Blessing of the Pussy Willow Prayer Service

A close-up view of buds on the pussy willow branches

 

Part of the Palm Sunday celebrations in many Eastern European countries (including Ukrainian Orthodox religious celebrations), is to substitute the usual palm branches on Palm Sunday with pussy willow branches. This is because pussy willows bud very early in the spring, are symbolic of new life, and are plentiful while palm fronds are not readily available.

 

The students and staff of IHMS gathered in the gym on the Friday before Palm Sunday for a short prayer service (top photo). During the prayer service, the school’s chaplain Father Julian Khomechko, OSBM blessed and distributed pussy willow branches to everyone in attendance.

 

On Friday April 7, IHMS held a blessing of the pussy willow prayer service in the school gym. IHMS’s new school chaplain Father Julian Khomechko, OSBM blessed the pussy willows in a short service.

 

Father Julian blessing the pussy willows

 

With the help of a few grade 8 boys, Father Julian then distributed the newly blessed branches to each student and teacher as they left the prayer service.

 

Students receiving a pussy willow branch as they left the prayer service