Christian faithful commemorate Palm Sunday Mass services in Rockville Centre
Some of Long Island's Christian faithful celebrated Palm Sunday at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre.
Residents who attended services received palms and explained the holy day is quite special to them for many reasons.
The palms, a ritual of the Palm Sunday Mass, commemorates Jesus Christ's entrance into Jerusalem where he was greeted with palm branches days before his crucifixion.
"It's definitely symbolic for us," said parishioner Mariela Batista. "It gets emotional too because it represents new, like new life, and the start of spring, so it gets emotional."
Parishioners typically take the palms home because they serve as holy reminders.
"I feel blessed when I put it like in my room. I put it over my mirror," said Rockville Centre resident Barbara Alesi.
Palm Sunday Mass also marks the beginning of the church's most holy week that leads up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
"I feel like Palm Sunday is the beginning of Easter for us. It kind of just starts the week off in the right way and I think it's important to be here and to share with your family," said Hector Batista, of Rockville Centre.
Palm Sunday also signifies the last week of Lent, a time where many Christians give up certain luxuries. Parishioner Mary Ellen gave up candy and said she was excited that Lent was almost over.
Priests said the palms are blessed, so parishioner should not throw them out. Instead, they are typically returned to be burned and used as ashes for the following year's Ash Wednesday.