Millions Worldwide Observe Palm Sunday

Millions of Catholics and Christians around the world observed Palm Sunday with public celebrations re-enacting Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, and with private worship services in Cathedrals and churches, Sunday, March 20, 2005.

Palm Sunday marks the sixth and last Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Passion Week, and the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the week before His Crucifixion and Resurrection,

Palm branches are traditionally used in the celebrations as a reminder of the palm fronds that were waved by the crowd that greeted Christ as He entered the holy city. The palms are saved by many of the churches to be burned later as the source for the ashes used in Ash Wednesday services.

This year, the highest member of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, sat out Palm Sunday Mass for the first time in his 26 years of papacy.

Nonetheless, millions of Catholics gathered in Rome to observe the celebrations, which this year was led by the Cardianl Camillo Ruini – the vicar of Rome.

In his homily, Cardinal Ruini spoke of how the suffering of Christ on the cross energized the faithful - "and shines with special clarity on the weary face of the Holy Father."