From Fort Worth Star-Telegram – Ron Jenkins and Sarah Bahari
From atop a horse, the Roman soldier raised his right arm to signal the start of the procession.
Worshippers followed him, each carrying a palm to represent the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem in the New Testament.
The line wrapped around St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Fort Worth on Sunday, marking the 60th anniversary of the church’s re-enactment of the Palm Sunday procession.
“Palm Sunday is the one day we glorified Jesus when he was on this Earth,” said Cyndi Lerma, a lifelong member of the church. “Lord knows, we owe him a lot more praise.”
Services begin during the 60th annual Palm Sunday Procession and Mass at St. Timothy Episcopal Church in Fort Worth on Sunday, March 29, 2015. The event is a reenactment of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem days before he was crucified.
Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, one week before his death and resurrection. Sometimes referred to as “Passion Sunday,” it marks the beginning of Holy Week, which ends on Easter Sunday.
St. Timothy’s began producing the re-enactment in 1955 as a way to kick off Holy Week. Then a few years ago, the small congregation started inviting members of the community and other congregations to join the solemn festival.
“We want everyone to feel at home here,” Bishop Keith Ackerman said.
In recent years, the re-enactment grew in size and also scope, now including a horse, a donkey, torchbearers and Roman soldiers standing watch on the church’s roof.
Ackerman said the Palm Sunday procession is a reminder to the church of Jesus’ suffering.
“Many would like to forget the pain Jesus went through. People want the jelly beans and Easter eggs but want to forget the rest,” Ackerman said. “But Jesus says, ‘Walk with me.’”
Gary Fezzey, who dressed as a torchbearer Sunday, said the procession is more than just a production or play.
“It is a reminder that we’re part of this Christian story,” Fezzey said. “When you try to experience everything Christ experienced, you understand him a little better. It gives you a deeper understanding and helps you grow as a Christian.”