Pope John Paul II celebrated Palm Sunday Mass before at least 200,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, dedicating the day to young people.
“You can say that the first World Youth Day was in Jerusalem, when Christ entered the Holy City,” John Paul said in his homily during the two-hour Mass. The pope referred to the church’s youth day, which this year will be held in Paris in August.
Palm Sunday, which begins the Roman Catholic Church’s most solemn period, marks Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem, when his followers laid palm branches in his path, before his crucifixion.
Many in the square held sprigs of olive leaves and palm fronds.
John Paul did not take part in a procession as he has in past years and instead was driven into the square in an open car.
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