News Story

Palm Sunday Celebration in Gatineau

To start the Easter week with hearts turned to Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Gatineau Ward’s children’s organization, called the Primary, planned a special presentation for Palm Sunday, which is celebrated a week before Easter by Christians all over the world. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, where the crowd cheered Him and welcomed Him as a king.

In order to reconnect with the past and learn how other Christian religions celebrate Palm Sunday, Jeanne Parent-Paquette, a Catholic youth animator, was invited to share with the Primary children her experiences of the different ways in which Catholic children from all over the world celebrate Palm Sunday. As part of her presentation, she offered to help the children construct their own palm branches.

Parent-Paquette commented that "Palm Sunday for Catholics represents a gesture of veneration and trust in the Saviour, our resurrected King. In coming to speak to the children, I wanted to convey the message that all Christians worthy of this name together honour our King, the Saviour Jesus Christ. We're all His children!”

Esther Caron, president of the Gatineau Ward Primary, says, “This day was an opportunity for the children of the Primary to testify of their love and their joy of being disciples of Christ.”

On Palm Sunday, the children provided a special presentation for the congregation after regular Sunday services. With their branches in hand, the children entered the cultural hall and while raising their branches high sang these words: “He is always near me, though I do not see Him there, And because He loves me dearly, I am in His watchful care. So I’ll be the kind of person that I know I’d like to be, if I could see the Savior standing nigh watching over me” (Sally DeFord, “If the Savior Stood Beside Me,” verse 4).

The 9- and 10-year-old children read the Bible verses describing the solemn entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and while brandishing their boughs, repeated the words of the crowd: “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9).

Then all the children went down the aisle and laid their boughs on the ground, like those who had done so at the time of Christ. Steve Harold Lagardère, first counsellor in the Gatineau Ward, gave an inspiring sermon on the importance of praising the Lord in all our actions and of witnessing God at all times, in all things and in all places. To close, the congregation stood and sang the hymn “Rejoice, the Lord Is King” (Hymns, no. 66). Lenten buns were served to all participants once the presentation was over.

Marie-Josée Brousseau, a member of the congregation, remarked, “My heart was touched by the purity, gentleness and joy of the children. Thanks to them I have been able to feel the pure love of Christ, which made me grateful for our Saviour and His sacrifice. Thank you to the children and our Primary presidency for this presentation, which has strengthened the unity of the members in our congregation.”

Another member of the congregation, Robert Wheable, stated, “This Palm Sunday celebration made me think about how I would receive Christ if one day He comes to visit us. I imagined what it would be like to be next to Him and how I would feel if He passed right by me.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “Now, especially during the week from Palm Sunday to Easter morning, we turn our thoughts to Jesus Christ, the source of light, life, and love. He gave us His gospel. The gospel is the good news of Christ. It is the way of hope and joy. … Let us remember during this Easter season that the restored gospel of our Lord has the power to fill any emptiness and heal any wound. I bear my solemn witness that Jesus the Christ lives. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He will always be at our side. He will fight our battles. He is our hope. He is our salvation. He is the way” (“Palm Sunday,” Friend, Mar. 2016).

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