Bishop Robert Deeley will celebrate Palm Sunday Mass this Sunday, April 2 at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week which culminates with the Easter Triduum, during which Catholics commemorate the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Passion and death of Christ on Good Friday, and the resurrection on Easter Sunday in order to forgive the sins of all humanity and to give life everlasting to all who believe in Him. To view a listing of Palm Sunday Masses at Maine parishes, visit www.portlanddiocese.org/palm-sunday.
During Palm Sunday Masses, parishioners receive palm fronds to take home and keep until the following Lent. Palm branches were used by the people to welcome Jesus as King during his triumphal entry into the holy city of Jerusalem. It was during the fourth century in Jerusalem that Christians first started using palm branches in commemoration. The branches often decorate the homes of Catholics and other Christians; then, the following year, those same palms are burned, thus providing the ashes to be distributed on Ash Wednesday. The vestments for Palm Sunday are deep scarlet red, the color of blood, reflecting the ultimate redemptive sacrifice that Jesus was entering the city to fulfill. On Palm Sunday, which is also known as Passion Sunday, the faithful hear an account of the Lord’s Passion, so they may reflect on it during the week in preparation for the celebration of the Easter Triduum.
Holy Week is the most solemn week of the entire year. A special Holy Week section is available on the Diocese of Portland website (www.portlanddiocese.org/holy-week-2023) that includes Mass and service times at all Maine churches, listings of parish events, daily prayers and reflections, and many other resources. In addition, stories from many Masses and services, messages, and other resources throughout Holy Week will be posted on the diocesan website, the diocesan Facebook page, the diocesan Twitter page, the diocesan Instagram page, and on Bishop Deeley’s personal social media pages on Twitter and Instagram.