Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The whole world is suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. One of these effects is that churches are closed and therefore Holy Week is going to be celebrated in a very different way.
The opening words of Mass announce the beginning of this very special week:
Dear brothers and sisters, since the beginning of Lent until now we have prepared our hearts by penance and charitable works. Today we gather together to herald with the whole Church the beginning of the celebration of our Lord’s paschal mystery, that is to say, of his Passion and Resurrection.
We just want to be a glimpse of how Palm Sunday has been celebrated by FCJ Sisters across the world. This day marks also the feast day of our foundress, Marie Madeleine d’Houët, who died on 5th April 1858.
FCJ Community in Richmond, Australia
Happy feast day All! There’s something lovely about being the first to celebrate! We blessed our own palms and waved them in our community liturgy this morning. Shall enjoy a festive meal and prayer together tonight.
FCJ Community in Manila, Philippines
The Manila community gave out blessed palms at our front door. It was heartwarming to see how many people came to get them and sent word to their neighbours. It was obvious how much it meant to them to have this connection to the life of the Church, and were holding onto their faith in this time of need. May the palms we wave today remind us to invite Jesus into our lives and neighbourhoods, especially now. Blessed Palm Sunday!
FCJ Community in Paris, France
Palms, and branches of greenery placed prominently at the window of Marie Madeleine’s room reminding of the adulation of the crowd as Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Lilies and forsythia in Marie Madeleine’s room [where she died] to celebrate her Feast Day.
Perhaps some in the surrounding apartments will notice, perhaps not. What is more important is that our beautiful garden be a cause of hope and joy to those who can look into it. May the sight of the emerging blossom and the verdant greenery make their hearts sing for joy.
This enclosed school garden is already a place of celebration and thanksgiving. Every evening at 8pm, the balconies are crowded, as people emerge from their homes to show their gratitude to the health workers, the supermarket staff, the transport drivers and all who care for the sick – and who keep this beautiful city running. The daily cacophony begins with a clapping that sounds like falling rain, then the pans and tureens are banged and the odd musician joins in. This is surely what Palm Sunday was like as the crowds recognised the healing, self sacrifice and love that Jesus had brought them.
One FCJ sister went into the chapel of our school in Nantes and prayed to Marie Madeleine for all FCJ sisters around the world.
FCJ Generalate, Gumley House Convent, London, United Kingdom
We are so aware that we are very blessed in Gumley for we have space and beautiful gardens. For our Palm Sunday service, we gathered in the main hall and blessed our branches of greenery and then processed around the flower circle outside the front door, singing ‘Hosanna’. We continued our prayer time together in the large room where there is room to spread our chairs safely for prayer together.
FCJ Centre St Hugh’s, Liverpool, United Kingdom
We are all dressed up for palm Sunday. We have had a blessing of palms, a mini procession, watched Mass [live streamed from Liverpool Cathedral] and made a palm display for our window. The Archbishop described the #ClapforOurCarers which happened on Thursday as our waving palms to greet Jesus.
FCJ Community in Birkenhead, Merseyside, United Kingdom
We are joining in Mass from our Parish Church – St Joseph’s in Birkenhead this morning. The church is beautifully decorated with palms even though no one there. This evening the Merseyside communities are joining together on Zoom for the lovely liturgy sent to us for April 5th. Happy Feast Day.
FCJ Community in Poplar, London, United Kingdom
In Poplar, we gathered for a service of Word and Communion. We were united with Srs. Christine and Katherine, who were helping prepare, cook and deliver food to isolated and vulnerable neighbours through Neighbours in Poplar. We reminded ourselves of our call to be Faithful Companions of Jesus with words from Marie Madeleine. We then began our Palm Sunday celebration making music for the singing of Hosanna. We reflected and prayed together remembering the many people who today are struggling due to COVID-19 and its effects, and entrusted all the people on our prayer list to the intercession of Marie Madeleine through our prayer for healing.
FCJ House Somers Town, London, United Kingdom
Today, 5th April, 2020, we joined Masses live-streamed, from different towns and cities in Europe. Ellen tuned in to the Vatican, Bernie to Ampleforth Abbey in Yorkshire, Brenda to Farm Street, London and Rita to a parish in Dublin. Having participated individually in the Mass, we came together at 12.30pm to celebrate the life and death of Marie Madeleine and to give thanks for the charism passed into our hands, to carry forward. Our prayer together was a joyful celebration, ending with the song ‘Le Bon Dieu’, a song for FCJ schools, composed by Alison Benson, a Companion in Mission.
Our prayer together, was followed by a delicious lunch, during which we shared about the different masses and homilies that we had participated in and celebrated the wonderful memories we have of our experiences in the Society. After enjoying the afternoon sunshine, we came together again for a simple Eucharistic celebration, incorporating the Liturgy of the Word and Communion. The evening is still ours to enjoy!
Sacred Heart Convent FCJ, Calgary, Canada
As we joyfully celebrate Palm Sunday and Marie Madeleine’s Anniversary of death, we recall her desire to follow Jesus to the Cross and beyond.