First "Holy Week" for Pope Francis

By Lauren Forsythe | 

Biblically, Palm Sunday marks Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

The significance of this religious day is particularly important for Catholics with a newly-elected pope.

Christians know this week as Holy Week-- the week the Bible says Jesus was crucified on the cross.

This week will also be the first religious holiday since the newly-elected Pope Francis was chosen.

"It's getting back to what's at the heart of what we believe and at the heart of what we believe is people," says St. Joseph Catholic Church Assc. Pastor, Fr. Josh McCarty.

Fr. McCarty says Catholicism was founded on the basic distinction between people and the decisions they make.

"Pope Francis brings a fresh look at old truths," he says, "Simplicity and poverty and meekness and humility are all ancient truths."

Fr. McCarty says Pope Francis is taking a more radical approach to his new position, and those actions will be shown throughout his first Holy Week as pope.

"On Holy Thursday the pope is planning to celebrate mass not at St. Peter's Basilica, not at St. John's outside the walls, not at any of the major basilicas-- he's going to the juvenile detention center," he says.

The pope will be washing inmates' feet.

"This means an airing out of the church, and we've talked about this before in the history of the church-- this new spring time, this new equalization" Fr. McCarty says, "We're seeing a new phase of rejecting some of those little practices and little decorations."

Pope Francis has been spotted in unmarked vehicles, whereas the popes who served before him were always in armed vehicles.

Fr. McCarty says it's gestures like this that suggest Pope Francis is bringing a more humble practice to the Catholic faith.

He says Pope Francis was named after St. Francis, a 13th century Catholic friar.

Fr. McCarty says St. Francis spent his life working for the poor, making more radical decisions during the time period, similarly to the new pope.

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