Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is upon us. This year, cycle B, we hear the dramatic Passion story from Mark. Mark is the first one to tell the story, and it is one of bravery, great suffering, and loneliness. Throughout the Gospel, Jesus fights Satan, sin, and death for us. He is misunderstood, abandoned, and the original ending has Easter Sunday arrive with the announcement that he is Risen, with angels and an empty tomb but without any resurrection appearances. The only person who properly identifies him as the Son Of God, is a pagan soldier that witnesses the death. It is a story of a tragic hero who never gives up even when he says on the Cross, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” By the way, those words are from psalm 22 that goes on to be psalm of thanksgiving even in the midst of great suffering.
Lent is a penitential season, a time to acknowledge our sinfulness before the Lord. In past years the diocese has called for Confessions on the Tuesday nights of Lent. This year we are doing something different. We have a new deanery structure. Norwalk is now combined with Darien and New Canaan, with Msgr. Walter Orlowski from St. Matthew, as our Dean. Accordingly the deanery will have Confessions on Monday, March 26th, at three Churches: St. John in Darien, St. Aloysius in New Canaan, and St. Matthew in Norwalk. Confessions will be heard between 3pm and 9pm at St. Matthew, and there will be two priests hearing Confessions. If you can, try and go there Monday. The purpose of the Sacrament is to allow you to experience God’s healing mercy. It is for mercy, not for judgment. Stop in to St. Matthew between 3pm and 9pm. If the line is not long, be reconciled. If it is too long, come to St. Jerome on Holy Saturday between 11:30am and 12:30pm.
Finally, I met with Bishop Caggiano last Fall about my retirement. Officially it was to be February 1st of 2019. Since on May 6th of 2019 I will have been pastor for 25 years, I asked to extend my retirement date to May 15, 2019. Bishop Caggiano has kindly granted my request, and so it will be. Due to my injury I have missed this Lent but will get another! Being pastor here for so long has been a great blessing and honor for me. I thank all of you for your abundant kindnesses to me.