Catholic faithful marks start of Holy Week
Published on: Monday, April 15, 2019
By: Nikko Fabian

KOTA KINABALU: In keeping with tradition to commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem before His crucifixion, Malaysian devotees trooped to different churches and waved their palm fronds (palm leaves/branches) on Palm Sunday.

At the Sacred Heart Cathedral, hundreds of faithful marked the first day of Holy Week with a solemn Eucharistic holy mass.

Similar religious rituals were observed in all the churches throughout Sabah.

Churchgoers waved palm branches and leaves before the holy masses began.

The waving of palm branches and leaves symbolises the re-enactment of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem riding on a donkey days before he was crucified, according to Christian teaching.

During the scheduled 9am mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu His Most Rev. Datuk John Wong Soo Kau (pic) urged his flocks to welcome the messiah wholeheartedly in their life and respective homes.

The Sandakan-born Archbishop also reminded devotees to keep their individual palm branches/leaves at home to serve as reminder of the passion and death of Jesus.

“Let’s observe Holy Week solemnly and do penance,” the prelate stressed.

Archbishop Wong also called on faithful to enter into the Holy Week with hope so that they would be renewed. 

“During the entire Holy Week, let’s be truly holy and share this holiness with others.”

Palm Sunday, otherwise known as Passion Sunday, marks the first day of Holy Week – the last week of Lent, which starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.

The day celebrates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem riding on a donkey days before he was crucified, he added.

This year, Palm Sunday falls on April 14, Good Friday falls on April 19 and Easter Sunday will be celebrated on April 21.

According to the Salvation Army, there are many traditions that take place on Palm Sunday but one of the most common is for individuals to give out or receive small crosses made from palm leaves, as a reminder of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and his death on the cross.

While some Christians keep palm leaves in their homes all year as a symbol of their faith, other congregations burn them at the end of the day and save the ashes to use on Ash Wednesday of the following year.  


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