04/05 April 2020

You may find it helpful to have a space as a focus for your prayer. This might include a crucifix, icon or another holy image, and a lighted candle. It is a moving experience each year on Palm Sunday as we go up the mountain with Jesus, towards the Temple, accompanying him on his ascent. But what are we really doing when we join this procession as part of the throng which went up with Jesus to Jerusalem and hailed him as King of Israel? Does it have anything to do with the reality of our life and our world? To answer this, we must first be clear about what Jesus himself wished to do and actually did. He was journeying towards the Temple in the Holy City, towards that place which for Israel ensured in a particular way God’s closeness to his people. The ultimate goal of his pilgrimage was the heights of God himself; to those heights he wanted to lift every human being. Our procession today is meant, then, to be an image of something deeper, to reflect the fact that, together with Jesus, we are setting out on pilgrimage along the high road that leads to the living God.


Jesus is King!

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem gives way to his passion and death. Yet within a few days Jesus will rise triumphant from the dead. He is the firm ground of our hope that all suffering in this life are overcome in the power of his resurrection.

The Commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem

As usual, we gather outside our Church.

With Palm Crosses in hand, we recite the Antiphon from Matthew 21:9.
Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King os Israel. Hosanna in the highest.

Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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. For it was to accomplish his mystery that he entered his own city of Jerusalem. Therefore, with all faith and devotion, let us commemorate the Lord’s entry into the city for our salvation, following in his footsteps, so that, being made by his grace partakers of the Cross, we may have a share also in his Resurrection and in his life.


Almighty ever-living God, sanctify these branches with your blessing, that we, who follow Christ the King in exultation, may reach the eternal Jerusalem through him. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 21: 1-11

When they were near Jerusalem and come in sight of Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village facing you, and you will immediately find a tethered donkey and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, ‘The Master needs them and will send them back directly.'” This took place to fulfil the prophecy: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion: Look, your king comes to you, he is humble, he rides on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ So the disciples went out and did as Jesus had told them. They brought the donkey and the colt, then laid their cloaks on their backs and he sat on them. Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in his path. The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed were all shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes on the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heavens!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil. “Who is this?” people asked, and the crowds answered, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”


Like the crowds who acclaimed Jesus in Jerusalem, let us go forth in peace. At this point, we process into the Church, singing the following Antiphon from Psalm 23: The children of the Hebrews, carrying olive branches, went to meet the Lord, crying out and saying: Hosanna in the highest. The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness, the world, and those who dwell in it. It is he who set it on the seas; on the rivers he made it firm. R. Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord? The clean hands and pure of heart, whose soul is not set on vain things, who has not sworn deceitful works. R. Blessings from the Lord shall he receive, and right reward from the God who saves him. Such are the people who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. R. O gates, lift high your heads, grow higher, ancient doors. Let him enter, the king of glory! Who is this king of glory? The Lord, the mighty, the vailiant; the Lord, the valiant in war. R. O gates, lift high your heads; grow higher, ancient doors. Let him enter, the king of glory! Who is this king of glory? He, the Lord of hosts, he is the king of glory. R.


Before listening to the Word of God take a moment to reflect.  For what am I grateful to God for today? Where did I stray from God: through words, actions or things I did not do. How might I do better tomorrow? What grace do I ask from God in order to live more closely in his love? You may wish to conclude by saying:  Lord Jesus, you have revealed yourself as the way to the Father: Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. You have poured out on your people the Spirit of truth: Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. You are the Good Shepherd, leading us to eternal life: Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Entrance Antiphon

Six days before the Passover, when the Lord came into the city of Jerusalem, the children ran to meet him; in their hands they carried palm branches and with a loud voice cried out: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed are you, who have come in your abundant mercy! O gates, lift high your heads; grow higher, ancient doors. Let him enter, the king of glory! Who is this king of glory? He, the Lord of hosts, he is the king of glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed are you, who have come in your abundant mercy!


Almighty ever-living God, who as an example of humility for the human race to follow caused our Saviour to take flesh and submit to the Cross, graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever, and ever.

First Reading

A reading from the prophet Isaiah 50: 4-7

I did not cover my face against insult – I know I shall not be shamed.

The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech. Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear. For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle. The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 21: 8-9, 17-20, 23-24. R. v.2

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  1. All who see me deride me. They curl their lips, they toss their heads. “He trusted in the Lord, let him save him; let him release him if this is his friend.” R.
  2. Many dogs have surrounded me, a band of the wicked beset me. They tear holes in my hands and my feet. I can count every one of my bones. R.
  3. They divide my clothing among them. They cast lots for my robe. O Lord, do not leave me alone, my strength, make haste to help me! R.
  4. I will tell of your name to my brethren and praise you where they are assembled. “You who fear the Lord give him praise; all sons of Jacob, give him glory. Revere him, Israel’s sons.” R.

