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Archive for Friday, March 21, 1997

CATHOLICS AND LUTHERANS TO HAVE JOINT CEREMONY

March 21, 1997

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Palm Sunday brings two congregations together.

Carrying palm branches and singing, two Lawrence congregations will gather Sunday morning in South Park to celebrate Palm Sunday.

Congregations from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1227 Vt., and Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 N.H., will participate.

The 15-minute ceremony will begin at 10:45 a.m. Sunday in the park west of Massachusetts Street.

"We're wanting to build bridges of cooperation and common witness as two congregations who are fortunate enough to be located nearby each other," said the Rev. Charles Gilmore, pastor of Trinity Lutheran.

The Rev. Charles Polifka, St. John's pastor, will bless the palms. Trinity's handbell choir will provide music.

Polifka said there will be a reading of the gospel that tells of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when crowds gathered and palm branches were strewn out before him.

Each congregation will then begin a procession back to its respective church.

"We're hoping it's going to be nice. It's a little cool. But there is no rain forecast," Gilmore said.

Gilmore said his congregation will have to cross Massachusetts Street, but police have been asked to stop traffic for the procession.

Polifka said pre-ceremony joint fellowship time for the two congregations will be held at 10 a.m. at St. John's basement.

This is the second year for the ceremony, he said.

"It was something that we elected to do last year as a common celebration that we share and proclaim on Palm Sunday," Gilmore said. "Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. In both our traditions, Roman Catholic and Lutheran, we observe the traditions of Holy Week."

Holy Week commemorates the celebration of the Passion of Jesus Christ. It includes the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday; Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday; the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, leading up to the celebration of Jesus' Resurrection on Easter, March 30.

Gilmore and Polifka said they had favorable responses from their congregations after last year's Palm Sunday ceremony, which was held on the east side of the park, near Trinity Lutheran.

"We're really excited about doing this again," Gilmore said.

"Everybody seemed to really enjoy it last year. It was a good experience," Polifka said.

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