A look back at Palm Sunday
This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Resurrection Sunday, Easter, a day of great significance for millions of Christians the world over. Here are some events associated with Palm Sunday, most of them happy but others being catastrophic for those most directly affected.
April 2, 1513 – Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon discovered Florida on this Palm Sunday. He named it “Pascua de Florida,” or Feast of Flowers in honor of the day on which the new land was sighted.
April 8, 1736 – Father Senate, S.J., a missionary in Alabama, was burnt at the stake, on Palm Sunday by Native Americans.
March 28, 1836 – At dawn of day on this Palm Sunday the Texan prisoners captured during the current War were awakened by a Mexican officer, who said he wished them to form a line, that they might be counted. (Instead, the Texans, some of whom had come from Alabama, were summarily executed.) This followed the Battle of Coleto and was identified as the Massacre of Goliad. General Santa Anna was blamed for it. (Several of the martyred men had Hartselle and Morgan County connections, including Messrs. Shackleford, Quinn, Blackwell, Barclay, Simpson, Wilder, Day and Cain.)
April 9, 1865 – General Lee’s surrender to General Grant on this Palm Sunday at Appomattox Court House, Va., marked the formal termination of the secessionist southern states’ effort to create a new nation on the North American continent.
March 23, 1902 – Susanna Betz was confirmed on this Palm Sunday by Rev. Baur. She had been born in Cullman on December 22, 1887. She passed away on March 22, 1915, at the young age of 28 years.
March 22, 1959 – Episcopal Bishop Charles Carpenter laid the cornerstone on this Palm Sunday to build new housing units to be underwritten by the Episcopal Foundation of Alabama. The church has raised $325,000 in local funds which will be used to obtain available federal housing appropriations.
April 7, 1963 – There was a mass meeting of civil rights protesters in Birmingham on this Palm Sunday afternoon. After the meeting, the protesters began a march toward downtown. Thousands of spectators, both white and black, watched them from the sides of the streets. At 17th Street the marchers were stopped by police. Twenty were arrested, including A. D. King, Dr. Martin Luther King’s brother.
March 27, 1994 – A deadly tornado struck parts of Alabama on this Palm Sunday. Most heavily hit was the Goshen United Methodist Church near Piedmont. The tornado caused the church’s roof to collapse and 20 worshippers were killed.
March 24, 2013 – For local Christians fortunate enough to be on the Alabama Gulf Coast this Palm Sunday, there was a blessed communion service led by Father Darrin Phillips at the St. Mary’s by the Sea Episcopal Church.
March 31, 2014 – A memorial service was held today for the 20 worshippers who were killed when a devastating tornado struck the Goshen United Methodist Church in 1994, causing the walls to come crushing inward and kill those who were seated in pews inside the building. (Palm Sunday fell in late March 20 years ago.)
April 13, 2014 – Pope Francis started the Holy Week leading up to Easter by celebrating Palm Sunday with approximately 100,000 Christian pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square in Rome this morning.
March 25, 2015 – This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. It falls on the Sunday before Easter and looks back to Jesus Christ’s celebratory entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. This great event is mentioned in all of the gospels and was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet, is humble, riding on a donkey – riding on a donkey’s colt.” (New Living Translation)