Parish Bulletin: Palm Sunday – 5 April 2020
In the ancient world, palm branches were the symbol of victory.
- For the Israelites in the Old Testament, the elegance, strength, and simplicity of this tree became a symbol of the just man or woman, the one in whom God’s law triumphed.
It also symbolized victory for the Romans.
- Palm trees were not native to Italy.
- And so, when the Romans started conquering other nations in the Mediterranean, the generals brought palm trees back to Rome as souvenirs of their victories.
So the crowds waving palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem were declaring his victory.
Today, we echo them, we join them, and we declare and celebrate Christ’s victory.
But what victory is it? And how did Christ win it?
It is the victory over original sin.
- Original sin was mankind’s disobedience to God and obedience to the devil.
- It shattered God’s plan, let loose the scourge of evil, and gave the devil a certain power over earthly society.
Jesus, through his passion, death, and resurrection, reversed the disobedience of original sin by obeying his Father’s will in spite of all the devil’s attempts to thwart him:
- The betrayal of Judas, the abandonment of his apostles, the false accusations, the condemnation, the humiliation, the scourging and crowning with thorns, the torture of crucifixion – all of these sufferings were the devil’s attempts to get Jesus to say “no” to his Father, just as he had gotten Adam and Eve to say “no”.
- But Jesus defeated the devil. He continued to love, forgive, and obey through it all. And so he, unlike Adam, unlike every other person in history, can say, “I have not rebelled” [first reading at the Mass].
His obedience establishes a beachhead in this world that is under the devil’s sway: Jesus’ Passion is D-Day for the devil and liberation for us.
This is the victory we celebrate.
Today and throughout this week we should give thanks to God for the great things he has done, reflect on his saving love, and renew our commitment to follow him.
But above all this week, we should stay united to Christ our Savior.
This week we should each be hooked up to Christ the way people in the hospital are hooked up to an IV.
- We need his strength to come into our lives so we can have the courage to live as he wants us to live.
- We need to let all the graces he wants to give us this week flow freely into our souls and renew us, bringing a spiritual springtime into our hearts.
There are two things we can do to stay united to Christ, to stay hooked up to his grace.
First, there is prayer.
- We should spend more time in prayer this week, both in quantity and in quality.
- Come and sit with Jesus here in the Tabernacle.
- Take that rosary off the rear-view mirror and use it for what it was meant for.
- Spend some time reading the Gospels and meditating on them.
Second, there is obedience.
- Jesus is always instructing us about how to live, how to be responsible in our life’s duties, and selfless in our relationships.
- This week, let’s pay special attention. Whatever he asks of us, let’s say OK.
Today is Palm Sunday, Victory Day. As Christ comes among us once more, let’s renew our faith in the victory he won for us, and claim it once again as our own.
Here are the scheduled times for confession:
St. Joseph’s: Holy Monday from 7 to 8 pm.
Chapeau: Holy Tuesday from 7 to 8 pm.
Sheenboro: Holy Thursday from 7 to 8 pm.
I’ll be sitting in my car in the parking lot of each parish. Just pull up beside me, respecting, of course, the 6 ft. space between the vehicles and roll down your window. I will be wearing a mask but that’s only for our mutual protection. It isn’t necessary for you to do the same.
1) The Church suggests that as many of us as possible should try to live stream the Holy Week masses and services offered by Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto. You can find the schedule and links by going to www.stmichaelscathedral.com/live
2) Because of the above suggestion, we will hold off on beginning our live streaming of weekday and weekend Masses until the week after Easter. While we intend to try to get all the bugs worked out on this initiative by trying to broadcast our weekday Masses (Tuesday to Friday mornings at 10 am), there might be some difficulties in getting everything right. We anticipate that by the Mass on Sunday, April 19th (at 10 am.) we will be up and going without too many problems. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible then.
3) People have been calling in to ask about how they can support the parishes financially during these difficult times. To that end, we have registered with ‘CanadaHelps.org’ a conglomerate of Canadian charities so that you will need only click on a ‘donate’ button on our Facebook page to make a contribution via a credit card. Anyone who wishes to send donations directly from their own bank account without using a credit card, you can choose the option of an ‘Interac transfer’ if that’s an option offered by your bank. Just use our parish email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and use the phrase ‘church donation’ as the answer to the security question. Please simply put the name of your parish in the line where you get to set the question. This way we can know which account to transfer your donation into. Thank you for any support you can offer during these difficult times.
4) Here’s a bit of positive news! Thanks to the Canadian government extending to all register charities in Canada the opportunity to participate in their wage subsidy program in which they will pay 75% of all salaries we will be able to keep Pauline, our parish secretary on our payroll and not lay her off as we had planned to do. Even though she will not be allowed to open any of the offices, she will use call forwarding from the Chapeau office (819-689-5757) to respond to your calls. I will continue to man the St. Joseph’s office (which is also closed) and can be reached by phone at 819-689-5232.
5) Here’s a question for you to consider. What have you done this week to reach out to people in your social circles (and beyond) who you know are facing this lockdown alone in their homes? Phone calls (or Facetime or Skype calls if they have internet services) to them will help to break up the loneliness that might afflict them. You can check and see if they are in need of any food or prescriptions and perhaps help them get what they need. In that vein, are you aware that Metro in Fort-Coulonge is making deliveries of groceries to local addresses or that you can place an order over the phone at Conroy’s Grocers and they will bring out the order to your car when you come to pick it up and pay for it? L’Ancienne Banque restaurant is also making deliveries from their menu to for a nominal fee of $5. We commend all the local businesses who are trying to provide us with the best service possible in these dangerous times.
6) Another parishioner, Joe Selkirk of Sheenboro, has suffered the loss of his home to fire this week. There is a GoFundMe page set up by his friends to help him as his house was not insured. Please be generous if at all possible, in helping him in this time of need.
STAY HOME – STAY SAFE – SAVE A LIFE!