Object of the Week: “Christ’s Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem”

Image: “Christ’s Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem,” from:
Bible History, Containing the Most Remarkable Events of the Old and New Testaments
By Right Reverend Richard Gilmour, D.D., Bishop of Cleveland, Ohio.
New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1894
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections



The final week before Easter – spanning Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday – is known as Holy Week, a time when Catholics gather to remember and participate in the Passion of Jesus Christ. The Passion is the final period of Christ’s life in Jerusalem, commencing when he arrived in the city until He was crucified.[1]  Holy Week provides an opportunity to reflect upon Jesus’ crucifixion, a sacrifice for all of humanity so that we might be redeemed through his suffering and death.[2]

On Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. In the image “Christ’s Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem” above, we see Jesus’ humble arrival into the city on the back of a donkey to observe Passover. According to the Gospel account, he was greeted by crowds of people who spread their cloaks and laid palm leaves in his path and proclaimed him the Son of David (Matthew 21:5).[3] The palm branch is an ancient symbol of victory, goodness and well-being and Jesus’ followers welcomed him as their Messiah by waving palm branches and placing them on the ground along the route.[4]

Holy Thursday celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the sacrament of theImage of the Last Supper priesthood.  During the Last Supper, Jesus offers himself as the Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb, and teaches that every ordained priest is to follow the same sacrifice in the exact same way.  The Holy Thursday Liturgy takes place at sundown, marking the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred “Triduum,” or three days of Holy Week – the three holiest days in the Catholic Church.[5]

Jesus was arrested after the Passover Seder, or Last Supper, during which he gave his final sermon. According to the canonical gospels, his arrest took place in Gethsemane, a garden which scholars believe was an olive grove. Jesus was there with his disciples to pray after the seder when he was arrested by temple guards of the Sanhedrin, a council of elders appointed to preside over legal matters.[6] Jesus’ arrest was due to his teachings, which were opposed by the Romans.[7] Christ’s arrest, trial, conviction and crucifixion are associated with Good Friday – traditionally a day of sorrow, penance, and fasting.

Holy Saturday, also called Easter Vigil, is the traditional end of Lent. It commemorates the day that Jesus Christ’s body was entombed.  This is the day before Easter, which celebrates Jesus’ Resurrection, on the third day after his crucifixion.[8]

Image of Jesus surrounded by many figures, including soldiersOn Holy Saturday evening, a priest or deacon carries a Pascal Candle in procession into a darkened church. A new fire, symbolizing our eternal life in Christ, is kindled to light the candle. The candle, representing Christ himself, is blessed by the priest.[9]

The engraved images accompanying this post are from Bible History, Containing the Most Remarkable Events of the Old and New Testaments published in 1894 by Benzinger Brothers of New York.  This rare book is one of numerous antique volumes available for research in the Department of Archives and Special Collections.

Image of the Burial of Jesus
“The Burial of Jesus” or “The Entombment”


The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476. 


[1] https://www.saintpats.org/parish/holy-week/, accessed 3/24/2021.

[2] https://nwcatholic.org/voices/cal-christiansen/why-did-jesus-have-to-die-on-the-cross, accessed 3/29/2021.

[3] https://www.britannica.com/story/holy-week, accessed 3/29/2021.

[4] https://www.learnreligions.com/palm-branches-bible-story-summary-701202, accessed 3/24/2021.

[5] https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/holy-week/holy-thursday/the-significance-of-holy-thursday, accessed 3/29/2021.

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrest_of_Jesus#:~:text=It%20occurred%20shortly%20after%20the,chief%20priests%20to%20arrest%20Jesus, accessed 3/29/2021.

[8] https://www.britannica.com/story/holy-week, accessed 3/29/2021.

[9] https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/holy-week/holy-saturday/the-paschal-candle, accessed 3/29/2021.

Object of the Week: Image from “The Bible and Its Story” by Josephine Pollard

Image from: Josephine Pollard
The Bible and Its Story
New York: Ward and Drummond, 1889



“My Jesus, I accept all the crosses, all the contradictions, all the adversities that the Father has destined for me. May the unction of Thine grace give me strength to bear these crosses with the submission of which Thou gavest us the example in receiving Thine for us. May I never seek my glory save in the sharing of Thine sufferings!”[1]

Lent is a period of fasting, prayer and giving.  At this time, we remember the importance of opening our hearts to God’s love and one another.  This year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is especially important to care for those who are suffering or to reassure those who are fearful.[2]  These practices improve our spiritual well-being.  By stripping away what is unnecessary, we become more mindful of how God is working in our lives.[3]  Against this backdrop of spiritual reflection and acts of care, the natural cycles of life continue, and winter slowly yields to spring. Days are getting longer, songbirds are returning and the trees are showing the first signs of budding.  Nature shows us there is promise and hope amidst the pain. Similarly, Lent invites us into a 40-day journey of renewed faith, hope, love, discovery and recovery on the worldly and spiritual planes.[4]

The cross is perhaps the most powerful and recognizable symbol of Christianity, especially during the Easter season for its significance Image of Jesus carrying a Crosswith Jesus’ crucifixion. For Christians, the cross symbolizes Christ’s victory over sin and death and God’s love.[5] The engraved images in this post are taken from a rare book in the university’s Department of Archives and Special Collections.  Published in 1889 and authored by Josephine Pollard, “The Bible and Its Story” contains many detailed illustrations including these of Jesus bearing the cross.

