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Bishop Burbidge celebrates Palm Sunday Mass as diocese quarantines

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The road to Jerusalem was crowded with cloaks, palms and throngs of jubilant people, but on the day commemorating Jesus’ triumphant ride into the city some 2,000 years ago, churches around the world were almost totally empty. 

In front of vacant pews, priests celebrated the Mass that begins Holy Week, while parishioners mustered up whatever greenery they had on hand and set aside a place in their homes to watch Mass online or pray reverently.

“We could never have imagined that the faithful would participate in these liturgies via livestream,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, whose Palm Sunday celebration in the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington was beamed to households around the area April 5. “But that’s the key: you are participating. You are with the Lord and the Lord is with you.”

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge encouraged the faithful to tell Jesus in prayer all their feelings and experiences during this time, be it fear, anger, sadness or frustration. “Surrender them, entrust them to the Lord, unite them to his sufferings,” he said. “Then reread the passion, slowly and prayerfully. You will realize that there is nothing you are experiencing right now that the Lord has not already endured for us.

“We know where this pilgrimage ends. Jesus was not crushed or defeated — he triumphed,” said Bishop Burbidge. “He promises that all those who are united to him will receive those same gifts both now and forever.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020