Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, April 2, 2023

Dear friends,

Thank you for your generosity in supporting the Lenten Long Sleeve Shirt Drive to benefit the Farmworkers. Special thanks to Sherry and Karen for coordinating this effort. All the goods collected have been distributed to the Farmworkers. Your generous donations this year filled almost 100 extra-large trash bags, and because of that, these farm workers have enough for the entire year. You did it, St. John’s!

Congratulations to Don and Annette Winterich, who are the Family of the Month for March 2023. We are grateful to them for their deep faith and their untiring effort to help out in various ministries.

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Passion of our Lord. With this, we begin Holy Week, the most important week in the life of the Church. This week captures the whole essence and purpose and mission of Jesus’ life. “Holy Week is ordered to the commemoration of Christ’s Passion beginning with his Messianic entrance into Jerusalem” (Universal Norms, 31). During Holy Week, the Church enters more deeply into the puzzling plan and language of our God. The Eastern Churches call Holy Week "the Great Week.” “The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1169)

On Monday, April 3, 2023 Bishop John Noonan will celebrate the Chrism Mass with all the priests of the Diocese of Orlando at the Basilica of Mary Queen of the Universe. This is the Mass in which the bishop blesses the oils used in the sacramental liturgies in all the parishes: The Oil of the Catechumens, The Oil of the Sick, The Sacred Chrism. These oils will be presented to us on Holy Thursday during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

This is the week in which we also celebrate The Sacred Paschal Triduum. “The Paschal Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, has its center in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Vespers (Evening Prayer) on the Sunday of the Resurrection” (Universal Norms, 19).

I invite you specially to consider attending all of these most sublime liturgies of the Sacred Paschal Triduum which begin on Thursday of Holy Week. The following are the most important:

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Holy Thursday – 7:00 p.m. Following Mass, there will be time to adore the Blessed Sacrament until midnight.

Friday of the Passion of the Lord , Good Friday – 3 p.m. The teens of our parish will present the Living Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m. On this day we both abstain from eating meat and fast to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus.

Holy Saturday: For our two Elects, Melanie and Robert Ward, this is a day of solemn silence and preparation for the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation. For the children and their families, there will be a pancake Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and an Easter egg hunt from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The annual Blessing of the Baskets will occur at 11 a.m.

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night will be celebrated at 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord – Masses are at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., and 12 noon.

Let us enter whole-heartedly into these faith- anchoring events of Holy Week. Let us fully embrace the grace of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ through which God saves us all.

Have a Blessed Holy Week!

With love,

Fr. John