Local religious education students join in special Palm Sunday liturgy
Story and photo by Sharon Roulier
AGAWAM – Religious education students from St. John the Evangelist Parish, here, were called to follow in the footsteps of Christ during a special Palm Sunday evening liturgy April 13 in the church.
During this celebration, which signifies the beginning of Holy Week in the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar, students in grades nine, 10 and 11 gathered outside the entrance to the Main Street church, holding palms as they listened to the Gospel reading detailing Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.
“The entrance of Jesus coming into Jerusalem was something very exciting, it was like the coming of Michael Jackson to Springfield,” said Father Tomasz Parzynski, pastor of St. John’s, in an interview with iobserve. “And the people just took whatever they had to greet him. Some people were waving the palms.”
Using a hand straw broom, Father Parzynski walked through the crowd of student, as he dipped the broom in Holy Water repeatedly, sprinkling it on the palms and parishioners to bless them.
After the Gospel reading, the students, along with other parishioners, processed into the church, waving their palms joyfully.
“We imitate the crowds that were crying out, ‘Hosannah in the highest,’” said Father Parzynski, noting that the emotions surrounding these remembrances vary from joyful, to sorrowful and then back to joyful again.
“The church wants to remind us of where we are going,” said the priest, explaining the reason for reading the Passion during Mass. “Five days later they crucified him. They sentenced him to death.”
“It is a time in that Catholic Christians stop what they are doing to remember what Jesus did for his followers,” he said.