Palm Sunday — branches, a donkey and the final week of Lent

Palm Sunday is April 9, the last Sunday in Lent. This day marks the beginning of Holy Week and a time when Catholics commemorate the triumphant arrival of Christ into Jerusalem, just days before his crucifixion.

In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a young donkey, and to the praise of the townspeople who threw clothes and palms in front of him as a sign of homage. The arrival into Jerusalem on a donkey, rather than a powerful horse, is the humble arrival of someone who comes in peace.

Many parishes across the Anchorage Archdiocese will celebrate this day by giving parishioners palm fronds. Parishioners carry these in a ritual procession into church. The palms are blessed and many make them into small crosses for personal devotion. These may be returned to the church, or kept for the year.

Because the palms are blessed, they should not be thrown out. Instead, they are appropriately gathered at the church and burned to create ashes for the following year’s Ash Wednesday service.

The colors for the Mass on Palm Sunday are red and white, symbolic of the redemption in blood that Christ paid for the world.

For local Palm Sunday Masses, check with nearby parishes.

'Palm Sunday — branches, a donkey and the final week of Lent'
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