Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,
Palm Sunday begins the most powerful and transformative week in the Church’s year, known as Holy Week. Although there is no holy day of obligation between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, I hope that you are able to live these powerful days that changed the world by spiritually diving deep into what the Church offers. Here are some ideas how:
1. Attend the Triduum Masses: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil make up the holy Triduum. The Church really celebrates these days as one continuous liturgy beginning on Holy Thursday and extending to the end of the Easter Vigil. These are the richest and most unique liturgies of the year, which connect us with the events of the Last Supper, the Passion and Crucifixion, and the glorious Resurrection of our Lord. Consider participating in all three days’ liturgies to enter into the events that saved us.
2. Visit the Altars of Repose: Holy Thursday’s liturgy concludes with a Eucharistic procession to the altar of repose (at St. Martin’s the altar of repose will be in the parish hall). This signifies Christ leaving the Last Supper and heading with his apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane, where he sweats blood in anticipation of his Passion. Every parish prepares their own altar of repose, where you can pray with the Eucharistic Lord well into the night. Consider not just spending time at St. Martin’s altar of repose, but visiting other parishes’ altars in our area on Holy Thursday night.
3. 12pm-3pm on Good Friday: Between the hours of 12pm-3pm, Christ hung on the cross, redeeming the sins of all humanity. Consider turning off your TV’s, computers, etc. during those hours to sanctify them. Then come pray the Stations of the Cross in the church (3pm in English and 4:30pm in Spanish). Remember that Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence.
4. Read the Gospels: On Palm Sunday and Good Friday the Church reads the accounts of the Passion and death of Christ from the gospels. Consider praying with the passion accounts from all four gospels this week, as each of them brings out distinct elements of Christ’s words and deeds. There is Judas’ kiss, Peter’s betrayal, the apostles’ scattering, the scam trial, Jesus and Pontus Pilate, Barabbas, the carrying of the cross, Mary and John at the foot of the cross, the repentance of the Good Thief, and so much more.
5. Formed.org: Throughout Holy Week, Formed.org will provide various programs and materials for our spiritual benefit. Remember that we have a free subscription for all of our parishioners, and there is plenty to watch and listen to in English and Spanish. It is simple to access all of this material if you haven’t yet signed up. Go to formed.org/signup and enter our parish’s name, St. Martin of Tours, Gaithersburg.
Have a blessed Holy Week and seek with St. Paul to know more fully the power of the Lord’s resurrection.