GEORGE TOWN: Singing hymns while waving palm fronds and palm crosses, some 400 parishioners of St George’s Church here took part in a procession to observe Palm Sunday.
As they gathered at the parish hall as early as 7.30am, Anglican Church Diocese of West Malaysia Suffragan Bishop Rev Datuk Charles Samuel blessed the palm crosses before the procession began at 8am.
Cross bearers, choir members, children and adults made up the procession order, followed by church elders, assistant priests and Rev Charles.
Accompanying the pipe organ music broadcast via speakers outside the church, the parishioners sang the hymns “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest and Ride on, Ride on in Majesty” during the 20-minute procession.
They circled the church building twice before proceeding to the main entrance for the service.
Rev Charles, the vicar of the 200-year-old church which is also known as the Church of St George the Martyr, said the celebration this year was themed “Hosanna to the King”.
He said the Palm Sunday procession was to recall Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem to complete his mission as the Messiah to suffer, die and rise again to life.
He said parishioners symbolically carried palm leaves and crosses in the procession as palm leaves were used to welcome Christ who humbly rode on a donkey back then.“Throughout the 40 days of Lent in the Christian calendar, we have been preparing ourselves by doing work of love and sharing with the poor and disadvantaged.
“We have also been praying for self-sacrifice, remembering Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the sins of mankind as observed on Good Friday.
“But Christ did not die in vain because he later rose again on the third day, which is celebrated by Christians worldwide as Easter,” he said.
Parochial church council (PCC) member Roger Vethamoney, 48, said he had been decorating the church with giant palm branches for Palm Sunday annually since he joined the Youth Fellowship in 1986.
“Due to the scarcity of palm trees these days, most churches now ask members to bring their own palm leaves to church.
“Thankfully, we can still source ours from the palm trees at our vicar’s parsonage,” he said.
Sundari Dass, 82, said she joined some 20 members of the Women’s Fellowship to weave palm fronds into palm crosses on Saturday evening.
“Giving out palm crosses during Palm Sunday is an age-old tradition of this church. We hope it will be passed on to the generations to come,” she said.