FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Christians across Fairfield County are celebrating Palm Sunday this weekend, ushering in Holy Week and leading up to Easter.
On Palm Sunday, most Christian churches bless and hand out palm fronds to their congregations and do readings on the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem just before his crucifixion. According to the Bible's New Testament, Jesus rode a donkey into the city, and the celebrating people put cloaks and palm fronds on the ground before him to honor him.
As part of the celebration of Palm Sunday, Fairfield's Our Lady of the Assumption Church will host a Holy Hour with adoration, compline and benediction at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. It will be sung in its entirety by Our Lady's Chamber Choir as the church is illuminated only by candlelight. The church is located at 545 Stratfield Road, Fairfield. Call 203-333-9065 or visit its website for more information.
The Young People of St. Anthony's Maronite Catholic Church in Danbury will present a "Living Passion Play" at 8 p.m. Sunday in the church at 17 Granville Ave. For information contact Youth Minister Chip Jowdy at by email or visit the website. Donations will be accepted at the door.
Other religious events this week include Holy Thursday, which commemorates Christ's Last Supper with his apostles. Traditional rituals include a washing of the feet at services. High school teens are invited to a "Seven Churches Pilgrimage" starting at St. Joseph Church, 8 Robinson Ave., Danbury. The group will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Holy Thursday, March 28, and visit and pray at six other parishes by midnight. For information, contact Youth Minister David Roman by email or at 203-778-1920, Ext. 4.
On Good Friday, Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. A Living Stations of the Cross will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at St. Elizabeth Seton Church, 520 Ridgebury Road, Ridgefield. For information, contact Youth Minister Joanna Vill by email or call 203-438-7292.
Also, the youth group at St. Luke Parish, 84 Long Lots Road, Westport, will perform a Living Stations of the Cross from 7:30 to 9 p.m. This interactive journey of Jesus carrying the Cross uses contemporary music, interactive prayer and costumes to convey the story of Christ's passion. For information, visit the church website or call 203-227-7245.
Holy Saturday marks the day Christ's body was laid to rest. Easter Vigil services also take place after sundown. Easter Sunday celebrates the Christian belief that Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion.
Many churches save and collect palm fronds from Palm Sunday for next year to burn to make ashes for Ash Wednesday, the start of the next Lenten season.