Blessed Palms in the Home

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Blessed Palms in the Home

The procession at Holy Mass with the palms is a public display of homage and loyalty to Christ our King and Redeemer. Christ is the King of our home, so we should incorporate the blessed palms and a family prayer service as part of this day.

Palm trees aren’t readily available in some vicinities, there are other plants like olive branches, box, yew, spruce, willows and pussy-willows that are blessed and used the same way as palms for Passion Sunday.

Reverence for Blessed Palms because the palms are blessed, they are now sacramentals, which “are sacred signs instituted by the Church. They prepare [us] to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1667). Sacramentals should be treated with respect and never be thrown away. Palms may only be burned or buried.

It is an old tradition to burn blessed palm branches in times of forthcoming natural disasters, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, asking God to avert or lessen the impending disaster. The instruction in the Directory on Popular Piety explains why this practice is not encouraged:

The faithful, however, should be instructed as to the meaning of this celebration so that they might grasp its significance. They should be opportunely reminded that the important thing is participation in the procession and not only the obtaining of palm or olive branches. Palms or olive branches should not be kept as amulets, or for therapeutic or magical reasons to dispel evil spirits or to prevent the damage these cause in the fields or in the homes, all of which can assume a certain superstitious guise.

Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic king, and in his Paschal Victory.”

Keeping in mind the symbolism of the palms, and that they are blessed, here are some suggestions in using the palms at home:

Palm Crosses after Holy Mass on Palm Sunday, family members can gather the palms and make a small palm cross to wear. There are a variety of ways to make the cross. The simplest is to take two small pieces, one a little longer than the other, crisscross the pieces in shape of a cross and staple at the middle. Another way is to make two small slits near the top (where the crossbeam would be) in the longer piece of palm and slide the cross beam through the slits. This could be a challenging project for the family members to try various methods.

Each person is given a palm cross to wear on their coats or clothing throughout Holy Week, to remind us to carry our cross patiently so we may share Christ’s Easter glory.

Prayer Service The family then gathers together. The father reads the account of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (from the Gospel of Mark 11:1-10 or Matt 21:1-11 or John 12:12-16 or Luke 19:28-40). Then the mother, with a lighted candle, leads the procession through all the rooms of the house. All sing the hymn All Glory, Laud and Honor and place a palm cross either above the door in each room, or behind the crucifix.

Palm Weaving

Palm Weaving is a tradition found in many countries, such as Italy, Philippines, and Poland. Here are some links for instructions, from the simple cross to the elaborate flowers. Since the palms are blessed, there must be a reverence used towards the sacramental.

Introitus: Dómine, ne longe fácias

Dominica II Passionis seu in Palmis ~ I. classis

Ps 21:20 et 22.

Dómine, ne longe fácias auxílium tuum a me, ad defensiónem meam áspice: líbera me de ore leonis, et a córnibus unicórnium humilitátem meam.

O Lord, be not far from me; O my help, hasten to aid me. Save me from the lion’s mouth; form the horns of the wild bulls, my wretched life.

Ps 21:2

Deus, Deus meus, réspice in me: quare me dereliquísti? longe a salúte mea verba delictórum meórum.

My God, my God, look upon me, why have You forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.

Dómine, ne longe fácias auxílium tuum a me, ad defensiónem meam áspice: líbera me de ore leonis, et a córnibus unicórnium humilitátem meam.

O Lord, be not far from me; O my help, hasten to aid me. Save me from the lion’s mouth; form the horns of the wild bulls, my wretched life.

Palm Sunday Sermon

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Palm Sunday

Sermon by Dom Prosper Gueranger 1870

Today, if ye shall hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts. 

Early in the morning of this day, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, leaving Mary His Mother, and the two sisters Martha and Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus, at Bethania. The Mother of sorrows trembles at seeing her Son thus expose Himself to danger, for His enemies are bent upon His destruction; but it is not death, it is triumph, that Jesus is to receive today in Jerusalem. The Messias, before being nailed to the cross, is to be proclaimed King by the people of the great city; the little children are to make her streets echo with their Hosannas to the Son of David; and this in presence of the soldiers of Rome’s emperor, and of the high priests and pharisees: the first standing under the banner of their eagles; the second, dumb with rage.
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The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s

Why is this day called Palm Sunday?

In memory of our Saviour’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when the multitude strewed palm branches before Him, for which reason the Church, on this day, blesses palms, and carries them in procession.

Why are palms blessed?

That those who carry them with devotion, or keep them in their houses, may receive protection of soul and body, as prayed for in the blessing; that those who carry the palms may, by means of the prayers of the Church, adorn their souls with good works and thus, in spirit, meet the Saviour; that, through Christ whose members we are, we may conquer the kingdom of death and darkness, and be made worthy to share in His glorious resurrection and triumphant entrance into heaven. St. Augustine writes of the palms: “They are the emblem of praise, and sign of victory, because the Lord by death conquered death, and with the sign of victory, the cross, overcame the devil, the prince of death.” Therefore, preceded by the cross, we go in procession around the church singing hymns of praise; when we come to the church door, we find it locked; the priest knocks at it with the cross. Heaven was closed to us by the sin of Adam, and it is opened to us by reconciliation through Jesus on the cross.

To move us to compassion for the suffering Redeemer, the Church, in the person of Christ, cries in lamenting tones at the Introit: Continue reading