Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

Palm Sunday

Sunday Mass live streamed and recording available on Website

Unfortunately, at this time of the “stay at home” order when we are prevented from gathering for Sunday Mass, this printed bulletin is no longer a “timely” method of communication as it must be sent to the printer approximately five to six days before it will be physically or electronically disseminated.   More timely details about Masses live streamed as well as recorded from both parishes, will be available from my “two to three times a week” email blasts to all parishioners who have email capability and are registered in our parishioner email databases.   

At the time of the submission of this article I can assure you that the Palm Sunday Recorded Mass from one or (hopefully) both of our Pastoral Region parishes should be available on the websites just as it was available from Mass celebrated by me at Sacred Heart on both websites last Sunday.  We are still trying to secure the “software adaptations” that will make this possible. Look for more current information through email, web postings, and the parish Facebook site.


For the time being, I will continue to have individual confessions at the published times at both parishes.  All confessions will be behind the screen.

No distribution of Blessed Palms on Palm Sunday  

 The following is a directive from the Holy See posted on the Archdiocesan website regarding the elimination of palms in the liturgy next Sunday.   

Per clarification from the Holy See on March 25, in parish churches and other places Mass must begin with the third form (Simple Entrance) as found in the Roman Missal.  This form notably OMITS the processional Gospel and blessing of palms. 

 The blessed palms are a sacramental that is linked to Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, and therefore there is no provision for blessing them outside of Mass.  It would also be inappropriate for unblessed palms to be distributed to the faithful, as it would lead to confusion about their value as a sacramental. 

 Certainly, unblessed palms can be stored throughout the year, and burned at a suitable time as usual for ashes for next Ash Wednesday. Unblessed palm could be used as décor in the sanctuary for a live-streamed Palm Sunday Mass.  Palm could also be shredded and used as mulch or for composting. 

 Healthy Practices regarding the Coronavirus  

The following is an excerpt from the Bishops’ decree.  I have not received notification as yet as to whether the restrictions will end after Easter or if there will be a gradual lifting of restrictions.  I will keep you informed as soon as I receive official word.   

After serious consideration of the grave health risk involved in public gatherings and in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, the bishops of Ohio have decided, effective immediately, to suspend temporarily all publicly celebrated Masses/liturgies, at least through the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. The bishops of Ohio dispense the Catholic faithful who reside in their respective dioceses and all other Catholics currently in Ohio from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass through Easter Sunday. 

Reflection on Scripture for Palm Sunday  

Palm Sunday is the gateway to Holy Week.  Jesus knew that the enthusiasm of the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday was going to turn into the agony and sorrow of the passion.  He knew that the next time he took a walk, no one would offer him a donkey. His next walk would be the road to Calvary. Nevertheless, he stayed the course.   

There were many other options open to Jesus that would not have ended in death.  He could have announced to the crowds that he was retreating to Caesaria Philippi, a multi-cultural Roman city where the Jewish authorities would have cared less (since it would not have been in Jerusalem); and the Romans would never have fallen for the entrapment stunt Jesus suffered in Jerusalem.  At the trial before Pilate, Jesus could have publically pledged his loyalty to Rome since he cared nothing of politics. Some Jews would have seen him as a traitor, but the Romans would have seen him as a peacemaker, and he might have stopped or delayed the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans less than forty years later in 70 AD.  Jesus could have simply run away to any other place. The Romans would not have cared enough to have extradited him. In other words, Jesus had many options to save his life; but he chose a prophet’s way. He chose to suffer the “via dolorosa.” Jesus knew it was the singular option that would lead to the Resurrection. He had to let his own people reject him, and symbolically in the Romans, all the people of the world; so that he could expiate the sins of all the world by his sacrifice.  

Every follower of Christ in our contemporary world faces the everyday options by which they could water down their faith, express it in politically correct meaningless words; and thus avoid the tough and painful road Christ walked.  But those who take the easy way out will never realize the supreme fulfillment of resurrection.  


Next Week:  Easter Sunday   

Acts 10:34, 37-43

Col 3:1-4

Jn 20:1-9


Theme: Jesus Christ IS Resurrection and Life


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