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April 09, 2006


Mary Kay

Fairly standard Mass for this area of upstate NY. The Gospel was read by the celebrant, deacon and deacon's wife. However, couldn't figure out how they split it up because they didn't have assigned roles of Jesus, Narrator and (Various people). Lenten hymns, "Were You There" and "Lord Jesus, We are one with Thee" (although the lyrics were entirely about Jesus) for music.


The celebrant representing Christ processes IN FRONT of the procession on Palm Sunday which is a reverse of the usual order.


Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame
Celebrant: Rev. Fr. John I. Jenkins, CSC

Beautiful service. Blessing of the palms on the steps of the architecture building, then a procession to the church with "To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King," "At the Name of Jesus," "Crown Him with Many Crowns," and "All Glory, Laud, and Honor." The choir was stationed at regular intervals between the architecture building and the church with speakers arranged as well. Very well coordinated.

Father Jenkins and 6 lay readers and a female narrator read the Gospel, with the choir [in the loft] as the crowd. Congregation standing, with a long knelt pause at the death of Our Lord.

Brief but meaningful homily about the temporal vs earthly glory of Christ and the indignations He would soon undergo. Morales "O Crux Ave Spes Unica," a communion anthem by Bach, and "O Sacred Head Surrounded" finished out the music; the Mass itself was Hurd settings.

A mainly adult Mass, so I didn't notice any palm hijinks.

Fr. Totton

Immaculate Conception, Lexington, MO

Full complement of servers (including a book bearer who did NOT double as crucifer) N.B. this is truly unusual in this parish where we are lucky to have 2 servers each Sunday of the year. We began in the parish hall with a blessing of the palms (Reading the Gospel of the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem included) Most everybody joined us, though I noticed more than a few intransigent (and able-bodied) souls planted firmly in their favorite pews as the procession left the sacristy. In vain, I kindly instructed them to participate in the procession. There were decidedly more people in the parish hall awaiting the beginning of the procession. In the procession we sang "All Glory Laud and Honor" and a cantor and organist tried to sync up with the singing of the procession - this requires some effort - but once people got into church they began singing with the organ. I incensed the altar to the background noise of fifty suspicious exaggerated coughs.

We read the Passion in parts - with the priest as Christus, the second reader as narrator and the first reader as "voice". "Voice" read from the choir loft (and therefore out of sight) because that is where our third microphone is.

My "homily" could have been given at Amy's parish. It is difficult to follow up the Passion and I wanted the faithful to know how important it is that we observe Holy Week by attending the services, yes, including the long Easter Vigil with all its readings, to say nothing of the First Sacraments for those coming into the Church. We departed in silence.


Vigil Mass in northern Virginia. No palm procession (that will be done at high Mass today). The palms were blessed, but not distributed until after Mass, for which this mom of light-saber/swordfighting experts was truly grateful. Opening song was "All Glory Laud and Honor." No closing song -- the priests and altar boys left the altar in silence. Homily was short, and focused on our need to identify with the fickle-minded "crowd" in the two gospel readings.

Eileen R

The ushers were very, very confused, and managed to send the procession up without the priest before the reading of the first Gospel. And then, they managed to knot the communion lines into a gridlock. So I hope they get crowd control sorted out by Holy Thursday. :-)

We stood all through the Gospel, which was read as usual in these parts with the priest reading Jesus's lines and lay people reading other parts. The Nigerian priest's sermon touched on the Da Vinci Code and the Gospel of Judas for what they were, contrasting them to the Jesus the Church teaches us about, and whom we meet in the sacraments.

Beautiful full choir with 'All Glory Praise and Honour' as the processional hymn: my favourite.

All in all, except for the crowd problems which caused people a bit of exasperation, a very reverent Mass.

Eileen R

Oh, I should say this was St. Thomas More, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


We have a lot of old folks and the day was chilly, so it's just as well that only the priest, servers, et al processed.

After the bells rang, the cantor sang this special Palm Sunday hosanna (setting from the Missalette). Then there was a brief announcement by one of the readers (pretty pointless, IMHO). Then the priest read the palm Gospel (still in the back of church), said a prayer, and then the procession began. (We sang "All Glory, Laud, and Honor".) All the palm branches got blessed and sprinkled.

I cantored at the 8 AM Mass, which was nice but kinda quiet. (It still felt really early, what with the time change and all.) I really liked getting to sing the psalm. (And the setting was a good one by Haugen, so we don't always have to rip on him.) The other hymns were: "Behold the Wood of the Cross", "Were You There" and "Jesus, Remember Me".

At the 9:30 with the choir, we had a little more stuff going on. We sang a prelude (a 1944 arrangement of "The Holy City"), our preparation hymn was "Ave Verum Corpus", and after the Communion hymn we sang that Orlando de Lassus Kyrie again.

Red vestments everywhere, but no veiled statues. (The big crucifix got a stylish red sash for the corpus.) Extensive accompaniment by babies!

You know, the constant use of palms as swords surely indicates that the sensus fidelium finds a deep connection between the palm branches of the children of Israel and the weapons they wished to bear against Rome. Perhaps we are being told that, just as Jesus' kingdom is not of this world, so Jesus' swords are not made of metal but of living branches of the Vine. Perhaps it is meant to say that the palm of victory over death is our surest weapon against the world. Or maybe the palm branches represent the sword of Peter, and thus mothers and fathers everywhere must recreate Jesus' loving admonition to put the dang thing down.

Eileen R

After holding a nine-month-old baby girl who was *sword-fighting* with her older brothers with her palm, I think it must be given to them with baptism.

Emily of the Holy Whapping

A couple of additions to Lucy's account of Mass at Notre Dame, from a chorister's vantage point:

The procession began with much incense and banners, and came out of the front doors of the architecture building onto the steps, to the chant "Hosanna Filio David." The picture of the doors bursting open and the cloud of incense rolling out into the sunlight before the Crucifix and banners was truly stunning (at least from my front-row spot).

