Members of St. Ambrose Catholic Church joined many Christians worldwide Sunday to celebrate Palm Sunday and start the Holy Week leading to Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday is observed by Roman Catholics as a feast day. It’s celebrated in most Christian churches as a celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by worshipers carrying palms.
On many Christian calendars, the day falls one week before Easter — marked as the day Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead.
In the week ahead, Christians pause to remember Jesus’ last supper on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday.
“The story of the Passion of Christ is a promise to us that we will never have to be alone,” the Rev. Bob Stec told members of the St. Ambrose congregation on Sunday morning.
Stec, St. Ambrose’s pastor, told those gathered at the church a story about a Girl Scout troop in North Ridgeville, who built a “buddy bench” on their playground. The idea was anyone who comes to the playground alone could sit on the bench and other children could come greet them and ask them to join in play.
“This right here, is a ‘buddy bench,’ ” Stec said, pointing to a pew crowded with members of the church.
He encouraged members of the congregation to commit to an hour of daily prayer during the Holy Week.
“It will be a sacrifice,” he said. “But imagine the power of sitting and spending time with the Lord. The promise of the Passion of Jesus Christ is that you, we, us, never have to be alone.”
In Rome on Sunday, Pope Francis greeted a crowd of about 100,000 gathered in St. Peter’s Square outside the Vatican for his Palm Sunday Mass.
“Where is my heart?” the pope asked during his 15- minute homily, pinpointing that as the “question which accompanies us” throughout Holy Week.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
<em>Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or <a href=”emailto://email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.</em>