How to Make Crosses from Palm Sunday Reeds

From reed to Rood: Here's how to fold Palm Sunday's palm reeds into crosses as a religious symbol for the rest of the year.

Palm crosses made and photographed by Hadissah M. (@sweetheartx14) on Twitter.
Palm crosses made and photographed by Hadissah M. (@sweetheartx14) on Twitter.
By Patch Editor David Gurliacci 

Christians may not get any closer to heaven by creating crosses by folding the palm reeds given out in the churches of some denominations this Palm Sunday, but many will create a symbol they can display to remind them of God.

And have some fun while they're doing it.

"It's popular with Italians, but I think you'd find it in Catholic culture everywhere," said the Rev. Rich Futie, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Stamford, about the cross-making practice. "Italians certainly have had a great tradition of doing it, making it a sign of faith. Some can be quite artistic."

The practice is also popular in Greece and Spain, said Msgr. Stephen DiGiovanni, pastor of the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in Stamford.

Members of Greek Orthodox Churches follow the practice, as do some Episcopalians. Karin Hamilton, director of communication and media for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, said she's seen Episcopalian palm crosses at some of her denomination's churches.

The crosses are made by folding two reeds in ways that essentially work like knots. No glue, tacks or other clamping or adhesives are used—just folding and, at the end, tucking extra ends into the middle, or cutting them off with scissors. Like a good knot, a tightly folded cross can be quite sturdy and hold up well over time.

The Rev. Greg Markey, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Norwalk, said the making of palm crosses isn't any kind of requirement or obligation of the Roman Catholic faith, or even an important part of it. "It's just something people do."

People often keep them for a year, until the next Palm Sunday, and sometimes have one in each room of their homes, Markey said.

"It's a sacramental—something that helps us to drive toward the sacred. Many other things are sacramentals, too. That's why we bless the palms on Sunday.... They're very much like holy cards we have in our homes and blessed medals."

In the Roman Catholic Church, palms are blessed as the priest begins the Mass with the procession to the altar, Markey said. The significance of palms "goes back to the Old Testament," he said. "Jews would wave palms in the air as part of certain festivals or as a sign of joy."

Christ proclaimed king

When Christ entered Jerusalem and was publicly proclaimed a 'king,' palms were placed before the donkey that he rode in on, Markey said.

"People will keep them in their homes as signs of the holy in their lives, and many will take them to the cemetery also to place them on graves," Futie said.

"They're properly disposed of by either burning them or burying them," Futie said, something that applies to all palm reeds brought home from Palm Sunday, not just those made into crosses.

"It's quite common in parishes that the priest will say, 'Please bring them in,'—maybe the week before Ash Wednesday—and they'll be burned for the ashes used that day, and the ashes become a sacramental, too," Futie said.

That's just what St. Mary's does, Markey said. "That's a traditional way of doing it, so there's a whole cycle there."

Issy April 15, 2014 at 07:46 PM
Clewson, please stop making up nonsense (it makes you look foolish), if you actually paid attention to what other said you would see that my very first comment was "While of course we should all commend the Catholic Church for its humanitarianism...." so take your fake outrage somewhere else................. Secondly the church may have paid heavily for their actions but they are nowhere near done, they need to account for their actions and that means that they need to allow for an audit and stop harboring known enablers and facilitate prosecutions.
christie nicolle April 15, 2014 at 09:35 PM
folks, please stop trashing the Mystical church of Jesus over the horrible mistakes of the Corporate church - stop using pedophile priests to denigrate Jesus -- He already warned us all of the demonic forces. Why do you think pedophiles join the church? To tear it down.
Slapshot April 16, 2014 at 08:07 AM
@ Christie, you are correct on why these pedophile priests joined the church. The Blessed Virgin Mother appeared to the children of Fatima and demanded that the pope ,along with all the bishops of the world,to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. After Vatican II the church was swamped with many new priests... many devout communists, Marxists who had no intention of serving God but to destroy souls, ala pedophile priests, and shut down the Catholic Church to forge ahead with their godless communists agenda. Our Blessed Virgin Mother promises a long period of world peace when/if the consecration of Russia takes place. With a large amount of communists infiltrated in the upper ranks of the Vatican it will be a miracle if our current pope heeds the Blessed Mother and performs the consecration. Dominus Vobiscum
christie nicolle April 16, 2014 at 10:22 AM
yes Buzz, let's hope! The devil's ultimate weapon has always been sexual deviants to humiliate God's house... Believers need to rise above that + be spiritually mature lest they abandon the Absolute.


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