1. Next Sunday, April 9, is Palm Sunday, when we read the Gospel of the Lord’s Passion. In next Sunday’s Mass, the role of the congregation will be special. During the Gospel reading, the congregation will read aloud the parts of the ‘crowd’ during the Gospel. You’ll find the congregation’s words in bold type in the bulletin, as well as see them flashed on the screen.
We ask that next Sunday, everyone sit in the center two rows of pews, and sit up close, near the altar, so that Father and the other readers can hear your parts of the Gospel when you say them. Please speak up, and don’t be shy about speaking loudly: we want to hear everyone’s voice participating on Palm Sunday.
2. Also next Sunday will be the last Sunday in Lent when Fr Arek will be in the confessional waiting to hear the confessions especially for English-speakers. In Poland, almost every Catholic tries to go to confession in Holy Week, so the priests spend many long hours in the confessional, and the lines are extremely long all week in every church.
This means that wise people do not wait until Holy Week to try to have their confession! If you have not yet had confession before Easter, please plan to come early to the church before Mass on April 9th. Fr Arek will be in the confessional beginning at 15:15, but he must leave the confessional no later than 15:55 (you could have a heart and let him out at 15:50 by coming early and being well-prepared for your confession). Since the Palm Sunday liturgy is quite long, and there is another Mass directly after ours at 5PM (and the sacristan has to set up the altar for a Mass in Polish after ours), Father absolutely cannot delay the beginning of Mass next Sunday for people who come late to confession.
If you miss confession next Sunday, and you are in serious need of confession before making your Easter communion, you can contact Father for confession at another time, but be aware that he may only be able to hear your confession when he’s in the confessional hearing confessions in Polish. Our priests are very busy during Holy Week, and making private appointments for confession is often quite difficult for them.
3. Don’t forget to bring ‘palms’ to Mass next Sunday. In Poland, Palm Sunday ‘branches’ look quite different than those in other countries. Usually they look like long, thin arrangements of very colorful dried flowers. You can find them for sale in flower shops, supermarkets, and from vendors on the street, as well as at (early) Masses in parishes. When you buy them at a church, you support the parish, as they are usually prepared by volunteers who donate their time and materials to raise money for the parish’s needs.
4. Starting on Good Friday, April 14th, the Church prays together the Novena of Divine Mercy. This is a nine-day prayer which includes the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. If you go to daily Mass – especially in the evening – you will hear people praying the novena and reciting the Chaplet together, usually before the last Mass of the day (check announcements on your nearest church’s website or on the announcements posted outside churches).
We will put out a few booklets with the Novena and Chaplet prayers, which you can take home with you after Mass. Look for the booklets near the Bulletins when you come in to Mass.
If you cannot find a booklet, you can easily find the Novena of Divine Mercy before Easter, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, as well as all the information you need about this devotion online.
4. Our next social hour will be on April 23rd, after the English Mass. This is an opportunity for foreigners living in Poland to meet one another, talk about your experiences and get to know each other outside the Mass. We always have a good time, good conversation, and we hope we’ll see you there!