Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday, a day in which Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the week before His death and resurrection. It marks the beginning of Holy week. We begin Mass at the back of the church where we each receive a blessed palm. We process in together and then we will listen to the Gospel account of the Passion of Christ.
Because this Mass is very long and very crowded, we arrived early for a seat and to spend some time in prayer. Since the weather was beautiful, and we had some extra time, I decided to take the younger two out to pray the Stations of the Cross.

We used the resource, Stations of the Cross for Children, which is a wonderful book of devotions on the way of the Cross. My 11 year old led us in the prayers for each station. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to share the devotions of the Stations of the Cross with their children.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, on the custom of palm branches from a liturgical standpoint, it says this:
"The bishop or priest asks God to bless the branches of palm or olive, that they may be a protection to all places into which they may be brought, that the right hand of God may expell all adversity, bless and protect all who dwell in them, who have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Palm branches have been used by all nations as an emblem of joy and victory over enemies; in Christianity as a sign of victory over the flesh and the world according to Psalm 91:13; hence especially associated with the memory of the martyrs. The palms blessed on Palm Sunday were used in the procession of the day, then taken home by the faithful and used as a sacramental. They were preserved in prominent places in the house. On the Lower Rhine the custom exists of decorating the grave with blessed palms. From the blessed palms the ashes are procured for Ash Wednesday. "
Here is a web resource which has links and other information about Palm Sunday.

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