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Pope opens Holy Week with Palm Sunday procession, Mass

Catholic World News - April 02, 2012

Palm Sunday is “the great doorway leading into Holy Week,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily as he celebrated Mass on Palm Sunday for a congregation of about 60,000 people in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope presided at the traditional procession and blessing of the palms, but he himself arrived in St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile, a concession to his arthritic knees. However the Holy Father, who had only recently returned from his trip to Mexico and Cuba, showed no sign of fatigue during the long ceremony.

In his homily the Pope reminded the faithful that while Jesus was greeted with enthusiasm on his entry into Jerusalem, he would soon be executed, fulfilling his mission and bringing redemption to mankind. “Hence He whom the crowd acclaims as the blessed one is also He in whom the whole of humanity will be blessed.”

The Pope spoke about the perspective the Jesus took, and his followers should imitate, toward all the world’s peoples: “a wise and loving look, capable of grasping the world’s beauty and having compassion on its fragility.” He said: “We are called to follow a Messiah Who promises us, not a facile earthly happiness, but the happiness of heaven, divine beatitude.”

Reminding the congregation that the Rome diocese was observing World Youth Day, the Pope issued a special challenge to young Catholics: “May Palm Sunday be a day of decision for you, the decision to say Yes to the Lord and to follow Him all the way.”

Concluding his homily by referring back to the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Pope cited the words of St. Andrew of Crete: "So it is ourselves that we must spread under Christ’s feet, not coats or lifeless branches or shoots of trees.”

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