Pastor takes creative approach for a palmless Palm Sunday

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing pastors around the diocese to be creative in their ministry. This includes reaching out to parishioners through videos, livestreaming Masses and personal messages. 

Father LeRoy Scheierl, pastor of St. Peter and St. Paul parishes in St. Cloud, is encouraging a creative alternative to handing out palms on Palm Sunday — one which he hopes will help connect members of his Together As One Area Catholic Community, which also includes St. Michael Parish in St. Cloud and St. Joseph Parish in Waite Park. 

“We are encouraging people to place a green branch outside their house or apartment door — maybe a pine bow, a leaf of a house plant, anything green — as a sign of welcome to our Lord, as well as giving honor to him on this day,” Father Scheierl said.  

“In this way we hope to help people experience some sort of solidarity with all the other faithful members of our ACC parishes who are present at our Palm Sunday celebration in spirit,” he said. His parishes video record both weekday and Sunday Masses. 

The Diocese of Camden, New Jersey is doing something similar, asking parishioners to place any green branch in the door or window of their home, the diocese said in a Facebook post. 

Palms were used in the ancient world as symbols of victory and as a way to welcome and pay homage to a person of honor. They are used as part of Palm Sunday Masses to commemorate Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Bishop Donald Kettler said palm branches should not be distributed this year due to the coronavirus prevention guidelines issued by state and federal health authorities regarding social distancing and limiting person-to-person contact. 

The staff of Catholic Education Ministries of the Diocese of St. Cloud is publishing weekly lessons online for family faith formation. See the lesson for Palm Sunday at 

Author: Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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