I have had some conversations and meetings over the last couple of weeks that have just been…surreal. The last few days they have had to do with Holy Week. So let me share with you what is going to happen.
Palm Sunday: Mass will be celebrated at 10 AM via (removed the word the) livestream and a recording will be made available soon afterward on Youtube. I have had many conversations about the distribution of Palms. Conversations with our Leadership Team, other priests and the Town of Dartmouth Health Department. Ultimately, we need to mindful that Palms are sacramentals, items that point us to Christ. The Public Health risk involved with the distribution of Palms does not seem to be worth it. This has led to the following decision
1.Palms were used by the crowds to greet Jesus because they were common, they were the tree branches that were around them. With this in mind and borrowing from an idea that has been floating over social media, I invite you to place a green branch on your doors or in your home this weekend, as a sign of welcoming Christ into your home.
2.The Palms will be blessed at Sunday’s Mass, and then stored until public liturgies have resumed. People will be able to take Palms at that time.
Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil (and Easter Sunday): will not take place with a congregation. The Liturgy Team has been planning these ceremonies based on the Vatican’s directives. It will be very different but will still be celebrated. You may join in via the Livestream.
Holy Thursday: 7 PM
Good Friday: 7 PM
Easter Vigil: 7:30 PM
Easter Sunday: 10 AM
The Sacraments of Initiation will not take place at this time but will take place once public liturgies resume. Please pray for the 7 young men and women who are looking forward to joining our Family of Faith.
This is a very different Holy Week and Easter than any of us have ever had before. I have been thinking of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas during all of this planning. Remember the story? Despite the Grinch's attempts to prevent Christmas from happening, he couldn’t. Christmas isn’t about the gifts and the big celebrations. While we have some important family traditions around Holy Week and Easter, Holy Week and Easter aren’t dependent on them. We are celebrating Christ’s Passion, Death and familyResurrection and what that means for us: Salvation and Hope, even in the darkest times. There may not be a big Easter dinner this year, but it can be one of the most spiritually powerful experiences in our lives.