Holy Day of Obligation
The start of Holy week
Veiling the Cross for Passiontide
Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.
Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ's arrival in Jerusalem. In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a young donkey, and to the lavish praise of the townspeople who threw clothes, or possibly palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage. This was a customary practice for people of great respect.
Palm branches are widely recognized symbol of peace and victory, hence their preferred use on Palm Sunday.
The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic, it represents the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a steed in war.
A week later, Christ would rise from the dead on the first Easter.
During Palm Sunday Mass, palms are distributed to parishioners who carry them in a ritual procession into church. The palms are blessed and many people will fashion them into small crosses or other items of personal devotion. These may be returned to the church, or kept for the year.
Because the palms are blessed, they may not be discarded as trash. Instead, they are appropriately gathered at the church and incinerated to create the ashes that will be used in the follow year's Ash Wednesday observance.
The colors of the Mass on Palm Sunday are red and white, symbolizing the redemption in blood that Christ paid for the world.
Songs of Worship:
Movies to Watch:
Son of God
Traditions in the Church
Veiling the Cross for Passiontide
Towards the end of Lent you may notice purple cloths draped over the crucifixes, statues, and saint images at your parish. In some churches, these items may be removed from the sanctuary altogether.
This old custom of veiling religious images is a way of focusing on the penitential aspect of this liturgical season. It reminds us in a visual way that our faith in all its glory is made possible only through the work of Christ in his suffering and death on the cross. When we cover or remove these holy and sacred images that we are so accustomed to, we are starkly confronted and reminded in a poignant way of all that Christ has won for us.
The tradition is often practiced during the last two weeks before Easter, starting on Passion Sunday (now called the fifth Sunday of Lent) and ending on Good Friday. This time period is known on the old liturgical calendar as Passiontide. Even though this period is no longer officially called by this name, the tradition is still practiced in many places.
Then, as in a dramatic unveiling, the holy images are again revealed for the Easter Vigil to mark the end of the penitential season. The joy of the Easter season and the hope of the Resurrection then comes to the forefront.
Temporarily veiling the crosses and religious images in the penitential color of Lent is a beautiful custom that helps us to reflect on the deeper theological meaning of the liturgical season.
CRUCIFIXES & IMAGES VEILED: Passion Sunday (5th Sunday of Lent)
CRUCIFIXES REVEALED: Good Friday (to emphasize Jesus’ death on the Cross on that day)
IMAGES & STATUES REVEALED: Easter Vigil (the early evening of Holy Saturday)
WHY: In covering the religious images during the height of Lent, all attention is centered on the Passion and death of Christ. This is why the only images NOT to be covered are the Stations of the Cross.
Just as the Church simplifies the sanctuary in these last weeks of Lent in order to focus on the penitential aspect of the season, we can also simplify our homes in creative ways by draping purple clothes over our crucifixes and other holy images. It reminds us that Jesus hid his glory during his Passion, so too we hide away our religious items in order to prepare ourselves to focus on and honor his Passion.
This tradition can be used as a learning tool for children. As a child, during Lent I would see the crosses covered and always wonder why, too afraid to ask an adult. Explain this custom to your children and encourage your family to engage in this Lenten practice. It is easy for children to become distracted by the things we receive at Easter. But Lent is an important time of preparation for the celebration for the Resurrection of Christ that deserves just as much attention.
What do we have in our home that distracts us from focusing on Lent?
Do I have crosses and other images that could be covered and unveiled for Easter?
Palms are Blessed!
What do you do with a Blessed Palm if you do not wish to keep it?
Never toss them out! Palms are to be taken back to church.
Palms are burned and the ashes are used for the following year's Ash Wednesday Celebration.
A Legend of Palm Sunday
The Legend Of The Donkey's Cross
The Legend Of The Donkey's Cross
Happy Palm Sunday! Jesus chose a humble animal, the donkey, to walk into the city of Jerusalem. Jesus counted the donkey as equal to every other living being. and chose the donkey to show His humility because many people thought donkeys were "lower class". Donkeys are plain, humble creatures. There is nothing at all fancy or glorious about them. But they are good servants to humans. They do their job without vanity or ego.
"As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount Of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that The Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey' The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of The Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:1-9 NIV)
Do you know how the donkey got the cross he bears on his back? It's a great legend and I think it may even be true as our God works in mysterious ways. ~Declan
Legend of the Donkey's Cross
" Bring me the colt of a donkey,"
was the Master's request.
A young donkey was brought to Jesus
to carry Him into Jerusalem.
A week later Jesus was ordered
to be crucified.
The little donkey so loved the Lord
that he wanted to help Him carry the cross.
But, alas, he was pushed away.
The sad little donkey waited to say
goodbye until nearly all had left.
As he turned to leave, the shadow of
the cross fell upon the
back and shoulders of
the little donkey.
And there it has remained,
a tribute to the loyalty
and love of the humblest of
Just a Thought!
There is something symbolically symmetrical and touchingly ironic about a pregnant Mary entering Bethlehem on a donkey just before she gave birth, and Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey just a few days before his crucifixion.
Picture taken from the Mount of Olives
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
"Truly this man was the Son of God!"
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
Figs are a traditionally eaten on Palm Sunday because today is also known as Fig Sunday.
Tradition maintains that Jesus cursed a fig tree that would not bear fruit, and ate figs after his entry into Jerusalem.