Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Palm Sunday


Vatican City: April 19, 2011. (Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI led the faithful in the celebration of Palm Sunday in St Peter’s Square which marks the start of Holy Week.

Thousands of people packed into the piazza both young and old waving palms and olive branches as is traditional on this occasion. As the choir sang the “Hosanna” a solemn procession ranging from deacons to Cardinals made its way around the square. Pope Benedict resplendent in red vestments and travelling in the fondly named Pope mobile blessed palms and olives branches as he made is way to the specially constructed alter. The liturgy during the celebration recalled Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and 3 deacons sang the Gospel which recounts Christ’s Passion. During his homily the Holy Father focused on man’s great achievements but he lamented the fact the these accomplishments have also given rise to good as well as evil. “Mankind he said, has managed to accomplish so many things: we can fly!” And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful”.The Pope also added that “our limitations have remained” and gave the example of the disasters which he said, “have caused so much suffering for humanity in recent months.” As well as being Palm Sunday it is also diocesan World Youth Day which saw hundreds of youth from the diocese of Rome taking parts in Sunday’s celebrations. Cardinal Francis Arinze was one of the participants in St Peter’s Square and said that Jesus is a focal point for young people. Following Mass, Pope Benedict, before reciting the Angelus prayer, told all the youth gathered that he was looking forward to World Youth Day in August. “In a special way I greet all the young people present and I look forward to celebrating World Youth Day in Madrid this summer with many thousands of others from around the world.” The Pope also had words of comfort for the people of Columbia, saying he would be with them spiritually as they mark the “Day of Prayer for the victims of violence” which will take place in the country this Good Friday. Finally, before taking his leave at the start of the most important week in the Churches calendar, the Holy Father was treated to an impromptu “Happy Birthday” from those gathered in the St Peter’s Square.

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