Walking the Walk

liturgical space 022Our Judeo-Christian tradition includes many long journeys towards a unique encounter with God.  The Israelites’ search for the Promised Land, Elijah fleeing to Mount Horeb, and Joseph and Mary travelling to Bethlehem are some example.  Jesus’ own long journey of his public ministry ultimately leads to his final journey to Golgotha.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, looking towards the Dome of the Rock
Looking into the old city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

Many Christians since have been inspired to seek encounter with God through pilgrimage.  It may be to sacred places abroad like the Holy Land, or walking in the footsteps of saints.  The processions of our liturgy enrich our worship by drawing us physically into the journey of encountering God.  They are, in their own way, pilgrimages into the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and our upcoming Holy Week celebrations are full of them.

Fr John and Severs showing the cross, Good Friday 2009Beginning with the procession at 9:00 am Mass on Palm Sunday, we continue with the processions of oils, gifts for the poor, and the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday.  The cross is the focus of procession on Good Friday, as it is brought into the church, and as we approach it in adoration.  Finally, the Easter Vigil brings with it the procession of the light that dispels the 25320897818_a85d3d4b9f_b_ddarkness, and the procession to the font where we will not only renew our own baptism, but celebrate the baptism of five new Catholics – Thippi, Mathanki, Lucy, Song and Alan – who will then go on to process to the altar for the first time in Holy Communion.

Let us take the opportunity to participate in these processions prayerfully and place ourselves within the saving act of Jesus that is not just a historic event, but something that the liturgy makes real and present for us here and now.

Pick a branch, Any Branch

Carmel Bulletin, 4 March 2018

Sometimes we can get really hung up on words.

Take “Palm” Sunday for example.  Yes, it was a practice in Palestine in Jesus’ time to use palm branches to welcome dignitaries.  Yet, when looking through a reputable Bible translation, only the gospel according to John specifically names palm branches.  In the same translation, Matthew mentions branches, Mark mentions leafy branches (or greenery), and Luke doesn’t mention branches at all.

Parishioners with palm and olive branches on Palm SundayThe point of the text – and our ritual practice nowadays on Palm Sunday – is not the type of plant, but the purpose of the action.  The people of Jerusalem were welcoming a King.  We too give glory, praise and honour to our King.  While many of us are used to doing this by using palms, some use olive branches (remember that Jesus entered Jerusalem via the Mount of Olives), while people in other parts of the world today would use what is available to them.

So this year, on Palm Sunday, we invite you to bring your own cutting of a branch, from any tree or plant, to use as we commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  We would also greatly appreciate it if you can bring some palms or some other branches for people who don’t have any.  In this way, we can make the honouring and praising of Christ, our King, very much our own in this place and time.

Holy Week

Carmel Bulletin, 29 March 2015

Today we begin once again to approach the most holy days of the entire liturgical year.  We invite you all to participate in the celebrations of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

Our Diocese will celebrate the Chrism Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.  At this Mass, Bishop Kevin Manning will bless the oils that will be used in the celebration of the sacraments over the next year and consecrate the Sacred Chrism.  They will be presented to Fr Paul and representatives of our parish, and presented in our church prior to the commencement of the Holy Thursday evening Mass.

Bowl and Jug for the Washing of FeetThere is not a morning Mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday.  The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 pm. The Parish Centre is reserved on this evening as the altar of repose for the Blessed Sacrament.  The main church doors will be used, with the parish centre entrance reserved for mobility access only.  Please bring your Project Compassion box with you and Vinnies food donations also and place them in the baskets provided.  Solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which continues after Mass, will conclude with Night Prayer (Compline) at 9:45 pm.

Procession of the CrossStations of the Cross will be prayed on Good Friday at 9:00 am, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated from 9:30 – 10:30 am.  The church will remain open during the day for those who wish to come and pray.  The main celebration of this day is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 pm.

Fire at Easter VigilIf you have flowers to contribute to the Marian Shrine or other saints at Easter, please bring these down to the parish centre on Holy Saturday from 9:00 am – 10:00 am.  The main celebration of this day and the entire Easter Triduum is The Easter Vigil at 7:30 pm.

Finally, Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am and 6:00 pm.

Recalling Palm Sunday

Carmel Bulletin, 27 April 2014

We have recently celebrated again the liturgies of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.  The first of these was the celebration of Palm Sunday.

The full title of this day, as provided in the Missal, shows us exactly what we celebrate on this day.  Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord invites us all to celebrate not only the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem, but also the events of the days that followed; his passion and death.

Palm Sunday ProcessionIt is in the Introductory Rites of the Mass for Palm Sunday that we celebrate the actual ‘Palm Sunday’.  This can take the form of a procession at the principal Mass of the Sunday (as it does here at 9:00 am), or with a simple or solemn entrance (as we celebrate from the narthex) at the other Masses of the Sunday.  We begin with the antiphon that quotes directly from the gospel, “Hosanna to the Son of David…” (Mt 21:9).  We bless the palms (or olive branches or other greenery) that we will use and take home with us.  We listen to the account of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem from the gospels, and then proceed into the church “like the crowds that acclaimed Jesus in Jerusalem.”  Song is an important part of the entrance and procession.

Palms and Olive branches at Palm Sunday ProcessionThe palm or other branch we take with us on the day serves as a sign to us long after Holy Week has ended, but not the sole point of the rites we celebrate.  The Vatican Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy states:

The faithful, however, should be instructed as to the meaning of this celebration so that they might grasp its significance. They should be opportunely reminded that the important thing is participation at the procession and not only the obtaining of palm or olive branches… Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic king, and in his Paschal Victory. (article 139)

Finally, I would like to echo Fr Paul’s words of thanks to those who were involved in the celebrations of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

View our Palm Sunday photo album: facebook | flickr

24/3/13 – Holy Week

Fr John and Severs showing the cross, Good Friday 2009

Today we begin once again to approach the most holy days of the entire liturgical year.  We invite you all to participate in the celebrations of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

Our Penitential Service is on Tuesday at 7:30 pm, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated on Good Friday, from 9:30 to 10:30 am.

Bishop Anthony will celebrate the Chrism Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.  At this Mass, the oils that will be used in the celebration of the sacraments over the next year will be blessed, and the Sacred Chrism consecrated.  They will be presented to Fr Paul and representatives of our parish, and presented in our church prior to the commencement of the Holy Thursday evening Mass.

There is not a morning Mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday.  The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 pm. The Parish Centre is reserved on this evening as the altar of repose for the Blessed Sacrament.  The main church doors will be used, with the parish centre entrance reserved for mobility access only.  Please bring your Project Compassion box with you and Vinnies food donations also and place them in the baskets provided.

Stations of the Cross will be prayed on Good Friday at 9:00 am.  The church will remain open during the day for those who wish to come and pray, with a Syro-Malabar Rite service during the day as well.  The main celebration of this day is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 pm.

If you have flowers to contribute to the Marian Shrine or other saints at Easter, please bring these down to the parish centre on Holy Saturday from 9:00 am – 10:00 am.  The main celebration of this day and the entire Easter Triduum is The Easter Vigil at 7:30 pm.

Finally, Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 7:00 am, 9:00 am and 10:30 am only.  To close the celebration of the Easter Triduum, we invite you to join us for Evening Prayer (Vespers) at 6:00 pm.