April 5, 2020 Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Palm Sunday at home Today’s Readings: Is 50:4-7 | Phil 2:6-11 | Mt 26:14-27:66

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

it is Palm Sunday, and we are looking forward to the most unusual Holy Week of probably most of our lives. Church services in our area are suspended until at least the end of the month – Holy Week, however, is never suspended! As we’re searching for ways to make this most important week in our faith meaningful at home, we hope some of the resources listed below might be of help.

On Palm Sunday, we hear the passion of Christ read during mass, and we bless palm or other green branches, a symbol of ultimate victory, and take them home. You can do all of these:

  • Here are the readings for Palm Sunday: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040520.cfm

  • Today’s Liturgy of the Word, for reading alone or celebrating with your family, can be found here: https://us.magnificat.net/skin/frontend/default/theme278k/images/site/Celebration_US.pdf (the Magnificat is accessible for free during the pandemic crisis, check it out on other days as well!)

  • A child-friendly, short “reflection and action” for families can be found here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0206/6590/files/PDF_-_200405.pdf?v=1585937258

Catholic churches in Heidelberg remain open for personal prayer, and blessed branches for the faithful to take home will be provided in the churches of the city during the day, according to the City Church newsletter (to which you can subscribe here: https://stadtkirche-heidelberg.de).

We’d like to also encourage you to put up green branches, a green wreath with a little cross or similar decoration at your front door, in a window or such to make Palm Sunday visible and connect those celebrating. If you do so: Please join the photo challenge on our facebook page!

For many of us, Lent is the time of repentance and reconciliation, and you might be wondering how to go to confession this year before Easter. For most of us, the sacrament sadly is not available these days. Have you thought about making an “Act of Contrition” instead for now? (CCC 1451-1452)
Read what Pope Francis recently said about confession when a priest is not available: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2020-03/pope-homily-return-father-daddy-hosea-confession-carlo-buti.html

In a similar way, these days we might want to consider spiritual communion, e.g. with this prayer:

“My Jesus,

I believe that you are present in this Most Holy Sacrament.

I love you above all things. I desire to receive you into my soul.

Since I cannot, at this moment, receive you in the Sacrament, come spiritually into my heart.

I embrace you and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you.”

“Act of Spiritual Communion” by St. Alphonsus

Read more about making a Spiritual Communion here: https://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Making-a-Spiritual-Communion.html

Furthermore, let us be reminded once again that you can send in your prayer requests so that Father Cyril can include them when celebrating his daily mass – please use this form: https://forms.gle/RqTzxY4wan9ACvtB6

And last but definitely not least: If any of you, the members of our community, need help these days, please reach out! We are also very grateful being able to share an initiative from one of our members, who offers her help to any of the ICCH seniors or vulnerable people who may need help with grocery shopping etc. Please don’t hesitate to send us word via mail if this would help you.

You will receive our next newsletter around the middle of this week, in time for the Easter Triduum, with resources for Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Wishing you abundant blessings in this Holy Week, stay safe and healthy! Your ICCH team

P.S.: In case you need more, here’s another wonderful list full of resources for mass, prayers, families etc.: https://thejesuitpost.org/2020/03/when-im-social-distancing-i-need-christ-resources-to-finding-god-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

Source of image: Government of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Palmsonntag_in_Osttimor_2019.jpg