The season of Lent prepares us for the great celebration of Easter. One of the celebrations during the season of Lent is Palm Sunday. In this article, you will find a free printable Palm Sunday worksheet that can be used in religious education classrooms, homes, and parishes. The Palm Sunday Project Activity is available in English and Spanish.
Teaching Children About Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is the last Sunday before the Easter Triduum. Palm Sunday is also called Passion Sunday. On this day, we recall Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just days before he was to die. The celebration of Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. This year, the date of Palm Sunday is April 5.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we read the account of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem. As he and his disciples were traveling to Jerusalem for Passover, the people prepared for their arrival. “The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.’” And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:8–11)
The Tradition of Observing Palm Sunday
The tradition of observing the Sunday beginning holy week is hundreds of years old. For centuries, waving palm, olive, or other native branches has been a part of this feast day, as have other processions and celebrations.
In our Passion Sunday celebrations, a joyful procession commemorates Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. We may gather in the vestibule or outside of the church building for a blessing of the palm branches with holy water. Those gathered sing hosanna and wave the palms as a gesture of praise and welcome. The branches are a reminder that Lent is a time of hope and renewal.
After Mass, many people take the palm branches into their homes to place near a cross or crucifix or in their prayer space. The blessed ashes used on Ash Wednesday also come from palm branches used in previous years’ Passion Sunday celebrations. The priest blesses the ashes during the Ash Wednesday Mass. Then, the ashes are applied to each person's forehead in the shape of a cross.
Printable Palm Sunday Worksheet
As you observe the season of Lent with the students in your religious education programs, download a Palm Sunday worksheet. This project is designed for students in the intermediate elementary grades.
The Palm Sunday Project Activity encourages students to first research the celebration of Palm Sunday in a different country and then to plan, design, and share a web page about the celebration. This Palm Sunday activity will especially appeal to the linguistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal learners in your classroom or program.
Before You Begin Prepare slips of paper with the names of countries with Palm Sunday customs you want the students to research. Decide whether students will work individually or in pairs or small groups for the research portion of the activity. Have each student or group of students draw from the slips you have prepared the name of the country to research.
Step 1 Provide students with time to work and reference materials such as periodicals, Catholic magazines, safe searches using the Internet, or other appropriate resources to research the celebration of Palm Sunday in their chosen countries. Help students focus their research by identifying key topics, and provide assistance as necessary.
Step 2 Once students have had ample time for research, distribute a copy of the Palm Sunday activity handout to each student. Remind students of key information that they should include in their completed projects. Encourage students to be creative when designing their web pages, and be sure to provide art materials for their use.
Step 3 Allow students to present their finished web page designs in small groups or to the entire class. If possible, display the completed Palm Sunday web page ideas in the form of a bulletin board. If students have suggestions for or prefer to design a different type of digital application, allow them to be creative.
Catholics around the world take part in special Palm Sunday traditions and customs. Researching and sharing these unique traditions will not only help students understand the significance of Palm Sunday, but also appreciate the diversity of cultures and customs within the Church. Learning about these traditions is a reminder that the word catholic means "universal."