Second Reading

A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians 2: 6-11

He humbled himself, but God raised him high.

His state was divine, yet Christ Jesus did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel Acclamation

Philippians 2: 8-9

Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory: Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all names. Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory.


The passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 26: 14-27: 66

The symbols in the following passion narrative represent: N – Narrator J – Jesus O – Other single speaker C – Crowd, or more than one speaker

N One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said: O What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you? N They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him. Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, C Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover? N He replied: J Go to so-and-so in the city and say to him, ‘The Master says: My time is near. It is at you house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.’ N The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover. When the evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And whilst they were eating he said: J I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me. N They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, C Not I, Lord, surely? N He answered: J Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born! N Judas, who was to betray him, asked in his turn, O Not I, Rabbi, surely? N Jesus answered: J They are your own words. N Now as they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: J Take it and eat; this is my body. N Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them saying: J Drink all of you from this, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. From now on, I tell you, I shall not drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father. N After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, J You will all lose faith in me this night, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after my resurrection I shall go before you to Galilee. N At this, Peter said: O Though all lost faith in you, I will never lose faith. N Jesus answered him, J I tell you solemnly, this very nights, before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times. N Peter said to him, O Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you. N And all the disciples said the same. Then Jesus came with them to a small estate called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, J Stay here while I go over there to pray. N He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And sadness came over him, and great distress. Then he said to them: J My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and keep awake with me. N And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed: J My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it. N He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter: J So you had not the strength to keep awake with me one hour? You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. N Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: J My Father, if this cup cannot pass by without drinking it, your will be done! N And he came again back and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy. Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words. Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, J You can sleep on now and take your rest. Now the hour has come when the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is already close at hand. N He was still speaking when Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared, and with him a large number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the traitor had arranged a sign with them. He had said: O ‘The one I kiss, he is the man. Take him in charge.’ N So he went straight up to Jesus and said: O Greetings, Rabbi, N and kissed him. Jesus said to him, J My friend, fo what you are here for. N Then they came forward, seized Jesus and took him in charge. At that, one of the followers of Jesus grasped his sword and drew it; he struck out at the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear. Jesus then said: J Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence? But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be? N It was at this time that Jesus said to the crowds: J Am I a brigand, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid hands on me. N Now all this happened to fulfil the prophets in scripture. Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away. The men who had arrested Jesus led him off to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. Peter followed him at a distance, and when he reached the high priest’s palace, he went in and sat down with the attendants to see what the end would be. The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus, however false, on which they might pass the death sentence. But they could not find any, though several lying witnesses came forward. Eventually two stepped forward and made a statement, O This man said: ‘I have power to destroy the Temple of God and in three days build it up.’ N The high priest then stood up and said to him: O Have you no answer to that? What is this evidence these men are bringing against you? N But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him: O I put you on oath by the living God to tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. N Jesus answered: J The words are your own. Moreover, I tell you that from this time onward you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven. N At this, the high priest tore his clothes and said: O He has blasphemed. What need of witnesses have we now? There! You have just heard the blasphemy. What is you opinion? N They answered: C He deserves to die N Then they spat in his face and hit him with their fists; others said as they struck him: C Play the prophet, Christ! Who hit you then? N Meanwhile Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came up to him and said: O You too were with Jesus the Galilean. N But he denied it in front of them all, saying: O I do not know what you are talking about. N When he went out to the gateway another servant-girl saw him and said to the people there: O This man was with Jesus the Nazarene. N And again, with an oath, he denied it, O I do not know the man. N A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter: C You are one of them for sure! Why, your accent gives you away. N Then he started calling down curses on himself and swearing: O I do not know the man. N At that moment the cock crew, and Peter remembered what Jesus has said, ‘Before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly. When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people met in council to bring about the death of Jesus. They had him bound, and led him away to hand him over to Pilate, the governor. When he found that Jesus had been condemned, Judas his betrayer was filled with remorse and took the thirty pieces of silver back to the chief priests and elders saying: O I have sinned. I have betrayed innocent blood. N They replied: C What is that to us? That is your concern. N And flinging down the silver pieces in the sanctuary he made off, and went and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the silver pieces and said: C It is against the Law to put this into the treasury; it is blood money. N So they discussed the matter and bought the potter’s field with it as a graveyard for foreigners, and this is why the field is called the Field of Blood today. The words of the prophet Jeremiah were then fulfilled: One was priced by children of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, just as the Lord directed me. Jesus, then, was brought before the governor, and the governor put to him this question: O Are you the king of the Jews? N Jesus replied: J It is you who say it. N But when he was accused by the chied priests and the elders he refused to answer at all. Pilate then said to him: O Do you not hear how many charges they have brought against you? N But to the governor’s complete amazement, he offered no reply to any of the charges. At festival time it was the governor’s practice to release a prisoner for the people, anyone they chose. Now there was at the time a notorious prisoner whose name was Barabbas. So when the crowd gathered, Pilate said to them, O Which do you want me to release for you: Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ? N For Pilate knew it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. Now as he was seated in the chair of judgement, his wife sent him a message, O Have nothing to do with that man; I have been upset all day by a dream I had about him. N The chief priests and the elders, however, had persuaded the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus. So when the governor spoke and asked them: O Which of the two do you want me to release for you? N They said: C Barabbas. N Pilate said to them: O What am I to do with Jesus who is called Christ? N They all said: C Let him be crucified! N Pilate asked: O Why? What harm has he done? N But they shouted all the louder, C Let him be crucified! N Then Pilate saw that he was making no impression, that in fact a riot was imminent. So he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd and said: O I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your concern. N And the people, to a man, shouted back: C His blood be on us and on our children! N Then he released Barabbas for them. He ordered Jesus to be first scourged and then handed over to be crucified. The governor’s soldiers took Jesus with them into the Praetorium and collected the whole cohort round him. Then they stripped him and made him wear a scarlet cloak, and having twisted some thorns into a crown they put this on his head and placed a reed in his right hand. To make fun of him they knelt to him saying: C Hail, king of the Jews! N And they spat on him and took the reed and struck him on the head with it. And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the cloak and dressed him in his own clothes and led him away to crucify him. On their way out, they came across a man from Cyrene, Simon by name, and enlisted him to carry his cross. When they had reached a place called Golgotha, that is, the place of the skull, they gave him wine to drink. When they had finished crucifying him, they shared out His clothing by casting lots, and then sat down and stayed there keeping guard over him. Above his head was placed the charge against him; it read: ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ At the same time two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. The passers-by jeered at him; they shook their heads and said: C So you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days! Then save yourself! If you are God’s son, come down from the cross! N The chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him in the same way, saying: C He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He put his trust in God; now let God rescue him if he wants him. For he did say, ‘I am the son of God.’ N Even the robbers who were crucified with him taunted him in the same way. From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice: J Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? N That is: ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’ When some of those who stood there heard this, they said: C The man is calling on Elijah, N and one of them quickly ran to get a sponge which he dipped in vinegar and, putting it on a reed, gave it him to drink. The rest of them said: C Wait! See if Elijah will come to save him. N But Jesus, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit.

Kneel and pause a moment.

N At that, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked; the rocks were split; the tombs opened and the bodies of many holy men rose from the dead, and these, after his resurrection came out of the tombs, entered the Holy City and appeared to a number of people. Meanwhile the centurion, together with the others guarding Jesus, had seen the earthquake and all that was taking place, and they were terrified and said: C In truth this was a son of God. N And many women were there, watching from a distance, the same women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and looked after him. Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. When it was evening, there came a rich man of Arimathaea called Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate thereupon ordered it to be handed over. So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean shroud and put it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away. Now Mary of Magdala and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre. Next day, that is, when Preparation day was over, the chief priests and the Pharisees went in a body to Pilate and said to him, C Your Excellency, we recall that this imposter said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I shall rise again.’ Therefore give the order to have the sepelchre kept secure until the third day, for fear his disciples come and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ This last piece of fraud would be worse than what went before. N Pilate said to them: O You may have your guards. Go and make all as secure as you know how. N So they went and made the sepulchre secure, putting seals on the stone and mounting a guard.

Profession of Faith

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen,



Pray for family and loved ones so that they may be held in God’s compassionate care. Pray for other countries who are struggling with the effects of the COVID 19 virus.  For those in authority: may they offer advice with care and integrity, may they seek to protect the poor and vulnerable. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer. For all who work in healthcare: give strength to all who look after the sick so that they may bring comfort and relief to the suffering. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer. For the Church: may she offer prayers and consolation for all those affected. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer. For our local community and all for those in need: may those who are isolated know the support and service of their neighbours. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name; they kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Daily Prayer

Almighty, ever-living God, you gave our Saviour the command to become man and undergo the cross, as an example of humility for all men to follow. We have the lessons of his sufferings: give us also the fellowship of his resurrection. We make our prayer through our Lord.


Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do we come, before thee do we stand sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen

Prayer for the Year of the Word

Living God, you walk alongside us and speak to us throughout the Scriptures. Your Son, Jesus Christ, listens to our hopes and fears and shows us how to live for one another. Send us the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds, so that we may be your witnesses throughout the world. Amen. Your word is our path and your truth is our light. This day and every day. Our Lady of the Annunciation. Pray for us. St Matthew. Pray for us. St. Jerome. Pray for us.


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.