Palm Sunday at St George's Cathedral

  • 24.03.24
  • 12:00 PM
  • Amigo Hall and St George's Cathedral, Lambeth Road, London SE1 7HY
  • Takes place in person
"Today we step into the Great Week of our Salvation in Christ. We journey forward and upward, rubbing shoulders with the characters in the Gospels, with the people of the passion.  We set our face and voice and mind and heart towards Jerusalem.... Today the Lord Jesus asks you to come close to him. In a very special and intimate way, he invites you to spend the next seven days with him, moment by moment, as the tension builds towards his suffering and death and the joy explodes at his resurrection"

- Archbishop John Wilson


Join Archbishop Wilson and the Cathedral Clergy for the celebration of Palm Sunday at 12 noon on Sunday 24th March at Amigo Hall, for the Blessing of Palms, and afterwards for Mass in St George's Cathedral. 

For those wishing to attend a local service, a link to all parish information for the Archdiocese of Southwark can be found below.

Southwark Digital Directory


About Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, during which we recall the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Today mark's his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey (an animal that symbolises peace) as prophesied in Zechariah 9.9 and born out in the Gospel of Matthew 21.5

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

Jesus is hailed by the people as a spiritual leader and for many, the person who would help deliver them from Rome. However, the people both misunderstood and underestimated the true gift of salvation that Jesus would give in the week ahead, as described in today's Second Reading: 

His state was divine, yet Jesus Christ did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.

- Philippians 2: 6-11.

We hear in today's Entrance Antiphon that Jesus enters the city and that the children run to meet him; in their hands they carried palm branches, exclaiming ‘Hosanna’, which means ‘save now’ and ‘Blessed are you who have come in your abundant mercy’.  The palms themselves represent victory, triumph and goodness.

However, the rumblings of disquiet that lead to the dramatic events of the week ahead are in motion.  The city is in a state of great excitement as the crowds identify Jesus as 'the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee'.

This incited jealously and indignation from the Pharisees, and during the Vigil Mass of Palm Sunday, we hear in the Gospel Reading (John 11. 45-56) of their concern about the signs that Jesus is working, asking themselves what action they should take. This leads to Caiaphas' prophetic statement that it is 'Better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed'. The Evangelist notes that 'from that day they were determined to kill him'. However, Jesus infuriates the religious authorities further by overturning trade tables in the temple and teaching that tax collectors and prostitutes would go into the Kingdom of God ahead of others because of their belief in him:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is amazing in our eyes’

 “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces its fruits. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone on whom it falls. - Matthew 21.42-44

Jesus himself knew that the tide would turn against him, having already prophesied his death in the Gospel of John 12. 23-24

"“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

On Palm Sunday the faithful will receive palms which are used to re-enact the triumphant arrival of Our Lord in Jerusalem. They are blessed and distributed to parishioners who will process with them into the church. They may be taken home and used for personal devotion or left in the church. The palms should not be thrown away as they are blessed: the ashes for Ash Wednesday are created by burning palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebration.  

Palm Sunday Reflection

St John Chrysostom commented on the Pharisees that plotted Jesus' downfall, pointing out that “they never were afraid of the judgment of God but only the judgment of people” It is human to want admiration from others, but a focus on seeking approval can led into misjudgement. When we fear our fellow men and value their opinion above God's guidance and desire for peace, we may fall inadvertently into sin. Consider the following questions:

  • Whose judgment do I fear and why?
  • Can I rationalise my fear and apply the values of Jesus to overcome concerns?
  • How can I increase my trust in God in difficult circumstances?
  • How can I find the courage to advocate for God's Kingdom when following Him  it goes against the expectations of others.


Share your concerns with the Lord and ask him to be present when facing challenging circumstances that may lead you away from Him.

Pray to be guided by the Great Commandment: "love one another, as I have loved you".

Digital Diocesan Directory

Find Palm Sunday Mass details via parish website links. Parish Directory