This week is by far the busiest week in the church’s calendar.
We start this Sunday with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the capital of his native country. And we see, and join, the crowds waving their palms in exaltation. In an occupied land this is similar on one level to the demonstrations we have seen in Ukraine of citizens coming out to object to the invaders in their land. The crowds in Jerusalem are chanting ‘Hosanna to the King’, not just an affirmation of Christ, but also a challenge to the Romans.
Now, while the Ukraine resistance has been steadfast and the chants the same day after day, in Jerusalem, Jesus will hear a very different chant come Good Friday. But before we get to that stage, the diocese will come together on Wednesday at Clifton Cathedral for the Chrism Mass. This will be the first time in three years that this celebration has had a congregation present. The Priests and people gather around their Bishop, and recognise their unity of mission to the world. Empowered and encouraged by this, they return to their individual parishes so that on Thursday evening they can celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, when Christ instituted this great celebration in memory of his forthcoming sacrifice.
On Good Friday, our young people will gather in the morning for a celebration of the Stations of the Cross. In the afternoon, the rest of the parish will assemble to listen to the reading of The Passion and to come forward to venerate the Cross. This veneration is available to everyone in the church, no matter what age or whether they are Catholic or not, all are welcome to come and recognise the price paid for our salvation.
Finally, we have the Easter vigil where through the readings of the Old Testament we will see the unfolding of salvation history and the coming of our Messiah. Please note that on Easter Sunday there are two Masses, one at 8am and the other at 10am. There is no evening Mass on Easter Sunday.