SALT LAKE CITY — Dressed in white robes, with palm leaves tucked inbetween pages of sheet music, a choir of men, women, boys and girls slowly walked around the Cathedral of the Madeleine, singing praises to Jesus Christ.

Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, also with palm leaves in hand, followed the choir around the plaza and up the steps to the cathedral, trailed by a few hundred others in observance of Palm Sunday.

"For five weeks of Lent, we have been preparing by works of charity and self sacrifice for the celebration of our lord's Paschal Mystery — that is his suffering, death and resurrection," Bishop Wester said prior to Sunday morning's procession.

The annual observance of Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four gospels of the New Testament. The story, as written in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, tells of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem and how the people laid their cloaks and small tree branches in his path.

"This was reserved for royalty," Bishop Wester said.

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According to the New Testament accounts, the event happened just days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of Christ's physical and spiritual suffering.

"Let us now remember with devotion this entry, which began his saving work, and follow him with lively faith," Bishop Wester said. "United with him in his suffering on the cross, may we share his resurrection and new life."

The procession was followed by mass. A second procession and mass were scheduled for Sunday afternoon.


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