Immaculate Conception Church Washington, DC
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My dear Parishioners and Friends,

This time each year, the Church invites us to enter into the powerful mysteries of the passion, death, and resurrection of our divine Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The days of Holy Week are designed to intensify our faith in the power of the love of God's only Son who himself takes on the struggle against the powers of evil, suffers under their apparent spell, and then victoriously conquers them through his resurrection from the dead. During these holy days, we recall the events of 2000 years ago which brought about our salvation through the passion, death, and resurrection of our divine Lord. We hear once again the gospel narrative which tells of the Christ=s greatest acts of love for his people: his entrance into Jerusalem amidst the cries of Hosanna on Palm Sunday; his Last Supper with his beloved apostles and the betrayal by Judas on Holy Thursday; his trial, suffering, and death on the cross on Good Friday; and the discovery of the empty tomb and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. No one of us can look on as a bystander, since all of us have sinned and all of us are in need of his saving love and redemption. Therefore, we all must pray fervently during this holy time to enter into these mysteries which brought about our salvation through the Son of God who came to serve and not to be served, to be given as the perfect victim and ransom for our sins.

What a powerful week of prayer and devotion! We watch, we listen, we pray, and we allow ourselves to be changed by his divine love at every stage of the unfolding drama, which formally begins today with the Lord’s solemn entrance into Jerusalem. We will walk with him throughout these holy days. We identify with the many characters (good and bad) whose names and actions are so very familiar to us. We see ourselves reflected in all that goes on. We suffer with Jesus. We die with him. We rise with him. What a powerful journey of faith all of these days offer us whom he rescued by his life, death, and resurrection! This week provides us all another privileged opportunity to draw close to the Lord Jesus who is always present, most especially in his Body and Blood of the Holy Eucharist. Let us all enter into the saving mysteries of these holy days with hearts filled with wonder, sorrow, and joyful praise of the Lord Jesus who will always save those who turn to him with faith-filled hearts.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Msgr. James D. Watkins