This Monday evening, we will gather with many priests for our parish Lenten Penance Service. This is a beautiful opportunity to prepare ourselves for Holy Week by having our sin cleansed. Please join us at 7:00 p.m. on Monday. We are especially eager to welcome those who have been away from this sacrament for a long time. You will find the weight of the world lifted as sin is absolved. Simple instructions will be available at the church doors for those who don’t remember the format or don’t remember the prayers, and the priests are happy to guide you if you are not sure of yourself. The point is to humbly take a good look at our sin, to tell the Lord that we are sorry, and to let Him cleanse us.
A plenary indulgence is offered on Divine Mercy Sunday. (More on that in a later column.) One of the conditions of that indulgence is having a good confession within 20 days of Divine Mercy Sunday. I would point out that our parish penance service falls within that 20 day span.
As I write this column, we are planning to cover the statues in the four corners of our church with purple veils for the remainder of Lent. There is an old custom in the Church of covering the statues beginning on the Fifth Sunday of Lent and “fasting from images” until the time of the Easter Vigil. While this hasn’t been done at St. Charles in many years, we found statue veils which must have been used in the early years of our parish.
Next Sunday is Passion Sunday, also known as Palm Sunday, and the beginning of Holy Week. A parish is allowed to choose one Mass for the solemn procession and we have traditionally done this at the 9:00 Mass. However, since our crowds are larger at the 11:00 Mass, we have decided to have the outdoor procession at 11:00 Mass this year. Assuming that it isn’t raining, we will gather on the grassy area on the corner of the Hession Center. There we will read the story of the children of Jerusalem welcoming Jesus with palm branches and then process singing into the church. At all other Masses, that story will be read at the beginning of Mass in the back of the church. Holy Week is about to begin.