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Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Medieval painting: Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, Pietro Lorenzetti
Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, Pietro Lorenzetti (1280-1348)

On this last Sunday of Lent - Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday, we hear two messages: the first is the joyous procession of Jesus into Jerusalem, where a large crowd hails him. The second is the painful narrative of Jesus’s betrayal and crucifixion.

An illustration of a crucifix against a palm leaf

In this final week, we are invited to sit in the tension between the Kingdom of God that is present to us already and that which is yet to come. We feel the joy of the Palm Sunday procession and wait for Easter, knowing the end of the story already: that God has triumphed over sin and death. Yet we wait and work for the coming of God’s Kingdom in a broken world, a world where there is so much conflict and suffering, particularly in the Middle East and in Ukraine.

As we prepare for the joy of Easter next week, let us give thanks for the steps we have taken in our journey toward ecological conversion and for the ways God’s new creation is already emerging in our world. Let us pray for the grace to continue on this journey, on this long road on which so many have suffered.

Sister Bernie

Mildmay chaplain

The traditions of Palm Sunday stretch back centuries. At Mildmay, we carry forward a legacy of service, journeying alongside those in need with the same unwavering spirit Jesus displayed.

This Palm Sunday, let us embrace the complexities of the day. Let us celebrate the hope of renewal, carry the burdens of others with compassion, and find strength in the unwavering faith that binds our community.


Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday in the Christian tradition, is the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is associated in many churches with the blessing and procession of palms (leaves of the date palm or twigs from locally available trees).

These special ceremonies were taking place toward the end of the 4th century in Jerusalem and are described in the travelogue Peregrinatio Etheriae (The Pilgrimage of Etheria). In the West, the earliest evidence of the ceremonies is found in the Bobbio Sacramentary (8th century). During the Middle Ages, the ceremony for the blessing of the palms was elaborate: the procession began in one church, went to a church in which the palms were blessed, and returned to the church in which the procession had originated for the singing of the liturgy. The principal feature of the liturgy that followed the procession was the chanting by three deacons of the account of the Passion of Christ (Matthew 26:36–27:54).

Holy Week

Image describing holy week showing palm leaves, a bowl for washing of feet, a crown of thorns and the cross

The Easter Triduum holds a special place

In the Christian Church’s Calendar,

proclaiming again

The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ:

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday


Image credit: Frans Vandewalle

Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, Pietro Lorenzetti (1280-1348)

Basilica di San Francesco, Lower Church



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