Holy Week begins this weekend with our observance of Palm Sunday. All through Lent we fasted and sacrificed. And now, let's not miss the best part! The liturgical services on Palm Sunday and on Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday are among the very best things we do in the church. In this issue, we give you a practical guide to the liturgical services of Holy Week.
Several Catholic families discuss the personal Lenten practices they have developed in observance of the season. Speaking of families, Pope Benedict points out the two main things that threaten the concept as we know it. He also reminds us this week that "work should not rule man," and that "Communion is the key to Church unity."
ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion discusses Catholicism and the wonderful freedom of choice that God has given us. Catholic evangelist Bo Sanchez delivers a powerful piece that challenges us to be more emotionally available to our families no matter how busy we get.
At the Vatican, 100,000 gathered to remember the first death anniversary of John Paul II. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands gathered in several U.S. cities to denounce proposed illegal immigration reforms. Cardinal Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese puts the U.S. Catholic Church in the center of the debate. San Bernardino Diocese Bishop Gerald Barnes speaks out on the pending legislation in the Senate. And the U.S. Bishops call for calm in the debate.
And where does the Pope stand on all of these? He says Catholic leaders have a right to comment on policy debates. Take the Death Penalty for instance, a Catholic lawyer argues that it is "a disaster" and that there is no scriptural foundation supporting it. And here's an interesting question,"Are pro-life politicians heretics?"
In London, the word is that Prime Minister Tony Blair is in the process of converting to Catholicism. In Hollywood, the parents of mother-to-be Katie Holmes has asked Tom Cruise to allow the Catholic baptism of their grandson when he or she is born.
If you go to church regularly, will you live longer? A recent study on longevity seems to prove it. And do prayers really help heal sick people? We have the study and the results. And here's a reality check on who really are the happy homemakers.
Here's some more interesting tidbits. Have you heard that in Scotland, the Diocese of Glasgow now sends text messages by cell phone to evangelize among its Catholics? That's high tech evangelization. Did you know that China now has more internet users than the U.S.? And we show you how to find the right balance between wine and cheese.
Let's close this issue's mail with this reflection, "To obey God is to want what He wants." As well as with this wonderful short piece about how God can answer our prayers and even give us more than we ask for.
These and over fifty other article await you in this week's issue of ParishWorld. Please help us with our mission of evangelization by offering free ParishWorld subscriptions to your friends and family.
Holy Week is indeed "the best part" of our observance of Lent. Try to find the time to attend Holy Week services at your local church. God just might have a personal message in store for you this week.
Keep the Faith. Peace.
Publisher and Editor in chief