Christians mark Palm Sunday with processions

FILE: Palm Sunday Procession

Christians in Nigeria on Sunday joined their counterparts across the world to celebrate this year’s Palm Sunday with processions in parts of the country. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter when Christians celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

In many churches, Palm Sunday is observed by the blessing and sharing of palm branches symbolising the branches placed in front of Christ.

At the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Area 3, Abuja, worshippers took part in the service marking Palm Sunday after which they embarked on a procession.

In Ilorin, Kwara State capital, the state Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, congratulated Christians on Palm Sunday, which he said was symbolic.

The deputy governor also encouraged Christians not to relent in praying for the state and Nigeria.

Addressing journalists during the procession, the acting State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Sunday Adewole, recalled that the Palm Sunday procession could not hold in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and in 2021 for security reasons, adding that “In the face of these challenges, Christians and indeed all Nigerians still have reasons to thank God.”

The Anglican Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Williams Aladekugbe, urged Nigerians not to give up on their faith for a better country.

Aladekugbe, who is also the Chairman of the Oyo State Christian Council of Nigeria, told the News Agency of Nigeria that Palm Sunday reminds Christians that the reign of Christ is greater than what the mind of man could ever conceive or plan.

“Man looked for someone to fight their battles, yet God had the ultimate plan of sending His son to fight the final battle over death.

“For Christians, it is a reminder of the welcoming of Jesus into our hearts and of our willingness to follow Him,” he said.

Also, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Emmanuel Badejo, said Palm Sunday and its relationship to the passion of Jesus Christ reminded all that true glory is only found in self-giving and sacrifice.

The Oyo State chapter of CAN called on the faithful to reconcile with God and acknowledge that Christ died for all even while they were still sinners.

The state Chairman, Joshua Akinyemiju, made the call in an interview with NAN.

Akinyemiju said Christ demonstrated the greatest way of showing God’s love for humanity and urged the faithful to continually reciprocate by loving Christ and their neighbours.

He called on governments at all levels to show love to the citizens by listening to them, providing for them and ensuring their security in all parts of the country.

“The life of every citizen must remain sacred because God purchased each one at a great price.

“May the Lord grant us peace and security needed to live our lives to the fullest as Jesus died for us to live,” he said.

He noted that Palm Sunday was the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter when palm branches were placed in the path of Jesus Christ prior to His arrest on Holy Thursday and His crucifixion on Good Friday.

He explained, “It marks the final week of Lent. Palm Sunday also referred to as Passion Sunday commemorates the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

“It is an event that took place towards the end of His days on earth before being crucified.

“It is a Sunday to be regarded by Christians as a day to remind us to accept and welcome Jesus into our hearts, just as the worshipers welcomed Him into Jerusalem.

“The activities characterising Palm Sunday dictate that anyone can have his or her lives and fortunes change dramatically overnight.”