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Palm Sunday: Parishes commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem

new 01 4.13.17_ola.donkey altCapuchin Father Michael Mahoney, pastor of Our Lady of Angels Parish in Burlingame, is accompanied by a donkey during the Palm Sunday procession at the family Mass on April 9. (Photo by Tom Burke/Catholic San Francisco)

April 13, 2017
Tom Burke

A real donkey – 24-year-old Donna, in this year’s procession – is a regular visitor to Our Lady of Angels Church in Burlingame during the annual Palm Sunday re-enactment of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, usually at the 10 a.m. family Mass.

“I have been doing the procession with the donkey for a long time,” Capuchin Father Michael Mahoney told Catholic San Francisco. “It began way back in the mid-‘90s with our children’s liturgy committee. At that time, we thought it would be a good idea to make the Palm Sunday commemoration of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem more real for the children that we should get a donkey. So we began the procession from the parking lot to the church with palms and music recapturing some of the spirit of the first Palm Sunday in Jerusalem.”

Like the faith of which Palm Sunday is such a part, Father Michael said the Our Lady of Angels procession, too, has stood the test of time.

“I think it is still a good idea today, as children and families enjoy the event, and like to participate in the procession, he said. “The donkey stays until the Mass is over and the children love to go into the rectory garden and pet the donkey.”

Lent and all of its high points remain pillars for Catholics today, Father Michael said. “The events of Holy Week have a very special place in the lives of parishioners. Anything we can do to make our commemoration of the historical events more real helps the people to understand and remember those crucial times in the life of Jesus.”

The guest donkey is usually obtained from Tickle Me Pony Parties of Brentwood. Stacey Young is owner. The organization is fully insured and complies with “USDA federal requirements and standards for animal health, care and safety,” according to its website.

new 01 4.13.17_Palm Sunday St. Mary 4

Altar server Alexandria Cazar of Woodacre helps Father Cyril O’Sullivan, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Nicasio, distribute palm leaves to parishioners after Palm Sunday Mass. (Photo by Christina Gray/Catholic San Francisco).



new 01 4.13.17_palm.sunday.Domingo de Palmas px. 1 Mision Dolores. PadreMission Dolores Basilica pastor Father Francis Garbo is pictured with worshippers at noon Mass on Palm Sunday. (Photo by Zac Wittmer/San Francisco Catolico)

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