Pollard was an American author, hymn writer and poet.  She was born in New York City in 1834 and was educated at the Spingler Institute for Girls in New York[6].  The school was founded by Gorham Dummer Abbott, an American clergyman, educator, and author who seemingly had a profound impact on her life.[7]  Both Pollard and Abbott were dedicated to education, as well as their shared Christian faith and writing.  Abbott also influenced Matthew Vassar, founder of the eponymously named college which was the second degree-granting institution of higher education for women in the United States.[8]

Pollard was a founding member of Sorosis, a professional organization of women founded “to promote ‘mental activity and pleasant social intercourse,’ and in spite of a severe fire of hostile criticism and misrepresentation, it has evinced a sturdy vitality, and really demonstrated its right to exist by a large amount of beneficent work. … These ladies pledged themselves to work for the release of women from the disabilities which debar them from a due participation in the rewards of industrial and professional labour … I believe it has been the stepping-stone to useful public careers, and the source of inspiration to many ladies.”[9]

Black and white portrait of Josephine Pollard
Portrait of Josephine Pollard – Buffalo Electrotype and Engraving Co., Buffalo, N.Y, – http://www.librarything.com/pic/147520

Early members of Sorosis were participants in varied professions and political reform movements such as abolitionism, suffrage, prison reform, temperance and peace. The organization expanded into local chapters beyond New York City in the early twentieth century and the various divisions went on to organize war relief efforts during both World Wars. Peacetime activities included philanthropy (such as support for funding the MacDowell Colony), scholarship funds, and social reforms (such as literary training for immigrant women). In later years, Sorosis focused its activities on local projects, raising money for the aid of other women’s clubs, funding scholarships for women, and aiding local rescue missions.

Image of Jesus carrying the crossThough she died at the age of 57, the trailblazing Josephine Pollard left behind an extensive legacy of books, hymns and poems, as well as a history of activism that reverberates today through educational and professional opportunities for students and women in the form of scholarships and residencies.  Pollard’s hymns remain popular as well and continue to inspire congregants.  One of Pollard’s best-known hymns is “I Stood Outside the Gate.”  Intended for the Lenten season, its words remind us of Jesus’ mercy and his sacrifice for humanity:

“In Mercy’s guise I knew
The Savior long abused,
Who often sought my heart,
And wept when I refused;
Oh, what a blest return
For all my years of sin!
I stood outside the gate,
And Jesus let me in.”[10] 


The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476. 



[1] Marmion, Dom Columba. Christ in His Mysteries: A Spiritual Guide Through the Liturgical Year. Leominster: Gracewing Publishing, 2016.

[2] https://catholicphilly.com/2021/02/lent2021/pope-francis-lenten-message-a-time-to-renew-faith-hope-love/, accessed 2/24/2021.

[3] https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/25-great-things-you-can-do-for-lent, accessed 2/24/2021.

[4] https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/young-voices/season-renewal-recovery-discovery, accessed 2/25/2021.

[5] https://omaha.com/special_sections/from-lilies-to-lambs-easter-symbols-hold-special-significance-for-christians/article_fe75f253-6966-55c7-958053acdd014f89.html#:~:text=The%20cross%20is%20perhaps%20the,humiliation%20in%20the%20Roman%20Empire, accessed 2/25/2021.

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Pollard, accessed 2/25/2021.

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorham_Dummer_Abbott#Biography, accessed 2/25/2021.

[8] https://www.vassar.edu/about/, accessed 2/25/2021.

[9] Faithfull, Emily (1884). Three Visits to America. New York: Fowler & Wells Co., Publishers. pp. 18–21.

[10] https://hymnary.org/text/i_stood_outside_the_gate, accessed 2/25/2021.

Object of the Week: Crucifixio Jesu Christi

Friedrich August Ludy
Crucifixio Jesu Christi
13.375” x 17.5”
Gift of Anonymous Donor

“Good Friday is much more than reliving the passion of Jesus; it is entering into solidarity with the passion of all people of our planet, whether in the past, the present, or the future.” – Henri Nouwen

Each year on Good Friday, Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Ludy’s engraving depicts these events. Pontius Pilate is shown a plaque which reads, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, as Jesus is nailed to the cross in the background. The figure depicted on the far-left kneeling in prayer is artist Johann Friedrich Overbeck who painted the original work on which this engraving is based.