SOUTH BEND -- This year, they hoped for good weather as members of four west-side churches met at St. Augustine Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
But the chilly weather had no bearing over the 75 or so marchers who, after the blessing and passing out of the palms, set off together as they began walking through the neighborhood in the 10th annual Palm Sunday Neighborhood March.
"Since Palm Sunday is the beginning of the Passion of Jesus Christ and Jesus was coming to save the world and bring them together, we are together this morning," said Pastor Marvin Bingham. "This march is a wonderful way for churches to unify and give all praise to Jesus because he is so worthy to be praised."
Participating churches were Saint Augustine Catholic Church, New Testament Baptist, Greater St. John Missionary Baptist and Pilgrim Baptist.
"I was a little late but I just felt so good walking with everyone," said Annabelle Buckley of the Pilgrim church. "This march has energized me and filled me with a good spirit. We should do somthing like this more often because it allow us to come together and walk together under one accord."
Palm Sunday, which is when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey (a symbol of peace), was commemorated as they stop and pray at each church, and pass palms to people along the way.
As one of the leaders of the march, the Rev. Leonard Collines said this had been like the spirit of cooperation to continue. "I have been here four years and every year I send a letter out to the three churches in this area and invite them to join us and most all the churches have members who join us," said Collins. "In its beginning members would walk about picking up trash and singing. But since there's not the much trash around anymore, we just enjoy fellowship together."
"The marches were inspired by Rev. Charles Lavely, the former pastor of St. Augustine parish," said Marian Newbill of St. Augustine. "He used to say it doesn't matter what denominations we are in Sunday, we will be one."
For the children it seems appropriate that the churches march again, especially on Palm Sunday.
"I felt so excited and warm as we all walked together," said Adam Peterson, 11. "It just felt nice to celebrate together with others. It was good thing for us to do with others."
Staff writer May Lee Johnson: