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Pageantry for Palm Sunday

Picture: Steven Azzopardi

Picture: Steven Azzopardi

Palm Sunday processions were held in several localities in Malta - and around the Catholic world - today, recalling the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, preceding his arrest and crucifixion.

The account of the passion was also read during Mass.

Picture above, by Steven Azzopardi, shows the scene in Valletta this morning. Two bands took part in the activity.

Good Friday processions are also being held in Gharghur and Ghaxaq this evening.

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POPE LEADS VATICAN CEREMONY

Pope Benedict, facing one of the gravest crises of his pontificate as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Church, indicated today that his faith would give him the courage not to be intimidated by critics.

The 82-year-old pontiff led tens of thousands of people in a sunny St. Peter's Square in a Palm Sunday service at the start of Holy Week events commemorating the last days in Jesus's life.

While he did not directly mention the scandal involving sexual abuse of children by priests, parts of his sermon could be applicable to the crisis he and the Roman Catholic Church are facing.

The pontiff said faith in God helps lead one "towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".

He also spoke of how man can sometimes "fall to the lowest, vulgar levels" and "sink into the swamp of sin and dishonesty".

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