Allen Shibu, Keighley
The parish of St. Annes in Keighley held up palms today, as they celebrated the holy feast of Palm Sunday, which marked the beginning of Holy week. The English, Indian and Polish community was present as well, filling the church to its maximum capacity.
Palm Sunday is a Christian feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast celebrates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four Gospels in the New Testament. In many Christian traditions, including the Roman Catholic , services on Palm Sunday include a procession of the faithful carrying palms, representing the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. The difficulty of collecting palms in unsuitable climates led to their substitution with branches of native trees, including box, olive, willow, and yew. The Sunday was often named after these substitute trees, for example, Yew Sunday, or by the general term Branch Sunday in America.
In St. Annes, The solemn mass began at eleven o clock in the morning, starting with the blessing of the palm leaves by reverend Canon Michael McCredie. At that duration, a quick Gospel was also read as well. The rest of the mass was very similar to the regular mass, but the main Gospel was replaced by the highly detailed and extensive story of the ‘Passion of our Lord’, directed by Canon Michael, two individual speakers, and the entire congregation.
Meanwhile, in the Vatican, the services were more extravagant, with Pope Francis blessing palm and olive branches in St. Peter’s Square before tens of thousands of people to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem the week before the crowd turned against him and he was crucified.
The two service, while contrasting, tries to give the same message of peace and worship. Showing how Jesus, with his wise teachings and compassionate nature, shows us the way to upstanding spiritual morality.