Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion (A) | Apr 5, 2020
Dear Students,

Like many of you, I am adjusting to the new reality of social isolation (though I'm not quite there yet). I spoke this week on our YouTube channel about the importance of establishing a routine , and I shared on our Facebook Group an article from FOCUS on the importance of being intentional with your time . Working from home, I am trying to apply these lessons to my own weekly schedule, and am starting to settle into a routine of meeting remotely with students for RCIA, spiritual formation, and ministry planning. I am also available by phone, text or email for any student who needs to reach me. I thank God for the technology that allows us to do this, but it's a pale substitute for being together in person.

This Sunday we enter into the mysteries of Holy Week with the celebration of Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. Not being able to celebrate public liturgies will make this a very different Holy Week for us. I include below resources for how to celebrate Palm Sunday at home, as well as St. Mary's live stream liturgy schedule for Holy Week. And it's not too late to register (for free!) for our virtual Holy Week Mission .

I know that many of us are feeling isolated from our friends and community at this time. Let us remember that Jesus, too, felt isolation as he entered into his Passion. Even as we are absent from friends, we can be consoled by Christ's companionship as we journey with him toward resurrection and new life.

Be assured of my continued prayers for you.

In Christ's Peace,
Deacon Matt
This Sunday
Palm Sunday begins with the crowd welcoming Jesus with shouts of "Hosanna!" It ends with the same crowd shouting, "Crucify him!" We can be like the crowd in our faith; quick to welcome Jesus, but also quick to turn against him. Let's instead be like Mary, John, or Peter. Deacon Matt looks at the examples of these holy saints in this week's reflection.
Celebrating Palm Sunday at Home

One of the things that makes Palm Sunday so special is the grand procession with blessed palms at the beginning of Mass. Even though we will not be able to hold processions this year, many parishes are still making blessed palms available for individuals to collect at the church. Check with your local parish to see what times they may have blessed palms available.

Whether or not you are able to acquire blessed palms for your home, here are some prayers and rituals you can use to commemorate this special day.

If you can't get palm fronds from your parish, you can collect fresh green branches from whatever plants are available local to you. Combine these rites by having a procession with branches around your home, followed by the Liturgy of the Word, and concluding with the placing of the branches in a suitable place, which can serve as a place of prayer for you and your family throughout Holy Week.

You can also listen to this short homily preached by Deacon Matt on Palm Sunday last year.

Holy Week Live Streamed Liturgies from St. Mary's
Father Coleman is live-streaming the liturgies for Holy Week on St. Mary's Facebook Page :

  • Palm Sunday (Vigil in Spanish) Saturday at 7:00 pm
  • Palm Sunday (English) Sunday at 11:30 am
  • Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper (Bilingual) at 7:00 pm
  • Good Friday Commemoration of the Lord's Passion (Bilingual) at 7:00 pm
  • Easter Vigil Mass (Bilingual) Saturday at 8:00 pm
  • Easter Sunday Mass (English) at 11:30 am

Check with your local parish to see what times they may be broadcasting their own Holy Week liturgies.
This Week on YouTube
Deacon Matt's talking about...
Online Small Groups
Our student small group leaders are continuing their Bible studies and discussions online.

  • Zack and Antonia plan to continue their lectionary-based Bible study looking at the upcoming Sunday readings each week. Email Zack at for more information.

  • Cathy and Jesse are hosting an online discussion Wednesday nights from 8 to 9 pm on 1 and 2 Corinthians on Zoom. Email Cathy at for information on how to participate.

The other small group leaders are looking at the possibility of meeting online, so stay tuned for more info to come.
It's not too late to register!
We have decided to "resurrect" our retreat as a Holy Week "Virtual Mission." You are invited to join us online for an hour on Palm Sunday (April 5 at 7 pm), Holy Thursday (April 9 at 10 am), Good Friday (April 10 at 10 am), Holy Saturday (April 11 at 10 am), and Easter Sunday (April 12 at 7 pm) for talks, prayer and discussion about the Holy Week liturgies. Registration is free - we just need your name and email address and we'll send you all the pertinent information you'll need to participate.
Catholic Campus Ministry at WCU
Deacon Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister