Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of April 16, 2000

Dear Parishioners,

Today, Palm Sunday, we begin “Holy Week.”  It’s is the holiest week of the year.  We commemorate the mystery of God’s great love for us in the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  What a beautiful week.  The Holy Week Liturgies are beautiful.  The schedule for these is printed elsewhere in this bulletin.  Please plan to attend.

The annual Chrism Mass will be this Tuesday, April 18, at the cathedral.  The Mass begins at 7:00 p.m. and everyone is invited.  The archbishop will bless the holy oils that will be used in the administration of the sacraments for the coming twelve months.  Maggie Greene, our parish council chairperson, will represent Holy Rosary at this Mass and bring the sacred oils back to the parish.

During the Chrism Mass, we priests also renew the promises taken on the day of our ordination.  What a wonderful feeling it is; and what a wonderful thing to witness!  Please pray for Fr. Duvelius and myself and all priests.

The Sacrament of Penance is an essential part of Lent for any Catholic.  Confessions are heard before every Mass, seven days a week here at Holy Rosary.  Don’t forget the Penance Service at Good Shepherd today (Palm Sunday) April 16, at 2:00 p.m.

The second collection today is for the Pro-Life Cause.  Abortion and the degradation of human life are among the most horrible sins so rampant in our country today.  It is strange to see so many of our politicians supposedly so concerned over the little Cuban Boy, Élan Gonzalez (as they should well be), but so willing to legalize abortion and partial birth abortion.  It does not make any sense.

Why do we use palms on Palm Sunday?

In Biblical times, the palm tree symbolized victory and well-being.  It provided shelter and even food in desert borderlands, and so was highly prized in many cultures.  Among the Israelites, it served as Temple decoration.  Its branches were carried in procession during the Feast of the Tabernacles.  Palms were part of the bouquet offered in homage on festive occasions or to celebrate a victory.  Centuries before the time of Christ, victorious Roman soldiers carried palms in parades, and victors at public games in Rome received them in tribute.

When Christ triumphantly entered Jerusalem, people strewed palm branches in His path and greeted Him with hosannas.  Already in New Testament times, the palm was used to decorate grave-markers and tombs in the catacombs as a sign of the triumphal death of the martyr.  On mosaics and on sarcophagi (tombs), it represents Paradise.  Christ in heaven, the Lamb of God, and the apostles are frequently depicted with palms.

In the Middle Ages, palms came to symbolize Sundays; during the Renaissance, they represented virtues and were an omen for good marriage and long life.

Blessed palm received by the faithful at Mass on the Sunday before Easter is a sacramental, a symbol of Christ’s presence among us.  It is usually placed over beds, entwined on a crucifix, or displayed near some holy picture or statue.  Often it is decorated with ribbons or worked into an artistic pattern, such as a cross.

Before Ash Wednesday, the blessed palm is burned, and its ashes used to mark the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of penitence at the beginning of Lent.  Keep your blessed palm in a prominent place at home to remind us of all of the above all year round.

If you have access to the Internet, check out our Holy Rosary Church Web Page.  It’s at  HYPERLINK "http://members.tripod.com/~holyrosarychurch" http://members.tripod.com/~holyrosarychurch.  Also on the Internet are some excellent pictures taken at our recent Saint Joseph’s Table.  That Internet address is:  http://www.geocities.com/indycatholic/stjoe.html.  Many thanks to our “Web Master,” Mr. Paul Burns.  He does a terrific job. 

The Parish Council met last Monday.  We discussed how to distribute the funds to benefit Catholic Education.  Just over $4,500.00 went to our own Central Catholic School.  We discussed preliminary plans for the annual Italian Street Festival.  (Mark you calendar—June 9 and 10).  We talked about the new elevator, maintenance needs, and some other odds and ends.

Do we have any roofers in the parish?  We need someone to inspect the “scuffers” that drain water from around the bell towers, where they are attached to the roof.  If you know something about this, call David or Bernie at the parish office.  Thanks.

The new elevator should become a reality this summer.  Many thanks again to Gus Stinnett for his constant attention to this and our many other maintenance concerns.  I don’t see where he gets the patience to work with all of these contractors, vendors, and workers; but he sure does.

Faithfully yours in God’s Providence,

Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel