Next weekend is Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. “On this day the Church recalls the entrance of Christ the Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. Accordingly, the memorial of this entrance of the Lord takes place at all Masses” (Roman Missal). Thus, we shall begin all Masses next weekend in the atrium of the church between the weekday chapel and main church doors. A blessing and procession of palms will precede the start of Mass to help us recall the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem days before accomplishing His saving mission by means of His death and resurrection. Blessed palms will only be available to those who join us for the blessing in the atrium. There will, however, be a table erected in the atrium so that after the blessing and procession you can obtain palms if you haven’t already done so.
A number of you were asking about the unique flag on display in Bixman Hall during our recent Donut Sunday social after Masses March 24th. The flag is a replica of the original 1571 version representing the Holy League, an alliance of Catholic parties organized by St. Pope Pius V and including Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Venice, and Don Juan of Austria. The crucified Christ stand above the coats of arms of these leaders of the League, and all are linked by chains symbolizing their alliance. Together they successfully thwarted an impending Muslim invasion of Italy at the naval Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571 through the intercession of our Blessed Mother and the prayer of the Rosary. The original flag was flown by the leader of the Catholic naval forces, Don Juan of Austria, from his flagship Real. It is made of blue damask interwoven with gold thread and is close to 24 feet long and about 14.5 feet wide. The flag we have on display is a scaled down version of woven polyester.
What relevance does a flag like this have for us now? For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12). Think of this flag as a reminder that we must be united in opposing forces that threaten our faith and the sanctify of human life. Under Christ and through the intercession of His Mother, Mary, we can conquer through our prayers those dark forces arrayed against the free exercise of religion, and the self-centeredness of our times that all too often thinks of vulnerable human beings as disposable.
David J. Conrad