Not the Usual Holy Week
This Sunday, I celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Victory in Centerville, virtually through Facebook live. For many of us, this Sunday did not feel like Palm Sunday or the beginning of Holy Week. Instead of coming together to begin our Holy Week with the celebration of Mass and collection of our palms — as a way to enter into the spirit of the Passion of Christ — we were confined to home. And rightly so to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. It was indeed an unusual day for all of us.
I continue to be so grateful that we live in a time where we can continue to celebrate the Mass, even if people can only follow it virtually. Please know that your priests throughout the Diocese celebrate the Mass every day for you. Those who are able to are doing so via Livestream on YouTube and Facebook. I understand being separated from the Eucharist is very difficult, but it is my sincerest hope this time creates a new longing and reverence in the Church for the sacraments.
This Holy Week for us will be different. As we reflect on the week leading up to his Passion and death, that was a different week for Jesus as well. He begins the week entering into Jerusalem with palms waving and people yelling, “Hosanna, King of the Jews,” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” A few days later, the same crowd who shouted hosanna and blessed is he would call for him to be crucified. They would mock, spit, and tried to get rid of him, but God had another plan.
These people calling for his crucifixion, the ones who wanted to get rid of him, did not want to change their habits; they did not want to hear a new message or consider a new way of life. They wanted him to be gone to never hear from him again. The wanted things to go back to the way they always were; they wanted to live their lives the way they always did. God had a different plan. He would turn their plans upside down. That message is interesting to contemplate today as we consider the situation we find ourselves in today. We had plans for Lent, for Holy Week, and Easter, and now our plans are changed.
In a way, our lives are upside down; however, in these circumstances, God is calling us into a new beginning. The Resurrection was a new beginning for our world. This Easter and in the very near future (we pray), as we will eventually exit our isolation and quarantine, we will enter into a new world as well. We must believe that this crisis and the pain and sacrifice it is causing us will bring us also to a new life closer to Christ. We are an Easter people, and we have to believe that this suffering, sacrifice, and afflictions will change us and our world.
Jesus’ Redemptive suffering brought much good to our world. Let us join in our suffering to Christ’s saving work on the cross. Let us use this experience to grow in faith and hope. Let us not miss this opportunity to allow this suffering to make us better people. If we can become better people — the world will become better too.
Good Friday Moment of Prayer
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has invited the faithful to join him in a moment of prayer at noon on Good Friday, April 10, to pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart (see below). Praying together as a nation, the archbishop asks that we seek healing for all who are unwell, wisdom for those whose work is halting the spread of coronavirus, and strength for all God’s children. A livestream of the Litany of the Sacred Heart with Archbishop Gomez will be available on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ website: www.lacatholics.org . and on the USCCB Facebook page: www.facebook.com/usccb.
In addition, the USCCB announced,
“Additionally, with special permission received from the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, a plenary indulgence is available for those who join Archbishop Gomez in praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart on Good Friday.”
2020 Easter Message
This year, we are left with our faith and our hope for better days soon. We have gone through a real Lent of tremendous sacrifice, but we cannot lose faith or hope knowing that this crisis will pass. When it is over, we can rebuild our world and our lives. Counting on God’s help and with strong faith, we will be better people and build a better world. Read the entire message here.
Two Special Opportunities to Worship
Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass
10 a.m. on Holy Thursday, April 9, in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River
Livestream available on Diocese of Fall River Facebook page
Easter Sunday Mass
The TV Mass on Easter will expand to a full hour
and will be aired from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on WLNE-TV, Channel 6
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha