On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.
The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with palm branches. Immediately following this great time of celebration in the ministry of Jesus, he begins his journey to the cross.
The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19.In a crowd of around 100,000 Romans, tourists and pilgrims, people clutched olive tree branches, tall palm fronds or tiny braided palm leaves shaped like crosses that were blessed by Francis at the start of the ceremony.
Francis used a wooden pastoral staff carved by Italian prison inmates, who donated it to him. The pope wants to put people on the margins of life at the centre of the church’s attention.
Francis wore red vestments, symbolizing blood shed by the crucified Jesus.
Holy Week culminates next Sunday with Easter Mass, also in St. Peter’s Square. Many faithful will remain in Rome, while others will pour into the city for the April 27 canonization of two popes, John Paul II and John XXIII. Francis noted that John Paul’s long-time aide, now Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, had come to Rome.
Francis noted he’ll be making a pilgrimage to South Korea this summer, with the key event, church World Youth Day celebrations on Aug. 15 in Daejeon.
© The Canadian Press, 2014
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