Neermarga Parish observed Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion memorializing the victorious entry of Jesus into Jerusalem advance of His crucifixion and resurrection, marking the inception of the Holy Week on 2nd April, 2023.
The Palm Sunday observance initiated at 7.30 am on the church grounds. The blessing of the palms included the Word of God on the messianic entrance, antiphon ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ which was followed by a prayer. Rev Fr Anil D Mello, Parish Priest and Rev. Fr. Melwyn Lobo, SJ. Principal, St Aloysius Gonzaga School blessed the Palms symbolic of Jesus’ life, His Ministry and ultimately His Sacrifice. Palms were distributed to the devotees who carried them in a ritual procession into the Church by singing the antiphon ‘the children of the Hebrews, carrying olive branches, went to meet the Lord, crying out and saying: Hosanna in the highest’.
Solemn Mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Melwyn Lobo, SJ and Rev Fr Anil D Mello. During the normal spot in the Mass, the Passion was read. The Gospel captured the speed at which things changed in the few days between the entry and the subsequent arrest, passion, and death by crucifixion. Rev Fr Melwyn Lobo in his reflective homily said: “The American Civil War was fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America, when Abraham Lincoln was its President. After four bloody years of conflict, the United States defeated the Confederate States and reached an informal end on Palm Sunday, the 9th of April, 1865. It was scarcely a week later, though, that the nation was to be shocked again and this time with devastating news: Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated on April 14th at Ford’s Theatre in Washington on Good Friday. Mahatma Gandhi helped India reach independence – a joyous moment but on January 30th he was shot dead. Success and suffering are two sides of the same coin. Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King. But while this is a heroic entry, it is Jesus’ first step toward His death. Palm Sunday is a reminder of the selfless love Jesus showed by laying down his life for us and it is a time to reflect on our own lives and how we can show that same love to those around us through acceptance, cheerfulness and optimism. Suffering and joy are two strands of a single fibre. Joy thrives in the midst of suffering, for it is not rooted in circumstance, but is born of the knowledge that God is present in every moment of our lives”. He further emphasised the significance of the Readings of the Day.
The congregation took part in the celebration meditating upon the inexplicable value of the suffering of Christ and that His suffering is a sign of love, an invitation to love and a revelation of love. Fr Anil D’Mello, the Parish Priest welcomed the devotees and issued the vote of thanks. Master Sheldon Peres captured the pictures .