In a rain-soaked service presided over by the Catholic Bishop of Juneau, the Most Rev. Edward J. Burns, clergy and faithful from the Catholic, Orthodox and Episcopal communities celebrated Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Members of the three communities gathered together in the Cathedral Park (located between the Catholic Cathedral and St. Nicholas Orthodox Church). Bishop Burns began the service by greeting the leaders and people of the Orthodox and Episcopal parishes. The service continued with his blessing of the palms with holy water, the reading of the account of Christ's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and a brief homily by Orthodox priest, Fr. Michael Oleksa. Each congregation then walked in procession to their respective churches for the continuation of the Palm Sunday liturgy.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; St. Nicholas Orthodox Church and the recently rebuilt Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (which was destroyed in a fire in 2006), are all within a block of each other in downtown Juneau, Alaska. The Catholic and Episcopal parishes have gathered together for the Palm Sunday procession for almost two decades. The Orthodox congregation was able to join their neighbors because Eastern and Western Christians celebrate Easter on the same day this year.
In addition to Bishop Burns, clergy participating in the Palm Sunday service were Anchorage priest Fr. Michael Oleksa, the Chancellor of the Orthodox Diocese of Alaska and in Juneau to conduct Holy Week and Easter services; Reverend George Silides, pastor, and Reverend Hunter Silides, associate pastor, of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Fr.Thomas Weise, rector, and Deacon Charles Rohrbacher, of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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