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A sacramental of the Church. They are blessed and distributed to the faithful on Palm Sunday, commemorating the multitude bearing palms who triumphantly led Christ in procession on that day in Jerusalem. Already palms were used in the time of St. Bede the Venerable (673-735). The Oriental date palm, when obtainable, is the most popular. But any other twig or woody outgrowth is suitable. The liturgy of Pal Sunday refers simply to branches. In the prayer of blessing, the priest says, "Almighty God, we pray you to bless these branches and make them holy." During the procession with the palms the people walk in joyous public demonstration of their loyalty to Christ.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.