SYMBOLPalau's picture and relic, Books: History of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters, Writings of Francisco Palau, and Constitutions.
PREPARE: Press clippings on the pandemic, candles/templates with names of sisters who have died from Covid-19 and others who have died in the meantime.
In February 1872, while fully immersed in his apostolic and foundational work, Fr Francisco Palau heard of a typhus epidemic in Huesca and immediately went to help Juana Gratias and the sisters of the Hospital of Estadilla. As providence would have it, he finally fell ill, which later worsened and led to his death on 20 March 1872, in the presence of his spiritual daughters in his youngest foundation in Tarragona.
Fidelity to his option to serve the Church in the most abandoned and dispossessed of the society of his time led him to care for those infected by the plague. He did so together with those who made a life journey with him.
Francisco Palau's life and death left a deep mark, not only on the Sisters and Brothers he founded, but on all those who had the good fortune to know him. In the end, he heroically fulfilled his holy mission as proof of his love for God and for his beloved, the Church.
150 years later, Blessed Francisco Palau continues to share his mission through the lives of his spiritual sons and daughters in the Carmelite Missionary Sisters and the Secular Missionary Carmel. Like the problems of his time, recent years have also seen a global pandemic that has highlighted persistent inequalities in our society and disproportionately affected the most vulnerable populations. In addition to its global reach, the COVID-19 pandemic has also entered our own homes and communities. We too, like Fr Palau, have struggled courageously in this mission of caring for and serving the sick, especially as some of us, our sisters and our loved ones, experienced it first-hand, while some even succumbed to death.
As we begin this Triduum in honour of the 150th anniversary of the death of our beloved Father Founder, we remember his courage in life and his fidelity to the special ecclesial vocation to which he was called and which continues to live on in the family of the Missionary Carmel. On this significant anniversary, we also celebrate the gift of communion with which the Holy Spirit has blessed us through the life and works of Fr. Palau, a gift of which the world is continually in need.
Let us walk together with the "Lord of Life", so that we too may be strengthened in our vocation and mission as one family of the Missionary Carmel, sons and daughters of Blessed Francisco Palau.
Opening song and procession of symbols:
- P. Francisco Palau (O Cualquier Canción)
Lighting of the candle
In silence, we light the candles and pray for all the sisters, CMS members and the millions of people who have died because of COVID-19, asking the intercession of Blessed Francisco Palau for their eternal rest and the strength and comfort of those left behind.
We also pray that we may imitate Fr. Founder in his passionate love and service to the Church, especially to the sick and the most vulnerable.
Mt. 13: 1-9
That day Jesus had gone out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered to him, so he got into a boat and sat down, and all the people were standing on the shore. And he told them many things in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they had not much soil; and they sprang up at once, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. But others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear".
The life and death of Fr Francisco Palau is like that of the seed of the Gospel that fell on good soil. When the seed falls on the good soil, it dies, it renounces its own identity, it vanishes completely in the eyes of the world, it seems to be finished and no longer exists... everything in the seed comes to an end. When the earthly effort gives way, the divine takes over. When it seemed to be the end on earth, there is the beginning of heaven. So the end is always the beginning; the beginning of a new life with its new vigour, new identity with the new face, is far more dynamic than its origin. For it gains the supernatural power to spread its branches, its fragrance throughout the earth. This is the life and death of Fr. Palau: he gave birth to new life, which bore fruit in the life of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters and the Secular Missionary Carmel. It took root in the soil of Spain and spread its branches to all continents. We are the fruits of that seed that gave its life totally to give us a new birth.
We thank you, Lord, for having sown this seed in the earth. You are the Lord of life and death. As you have power over life and death, we thank you for the 150th anniversary of the death of your servant and our founder, who gave his life for love of you. We adore and glorify You for the wonderful work You have done in the lives of his spiritual sons and daughters to carry the Charism throughout the world. We pray that the life that has sprung up in the Missionary Carmelite family may flourish and continue to spread its fragrance throughout the earth.
Suggested Palautian text
History of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters
Let us remember the historic death of our beloved founder, Father Palau, who died while visiting the nuns who were actively serving in the advance of the disease, as in the current pandemic.
"In mid-February 1872, Francisco Palau was travelling to Aytona. On arriving in his home town, he heard that in Calasanz (Huesca), near Estadilla, a typhus epidemic had broken out and that Juana Gratias had decided to go to help the victims. Together with two other sisters from Aytona, she went to Calasanz to support and help Juana. She returned to Calasanz when Juana caught the disease, and returned to Barcelona with complete peace of mind, when she found out that Juana Gratias was out of danger..... A few days later, Francisco Palau died in Tarragona. Quite unexpectedly, but providentially, he had complied with the rule he had recently completed in the constitution he had just sent to the communities: "If an epidemic is declared in any place, the director will send from other houses all the available nurses necessary to help the sick"... His last encounter with him was in the most risky and heroic apostolic field". (History,Vol-I, pg.291)
God, almighty and ever-living Father, in your Word we live and die. We offer you the souls of all those who died because of this pandemic, we ask you through the intercession of our Fr. Francisco Palau who himself served the victims of the pandemic and gave his life, proving himself to be a true son of Carmel, to guide us to face this time of pandemic with courage and to offer comfort to the sick and suffering. We pray this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.