All of the hymns were intoned on the carrillon, and the choir lined the procession path, in an attempt to keep the hymns together. They fell apart slightly, due to the delay from the cantor on the speaker system, but the transition from outside to in was fairly smooth.

The Mass setting was the "New Plainchant Mass," which I like in theory, but can sound a tad clunky when you have to get organ and congregation involved.

Communion music was Lucian Deiss's "Keep in Mind that Jesus Christ has Died for Us," and the finale from the Bach St. Matthew Passion, "Wir Setzen Uns," the beautiful text of which translates as follows:

"We lay ourselves with weeping prostrate
And cry to thee within the tomb:
Rest thou gently, gently rest!
Rest, O ye exhausted members!
This your tomb and this tombstone
Shall for ev'ry anguished conscience
Be a pillow of soft comfort
And the spirit's place of rest.
Most content, slumber here, the eyes in rest."

Dan Crawford

Other than Gregorian, there is a "discernible Catholic lyrical language" - pray tell what might that be?


Most simply, in my limited experience, being only an amateur church musician, it goes beyond the individual's personal religious experience. Which most of the "meditation" music selected at our place doesn't.


University chapel, congregation directed back outside to do the blessing of palms on the front sidewalk, all of us too shy to sing during the actual (very short) procession.

Passion read with celebrant and 2 lectors, well done.

Celebrant commenced short homily by noting that it is customary not to preach on Palm Sunday because what else can you say about the Passion? But he gave a very insightful short talk noting that while as Christians we frequently focus on how much we give up for God, Mark's story of the young man in the garden who loses his garment when he flees to escape the soldiers is an interesting take on something we do lots of in the modern world: giving up everything to avoid God, to avoid the Passion, to avoid the suffering that comes with being faithful. We would rather be naked and running than doing the work of being faithful. Good short homily.

Music excellent as usual, Latin chant + traditional hymns.


Forgot to add there was a veiled statue of the BVM, I honestly did not realize what it was until I read this thread!


Church of the Incarnation, Charlottesville, VA. I sang with the choir at both the Saturday evening and the later Sunday morning masses. We were a bit confused about how to process, I'll admit. Our choir's smallish and we can't all be everywhere. Today we were at the end of the procession, with one singer in the church ahead of us, and that seemed to work out.

An usher tried to lure people who wished to remain inside the church (where it was warm!) outside with the threat that they wouldn't get their palms blessed if they stayed inside. Sneaky!

Entry into Jerusalem gospel outside, blessing of palms, then Hosanna procession. Psalm 22 (I think Haugen? and yes, I do rather like it also). Gospel reading by our priest and two laypeople (one male, one female); we were sitting. Then "Jesus, Remember Me."

Homily was about the film "The Mission" and how we should be like Father Gabriel, who imitated Jesus and didn't abandon the Guarani (for us: elderly parents? handicapped relatives? friendless classmates? etc.), instead of like Peter and the other apostles, who fled when Jesus was arrested. Our music minister used "Gabriel's Oboe" as filler music after the Eucharist. (Yay! That was our wedding processional.)

Mass of Hope. Closing song yesterday was "Behold the Wood of the Cross." Some other "typical Lenten oddities."

No hijinks with palms, but I don't have kids yet!

Rich Leonardi

Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Vigil Mass
Parish Church

Nearly by the book celebration of the rite, with mostly taseful selections from our music director. Our weekend celebrant, whose homilies often exceed a man's capacity to hold water, mercifully kept it brief after the lengthy Gospel reading. My wife said an older woman next to us stared at our three-year-old every time the latter asked something like, "Is it over?" during the reading and at later times. A shame, that; if the woman's goal was to make my wife self-conscious, she succeeded.


Our Mass was quite beautiful today, I think. There were actually so many people in the church that some people were standing. I sat in the back of church, and it gave me a new appreciation for Pope Benedict's preference that the Euchristic prayers be said with everyone (including the priest) facing the same way.

The homily was also very nice, talking about the mysterious nature of the gospels (which was particularly appropriate to Mark) and the challenge of the Cross and the Eucharist to live as Christ's and Christ's alone.


In our usual smells-n-bells NO high mass in St. John the Evangelsit in Stamford, CT: All of our statues are shrouded in purple, except for one side altar of the Blessed Mother. She's in a black veil/robe with exquisite gold brocade trim and there are black candlesticks arranged in front of her. The vestments were red, as was the procession cross which also had a spray of palm tied to it.

Among other things, the pastor told us that on back of the paper of the Holy Week schedule he had printed a map of seven churches, explaining that St. Philip Neri had resurrected an old tradition of pilgrimmage to seven churches the night of Holy Thursday. After Holy Thursday services, the Blessed Sacrament will be set up on a side altar, decorated to remind us of the Garden of Gethsemene, and will be there until midnight, commemorating Christ getting arrested and taken away. During the hours of adoration, he hoped that we would make a similar seven-church pilgrimage, where all churches are participating in a similar exposition. I never heard of this before but it sounds so POD. Awesome stuff.


Philly suburbs:

Blessing of Palms during Mass. Passion with short homily about the Gospel of Judas. Palm distribution after Mass. Normal Lenten songs in English. No statues or crucifixes covered.


Notre Dame des Victoires, San Francisco. French national church since the Gold Rush. Marist fathers.

Today we had the annual Basque Mass
when the local Basque community come to NDV with their Basque priest and fill the little church to capacity and rock it to its retrofitted foundations with drums, trumpets, cymbals and powerful singing in the Basque language. The Passion was read in Basque, the Mass was offered in Basque. Our two French speaking priests concelebrated with the Basque priest but did not read the part which concelebrating priests usually read. No Basque homily. Basque costumes for the men playing the instruments. I especially love the fanfare at the elevation. Non Basques, such as myself, also attend and find it not difficult to join in the singing in Basque from the leaflet given. JESU KRISTO GURI MINTZA ARGI GURE BILLOTZOK. Gospel acclamation.

