Pope, just back from trip, celebrates Palm Sunday

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful during the Palm Sunday mass at St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Sunday, April 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has kicked off the Catholic Church's Holy Week celebrations with Palm Sunday Mass and good news from Cuba.

After his visit last week, Cuba agreed to his request to make Good Friday a holiday. The day marks the solemn commemoration of Christ's death.

On Sunday, Benedict traveled into St. Peter's Square on the back of a white jeep at the start of Palm Sunday Mass, which marks Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem and inaugurates Holy Week.

Benedict looked rested despite having just returned from an exhausting, six-day trip to Mexico and Cuba, where he met with former and present Cuban presidents, Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul.

The pope, who turns 85 in two weeks, has a busy Holy Week ahead of him, with public services Thursday through Easter Sunday.