Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of April 8, 2001

Dear Parishioners,

Today, Palm Sunday, we begin Holy Week.  We commemorate the mystery of God’s love for us in the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  The Holy Week Liturgies are beautiful.  The schedule is printed elsewhere in this bulletin.  Plan to attend.

The annual Chrism Mass will be this Tuesday, April 10, at the cathedral.  The Mass begins at 7:00 p.m.  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.  These blessed oils are kept in the ambry located on the wall near our baptismal font.  They are used to administer the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the anointing of the sick.

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.  Confessions are heard before every Mass, seven days a week at Holy Rosary.  Notice the extra hours for confessions on Good Friday and Holy Saturday this week.

Our final session in the adult education series, Spaghetti and Spirituality, is this Wednesday, April 11, after the 5:30 p.m.  Our wrap-up session on the topic, How the Catholic Church is the Same and How It is Different Than Other Christian Churches, will be an examination of some authentic anti-Catholic literature and videos.  It should be informative—and fun!

The second collection today is for the Community of Saint John.  You will recall that I wrote about this relatively new religious community of priests, brothers, and sisters during January.  Although they were only founded in France in 1975, they have over 800 members!  Their dedication to structured religious life, a common apostolate, and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament seem to be the drawing card for dozens of young people.

Three young men from Indianapolis are in various stages of their formation with the Community of Saint John.  When I visited their new priory near Peoria, Illinois, on New Year’s Eve, I was struck by its simplicity.  I was also struck by the fact that they don’t even have enough money to finish the building.  They’ll do that as they go along.  This is why I think this is a worthy cause for our second collection this weekend.

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.

The Financial Report is in from Saint Joseph’s Table.  Our net profit was just over $7,000.00.  Profits from the Monte Carlo go directly to the Central Catholic School Parents’ Club.  That was $1343.00.  Again, thanks to David Page and Matthew Iaria and their staff at Primo.  We could not do it without your generosity and your dedication to your beloved Holy Rosary Parish.  Thanks also to all those who made those delicious desserts and worked so hard to make this year’s event another success.  The annual Italian Street Festival is June 8 and 9—Mark your calendar!

Have a good Holy Week.  See you in church!

Faithfully yours in God’s Providence,

Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel