Donkeys have been leading the way at our cathedrals and churches as the church enters the most sacred week of the year, Holy Week leading to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday and on to his resurrection Easter Day.
Palm Sunday processions throughout the diocese have re-enacted the events described in the Gospels when Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph, riding on a donkey to the shots of ‘Hosannah’ from the crowds and the waving of palm branches (Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19).
Pictured is the Palm Sunday procession from the Market Square in Ripon, through the city and on into Ripon Cathedral with an estimated 300 people taking part. Leading the procession was Lilley, a twelve year old donkey from nearby Studley and her young owner, also called Lilly. Taking part for the first time was the former Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, now an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Leeds who spoke at the Palm Sunday Eucharist in the Cathedral and is give three Holy Week addresses at 7.30pm in Ripon Cathedral with the title ‘That was the week that was – and is, and ever will be’ , between Monday 10th – Wednesday 12th April. (With Bishop John are (pictured above top left) Dean John Dobson (left) and Canon Paul Greenwell)
Palm Sunday processions led by Donkeys are taking place in many other parts of the diocese.
Churches in Cleckheaton, in the Huddersfield Episcopal Area, began Holy Week with a procession recreating Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem - thanks to local farmer, Hilary Peel who kindly brought a pony to St John's church and children took it in turns to ride as the congregation processed around the church and cheered. (see pic left)
In Dewsbury, there were donkey rides in the Market Square on Saturday for children - pictured right, is the Rector of Dewsbury Minster, Revd Simon Cash and Revd Kathy Robertson, of St John's in the Minster Team, just arriving in the town with the donkeys.
In Settle, North Yorkshire, Daisy the Donkey led the procession for the three congregations of Settle Giggleswick, and Rathmell joining for a procession from St Alkeda’s Giggleswick, to Settle Holy Ascension, just half a mile away.
Palm Sunday Live builds on the Popular Bingley Nativity live. In the afternoon of Palm Sunday, a procession from 2pm led by a donkey snaked through Bingley from the Five Rise shopping centre . Characters were dressed in period costume recreating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.