The Holy Week spiritual pilgrimage began today at churches throughout the Diocese of Allentown. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week, the last week of the Christian solemn season of Lent that precedes the arrival of Eastertide.
At the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown, Bishop Alfred Schlert celebrated the Palm Sunday Mass beginning with a procession.
Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. It is named for the palm branches the crowds spread on the ground, as a sign of His kingship, as Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem.
“Today we gather together to herald with the whole Church the beginning of the celebration of our Lord’s Paschal Mystery, that is to say of His Passion and Resurrection. For it was to accomplish this mystery that He entered His own city of Jerusalem,” said Bishop Schlert.
“Therefore with all faith and devotion, let us commemorate the Lord’s entry into the city for our salvation, following in His footsteps so that being made by His grace partakers of the Cross, we may have a share also in His resurrection and in His life.”
The Bishop and altar servers processed around one side of the church. Bishop Schlert carried a bundle of woven palm branches.
Palm Sunday is also known for the recitation of the Passion Gospel that gives the account of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, this year from Mark 14:1-15:47.
Homilist was Deacon Philip Maas, who is scheduled to be ordained a priest this spring.
The statues, crucifixes and saint images were veiled in purple cloth for this final period of Lent, symbolizing sadness and mourning, and to give us a longing for Easter Sunday.
This year, palm branches were permitted to be distributed to the faithful as they entered Mass, by greeters who had first sanitized their hands.