CHICAGO — On the first day of Holy Week, a Palm Sunday procession into Holy Name Cathedral, where Cardinal Blase Cupich held mass.

Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ return to Jerusalem and marks the beginning of the most solemn week in Christianity.

“This day and this week is what my whole life is about,” parishioner Robert Neal said.

For parishioners, it’s a time for reflection.

“It means the beginning of the rest of the year to me,” said Estelle Martin.

“It’s a moment to bring peace and pray for other countries you know and for the whole world,” said Hector Sarimina.

As Russia’s war on Ukraine rages, Pope Francis called for weapons to be laid down for an Easter truce, saying the folly of war leads people to commit senseless acts of cruelty. The Pope did not mention Russia or Ukraine by name, but his reference was clear – and the message resonates.

“The loss of lives, innocent lives, children, women, men makes no difference totally cruel and indiscriminate,” Neal said. “This is an act of free will and it’s evil.”