Palm Sunday


The ceremonials of Palm Sunday were proceeding beautifully at St Peter’s Church, Volo, Illinois, as I celebrated Mass the day after my return from Rome.

The statues were all veiled, which is an accomplishment in this Church, as there are so many. The saints, who share Christ’s glory in heaven, do not need to commemorate his passion again, as we have need. Also, the statues and crosses are veiled so that we are denied comfort, during this time when we are concentrating on Christ’s suffering for our own sins.

In any case, the music was beautiful, the sanctuary immaculate, and the prayers of the Palm Sunday Mass in the traditional rite were also quite moving. As I read the Gospel of the passion, I was saddened by Our Lord’s suffering. The Church was quiet, listening as I read the words in Latin and Aramaic, using some of the very words Christ spoke. Then, the quiet of the Church was broken by a child’s cry, which became louder and louder, and went on and on. Of course, even small children can benefit by the grace of being present a Holy Mass, and so should be there, but everyone was becoming somewhat uncomfortable by this child’s cry.

It was then that I realized, “ah, this is just as it should be.” During the reading of the passion we should be somewhat uncomfortable. That Child’s cry expressed what each of our souls should be expressing: “Jesus, I cry from my depths for having grieved you by my sins.” This child’s cry, then, became appropriate during the reading of the Passion, an appropriate reminder to us all.

Try to take advantage of the opportunities of Holy Week to be mystically present with Christ in the commemoration of the events in His passion and death. The grace will be so good for your soul. If you can, make a good Confession. If you can be present for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or the Easter Vigil, try to be there. If you cannot, try to make the Stations of the Cross at home, or to read some spiritual book of Holy Scripture. Our great celebrations of Easter mean so much more to us, after having followed in the footsteps of Christ in his great act of love for us!

I will close with a hymn, written by Fr. Faber, which the choir sung at Mass today:

O come and mourn with me awhile;
And tarry here the cross beside;
O come, together let us mourn;
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

Have we no tears to shed for Him,
While soldiers scoff and foes deride?
Ah! look how patiently He hangs;
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

How fast His hands and feet are nailed;
His blessed tongue with thirst is tied,
His failing eyes are blind with blood:
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

His mother cannot reach His face;
She stands in helplessness beside;
Her heart is martyred with her Son’s:
Jesus, our Lord, is Crucified.

Seven times He spoke, seven words of love;
And all three hours His silence cried
For mercy on the souls of men;
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

Come, let us stand beneath the cross;
So may the blood from out His side
Fall gently on us drop by drop;
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

O break, O break, hard heart of mine!
Thy weak self-love and guilty pride
His Pilate and His Judas were:
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

A broken heart, a fount of tears,
Ask, and they will not be denied;
A broken heart love’s cradle is:
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried;
And victory remains with love;
For Thou our Lord, art crucified!


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