We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Palmesel, 15th century, Franconia, Germany. The German word Palmesel (palm donkey) refers to the statue of Christ on a donkey, mounted on a wheeled platform, which was part of Palm Sunday processions in many German-speaking regions until the Reformation. In the Middle Ages these processions, which reenacted Christ's entry into Jersualem mounted on an ass, were lively pageants in which hymns were sung, palms strewn, and clothes spread on the ground before the Palmesel.