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Catholic Activity: Reflections on Palm Sunday


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Passion or Palm Sunday remembers Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Decorating one's house with palm branches (which can be sox and willow branches, and sometimes yew) can be a family or group project.


"It is called Palm Sunday because the palm betokeneth victory, wherefore all Christian people should bear palms in processions to signify that the Lord hath fought with the fiend, our enemy, and hath the victory over him." But palms are also used on this day in memory of the acclamations of the Jewish crowds on Christ's journey into Jerusalem and their waving of palm branches before him. Once it was the custom to have a palm procession with the Blessed Sacrament, before which the people waved green branches and sang hosannahs. Occasionally, instead of the Blessed Sacrament the priest bore a copy of the New Testament which was intended to represent our Lord.

Actual palm, of course, was not used. Box and willow branches, and sometimes yew, were all called palm. On this day, parties of boys or girls used to go out collecting willow. Everyone decorated their houses with it on Palm Sunday, while the church too was adorned. Generally the countryside is beautiful now, and nothing there is lovelier than the willow tree. This day could see family or school or club expeditions into the spring countryside to find willow branches both for their homes and for their parish church. Just before beginning the decorating of the house all could say this prayer, adapted from the ceremony of the blessing of the palms:

O God who didst bless the people who carried branches to meet Jesus; bless also these branches which we have gathered and with which we mean to honor thy name, so that wherever they are placed people may obtain thy blessing and may be protected from all adversity by thy right hand. Through Christ our Lord.

Activity Source: Candle is Lighted, A by P. Stewart Craig, The Grail, Field End House, Eastcote, Middlesex, 1945

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