Dave Pawlak

Old St. Mary's in Milwaukee. Pastor celebrated. Very simple and straightforward, with palms distributed before Mass and no homily. Music was so-so.


Pax Christi Parish
Lexington, KY

I went to all three masses in order to help with the servers and to help set things up for the procession.
It was a little too cool and much too windy to process outside. Our priest has lung trouble and does better staying indoors for the procession. So we did the blessing of palms/gospel in the vestibule (which is very open to the sanctuary, so very visible). We processed up and down the aisles of the sanctuary. In order to keep the procession from being a traffic jam (as it was last year) only the priest, servers, readers, extraordinary ministers and a few singers processed. At the 11 am mass the children were invited to process as well. As the procession wound it's way through the aisles I saw a child sitting in the pew waving at everyone. Well, isn't that what you do at a parade? :)
Other singers stayed in the choir space up front. The only problem with the procession, in my opinion, is that we sang the refrain to "Let Heaven Rejoice and Earth Be Glad..." over and over and over. I like the song, but I got tired of singing it over and over and over. However, I think it was done that way because they thought we were going to be processing from the outside and wanted to sing something that people could sing without too much trouble. It's better than King of Glory over and over and over...

Homily was very good, but my crazy brain can never remember well enough to share any of it here. One of the themes was that Holy Week can be a joyful time.

We sang Were You There (a bluegrass type version which was wonderful) and O Sacred Head Surrounded. I'm not one that complains about the newer music. But it is nice to sing some of the oldies.

A simple and very nice weekend.

Fr Martin Fox

I've been looking forward to celebrating Palm Sunday in my new parish for several weeks. I made several pitches the last few weeks for servers, and they signed up.

At our 10 am Mass, we began the procession outside, in front of the church. I wasn't sure what would happen; most people came out! It helped that it was a really beautiful day, cool but not cold. Of course, we had incense.

(From comments above, apparently I goofed on the procession; somehow, I missed it that the priest precedes the people -- but so he does, per the Sacramentary! Next year we'll fix that; and I think I'll try a longer procession -- people seemed to like it.)

We read the Passion in parts -- narrator, "speaker," priest reading the Lord's words, and the people.

I intended my homily to be brief, but I added to my text, which is here, with most of the additions included. I, too, wanted to emphasize the meaning of Holy Week, and invite everyone to take part.

The 10 am Mass was a race against time, with an 11:30 immediately after; we finished at 11:15. For me, it was all a blur.

Oh, and we did manage to get some red around the church, including a cloth draped over the shoulders of the Lord on the cross.

If I'm not out of line, does anyone care to comment on how long you think the priest should preach on Palm Sunday, given the long readings? Is shorter better, or longer, so you can sit awhile after so much standing? Just curious...

Fr Martin Fox

Oh, sorry, the music:

The "Hosanna" antiphon at the beginning, then "All Glory, Laud and Honor" to the altar -- lots of "traveling music" for me to incense the altar and cross! Haugen's setting for Psalm 22, which I liked, it was done well (ducking); "O Sacred Head Surrounded" at the preparation, sung twice through, given incense; "Were you there?" for communion; we departed in silence.

Fred K.

Olathe, Kansas
Statues, paintings, and holy water fonts got wrapped in purple last week. This week the central crucifix was also wrapped in purple. Two red banners on either side of the central crucifix: at the top of each was an array of palms radiating outward.

Palms were already blessed and covered with purple cloths in the area between the nave and the back doors. Signs indicated to get palms AFTER Mass. That's ONE solution to the sword play!

Thankfully, no one told the pew-dwellers NOT to read the Crowd part, so we all cried out, "Crucify Him!"


Opening: "The King of Glory" (all six verses plus a repeat of 1 and 2)
Offeratory: "Crown Him with Many Crowns"
Communion: "Behold the Wood of the Cross" and "Were You There?"
Closing: "Jesus Remember Me" (Taize) 3 times

Homily: we should follow Jesus in sacrificing for others


St. Lawrence O'Toole
Garfield section of Pittsburgh
11 am Mass
This isn't our usual church but we were running too late for our own 10 am Mass. The choir processed with their palms aloft while singing the entrance song. They were followed by a contignet of children who lined the center aisle (the entrance song had a line it it about children lining the way), and the whole procession concluded with the priest and the servers. Since this parish tends to be pretty low-key, I was surprised to see any sort of procession.
During the Gospel reading I suddenly remembered that through all my travels in and out of here for the last eight years before actually moving to Pittsburgh a few months ago, that this was the second time I've been in this exact parish for Palm Sunday. I remembered this because the priest was particularly dramatic during the Passion reading; this year even moreso.
Not much in the way of homily, more a rundown of Holy Week services.
Fortunately no swording. Random palm waving from my two-year-old, which ceased when one of our friends that goes to this church made him a cross. "My own cross!"


St. Gabriel's Catholic Church
Brighton, MA

Our priest opted for the 'simple entrance' - no procession to the church. We picked up our palm fronds as we entered the church, and the priest conducted the blessing of the palms from the back of the church before the opening hymn (All Glory Laud and Honor).

The Passion narrative was read by three people, with the priest speaking the words of Jesus. In the brief homily, our priest said he believes it's no coincidence that the Gospel of Judas is being released at the beginning of Holy Week, and he talked about how we can be confident that the Gospels in the canon are truly the Word of God. Also mentioned how important it is for us to make it to church during Holy Week.

