INTRODUCTION: Pope Paul celebrated the traditional Palm Sunday mass in the Vatican City on Sunday (3 April).
INTRODUCTION: Pope Paul celebrated the traditional Palm Sunday mass in the Vatican City on Sunday (3 April). The event marks the start of the Christian Holy Week.
SYNOPSIS: As usual, the event attracted thousands of visitors from all around the world. In all, about 30,000 pilgrims crowded into St. Peter's Square in brilliant sunshine. The 79-year-old Pontiff, who has just recovered from influenza, performed the ceremony of blessing palm and olive branches.
The mass was held in St. Peter's Basilica where the crowds of Roman Catholics were swelled by tourists of many other religions. It was the start of a busy time for the Pope. On Thursday (7 April) he'll celebrate mass and wash the feet of 12 men in memory of Christ's washing of his apostles' feet. On Good Friday he'll take part in the "Via Cruicis" procession from the Colosseum up to a Chapel on the Palatine Hill and on Sunday he'll read an Easter message to the world.
The Palm Sunday ceremony recalls the triumphal entrance of Jesus Chris to Jerusalem, when crowds laid down palm leaves and olive branches for His donkey to walk on.
The Pope, after his blessings, handed out palm and olive branches to Cardinals and Bishops. Sunday also marked the last day in the time of Lent.