Pope Francis will bless the participants at the end of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 5, 2020 in the Vatican.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week in the Christian calendar. The week begins as a celebration of the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Holy Week includes the Passion and death of Jesus on the cross and culminates in the Resurrection on Easter Sunday according to Catholic tradition.
Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Church. According to the Vatican, the procession and mass should begin on March 28 at 10:30 a.m. local time. This corresponds to 5:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, 4:30 a.m. for those in the central time zone, and 2:30 a.m. for Pacific time.
The mass will be streamed on the Vatican’s YouTube account. The live stream is embedded below.
The Palm Sunday Mass traditionally attracted large crowds to St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. In 2019, around 40,000 people gathered in the square to hear Pope Francis celebrate Mass from an open-air altar in front of the basilica, VOA News reported at the time. The Pope carried a braided palm branch during the opening procession.
But Catholic traditions have looked different in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The church drastically reduced the crowd to prevent the virus from spreading. Congregations around the world have been participating in weekly masses by watching online for more than a year.
The safety regulations for the Palm Sunday Mass remain in place. According to the Vatican, Pope Francis celebrates « the rites of Holy Week at the altar of the cathedral in St. Peter’s Church ». The masses include the participation of « the cardinals, the superiors of the State Secretariat and a limited number of believers ».
Getty Pope Francis holds a woven palm branch during Palm Sunday Mass on April 14, 2019 in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
After the mass, Pope Francis will recite the Angelus prayer, according to the Vatican. He traditionally recites this prayer in Latin.
Here is the English translation of the Angelus prayer from the website of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States:
The Angel of the Lord explained to Mary:
R /. And she received the Holy Spirit.
Ave Maria …
V /. Behold the handmaid of the Lord,
R /. Be it done to me according to your word.
Ave Maria …
V /. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R /. So that we may be made worthy of Christ’s promises.
Let’s pray. Pour out, Lord, your grace into our hearts, so that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ your Son was introduced through the message of an angel, may be brought to the glory of his resurrection through his passion and cross. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Getty Faithfuls gather in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican as Pope Francis presides over Palm Sunday Mass on March 25, 2018.
Holy Week contains both solemn and sad elements in the Catholic tradition. Easter celebrates the triumph of Jesus over death and his ascent symbolizes the resurrection, which all believers can look forward to according to Catholic tradition. Before doing this, however, the congregations mark the sacrifice and death of Jesus on the cross.
Bishop Robert J. Brennan of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio explained Heavy: “Palm Sunday begins gloriously as we remember Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. However, it becomes bitter as we read the gospel story of His passion and death. “He also explained that when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the palm branches placed on the ground symbolized that people viewed Jesus as the Son of God. “Palms were a sign of victory and triumph and were often thrown down before victorious generals and kings. The crowd did this themselves, indicating that they have recognized Jesus as the Messiah. “
According to the US Bishops’ Conference, Palm Sunday is a holy day of commitment as all Sundays are mandatory mass days for practicing Catholics. Other holy days of commitment outside of Sundays in 2021 include the Ascension of Jesus on May 13th, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on August 15th, the Feast of All Saints on November 1st, and the Immaculate Conception on August 8th December and Christmas Day.
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