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Lent VI – Palm Sunday

Above is from Palm Sunday, 2016. This year we will certainly miss Rich VandeRyt, and of course Fr. Cekada, who is still in the hospital.

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Palm Sunday leads us into the losses, the dark defeat of Holy Week, with a scene of splendid homage and joy for the victory of our King. In the midst of the desolation of these days, a great victory was granted us. There was much talk last week of closing down the remaining churches. We prayed. Mightily. We were heard, speedily. Not a word more was said of closing churches. Thanks be to God, to the Divine Infant, to the Holy Face…. All of these graces come to us through “Mary of Graces” with the help of Good St. Joseph. Many people prayed. Thank you for yours. On to Holy Week and Easter. Our story always has a happy ending.

On a human level, remember that neither politicians nor police want to tangle with preachers, nor leave a legacy of Chinese Communist style closed churches. It’s way too early for that. At the moment the success of this vast enterprise of social control depends upon voluntary compliance or self-policing. Think about that. Read and think and discuss, as well as pray.

It occurred to me forcefully again this week how many of our own, how many clergy even, are afraid, very afraid, after the endless barrage of propaganda from the media and pressure from family and friends. Little accurate information is out there, be it ever so little as the consolation of simple compared statistics and what even a short memory could supply, say, going back to the far more serious flu of 2009 [up to 575,000 dead. Ed.], to say nothing of SARS, etc.

But we have a secret weapon. “Turn, turn, turn” the old 60s song goes. Turn it off, turn away, turn to Jesus in His bitter Passion for sweet, strong relief. Live these days of Holy Week as never you have before. If you can come, come often. Many cannot or will not, paralyzed by fear. You be bright and brave and light the way, won’t you? Only turn it off, stay away from the propaganda they call news. Entirely away.

But spare a prayer for those caged in at home, in a hospital or nursing home; depressed, sad, slowly withering away. This is not the all of it by any means, but it is part of what our masters have imposed upon us. Unspeakably sad.

Cloister yourself, your soul, in another way these days, far away from the electronic voice that tells you not to think, only to fear. Don’t listen. “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Thus the Church today begins a long day of prayers. But this one, at Midnight Matins, comes first. Give yourself to others for Jesus’ sake.

Let Christ pray in you, let Him suffer for souls and honor His Father, in you. I do not know how this crucial Holy Week of 2020 will end, but I do promise you peace, if you turn away and turn towards! Jesus, only Jesus, these days.

Fr. Lehtoranta has gone to Milwaukee for Holy Week to see what good he can do for souls in that oppressed state, ten at a time. Fr. Francis Miller is under the same official restrictions, and is trying outdoor Masses, drive-in theater style. It should work for him. He asked the police but they weren’t committing, as everybody’s afraid, waiting for orders, endless orders. But I don’t think they’ll bother the good Franciscan in Lafayette. Fr. McKenna is due to be back with us today, having visited his Texas missions. Seminarian John Okerulu is with us for Holy Week, and we are grateful for his help.

Fr. Cekada is working very hard on his rehabilitation therapy, patiently bearing yet another round, the hospital isolation, and the mix-ups and delays of that life. Keep him, and all of our shut ins in your prayers these days, as well as those paralyzed at home, prey to every fear, sunk in sadness.

“Pray and keep watch, lest you enter into temptation.”

– Bishop Dolan