The Armchair Liturgist: Bad Weather Palms

Let’s say you have the good liturgical practice of processing with palms outside. (I’ve often thought what it would be like for Christians in a town to pool congregations and observe the opening rituals together, splitting up to process to one another’s churches before the CDWDS catches on–but that’s a topic for another post.)

 How bad does the weather have to be before you go to plan B? In Iowa today, people are bracing for rain, wind, and snow. Our liturgical pastor has already suggested we stay inside and salvage what we can of a procession from gathering space to nave.

Let’s say your pastor shrugs his shoulders and let you sit in the purple chair. What would you decide? Use the church basement and process up steps? Utilize your narthex? Or lacking either of those options, just move up the main aisle with the palms?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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6 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Bad Weather Palms

  1. Kevin in Texas says:

    The narthex option sounds like a good bet to me, Todd. Somehow the Church basement doesn’t sound quite like the most welcoming place to start the procession!

  2. Holly Hansne says:

    If your parish has a fellowship area, large open room for meetings that’s an alternative. In my Lutheran days this is what we often did, older church narthexes are way too small. Kids love processions get them involved.

  3. Anne says:

    Here in New England where the weather is often an issue (rain, snow, windy, cold, icy) we use Plan B most years. We gather in the church hall, moves up into the church, around the sides and down the middle aisle.
    Everyone is invited to participate but of course there are always those who will not for fear of losing their favorite pew.

  4. Liam says:

    The elderly and less able are the most likely to justifiably claim a particular pew space. My father has to get my mother early (at least 30 mins) to church to claim one of the 3 spots where they can sit (she arrives in a wheelchair, and it has to be placed where it will not get in the way of the communion procession, but she also has to be accessible to the minister of communion who comes to her seat, et cet.) And having to get to church early is a purgatory for my mother for reasons I need not dilate on here. Preachers and presiders and liturgists: just remember people like this are in your pews, and do not misunderstand their quirks as mere habit. Sure, they are absolved of preceptual obligation when it is burdensome, but they love the liturgy.

  5. Anne says:

    Very true Liam. My mother had MS and her situation was similar. We did our best for her because she loved to go until it wasn’t possible anymore.

  6. Until the Archdiocese of Boston reconfigured the two Catholic parishes in my town, I was pastor a a Catholic parish diagonally across the street from a UCC parish. Between us was a park/playground – lots of green space. Add to the geography the fact that one man was the music director for both parishes and, voila! Just what Todd suggested in this post. We would gather on Palm Sunday morning for a joint blessing of palms with banners, choirs, brass and a ritual mostly drawn from the Catholic book but with some collects from the UCC book. After blessing the palm and processing around the park, we split into two processions, each headed to its own house of worship. It was, at the same time, a great ecumenical event and a sad reminder of the the divisions in Christendom. Unfortunately, we no longer worship across the street from each other and the geography no longer provides for our shared prayer and procession.

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