The Armchair Liturgist: Palm and Other Processions

Did your parish have a good procession this weekend for Palm Sunday? Do your people have an expectation of doing an outside to inside walk in good cheer? Or do they prefer a certain minimalism: watch the clergy hoof it? The smallish image to the left is our east parking lot with about 90% of the 8:30 worshippers.

Perhaps you have a critique of the rite and its expectations. If so, offer one. Sit in the purple chair and render judgment. How would you handle the three options of Palm Sunday?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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8 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Palm and Other Processions

  1. Liam says:

    Well, my parish needs a police detail if it wants to process in the areas around its church, since it’s smack in the heart of a very tight but important intersection of the Harvard Square area. The outdoor procession was done today at the 11AM Mass, with the cardinal archbishop leading it. The earlier Masses had a (ministerial only) procession indoors – the earlier Masses are disadvantaged by a required shift in Mass schedules for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday that means that people tend to arrive after the procession has already happened….

    It all depends on the circumstances for each location. I could not offer universal advice other than to seriously consider each option, rather than go on autopilot.

  2. RP Burke says:

    Liam, thanks for the news about St. Paul’s in Cambridge, my old home base (and where I met my wife, a graduate student, in a lector program).

    It was rainy this morning in Columbus, so we dispensed with the outdoor procession, usually held on the grounds rather than in the street.

  3. Mike K says:

    We had the procession outdoors, but not from the usual location (a park across from the Cathedral – said park is under construction), but from the front of the Cathedral chapel. No rain this morning – that will come later.

  4. Jimmy Mac says:

    We have a large garden adjacent to the church itself, so we process from there, about half way around the block, then up the stairs and into the church.

    No muss, no fuss, no permits.

  5. Randolph Nichols says:

    Liam and RP,

    The outdoor sung antiphon, blessing of palms, gospel reading and procession went better than anticipated. The enclosed courtyard kept the sound from drifting into the ether and, believe it or not, when the organ began as we entered the church – at the the finish of verse three of All Glory, Laud, and Honor – we were no more than a tad off pitch. There was one common complaint, however. It was cold outside.

    PS Well, maybe two complaints. Parking was prohibited in the courtyard.

  6. John Donaghy says:

    I goofed up the hours of the procession (even though I had 8 visitors). But I got up early to help make the sawdust carpets for the procession. The mile long route led from one chapel to the cathedral.

    The Mass was festive with the bishop giving a strong justice homily (about 30 minutes long) and good singing by the congregation, led by a group of young people.

    The procession started about 8:30 and the Mass ended at 11 – not a US style timing. But it is Honduras!

  7. Liam says:


    There were quite a number of people further back in the crowd who were singing the “old” words to the hymn (they did not have the leaflets). I thought it was curious why the bother to update the text; AGL&H is one of those chestnuts that many people know by heart. Or thought they did.

  8. M.. says:

    Much like RP, we were inside because of rain here in Columbus Ohio. We would have done a small procession at the choral Mass had there been good weather.

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