Pope Francis presides over Palm Sunday mass, his first public appearance after being discharged from the hospital.
The Vatican reports Pope Francis presided at the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion mass at St. Peter’s Square. This however was his his first mass as well as first public appearance after being hospitalized with bronchitis in Gemelli Hospital. An estimated number of sixty thousand worshippers reportedly participated in the mass, each bearing either olive or palm branches to mark the palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday is a Christian celebration that signifies the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter.
The Holy mass however started with a procession of the faithful bearing raised palm branches. About 400 faithful, including the prelates, the cardinals as well as the Pontiff took part in the procession. The Pope who was sitting in a popemobile with his palm branch came at the tail-end of the procession. They made their way up the altar while the choir chants a hymn of ‘Hosanna to the Lord’.
Following their approach to the altar, The Holy Father wearing his vestment coat made his way to the presider’s chair at the altar under an erected shade in the square. The pontiff led the opening prayer as well as a 15-minute-long homily. A homily that reflects on Jesus’ cry while on the cross ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me’. “Those words bring us to the very heart of Christ’s Passion, the culmination of the sufferings He endured for our salvation,” Pope said.
At the end of the Holy Mass Pope greeted the participants, including the cardinals, the tourists, and pilgrims. He also smiled and waved at the congregation while making his way out of the church in a popemobile.