Pope celebrates Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter’s Square
Palm Sunday, which is the 6th Sunday of Lent, marks the official beginning of Holy Week during which Christians recall the passion and death of Christ. Palm Sunday Mass is celebrated by the Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square. The celebration begins with a procession followed by the blessing of palms – or olive branches, which are used in Italy – symbolizing Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem during which palm branches were laid at his feet.
In his homily, Pope Francis called on people and himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. "Has my life fallen asleep?" Pope Francis asked after listening to a Gospel account of how Jesus' disciples fell asleep shortly before he was betrayed by Judas before his crucifixion. "Where is my heart?" the pope asked, pinpointing that as the "question which accompanies us" throughout Holy Week.
In a crowd of around 100,000 Romans, tourists and pilgrims, people clutched olive tree branches, tall palm fronds or tiny braided palm leaves shaped like crosses that were blessed by Pope Francis at the start of the ceremony.
Holy Week culminates next Sunday with Easter Mass also in St. Peter's Square. Many faithful will remain in Rome, while others will pour into the city for the April 27 canonization of two popes, John Paul II and John XXIII. Pope Francis noted that John Paul's long-time aide, now Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland had come to Rome.
At the conclusion of the Mass, a group of young people from Brazil will pass the WYD Cross to the youth of Poland in preparation for the 2016 WYD in Krakow.
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