob.


Paschal Triduum, or the Three Great Days, begins Maundy Thursday, April 18.  We will celebrate the Liturgy that evening at 7:00 p.m.  I will wash the feet of those who with to participate.  We conclude with the stripping of the Altar and the darkening of the Church. 

GOOD FRIDAY, APRIL 19th @ 12:00pm

The second of the Three Great Days is Good Friday April 19.  The Liturgy will begin at 12:00 and includes the Passion according to St. John, the Solemn Collects for the Church and the World, and the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified where we consume the Sacrament consecrated on Maundy Thursday and placed on the Altar of Repose.  The liturgy concludes around 1:30 p.m. 

HOLY SATURDAY, April 20th @ 9:00am

Another special part of our Easter is the Preparations on Holy Saturday, which is March 31 Preparing the Church, the breakfast, and the Easter Eggs is a wonderful opportunity for parishioners to enjoy one another in an atmosphere of fun and anticipation.  You are all urged to come by and help out.


The climax of the Triduum is the Great Vigil of Easter at 5:30 a.m. Easter Day, April 21.  This is the central and most important Liturgy of the entire Church year.  Everything we do as Christians has its foundation here.  We will begin the Great Vigil with the Liturgy of the Light, the New Fire being kindled in the Church by a young person of our parish.  The wonder of this liturgy will be made palpable for us as the Resurrection window gradually fills with light as we hear the stories of God’s mighty acts to save his people.  If we are lucky, by the time we get to the baptism, the sun will come over the hill, stream through the back windows, and flood the Church with light as we cry, “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!”  After the Eucharist, we will emerge into the new day to Easter Eggs and our parish breakfast.

The children in CGS will be in Church for the Exsultet then go to the atriums for their own Liturgy of the Light.


We’ll conclude Easter Day with a Festal Choral Eucharist at 10:15 a.m., our normal time of.  There will be childcare, Easter Eggs for the young and young at heart to hunt, and coffee hour as well.

For all of us, the more we participate in the events of Holy Week, the richer will be our Easter experience.  We do all this so that we all may live the Christian faith in depth and experience joy in doing so.  We look forward to a most wonderful Easter.  I hope that all of you will participate fully.

In Christ,

Fr. Robert J. Gaestel