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Pope Francis holds palm fronds as he celebrates Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican yesterday (CNS/Lola Gomez)

Only Jesus can deliver humanity from hatred and violence, Pope Francis said on Palm Sunday yesterday. Source: OSV News.

“Jesus entered Jerusalem as a humble and peaceful king,” he said in brief remarks after celebrating Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square. He prayed that the faithful would open their hearts to the Lord because he alone “can deliver us from animosity, hatred, violence, because he is mercy and the forgiveness of sins”.

About 60,000 people attended the Mass, which began with a solemn procession of hundreds of people carrying green palm branches followed by about 60 cardinals and bishops, carrying “palmurelli” pale green palm branches that were woven and braided.

Pope Francis did not deliver prepared remarks

Dressed in red vestments, the colour of the Passion, Pope Francis presided over the Mass, the solemn beginning of Holy Week, but he skipped the homily and did not have an aide read any prepared remarks. Cardinal Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches, was the main celebrant at the altar.

The Vatican offered no explanation about why there was no homily. The Pope did read brief remarks after praying the Angelus, expressing sorrow over a deadly attack in Moscow March 22 in which more than 130 people were killed inside a crowded concert venue.

He prayed for the victims of this “cowardly terrorist attack” and called for the conversion of the “hearts of those who plan, organise and carry out these inhumane actions that offend God, who commanded, ‘Thou shalt not kill’”.

The Pope extended his prayers to all people who suffer because of war, particularly those in Ukraine and Gaza.


Pope Francis skips Palm Sunday homily, opting for a moment of silence  (By Carol Glatz, OSV News)