Wow! This is certainly different. Palm Sunday without the usual crowds of people. Palm Sunday with boxes of unused palm stored in our garage. Palm Sunday on the TV, computer, tablet or smartphone and not physically in church. Palm Sunday, nonetheless.
We begin the holiest week of the Church year. Starting with Jesus’ triumphant entrance into the city of Jerusalem, commemorating the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist and the ministerial Priesthood, and finally recalling the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord—but you need to watch it all at home. These are most unusual times.
Please do not waste any opportunity for spiritual growth and holiness. As the religious sisters used to instruct us back in Catholic grammar school: offer it up! Make any inconvenience, sacrifice, suffering, or hardship an offering to the Lord. Join your prayers and sacrifices to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being offered throughout the world. Yes, you must do it from home. However, this is what the sick and infirm might have to do continually, week after week.
Since so much of what is going on with the coronavirus pandemic is fluid, please monitor our web page (holyangelsnj.org) regularly. Fr. Hugh is very diligent about updating messages and information. Typically, I have referred to the livestream broadcast of the Mass provided by the Diocese of Camden with Bishop Sullivan for people to watch. Some other sources such as EWTN have been televising the Holy Mass for years. Last week, after offering Mass myself, I watched the Mass from the Dioceses of Camden and Phoenix, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I watched the Mass provided from Word on Fire. I also saw the links to many of my brother priests offering Mass at their local parishes. Thankfully there are multiple opportunities to participate in Mass from home using the latest technology.
Somehow for me, it is still not quite the same. The priests and I are fortunate to have our private chapel in the rectory for daily and Sunday Mass, and for prayer time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We are praying and offering Mass for you and your intentions. My heart suffers with those who desire but cannot receive Our Lord at this time because of the pandemic. I am not always happy with, but I am respectful of both civil and ecclesiastical authorities and their decisions concerning this pandemic. I would not want to be in their position.
Thank you to those who mailed us or dropped off their weekly offerings. It’s harder to pay the parish bills with diminished income. Please remember we still have to cover the cost of the utilities and other expenses for our many properties. Like the annual Christmas collection, we depend on the Easter collection to catch up with many of our bills and expenses. Thank you for whatever you can do.
Being in quarantine, I have obviously had the time to think, pray and write, so I ask that you take a look at my more-lengthy thoughts on our current situation. My blog entry is entitled The Divine Adjustment and it is linked to our parish website.
Please know that you are remembered in everything we do this Holy Week. May Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection give us renewed hope.
God is still in charge.
Fr. Ed Namiotka