By Tim Harfmann
Reenacting the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at Saint Mary Gate of Heaven Church in Ozone Park, Queens. The bishop blessed the palms and the faithful with holy water as he processed down the church’s aisle. “It’s important that we have some contact with the actual events. By making the procession, we recognize that we follow Christ. We follow Him in the beginning of the glorious time of Palm Sunday, but we follow Him through the whole week,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
The pews were packed with palm-holding parishioners assembled for the start the holiest week for Christians. During Mass, Bishop DiMarzio led the reading of the Passion of the Lord. This year, it was from Luke’s Gospel.
The parishioners of Saint Mary Gate of Heaven Church participated in the joy of Palm Sunday and also looked ahead to Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and His Easter Resurrection — the foundation of the Catholic faith. “It’s very important to me and my family, most overall my son that’s going to be [receiving] his first Holy Communion; and teaching him about our Catholic religion, our Catholic faith, and how important God is in our lives,” said Audrey Salazar, a parishioner at the Ozone Park church. “I teach second grade, so a big part of this week… every day we speak about Palm Sunday, about each event that takes places. [I] try to make the children understand that Jesus just didn’t die on Good Friday; it didn’t end there. He rose from the dead,” said Camille Ferraro, a teacher at Saint Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy.
To become ready for Easter, Catholics across the diocese and around the world will pray and reflect upon each of the monumental moments of Holy Week, leading up to next Sunday’s universal exclamation – He is Risen!