I don't know what the psalm setting was at our church, but whatever it was, I loved it. Very moving. I can't quite remember the title of the second hymn, started with Hosanna (and, alas, made me think of Jesus Christ, Superstar). The Communion hymn was "Were You There". There was no concluding hymn this week.

This was my first Palm Sunday Mass; I really enjoyed it :)

Fr. Totton

as far as the order of procession, I too was confused until yesterday when I was talking to our cantor and organist who were both surprised when I said the priest would bring up the rear of the procession - as is the Roman custom. Then I looked it up in Monsignor Elliott's Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year - an invaluable resource along with its companion Ceremonies of the MOdern Roman Rite - and I realized that the clergy, following the servers, precede the faithful into the Church (Jerusalem) just as the deacon - with lighted paschal candle - precedes other clergy and faithful into the Church (empty tomb) on Holy Saturday.

Sorry Amy, I think I just broke one of your ground rules for this thread.


St. Mary's, Annapolis

Chanted "Hosanna Filio David" as Father processed in in beautiful red vestments. Blessing of the palms.
"All Glory, Laud and Honor".
eated for the Gospel, oh well.
Nice, brief homily about the presence of the entire Passion in every Mass.
Can't remember Offertory hymn, except it was way too slow and pitched way too high for comfort.
Chanted Angus Dei in Latin, very unusual and very nice. Hope it catches on.
Some peculiar contemporsry song during Communion, no one seemed to know it except our very dramatic and talented cantor.


That should be "Seated for the Gospel."

Jimmy Mac

Most Holy Redeemer, San Francisco

Gathering & blessing of the palms: "Ride on King Jesus"

Processional: "Glory, Laud & Honor"

Prep of the Gifts: "Behold the Lamb" from The Messiah

Holy, Holy; Memorial Acclamation & Great Amen:
Missa Oecumenica/Orthodox Chant

Litany of Fraction: Bach's "Angus Dei" from Missa in G Minor

Communion Anthem: Mopzart's "Ave Verum Corpus"

Meditation: "On The Willows There" from Godspell.

Ho, hum ... just another excellent liturgy from the heart of The Castro: African American spiritual; Traditional; Orthodox Chant; Latin and Godspell! Who could ask for more?


CHurch of the Resurrection, California. Early Mass and I scurried in while they were reading the processional Gospel in the back of the Church. Other years this and the blessing of the palms has been outside at the front but the weather has been very very wet lately; while it wasn't raining at the time, they may not have trusted it. (It's pouring now.) Entrance processional to King of Glory. Someday for this purpose I'd really like to sing something else. Pianist/organist, but IIRC she stuck to the piano and cantor. No choir.

Statue in back of sacristy of Christ Resurrected in Glory (before anyone complains about that, rather than a crucifix look at the church name, ok?) veiled in red, with a red & gold swath on top (probably over the statue arms) of the veil. The veil ran from the top of the statue down to the floor and on toward the altar. A large plain cross was set in front of the veil, but still behind the altar, clearly visible from the pews.. More red was around on the sacristy walls, too. I thought it was pretty effective.

We sang 'Were you there..' for Communion I think. Maybe offertory. The Lamb of God was Agnus Dei - it's nice to have the Latin and chant, but having it thrown in just once is a bit odd. Maybe the liturgy people are trying to work up to it slowly?

Homily was short, and IIRC about being ready to do what is necessary for the Lord. We left in silence.

Terrence Berres

A reading about kneeling and a hymn about kneeling in my parish without kneeling.

Homilist wanted to emphasize God's love but it came out as the Lord's suffering and death being an unintended consequence or killing the messenger. Better he should have held up a "Jn 3:16" sign.


Our lector was a young woman who narrated the entire Passion narrative (except for the voices of Jesus, the crowd, etc.), and she sounded for all the world like a mommy reading a bedtime story in a sing song voice complete with the inflections I used with my own kids when reading about the Ducky and Bunny and the Kitty. I cannot imitate it in a comment box, but it was like listening to a feminized version of Mr. Rogers. Well, I like Mr. Rogers. Make that someone infinitely worse. A nursery school teacher on steroids.

It was torment. I almost could not bear it. I don't know what my dear priest was thinking. Only I guess it wasn't the priest....we have a "head of lectors" who makes the assignments.

It wasn't that it was a woman, or a young mommy, talking --- it was the complete and utter lack of gravitas (sorry for the cliche) of the VOICE.

I spent most of the mass asking God to forgive me for not being able to pay attention.


We are in Guangzhou, PRC with our newly adopted daughter. we attended Our Lady of Lourdes on Shamien Island. The service was in Mandarin I think so we followed along. I wish I had my Magnificat with me that would have helped. The faith of the people was almost palpable though. Everyone was welcoming and a very old woman insisted I take her seat. Then another tried to share her prayer book with me and pointed to where we were, but then she realised I was illiterate in Mandarin and just gave me her well used and loved rosary. I was in tears several times. Everyone sang very loud and the smallish church was standing room only. It was not only Palm Sunday, but my daughters first time at mass! She did wonderfully, no fussing and lots of smiles and flirting with the folks around us.


At Corpus Christi Parish (town of Sandwich on Cape Cod, Massachusetts), it was too cold (28 wind chill) for normal outdoor placement of "Commemoration of the Lord's Entrance". Instead we used "second form" of entrance with "representative group of faithful" being about 100 children, many pre-school. The adult leaders showed them how to hold the palms high and in front (like they hold flowers for various other processions here) and explitly told them not to touch other children with them. A few swords did appear however. Nice gallery of photos of kids at www.corpuschristiparish.org. The passion was proclaimed by priest and 2 deacons, with "Jesus remember me" sung by all at intervals...and a long time of all kneeling at the death point. We had a few more than normal at our "main" Mass - about 1,000. There are actually people on Cape Cod off-season.

