Despite the rainy weather, about 2,000 of Catholics and Protestants gathered in Bucharest to take part in the Palm Sunday procession. They were off the “Sacre Coeur” Church to Saint Joseph Cathedral in Bucharest on the route: Aviatorilor Boulevard, Victoriei Square, Calea Victoriei and General Berthelot Street. Also on Sunday, the World Youth Day was celebrated.
The Palm Sunday procession, chaired by Ioan Robu, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bucharest, began around noon, with a moment of prayer and blessing of the branches in Mons. Vladimir Ghika Square, near Sacre Coeur French church.
Believers and priests, holding palm branches in their hands sang hymns dedicated to Messiah. The youngsters opening the procession held the Cross of the World Youth Day.
The procession took about an hour, and after that archbishop Ioan Robu hold the Holy High Mass at the Saint Joseph Cathedral.
Francisc Dobo?, spokesperson of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Bucharest said this procession is like a prayer “not only for our own house and community, but for the whole city, for society”. “It is a prayer which address not only our personal needs, but the recovery of all families in our city,” the Catholic official said.
For Christians, Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ’s proud entry into Jerusalem one week before his death and subsequent resurrection. It takes its name from Biblical verses that say that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, crowds greeted him with palm branches, waving them and laying them at his feet and calling him “savior.” The religious holiday, also called Passion Sunday, marks the beginning of the last week of Lent, which ends with Easter Sunday. This year, Catholic Easter will be on April 5, while Orthodox one on April 12.
In Biblical times, palm branches represented victory and benevolence, as well as triumph. In modern times, in certain parts of the world where palms are hard to come by, branches from local trees are used instead. Leftover palms used in Palm Sunday ceremonies are not discarded, as they have been blessed, but instead burned for use on Ash Wednesday the following year.
President Iohannis’ message
President Klaus Iohannis wished Catholic and Protestant Christians celebrating Palm Sunday in Romania joy and health. “In bygone days, the Palm Sunday was a special day especially for German children in Transylvania, as it was the day of their Confirmation in the Church, a day when they said good bye to their childhood and when they were welcomed among the grown ups community,” the Romanian head of state also said.