Christians mark Palm Sunday in masks

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Residents take part in a procession to celebrate Sunday Palm, which marks the beginning of Holy Week, in the city of Suchitoto, El Salvador, on March 29, 2015. (Xinhua/Edwyn Guzman) (jp)
Residents take part in a procession to celebrate Sunday Palm, which marks the beginning of Holy Week, in the city of Suchitoto, El Salvador, on March 29, 2015. (Xinhua/Edwyn Guzman) (jp)

Christians in Ghana Sunday observed the 2022 Palm Sunday to commence the Holy Week of Easter amid the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions and protocols observation.

Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, in the Christian tradition, is the last day in lent and the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, explains Britannica.

It is associated in many churches with the blessing and procession of palms (leaves of the date palm or twigs from locally available trees).

Christianity.com explains that Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Jesus rode a young donkey into Jerusalem and was greeted by a large crowd with palm branches as people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” and other expressions of praise (Matthew 21:9).

On Palm Sunday, Christian churches often give the congregation palm branches to re-create the celebration of Christ’s final arrival in Jerusalem in honour and memory of Christ as the King and Messiah.

However, there are churches that are well identified with intensive celebration of Palm Sunday like the Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches.

The Pope Francis of the Catholic Church, presiding over the liturgy of Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion on Sunday April 10, 2022, at St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, Rome, encouraged Christians to journey towards Easter with God’s forgiveness, Vatican News states.

He drew the attention of Christians to how Christ never stopped saying: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” while he was being tormented by people.

That was the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that the Holy Father could lead the celebration among numerous masked faithful outdoors, rather than from inside of St. Peter’s Basilica with very limited numbers permitted, to protect against contagion.

At the St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Church, the situation, was no different as the congregation observed the day with palm fronds and merry making while masked up even though wearing of face masks had been declared no more mandatory by the government.

The Reverend Father Norbert Adjei, Assistant Parish Priest of the Church, said comparing life to that of Christ, sometimes people felt abandoned by those close to them, and once showed them love and hailed them.

“The people who hailed Jesus Hosanna, those were the same people who asked Pilate to crucify Christ.

“Sometimes when we go through trouble as Christians, we tend to believe even our Saviour has ignored and neglected us.

“Your close ones could be treating you well but believe me, a time will come when suddenly, things will change. That is exactly what happened to Jesus.

“Sometimes it is so painful that someone says, I will not give my mum or dad food to eat, because when he gets full and digestion takes place, and something comes out and I will be the one to clean it. Beloved, these are realities happening and they are very bad,” he said.

In all these, he asked Christians to find consolation from the crucified image of Christ as they prepared within the Holy Week of Easter and be strong to stay committed in their faith.

 

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