Palm Sunday Marks Start of Holy Week

March 25, 2010

Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl will bless palm branches in memory of Christ’s triumphant journey into Jerusalem this Palm Sunday, marking the start of Holy Week:

Sunday, March 28, 2010
Palm Blessing: 9:45 a.m./Mass: 10:00 a.m.
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

Archbishop Wuerl will bless the palms at the rear of the church before processing to the sanctuary of the Cathedral to celebrate Mass. The festive tone that accompanies the blessing of the palms will change during Mass as the Passion of Christ, which relays the story of Christ’s suffering and death, is read.

Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week, leading up to Easter and the celebration of Christ’ Resurrection. During Holy Week, special liturgies and events will be held in local churches all week:

Wednesday, March 31: All churches in the Archdiocese of Washington and Diocese of Arlington will be open for confessions from 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. as part of “The Light is On for You” (

Holy Thursday, April 1: During evening Masses, priests will wash the feet of parishioners, as Christ washed the feet of the apostles at the Last Supper; many churches will stay open late for quiet prayer

Good Friday, April 2: No Masses are celebrated in Catholic churches this day. Instead, Christ’s crucifixion is remembered through “Way of the Cross” of “Via Crucis” processions, when parishioners take to the streets to recreate Christ’s journey to his crucifixion, as well as liturgies of the Word that include the Veneration of the Cross.

Holy Saturday, April 3: At Eater Vigil Masses across the Archdiocese of Washington, nearly 1,200 men, women and children will be baptized or confirmed in the Catholic faith.

Easter Sunday, April 4: Catholics celebrate the Resurrection of Christ in joyful Masses across the region.

“The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600–1700,” on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art East Building through May 31, 2010, features realistic sculptures and paintings, including depictions of the crucifixion of Christ, by 17th century artists. Many of the sculptures have never been exhibited away from their Spanish churches, convents and monasteries. Learn more at