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Pope Francis blesses palm branches as he ushers in Holy Week

16 April 2019

Catholic parishes and other places of worship, including those in city jails, became gardens of palm fronds on Sunday, April 14, as Holy Week began with the annual observance of Palm Sunday.

As one of the few cities in the Middle East where religious freedom exists, Jerusalem hosted massive Palm Sunday celebrations for Christian pilgrims over the weekend.

The cardinal invited all the people present to follow this example and go forth in peace like Jesus.

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Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and is the start of the church's most solemn week, which includes the Good Friday re-enactment of Jesus' crucifixion and death and his resurrection on Easter.

Faithful attending Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Apr. 14, 2019. Israeli officials reported an estimated 15,000 people took part in the procession. Festive cries, followed by brutal torture.

Pope Francis has warned tens of thousands of faithful that giving in to triumphalism and spiritual worldliness is the "most treacherous temptation threatening the Church".

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On Palm Sunday, the church also marks World Youth Day.

Anglican Church priest-in-charge for St Mary's Chitungwiza Canon Norman Nyawo said the event was crucial as it inspires Christians to have the same character as Jesus. The pope called on young people not to be ashamed to show their enthusiasm for Jesus but at the same time not to fear following "him on the way to the cross".

He also asked the crowd to pray for peace, particularly in the Holy Land and all of the Middle East.

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Like every year the pope has a busy schedule this week.

Pope Francis blesses palm branches as he ushers in Holy Week