BROWNSVILLE — It is said that when Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the citizens laid down palm leaves in celebration of his visit.
Palm Sunday is a reminder of His triumphal entry, and so are the palm-woven crosses that accompany the holy day, said Reynaldo Guillen, a church volunteer.
Guillen was one of the children helping Immaculate Conception Church weave enough crosses to last through Easter.
“I like knowing that people can receive these palms and receive the Holy Spirit,” Guillen said.
Each weaving requires a certain level of concentration. For many first-time weavers, it can feel as though time flies right by. That was the case for Nancy Rodriguez and her daughter, Mariela.
“This teaches you how to be patient with yourself and with others,” Nancy said.
“You get to know people, and you learn to control yourself better,” Mariela added.
Nancy recalls being scared to learn at first. They started with basic shapes, like small flowers, before moving on to the more intricate designs.
“What I really like about doing this is that no two years are ever alike,” Rodriguez said. “I never had the opportunity to do this growing up.”
Several small crosses are woven, but a few more complex pieces are created especially for the priests to be used for mass.
Ruby Hernandez, an altar server, crafted some of those special crosses. She has been an altar server for about four years.
“I’ve always liked to help people. … It makes you feel really grateful to help,” Hernandez said.
Receiving the crosses can be a healing experience for some people, said Carmen Lopez, the coordinator for altar servers.
“It could be the memories of when they were children or thoughts of people who have passed,” Lopez said.
She can recall many instances in which it has made someone sentimental.
“There was one time that a guy riding on a bicycle came and took one and rode off. It was a beautiful one, and we had been wondering what to do with it. But he came back and apologized, and said, ‘Here you go.’ I said no, that it had picked him, and he got very sentimental,” Lopez said.
Lopez understands how important the crosses can be, so they try and make a lot of them. The volunteers have gotten together every Saturday before Palm Sunday for six years now.
“Not everyone knows how to make them, so we make them because we want everyone to have one,” Lopez said.
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels.