On a beautiful Palm Sunday, April 12, 2009, the parish of St. George  in Little Falls, NJ was blessed to have Metropolitan PHILIP to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us. Celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence was host pastor The Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Fr. Stephen DeYoung from St. Tikhon's Seminary. As always on Palm Sunday, the St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd of an additional 250 viewing the Liturgy from the Church Hall via a large video screen.
Following the Gospel reading, Sayidna addressed the congregation, relating the events on that first Palm Sunday to our current celebration: the throngs of people, the palm branches, the children, all shouting "Hosanna in the highest!" His Eminence urged those gathered to remain engaged throughout the coming Holy Week and Christ's Passion, and wished the parish blessings in anticipation of the Resurrection. As always, Sayidna's heartfelt delivery, along with a touch of humor, kept all present in rapt attention.
Before the final procession with palms, Fr. Elias thanked His Eminence for the blessing of sharing the day with us and welcomed the visiting clergy. Then, after 500+ parishioners processed around the church, Fr. Elias invited the children to come forward and sit on the steps of the Sanctuary while Deacon Michael read the Gospel. It was truly a small taste of what it must have been like two thousand yeas ago in Jerusalem with the crowded church, the palms and the children. Having Metropolitan PHILIP present added to the excitement of this blessed Feast day.
Many Years, Master!