Patrick Rothwell

"Our lector was a young woman who narrated the entire Passion narrative (except for the voices of Jesus, the crowd, etc.), and she sounded for all the world like a mommy reading a bedtime story in a sing song voice complete with the inflections I used with my own kids when reading about the Ducky and Bunny and the Kitty. I cannot imitate it in a comment box,...m"

You don't have to imitate it, I can hear it my head already. That sounds absolutely painful. I, for one, would have to exit the church for a bathroom break until story-telling time was over.

Eve Tushnet

St Matthew's Cathedral, DC
5.30 pm Mass

I am easily distracted and LAME thus this report should maybe be taken with a grain of salt.

"O Sacred Head Surrounded" (yay), "Were You There" (hrm, I love this spiritual but not sure it works as general thing-choir-sings-while-people-take-Communion), "Jesus Remember Me."

Homily: Be the donkey. Yup. Nice short thing about finding a humble and little way to serve Christ. Yay.


Susan F. Peterson

I went to Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic Church in Binghamton.

They don't process with the palms. They hand bunches of palms and pussy willows tied up in purple ribbons out after the liturgy.However the priest and deacon held these bunches right up through the sermon. (Pussy willows are used instead of palms in many countries where palms would not have been obtainable. I think the combination of the two is a kind of old tradition plus new tradition compromise, but I am just guessing.) This is starting at the end, but, when you go up to get them, there is an annointing with oil in which the priest makes a cross with the oil on your forehead, saying "Christ is among us" and you respond "He is and shall be." Then you pick up a piece of blessed bread (This is not communion but the rest of the loaf, called the lamb, from which the bread to be consecrated is taken. Even though it is only blessed, not consecrated, when an lady fell in the parking lot and dropped hers, people were concerned, picked it up off the ground and consumed it.) and your bundle of palms and pussy willows.

They don't have the long reading with the passion, just a reading about Jesus entering Jerusalem.(They don't use the new lectionary, one drawback I think of the Eastern rite; there is no old testament reading, and the readings are the same year to year, no three year cycle.) Since they have a "Saturday of Lazarus" the previous day in which the story of Jesus raising Lazarus is sung (all the readings are sung) and this one takes up where that one left off, it was brought home to me that Bethany where this happened was right next to Jerusalem and that it happened just before the entrance into Jerusalem, which somehow I had never noticed before.
Last Sunday this priest gave a sermon which greatly stressed the importance of confession, especially now before Easter. This priest, who has two parishes, had many times for confession during this last week; the one my daughter and I went to, at the smaller of the two churches, had close to 20 people waiting, and as we left, more were coming in.

(My territorial, Latin rite parish has "penance servies" with general absolution during this week. Its three priests for 6 churches couldn't possibly hear private confessions for all the people who come to the penance services, now could they....but I am afraid far fewer would come if private confession were involved....)

This week the priest at Holy Spirit more or less said, now that we have all kept the fast and made our confessions, we are ready to proclaim that Jesus is Lord and let him be Lord in our lives.

The choir sang at this liturgy, and some of the settings were not the ones ususally used that I am starting to learn, so it was a bit harder to make all the responses myself so I mostly just let it all sink in to me. The choir sings a capella and they do a beautiful job. Some of what they sing would distress Eastern rite purists, as it is definitely "Western" music, but this mixture has become these people's tradition by this time. They sang something during communion to the tune of "Immaculate Mary"(but in 4 part harmony) but it was in Church Slavonic, so I don't know if that is what they were singing. The settings they use on ordinary days don't really sound like western music, but they don't sound exactly like what I have heard in Orthodox churches either. But when the choir is there some of the settings sound like (maybe late Baroque early Classical?) Does anyone know what composers wrote settings for the Litugy of St. John Chrysostum of of St. Basil?)

I feel guilty for deserting my own parish. I know the pastor made an effort to respond to my not even very politely expressed concerns. They have started singing one traditional hymn at each mass. They even started consecrating the wine in the chalices instead of in the flask, although the servers and EMs (oops, I mean EMHCs) are a bit confused by this. I feel as if I should stick around because this shows I have been heard.

But I go around through the week hearing phrases from the Liturgy of St. John Chrystostum in my head. I can't stay away.

There are some traditions from the Latin Rite Holy Week that I will definitely miss. (the Easter fire..) But I never know when something I depended on will be changed. Like singing "Watch with me" instead of "Pange Lingue" which so distressed me last Holy Thursday. Or like the time instead of the priest singing the Exsultet, the choir leader sang it over dramatic piano riffs, in the style of country western song. I wish they could get the idea of doing it a traditional way...even if some of the traditions are relatively recent (I was also attached to hearing "The Lord Jesus, after eating with his friends, washed their feet and then he said to them 'Do you know what I your Lord have done for you?'" and I know this is hardly an ancient tradition, just one I experienced every Holy Thursday since I became a Catholic,until two years ago)...and then always do it that way, not keep fiddling with it.

I may have broken some rules in this comment, in occurs to me. Sorry-what I am thinking about keeps intruding on mere description.


10:30am Mass
Oakland, CA
Parish and priest left unnamed, in kindness

"the Passion of Christ" = not so much Christ's sufferings as the passion that drove him to be true to his understanding of God. You can write the rest.


I attended Mass at St. Malo Retreat Center, ten miles south of Estes Park, Colorado. This is the place JPII stayed during WYD '93 and the Chapel on the Rock there is a beautiful place to worship.

We processed in silence into the church with whole palm branches, not just single frongs, and then the priest sang the responsory.

The high school confirmation class from Estes Park had had a retreat there this afternoon, and they read the readings and participated in the Gospel.

The priest, a holy and reverent man originally from Peru, gave a short homily, asking who in the Passion story we will imitate throughout Holy Week. He also urged us to live this Holy Week as though is the only one we will ever experience.

We sang "Here I am, Lord" during the preparation and a man played a harmonica as reflection during Communion.

The Mass parts were St. Louis Jesuits, I think. And there was a long, profound and prayful period of silence following Communion. The closing hymn was "Lift High the Cross".

Very simple, but one of the most beautiful Masses I've attended.

Patrick Rothwell

"Homily: Be the donkey. Yup. Nice short thing about finding a humble and little way to serve Christ. Yay."

Be thankful that you didn't get from you know who yet another recapitulation of "The Gospel According to Peanuts" - this time with Lucy Taking the Football Away From Charlie Brown as a metaphor for the passion and redemptive suffering.

"Jesus Remember Me" from Taize is moving, though.

Will post my own experience later.

Kelly Clark

Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston

Organ prelude: "Les Rameaux" (Christ's Triumphant Entry)

Processional hymn: "All Glory Laud and Honor"

Started out a tad rocky. The celebrant didn't lead the procession, but did stop at the palms to bless them. Senior altar boy evidently thought that was all there was to it and began to process again toward the altar, only to hear the celebrant stop to proclaim the first Gospel. All recovered nicely and turned back.

Special blessing before the Liturgy of the Word for the new HUGE ambo, procured by Cardinal O'Malley.

All readings -- Isaiah 50: 4-7, Psalm 22 (chanted), Philipians 2 6-11) proclaimed. Mark's Passion: celebrant read Jesus' words, two lectors did their parts, congregation did the other ones (I just listened).

Homily was great...our rector knows how to preach. Gist: don't even think about judging the accusers or the disciples who fled.

Offertory/altar preparation: "God So Loved the World (Stainer)" sung by choir. Wonderful, as always.

Communion: "Christus Factus Est" and "Taste and See"

Recessional: "The Royal Banners Forward Go"

Patrick Kinsale

St Louis western suburban parish. Late Mass (12:45) due to baseball tournament. Most interesting thing was that Father asked the congregation to read the part of Christ for the Passion as we more fully, together, represent the Body of Christ. Usual good Palm Sunday songs tho.


Last Mass Sunday night - no procession. No palms, just branches wrenched from our trees at home to be discarded in parking lot. 'Palms' blessed by father throwing handfulls of water over the congregation from a kitchen bowl even though the parish has a noble holy water container and sprinkler. Gospel reading by three people, priest as Christ, male as narrator and female as others. Only problem was that the Gospel of Good Friday was read because 'the computer made a mistake!'. How difficult would it have been to print out three copies of the correct Gospel reading. Alter servers became bored during Gospel reading started to talk to one another and swing the cords around their waists in interesting patterns. Canned music. Father stopping whilst giving out Communion to talk with man who would be handing out pamphlets after Mass.

St. Elizabeth of Cayce

9 AM Mass
Newman Center Parish

Gashwin & I cantored/led Hosanna Filio David (what a treat!) just before the inside blessing of Palms.

Entrance: The King of Glory
Psalm Setting: My God, My God, Why have You abandoned me? (Haugen)
Offertory: What Wondrous Love is This?
Latin Agnus Dei.
Communion: Behold the Lamb of God (Willett)
Closing: O Sacred Head Surrounded (Bach's version!) accapella, 2 & 3 part harmony.

Gospel read with congregation seated. What struck me, besides the many, many babies "reading along," was how little our Padre actually read once the trial narrative began. Isaiah wrote:
Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. What a great way to have that scripture brought to mind!

Judas was mentioned in the homily; I wish I could recall more, but I was frequently distracted by a toddler "reading" her musical book. We were encouraged to take advantage of the many liturgies this week, and to continue those devotions and prayers we began when Lent was new.

No sword-fighting this Mass.


Holy Spirit, Duncanville TX (Dallas)
5:30PM Saturday

Procession started from the narthex with the priest, deacon, lectors, various parish officials carrying banners representing the parish commissions.
Chanted "Hosanna".
Opening hymn "All Glory Laud And Honor"
Psalm was Haugen's Psalm 22, "My God, My God."
Mass setting Missa Oecumenica chant
Offratory was "Christus Factus Est" (a cappella)
Communion was "Jesus, The Lord" and "Come See The Place Where Jesus Prayed"
Silent dismissal (same throughout Lent)

We sat for the Passion (which was the long version) and there was no homily. I can only remember standing for it once (and that was for the short version) in the five years I've attended this church.

Cathy M

St. Patrick Basilica
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

9 am Mass, blessing of the palms then processed in singing 'All Glory, Laud and Honor'. Nine (yes, 9!) altar servers. Congregation stood throughout the Passion Gospel.

An excellent homily was given by the deacon. It wasn't too long, or didn't seem so. He spoke of the two types of crowds that were encountered in the Gospel: the welcoming believers that greeted Jesus and those that, a week later, questioned and condemned him. Without mentioning the 'Gospel of Judas' explicitly, he said the devil will always be tempting us to deny Jesus and the Church, and that there will always be heresies to try to lead us astray. He encouraged us to be part of the former crowd, believing in Jesus, not the latter. (Anything that doesn't make sense is my fault; the deacon was well spoken even if I can't convey the gist of it properly.)

I can't remember the offertory or recessional hymns, but IIRC, they were both fairly traditional 18th century or earlier offerings. Organ music was played throughout communion, but no singing. A cantor on the altar (and, oh, what a beautiful altar!!) lead the singing.

One thing that was a little different from Masses in the US: the congregation stood after the Memorial Acclamation instead of waiting until after the great Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer. I didn't catch when they came in, but I think the children (Sunday School age) had been attending a separate Liturgy of the Word. They came in during the Offertory (I think) and knelt along the altar rail. When the congregation stood after the Memorial Acclamation, the kids joined their parents. It was all rather orderly and without too much fuss. Most of the ones that were near me received Communion, which is why I am speculating that it was just a separate Liturgy of the Word. Whether this was something special for Palm Sunday or happens every week, I don't know.

