The Making Disciples Today Blog has reflections to help you grow in your journey of missionary discipleship, reviews on recommended Catholic evangelization resources, and practical insight on how to evangelize in your daily life.
- Written by Kristin Bird
A Simple Ritual for the Home
“On this day the Church celebrates Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish his paschal mystery” (Roman Missal).
“Entrance” is the key to understanding the liturgy of Passion (Palm) Sunday. We enter into Jerusalem with Christ. We enter into our holiest week. We enter into our final preparation for the Easter feast.
Ordinarily when we go to Sunday Mass we enter the church one by one, as we arrive. On Palm Sunday, we enter the church together -- a grand entrance.
Usually, the community gathers in another location (outside the church, for example, or in the school hall). One of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem is proclaimed.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!”
And then we “enter into” the Gospel. We go with Christ into Jerusalem. We process into the church.
Procession with Palms
This is one of our most joyful and triumphant processions of the entire year. As we gather on this Sunday we receive a branch of palm or olive (or other green plant).
What do you do with the palm branches you bring home from Palm Sunday Mass?
The branches are blessed by the priest before the procession and often kept as blessed objects in peoples’ homes. Please don't throw them (or any scrap pieces) into the trash. The proper way to dispose of blessed items is to bury them, burn them, or return them your church so they can burn them and use them next Ash Wednesday.
One of my fondest memories of Palm Sunday as a child is the quick palm cross my mom would whip each of our palms into as soon as we sat down at church. The palm crosses were a sign of how quickly our love and adoration for Jesus can turn to rejection of him through sin. Our shouts of "Hosannah!" turn to shouts of "Crucify him!" during that Mass almost as fast as my palm turned from a branch into a cross.
There was another, more practical benefit to her talent as well. Palm branches that wave during the procession quickly turn into swords, lightsabers, sky writing pens, lassos, and objects of torture in the hands of young children. The compact crosses my mom whipped out during the First Reading were not nearly as easy to poke my siblings with!
- Written by Burning Hearts Team
The Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
All Catholic parishes have depictions of Christ’s Passion and death called the Stations of the Cross, The Way of the Cross or Via Dolorosa (way of suffering) In many churches, the Stations of the Cross are depicted in stained-glass windows, but other media are used as well, including paintings and stone or wood carvings and sculptures. Often on Friday evenings during Lent, you can find a parish that’s open with Catholics meditating and saying prayers in unison before each of the 14 stations.
The Stations of the Cross is a Lenten devotion that offers witness to Jesus’ Passion and Death. Often, the Stations of the Cross is an action prayer. Catholics walk to the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross and stop to pray at each one. At each station we use our senses and our imagination to reflect prayerfully upon Jesus’ suffering, Death, and Resurrection, and to simply experience the visual images to reflect on Christ’s love for us.
We've listed the best Way of the Cross prayer resources for...
- beginners who are new to this form of prayer,
- families and those who want to pray the stations of the cross with children, and
- busy adults who may not be able to join your parish Stations of the Cross prayer time.
- Written by Burning Hearts team
In a way, Kristin Bird was a little surprised to find herself standing in a classroom at Mary Mother of the Church Pastoral Center on Saturday, Oct. 22, offering a breakout session entitled “From Encounter to Invitation” as part of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Eucharistic Revival Preparation Day.
Bird, who runs Burning Hearts Disciples in Oshkosh, spent 15 years as a youth minister, DRE and confirmation director before starting her organization eight years ago.
“If you would have told me eight years ago that dioceses and parishes were going to want to re-think so much of what we do as a Church, I probably would have laughed at you, and said there’s no way,” Bird said.
During her time working in the Church, she has seen it use many buzzwords and programs to try to spread its message.
“I found myself thinking revival was kind of a pipe dream,” Bird said. “It is fantastic to see the Church at a place where we’re not only ready for it, but we’re also planning for it, preparing for it and intentionally looking at how we can bring about revival for our parishes and for our people.”
Ultimately, the goal of the Eucharistic Revival is evangelizing.
- Written by Burning Hearts Team
Blessing a home recognizes God's goodness in providing for us a home to live in, invites God to be present within our home, and dedicates our home to God. A blessing isn't a magic formula that makes our homes holy; our homes become holy because of how we act inside them. Rather, it asks for God's protection over the mind, body, and soul of those who live there.
Having our home blessed helps draw us closer to God, to Whom it is dedicated; and acknowledges that our home does more than just benefit our bodies by providing the tangible things like warmth, heat, shelter, etc. A blessed home can benefit our souls as well.