Sunday 2nd April 2023,

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion 

Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the re-enactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a young donkey, and to the lavish praise of the townspeople who threw clothes, or possibly palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage. This was a customary practice for people of great respect.

Palm branches are a widely recognized symbol of peace and victory, hence their preferred use on Palm Sunday. The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic. It represents the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a steed in war.

A week later, Christ would rise from the dead on the first Easter. During Palm Sunday Mass, palms are distributed to parishioners who carry them in a ritual procession into church. The palms are blessed, and many people will fashion them into small crosses or other items of personal devotion. These may be returned to the church or kept for the year in people’s homes. Because the palms are blessed, they may not be discarded as trash. Instead, they are appropriately gathered at the church and incinerated to create the ashes that will be used in the follow year’s Ash Wednesday observance.

The colour of the Mass on Palm Sunday is red, symbolizing the redemption in blood that Christ paid for the world.

The Easter Triduum begins with the Vigil of Holy Thursday. It marks the end of the forty days of Lent and the beginning of the three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council reminded us of the extraordinary significance of the Triduum : “Christ redeemed us all and gave perfect glory to God principally through his paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life. Therefore, the Easter Triduum of the passion and resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year.”  These last Forty Days were a time of preparation for these great Three days, which is what Triduum means. These three days lead us to an empty tomb and an Octave, eight days of celebrating the Resurrection. They also introduce an entire liturgical season, the Easter Season, which lasts for Fifty days until Pentecost. 

The Stations of the Cross: The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each and devout meditation on the various incidents in turn. It is very usual, when the devotion is performed publicly, to sing a stanza of the “Stabat Mater” while passing from one Station to the next.

Inasmuch as the Way of the Cross, made in this way, constitutes a miniature pilgrimage to the holy places at Jerusalem, the origin of the devotion may be traced to the Holy Land. The Via Dolorosa at Jerusalem (though not called by that name before the sixteenth century) was reverently marked out from the earliest times and has been the goal of pious pilgrims ever since the days of Constantine. 

Palm Sunday Masses Holy Spirit Vigil 5pm (Saturday), St Matthias’ 10am, St Teresa’s 12noon

Holy Week Masses: St Matthias’ Tuesday & Wednesday 10am.  Chrism Mass in St Peters – Wednesday 12noon. 

Holy Thursday St Teresa’s –Mass 7pm.

Good Friday – St Matthias’ Stations of the Cross at 12noon, Church of the Holy Spirit Stations of the Cross 7pm. Procession of the Cross from St Matthias’ and the Holy Spirit 2.30pm. St Teresa’s Veneration of the Cross 3pm.

Easter Saturday St Teresa’s Vigil Mass 8pmEaster Sunday St Matthias’ 10am, St Teresa’s 12noon.

To book a wedding or baptism, please contact the parish office (better to email).

Please return your Trocaire boxes at the Holy Thursday Masses. Thank you.

Recently Deceased Anne McGrath, Molly Moylan, Jane Molloy, Sylvia McGibbon.

Anniversaries Kathleen Thompson, James McArdle.

Weekly Offertory £1,520. Thank you.

Parish Draw March Winners Marie O’Neill, Rosemary Duffy, Catherine McCallan, P Dougan, Anne Madden.

Clonard Monastery – Good Friday Falls/Shankill Annual Prayer Walk – 7th April beginning at 4.45pm in front of Clonard Church, stopping midway at Shankill Methodist for a brief prayer led by Rev. Alan Conly (Methodist), and returning to Clonard by 6.00pm. This year is extra special as we mark the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. All are welcome as we recommit ourselves to the ministry of reconciliation in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth who gave His life for everyone on this day.

On the Feast of the Good Shepherd, 29th April, the Irish Bishops are launching a Year for Vocation for Diocesan Priesthood with the theme: “Take the Risk for Christ”. The year will allow us to focus our energies and renew our prayer for Diocesan Vocations. This year, the Drumalis Vocations Retreat, Larne will take place on 21-23 April 2023 and will be co-hosted by the Northern Dioceses. The contact link is: Please see the poster at the back of the Church for further details.

Sestina Music Workshop: Friday 14th April 4-5pm, Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Belfast

The workshop Sing with Sestina: Zadok the Priest, is a one-hour workshop led by Musical Director Mark Chambers, open to anyone and everyone who loves to sing. The workshop will explore Zadok the Priest in detail, culminating in an informal performance of the piece with the full Sestina choir and a 20-piece period instrument orchestra.

Concert: Friday 14th April 7.30pm, Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Belfast

The concert Music of Celebration offers a fantastic opportunity to listen to Sestina Music present music from the courts of the European Baroque era with a 20-piece period instrument orchestra.

Bethany Group Contact number 0799 0381248

St Vincent De Paul Helpline No.  0741 9326678

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