Seemed like it was a good crowd.

Thomas Kenny, SJ

Holy Spirit, Salvador, Brazil

6:00 PM-Arrived with ten kids, ages 7-14, and another social parent to the procession starting point at a satellite community about a kilometer from the main church of the parish and our orphanage. By the end of the first gospel reading there were about 200 hundred people to begin the procession. Three deacons and a priest led the procession, the sound car stayed mainly in the rear of the procession to provide protection from traffic. We stayed close to the sound car but it still was not loud enough and the procession kept growing bigger. I stayed in the back with two of the younger kids. Strangely we had a number of street dogs that started to mingle in with the procession. They stayed with us right until the end of the procession; I guess they felt one among the herd.

We sang “LEVANTA-TE! Chega pra cá e vem para o meio!” quite a few times, it is the song of the bishops campaign to raise awareness of people with disabilities, and we prayed a good number of Our Fathers and Hail Mary’s as chanting “viva Cristo, viva nossa igreja” We stopped three times in front of various small church communities. Many of the satellite churches are next to bars and houses of ill repute. We got a mixed response of looks from those folks, some guilty acknowledgements and few folks mocking all the palm waving. I think the purpose of the stops was to give support and acknowledgement to the small local satellite communities of the parish as well as to call any stragglers to the procession.

The evangelical pastors were out in front of their church preparing to welcome their congregation as our procession passed by. I had a hard time interpreting their expression. They didn’t seem hostile but they didn’t seem friendly either. I think they had to be a little bit envious because at least in this neighborhood, on the periphery of the city, although there are about twenty evangelical churches to every Catholic one, they are all split up and do not yet have the organizational structure to pull off a procession of this size.

When we got to the main church there were lots of people waiting in the parking lot for the church doors to open (they keep them closed to encourage people to participate in the procession) among whom were about 6 more kids from the orphanage. When they opened the doors, I realized I had no hope of getting a seat and keeping control of my growing gang. The church filled in less than a minute. The church was booming with Hosannas for about ten minutes after the place filled. I got most of the group to stick with me near one of the side doors where we had a pretty good view of the inside of the church. During the reading of the Passion a couple of my older kids, I thought new better, got in a rock fight with some of the neighborhood kids. Thankfully no major injuries occurred but by the time the conflict was resolved we were ten minutes into the homily. Things settled down after that. The Mass ended about 9 PM.

One of the things I never considered before I became a member of this parish is the necessity to read everything that is happening in the parish at the end of the Mass. Church bulletins are just not practical because 1) there is no money for it 2) a good number of parishioners are illiterate. Also one Brazilian custom that I used to think was nice, but now I see as just another form of Chinese water torture, is the singing Happy Birthday to whoever has a birthday that week at the end of each Mass before the final blessing. This happens almost every Sunday.


Wow. Holy Spirit is right.

Fr. Groeschel said that he gives palms as they go to the storefront churches that his folks' procession passes. I don't know if this is practical for you, but it does sound like a kind idea (ecumenical and evangelical too!).

Fr. Bryan

St. Joseph Parish
Muskogee, Oklahoma

It was a beautiful weekend, bright and sunny. Our 8:00am Sunday Mass was it normal size but with larger than normal crowds at the Saturday Vigil, the 10:30am and 5:00pm Sunday Masses.

The music was good, as usual. For the English liturgies we sang "All Glory, Laud and Honor" for the processional, "Were You There?" for Communion, and "O Sacred Head Surrounded" for the recessional. For the 10:30am "Ave Verum" was sung by the choir for the preperation of the gifts.

The palms were blessed in the "Commons", a larger gathering area that currently functions as church vestible, social area before and after Mass and teaching space for large groups. We can't wait until the new parish hall is completed!

The procession, Passion Narrative, etc., went well with but a few missteps among the lectors over four separate Masses. It was interesting to hear four different narrators approach the same text from slightly different angles in terms of voice patterns and such. As is the custom in Latino culture during Holy Week, I blessed a number of statues, Bibles, etc., at the end of the 5:00pm Spanish Mass.

I preached longer than usual for Passion Sunday. This was due in large part to the noise about the "gospel" of Judas. I compaired the core beliefs of the Gnostics with what Christians have believed about Jesus since the first Holy Week. Since the Gnostic texts (secret knowledge, the human body is bad and women are inferior) contradicted the Christian Tradition, they were excluded from the New Testament and then the Gnostics died out. I also pointed out that Mark's Gospel was written about 35-40 years after the fact and not about 140 years afterwards as with Judas. Which of the two would be closer to the Truth?

Since this week also marks the 141st anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's assasination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth (April 14, 1865), I used another example. We would not take as serious new found "evidence" that reported that Lincoln and Booth were best friends. Or that Booth acted on Lincoln's request to kill him. So why should why take serious a text written some 140 years after the fact that claims much the same about Jesus and Judas?

What the early Church believed as the Truth about Jesus was summed up the portion we heard today from Philipians. During Holy Week we are to relive and reafirm this Truth. Our faithful witness to this Truth will speak to the world louder than any text from a 2nd century fringe group.

I pray that all will have a truly Holy Week, especially those being received into the Church at the Easter Vigil.

