Monday, Mar. 21st 2016

Palm Sunday Celebration: Holy Week Begins

Holy Week has officially kicked off at Conception Abbey and Seminary College! United with the Universal Church, the seminarians of Conception Seminary College, the monks of Conception Abbey, and a good number of guests (including RCIA candidates on retreat) celebrated Palm Sunday Mass. On a relatively cool, but sunny morning, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion began with the ministers and assembly gathering in St. Michael’s Plaza for the blessing of palms and the proclamation of the Gospel. On such a cool morning, it was a rather abrupt wake-up call for Abbot Gregory to sprinkle the congregation and their palms with holy water, but it is always symbolic and pleasant when the weather cooperates enough to be able to hold the procession outside. The Procession and Solemn Entrance took the congregation toward the north side of St. Raphael Hall and through the main entrance of the Basilica. Processing through this entrance also allowed the faithful the opportunity to pass through the Holy Doors designated for this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

I had the privilege of being the principal celebrant and homilist for the solemn occasion. The parts of the Passion account from St. Luke’s Gospel were read by Abbot Gregory, Fr. Daniel (the Prior), and Br. Anselm (the Sub Prior). In my homily I encouraged the faithful to allow the Passion Gospel to soften their hearts and examine their relationship with God.

I said, “In the Garden, the disciples were frightened and bewildered, and they forgot their promises of loyalty. We encounter the sobering parallels between our actions and the disciples. There are the moments where we see the discrepancy between our commitment to follow the Lord and our tendency to deny Him. We become tired, we lack proper motivation, or we retreat from hardships and cling to what is comfortable. But, when Jesus was in most need of his disciples, they scattered.” Concluding, I noted, “At the beginning of the Church’s most profound week of the liturgical year, we come asking for the grace to be the Lord’s faithful disciples.”

Holy Week is certainly a powerful time of the liturgical year, but it is especially beautiful at Conception Abbey. We anticipate with eagerness the transforming power of the Sacred Triduum and extend an invitation to any of our friends who might be able to join us these days. Whether united near or from afar, may these holy days be an opportunity of grace and growth in the Lord!

Holy Thursday: 11:00 AM Penance Service, 7:00 PM Eucharist of the Lord’s Supper

Good Friday: 7:50 AM Morning Prayer, 3:00 PM Celebration of the Passion of the Lord

Holy Saturday: 7:50 AM Morning Prayer, 5:35 PM Vespers

Easter Sunday: 4:30 AM Solemn Easter Vigil, 5:00 PM Vespers

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