Not Everyone Uses Palms

5:16 PM, Mar 24, 2013   |    comments
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Note:  Christians around the world celebrated Palm Sunday.  The Associated Press and CBS News have these reports from the Jeruselem and Rome. 

Since Palm leaves aren't availble around the world, this time of year, some countries  use olive branches or willow branches and the day has a different name.

JERUSALEM  -- Hundreds of Christians in Jerusalem are marking Palm Sunday, the start of the Catholic Holy Week that concludes with Easter.

Crowds of faithful gathered into Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Many waved palm fronds to symbolize how worshippers greeted Jesus over 2,000 years ago as he triumphantly returned to Jerusalem.

Mostly Palestinian worshippers gathered in the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, traditional site of Jesus' birth, clutching olive branches and bouquets as they sung in praise.

There are some 50,000 Palestinian Christians, a tiny minority among a mostly Muslim society. They must obtain military permission to enter Jerusalem, and a Palestinian official said most applicants had their requests rejected. Military spokesman Guy Inbar said they had issued 20,000 permits so far.

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican estimates that 250,000 people jammed St. Peter's Square today to hear Pope Francis celebrate Palm Sunday Mass.

The enthusiastic crowd waved olive branches and palm fronds as the Catholic church marked the start of Holy Week, the solemn week leading up to Easter.

In his homily, the pope encouraged people to be humble and joyful. He said Christian joy "isn't born from possessing a lot of things but from having met" Jesus. He said that same joy should keep people young.

Keeping with his spontaneous style, the first pope from Latin America broke away several times from his prepared text to encourage the faithful to lead simple lives and resist the temptation to be sad when life's obstacles inevitably come their way.

He also promised to go to a youth jamboree in Brazil in July.

At the end of the two-hour Mass, Francis climbed into an open popemobile to circle through the crowd. He leaned out to shake hands, kissed and patted the heads of infants passed to him by bodyguards, and often gave children the thumbs-up sign.

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