Dan of the Holy Whapping

At the 11:00 Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the North Side of Chicago we started with an outdoor procession that lacked a bit in attendance due either to failure to announce it clearly or the people inside (the Church was jammed) not wanting to risk their seat. We sang the "Hosanna Filio David" plainchant to get things started followed "All Glory Laud and Honor" which didn't have too many problem due mostly to the procession being fairly short and small - organ came in inside on the third refrain.
After that, the deacon knocked on the church door 3 times with the foot of the (covered) processional crucifix to represent Christ's opening the gates of heaven to us, after which we sang Carlo Rossini's "Ingrediente Domino."
Among the other highlights:
- Psalm 22 and Gospel verse by William Ferris (1937-2000), former OLMC choir director (also making use of similar kinds of appropriate dissonance to Bower's setting)
- Offertory: the majestic Allegri "Miserere" with wonderful soprano for the ethereal high notes on the quartet secitons.
- Sanctus: Plainchant
- Memorial Acclamation/Amen: "Mass in F-sharp Minor" by William Ferris
- Agnus Dei from Missa L'Hora Passa by Ludovico Viadana
- Communion: "In Manus Tuas Domine" by Juan Pujol and "Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs" by Karl Graun (who in an ironic twist caused the Bach St. Matthew Passion to be briefly forgotten due to his "Tod Jesu" oratorio - doesn't speak well for German musical tastes at the time, but this piece was good)
-"O Sacred Head Surrounded"

All in all, a beautiful Palm Sunday Mass, my first at this particular parish and choir. For anyone in or thinking of coming to Chicago, we're probably as good a Missa Normativa as you'll find in town.

RP Burke

A day-night doubleheader at Columbus, Ohio.

1. 11:30 a.m. Mass at our parish church, where my wife and I, who met in a lector program in Cambridge, Mass., read both the readings and served as narrator (me) and speaker (her) with our pastor (Christ) and the choir (turba) for the passion.

Homily was briefer than usual, focusing on Paul's description of Jesus emptying himself for us. It is very different for us but how can we empty ourselves, and of what?

Only music interspersed in the passion reading was a verse of the spiritual "Calvary" at five points, sung just by the choir. At this Mass there is a community of recent immigrants from Mexico -- I've learned to say "Palabra de Dios!" at the end of the reading as well as "The word of the Lord!" -- with many young kids forming a wall of ambient noise. Having recently abandoned a "children's church" during Mass for religious education for young kids an hour beforehand, a few of us are suggesting starting babysitting during the Mass proper for the youngest. (There's no space for a 'cry room'.)

Music: The procession with palms began outside, using "The King of Glory" and not the traditional "All Glory, Laud, and Honor." Responsorial psalm and gospel acclamation from OCP's single most usable publication, "Respond and Acclaim." The choir sang some contemporary anthem I'd never heard before during the offertory, and we were all supposed to sing Haugen's or Haas's -- I'm not sure which -- dreadful "We Remember" for communion. Very few did. Closing music was the Taize chant "Jesus, Remember Me," which directly quotes not Mark's but Luke's passion text. (There's no "good thief" in Mark's passion -- the others crucified with Jesus taunt him without exception.)

Entr'acte. Made a marvelous spinach lasagna from a great new cookbook, the New American Plate, designed to turn the ratio of meat to 25% of the meal while producing tasty food. Comes from a center for scientific research into cancer and heart disease. Highly recommended.

2. 6:00 p.m. for campus ministry at the nearby university where my wife teaches. My new student musician was stuck, I learned at the last minute, at an ROTC event and could not attend. So I ended up as the master of the musick.

Simple entrance without procession. Post-palms hymn was "All Glory, Laud, and Honor." Responsorial psalm was adapted from the Graduale Simplex by Theodore Marier in the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School hymnal. Gospel acclamation was adapted from the chant Kyrie in the Missa Orbis Factor. Eucharistic acclamations were also a chant adaptation, Richard Proulx's "Missa Corpus Christi" from the Adoro Te Devote chant. We did not bother to "kick against the goad" by asking for singing during communion. Mass closed with "Wondrous Love."

Passion read by two students as narrator and speaker, the celebrant as Christ, and the people as the turba. I'm not enamored of this, since it forces the people to read along and think of their lines rather than listen and absorb. (Same problem I have with expecting the people to sing at times during the passion.) But it is common practice, and the students were prepared to do it, so we did.

Homily, by our former pastor who is chaplain to this campus, reminded us that Jesus died for all, including those with whom we might disagree or even dislike, since grace and salvation are offered to all. Also a reminder and the reasons for a march by Catholic students, high school and college, on the state house today (Monday) in opposition to the death penalty.

Obiter dictum. Just learned that I have to fill in as master of ceremonies at the Easter Vigil. I am already the assistant for chanting prayers of the faithful on Good Friday. By Saturday midnight I will want crawl under a rock and hide for a while.


St. Paul's, Cambridge, MA 9am

Special music for the liturgy:

Invitatory anthem: Hosanna Filio David (Victoria)
Processional hymn: All Glory Laud & Honor
Gospel Acclamation: Vernacular chant setting of Christus Factus Est
Passion Chorale (vernacular)
Jesu Meine Freude (Motet version with the tongue-twisting middle section)
Communion anthem: Ave Verum Corpus (Byrd)


Oh, and the homily compared and contrasted the young man who ran away naked (representing faith found and then abandoned under stress) and the centurion (representing faith found in the most unlikely of circumstances).

A nice comparison, that is matched by one I heard long about concerning the even more vital one of Judas versus Peter.

Quiet Soul

St. Thomas Aquinas, Charlottesville, 11:30 a.m. Procession with palms from courtyard to church, English chant "Children of the Hebrews" and "Glory Laud and Honor" lead by Choir (usually at 7:30 am Mass). Schola sang the Gradual "Christus Factus Est" before the reading Passion by pastor (Christ) with two lay readers and the congregation as the crowd. Longish sermon on the theological significance fo the four processions of Holy Week. Offertory: "Take up your Cross." Sanctus: Gregorian Mass XIV. Agnus: Gregorian Mass II. Communion: Attende Domine. Recessional "Lift High the Cross. Standing room only, very few left early; 80 minutes.

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