The Season of Lent's concluding week which is called Holy Week has begun and has significant days like Palm Sunday and Good Friday.
Last Sunday, which is considered Palm Sunday was the day that Jesus arrived into Jerusalem. The Jewish people welcomed Him with joyous praise and vibrant palm leaves. This was a time they’ve been anticipating since they heard about His coming.
Many Catholic churches around Turlock were decorated with palm leaves and packed with parishioners. Most masses started with the distribution of palms to all that came, and then everyone would exit the church and listen to a reading outside. After the priest was done, he would bless the crowd and their palms with holy water while leading them back into the church.
According to Father Matthew O’Donnell of All Saints Church, “Palm Sunday is the day of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem… and it fulfills the prophecy of Zachariah that he will return in His glory, riding on a donkey. This is a fulfillment of that.”
During mass O’Donnell is dressed in a red robe, which symbolizes “always for martyrdom or the shedding of blood, today Jesus sheds his blood” in Sunday’s gospel.
The tale of Christ’s Passion is read during Palm Sunday to start off this Holy Week in preparation to Easter, even though Jesus is actually crucified on Good Friday.
“We read it today basically in anticipation, we’re reading it because a lot of people don’t go to daily mass so we kind of tend to do it weeks or a day in advance,” Michaela de Bos, Vice President of the CSA (Catholic Student Association) said.
The reading of the Passion is to prepare us for the week to really show us, look [the Jewish people] were in totally in anticipation of Jesus and ready for him but look how quick they changed, Bos said. “Be aware of your surroundings this week. Be aware of your Lenten fast, so that you’re able to stay vigilant and stay ready for any kind of temptations that you walk through.”
This goes for the rest of the Holy Week. Staying aware of Jesus' coming is a central motif throughout not just the Passion but through the gospel. Prior to Judas' kiss of betrayal in the garden, the disciples fell asleep while Jesus prayed and talked to his Father.
“Every moment is precious and so the time that He has, [his disciples] should be awake and on guard. We hear that in scripture to be awake and alert,” O'Donnell said
This Friday marks the day that Jesus is trialed and condemned to be crucified under Pontius Pilot. The day starts at 9 a.m. and until midnight Jesus was beaten and forced to carry His cross to the top of a hill named Golgotha which translates to "place of the skull". From midnight to 3 p.m. Jesus hanged from the cross as people watched and told him to call for His Father “But Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed His last” Mark 15:37.
At All Saints Church, they will be holding a few events for Holy Week.
- Wednesday, Mar. 28 at 1:00 p.m. Mass will be held on campus at Bizzini Hall, Room 245.
- Good Friday, Mar. 30 at 3:00 p.m. Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and 6:00 p.m. Live Stations of the Cross will be held at the church which is located at 4040 McKenna Drive in Turlock.
- Saturday, Mar. 31 at 8:15 p.m. Easter Vigil Mass will be held at the church.
- Easter Sunday, Apr. 1 at 9:00 a.m. Easter Sunday Mass and 11:15 a.m. Children’s Easter Mass will both be held at the church.
On the Saturday Easter Vigil Mass, there is the special procession for those that are studying to become Catholics. The mass starts at 8 p.m. and lasts until midnight that night.
“It starts outside and it’s beautiful, you should be here, it’s gorgeous. We start in the parking lot with the fire, and the Easter candle and then the procession comes in. It is all dark, you will carry a little candle that get’s lit at the door with the Easter candle,” says Toni Mora, a parishioner at All Saints Church.
“We get here in the dark. The first four readings are read with the candles lit, but after the Gloria prayer and then all the lights turn on. It is just beautiful,” Mora said.
St. Joseph’s hosts one of the Central Valley’s biggest performances of the Passion on Good Friday, prior to the Walk for Life at Modesto. They will be holding Good Friday at the East Ridge Community Church.
The walk will end at St. Joseph’s Church and at midnight the Live Stations of the Cross will start. It is an outdoor event that runs for about an hour, and in past events there were a select amount of seats but the performance is in a constant motion, changing location scene by scene.
For more information about Easter Sunday mass times or the Walk for Life, St. Joseph’s Church has flyers on their website.