It may not be everyone’s favorite holiday, but it is probably the most important for Christians.
Kel Szydagis knows that the traditions and glitz that surround Christmas are probably more exciting than Palm Sunday, but for her, Holy Week is the most important time of year for Christians.
“Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, which is the time of year that defines our faith,” she said, before joining roughly 200 parishioners in a procession into the St. Kateri Church. “Today is the day we rejoice for Jesus entering Jerusalem, but it is also ironic because that is what ultimately led to his death.”
Palm Sunday is celebrated the Sunday before Easter and commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in the New Testament, which says he rode a donkey while people laid down small branches of trees, or palms.
People gathered in the parish center of the Rosa Road church around 11:30 a.m. Sunday where their palms were blessed by the Rev. Robert Longobucco, pastor. As the church choir led the parishioners in song, they filed into the church and listened to a sermon from Longobucco. When people weren’t praying they often shared laughs, creating a light mood in the church.
“Christmas is Jesus becoming human, which is important,” Szydagis said. “But this week celebrates when Jesus was no longer human and became divine.”
Longobucco said he wanted to remind people that this a week is about celebrating Jesus’ death and his resurrection.
“Jesus died for all of our sins,” he said. “In a time when everyone around him betrayed him and let him down, he still loved us.”
John Phillips, another parishioner, said Palm Sunday is an annual sign that Jesus is with him in everything that he does.
“He is always with me and today we are reminded of that,” he said. “He made the ultimate sacrifice and that is what makes him our savior.”
Mary Anne Zeszutko said she tries not to cry on Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.
“Though it is the saddest holiday in our faith, it is also the day that Jesus was no longer bound by time and space and he became free,” she said.
Richard Peruna said he typically doesn’t attend church on Palm Sunday but was pushed by family members to attend this service.
“I’m not big into religion, but I remember coming to church as a kid and really enjoying listening to the priest,” he said. “So when I was asked to come I hesitated for a little, but eventually gave in and thought it would be nice to come down here.”
He was not disappointed.