Pope Celebrates Palm Sunday Mass

Pope Francis blesses palm branches as he ushers in Holy Week

In keeping with tradition to commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem before His crucifixion, Malaysian devotees trooped to different churches and waved their palm fronds (palm leaves/branches) on Palm Sunday.

Scores of worshippers descended on St Peter's Square this morning for the enormous Palm Sunday Mass service as Holy Week celebrations get underway in the Vatican.

Explaining the significance of Palm Sunday, he said that in the time of Jesus, a soldier riding on a horse meant that he came to conquer, but when the Lord came on a donkey, it meant that he came in peace.

Sprinkling holy water, Francis blessed palm fronds and olive branches clutched by pilgrims, tourists and Romans.

The countdown to the close of Lent began at Palm Sunday April 14. Israeli police say an estimated 15,000 people took part in the procession.

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The pope cautioned against the temptation of "triumphalism", which he said feeds itself by "looking askance at others and constantly judging them inferior, wanting, failures". "This twofold mystery accompanies our entrance into Holy Week each year", he said.

Palm Sunday marks the day the Bible plots Jesus's ride into Jerusalem where he was hailed by the crowd as a Messiah, only to be crucified days later. The pope called on young people not to be ashamed to show their enthusiasm for Jesus but at the same time not to fear following "him on the way to the cross".

Pope Francis during Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Apr. 14, 2019.

Like every year the pope has a busy schedule this week. Good Friday marks the day of the crucifixion.

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