SINCE churches can’t be adorned with palms branches this Sunday, Steven Bird has a plan to cover the front of his home instead.
The father of three is among millions of Catholics who will enter Holy Week, which starts on Palm Sunday, with a heavy heart because of the unforeseen closure of churches nationwide.
Palm Sunday, this year celebrated on April 5, is also one of Mr Bird’s favourite feast days.
When he was a youth minister at Our Lady of Lourdes church, Sunnybank, he would plaster palm branches all over the driveway and outside wall of the church, creating a stunning contrast from the full-on red interior.
But this year, without a church to adorn, Mr Bird is plucking up his courage to show his love for the faith by putting palm branches outside his home.
The Bird family house is already covered with coronavirus boredom busters – last week Mr Bird put his Christmas lights back up for some well-needed cheer, and he rustled his two sons to perch teddy bears on their four front windows.
But four days ago Mr Bird had an idea for Christians who were struggling to “get out of that desert before Easter” – why not put palm branches outside their homes as a type of “modern-day evangelisation”?
“I thought that on the weekend, maybe we should put palms outside our houses to represent, as one Christian community, our unity in sharing with others the struggle that we can’t get to our communities to celebrate together,” Mr Bird said.
“I thought, ‘How cool would it be to see palms on letterboxes?’”
Mr Bird wasn’t alone in his thinking.
On March 30, the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in Oregon posted a similar idea on their Facebook page, calling Christians to put branches on their doors.
The idea was eventually shared by a Brisbane priest earlier this week.
Mr Bird said this motivated him to start an Australian Facebook event, Palm Your Place, to encourage Christians Down Under to share their faith on the streets.
Within 24 hours, Mr Bird had more than 120 people confirmed to put palms or any green bush out the front of their house.
“Initially it was an idea of celebrating running into Easter together from our homes,” Mr Bird said.
“Also for the kids, it’s a bit of something to do – the boys said they want to walk down the hallway of our home before Mass which we’ll be watching on the live stream.”
Mr Bird is now waiting to see how many streets are lined with palms leaves, the way it was when Jesus entered Jerusalem.
“And I would love to see people taking photos of the letterboxes and using the hashtag #PalmYourPlace just to try and get into sharing Christian community,” Mr Bird said.
Mr Bird said this pandemic was a time for Christians to strengthen and share their faith, especially in isolation.
“At a time like this, maybe that’s what we need, to trust in God more,” he said.
“It’s the Job or Noah moment, we can’t keep ignoring it, we need to get on the boat.
“In this time of doubt and uncertainty, we can be evangelising to that neighbour over the fence, or the person across the road.”