Christians in the country have joined their counterparts across the world to commemorate Palm Sunday also known as Passion Sunday.
Palm Sunday, is the first day of Holy Week and the immediate Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
Palm Sunday is celebrated by the blessing and distribution of palm branches representing the palm branches which the crowd scattered in front of Christ as he rode into Jerusalem.
Many churches of mainstream Christian denominations, including the Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, Moravian and Reformed traditions, distribute palm branches to their congregations during their Palm Sunday liturgies.
The commemoration was however affected by new guidelines put up by the government to contain increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country.
A spot check by The Frontier Post revealed that Catholics modified the worship during Palm Sunday amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Some parishes had recommended the use of the “Second Form: The Solemn Entrance” in a modified way.
Since the blessing of the palm branches is in this form, it may be used at the entrance rite when the mass presider is already at the sanctuary.
The faithful must be in their places before the start of the celebration.
The Catholic Church in the five Counties urged its faithful to follow the mass celebration through online streaming, the blessing of their palm crosses or any leaf branches is imparted in the Scriptural reading and the prayer of blessing during the celebration.
For the proclamation of the Passion narrative, the church said it is enough that there are two lectors, the priest and the presider, each given the proper roles of characters in the Gospel narration.
Churchgoers are advised to observe minimum health care protocols throughout the religious celebration. (WBS)
On Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended in-person worship in churches in Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos and Nakuru counties.
In addition, the President directed that not more than one third of the church’s capacity should be allowed to take part in the worship in the other counties not put under partial lockdown.
This is the second consecutive year where Christians in Kenya will be celebrating Easter without physically attending the church, because of the coronavirus pandemic.