Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem: When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.” This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: “Say to daughter Zion, ‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:1–9). Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday which marks the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ agonizing journey to His Crucifixion.
Palm Sunday originated in Jerusalem around the late third or early fourth century. Back then, the ceremony consisted of prayers, hymns, and sermons as people moved through the holy sites within Jerusalem. At the last site, the place of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, the biblical account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was read. As evening approached, the people would return to the city proclaiming: “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9). The ritual blessing of palms was added in the sixth and seventh centuries.
In the Church today, Palm Sunday liturgy includes the blessing of the palms. Many people take the blessed palms and place them in their homes. Palm Sunday is an opportunity to meditate upon the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus entered Jerusalem amid shouts of ‘Hosanna!’ from the people; but at the same time, Jesus humbly entered Jerusalem to give up His life on a Cross, in order to save mankind from sin and death.
This year, the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission celebrates Palm Sunday on April 5. Mass in Chinese is at 10:30 am and Mass in English is at 2:00 pm.
Holy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. The liturgy for the evening of Holy Thursday is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the Gospels. Holy Thursday initiates the Sacred Paschal Triduum, the period which commemorates the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ; this period includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday and ends with the Easter Vigil.
Holy Thursday is also known as Maundy Thursday. The word maundy is derived from the Latin word mandatum meaning command, which signifies the commandment Jesus gave to His disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)
This year, the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission celebrates the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 pm.
Good Friday is a Christian holy day which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday before Easter Sunday, and it may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover.
After the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, candlesticks and altar cloths, cross or crosses are removed from the altar. The holy water fonts are also emptied in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil. Bells are not rung on Good Friday or Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil.
In the Catholic Church, Good Friday is a day of fasting. The only other day of fasting prescribed by the Church is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season.
The Mass is not celebrated on Good Friday. The only sacraments celebrated during the Paschal Triduum are Baptism (only for those in danger of death), Penance and Reconciliation, and the Anointing of the Sick. While there is no Mass, Holy Communion may be distributed during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion and brought to the sick.
The Veneration of the Cross highlights the Good Friday liturgy. The cross is solemnly unveiled and venerated by the people. Solemn hymns are sung and chanted throughout the veneration period.
On Good Friday, the Stations of the Cross and the Seven Last Words are also prayed and reflected upon by the faithful. This year, the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission will hold the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, April 10 at 7:00 pm. The Stations of the Cross will take place at 6:00 pm.