Dear Friends and Parishioners,

Well, I just gathered all of the palms together from the Church and the Parish Center. I will pick them up from Genesee this weekend. There were quite a lot of them and filled a (medium sized) Marshall’s bag. I am glad we had so many. Because if we all remember, or choose to forget, in 2020 we never made it to Palm Sunday (read Covid).

Now that they are gathered we (I mean me — I) have the great task of turning Palms into Ashes. We always start at the St. Mary’s Catholic School playground. We pour last year’s sacred oils on the palms and light them. This year we will not be able to warm ourselves by the fire because of social distancing, but there will still be lots of oooo’s and aaahhh’s as the palms crackle and burn and then explode with lots of steam when we add the holy water.

Once they leave the school playground the special process of turning them into ashes for Ash Wednesday begins. While not a course in the Seminary, it is one of those jobs that priests are especially qualified for. The secret recipe is handed down from priest to priest… After burning them, grinding them, sifting them, pounding them down a bit more and sifting them again we end up with enough ashes for a church about the size of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City!

Although it is a messy job and the garage smells like an old fireplace until next Palm Sunday, it is a great way to start the Lenten Season at St. Mary’s in Genesee and Moscow.

From my thumb to your forehead. See you in Church this year!