Walking the Walk

liturgical space 022Our Judeo-Christian tradition includes many long journeys towards a unique encounter with God.  The Israelites’ search for the Promised Land, Elijah fleeing to Mount Horeb, and Joseph and Mary travelling to Bethlehem are some example.  Jesus’ own long journey of his public ministry ultimately leads to his final journey to Golgotha.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, looking towards the Dome of the Rock
Looking into the old city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

Many Christians since have been inspired to seek encounter with God through pilgrimage.  It may be to sacred places abroad like the Holy Land, or walking in the footsteps of saints.  The processions of our liturgy enrich our worship by drawing us physically into the journey of encountering God.  They are, in their own way, pilgrimages into the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and our upcoming Holy Week celebrations are full of them.

Fr John and Severs showing the cross, Good Friday 2009Beginning with the procession at 9:00 am Mass on Palm Sunday, we continue with the processions of oils, gifts for the poor, and the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday.  The cross is the focus of procession on Good Friday, as it is brought into the church, and as we approach it in adoration.  Finally, the Easter Vigil brings with it the procession of the light that dispels the 25320897818_a85d3d4b9f_b_ddarkness, and the procession to the font where we will not only renew our own baptism, but celebrate the baptism of five new Catholics – Thippi, Mathanki, Lucy, Song and Alan – who will then go on to process to the altar for the first time in Holy Communion.

Let us take the opportunity to participate in these processions prayerfully and place ourselves within the saving act of Jesus that is not just a historic event, but something that the liturgy makes real and present for us here and now.

Recalling Palm Sunday

Carmel Bulletin, 27 April 2014

We have recently celebrated again the liturgies of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.  The first of these was the celebration of Palm Sunday.

The full title of this day, as provided in the Missal, shows us exactly what we celebrate on this day.  Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord invites us all to celebrate not only the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem, but also the events of the days that followed; his passion and death.

Palm Sunday ProcessionIt is in the Introductory Rites of the Mass for Palm Sunday that we celebrate the actual ‘Palm Sunday’.  This can take the form of a procession at the principal Mass of the Sunday (as it does here at 9:00 am), or with a simple or solemn entrance (as we celebrate from the narthex) at the other Masses of the Sunday.  We begin with the antiphon that quotes directly from the gospel, “Hosanna to the Son of David…” (Mt 21:9).  We bless the palms (or olive branches or other greenery) that we will use and take home with us.  We listen to the account of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem from the gospels, and then proceed into the church “like the crowds that acclaimed Jesus in Jerusalem.”  Song is an important part of the entrance and procession.

Palms and Olive branches at Palm Sunday ProcessionThe palm or other branch we take with us on the day serves as a sign to us long after Holy Week has ended, but not the sole point of the rites we celebrate.  The Vatican Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy states:

The faithful, however, should be instructed as to the meaning of this celebration so that they might grasp its significance. They should be opportunely reminded that the important thing is participation at the procession and not only the obtaining of palm or olive branches… Palms and olive branches are kept in the home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ, the messianic king, and in his Paschal Victory. (article 139)

Finally, I would like to echo Fr Paul’s words of thanks to those who were involved in the celebrations of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

View our Palm Sunday photo album: facebook | flickr

25/3/12 – Approaching Holy Week and the Easter Triduum

Palm SundayNext Sunday is Palm Sunday.  The Mass commemorates the actual “Palm Sunday” events in its unique introductory rites which include the blessing of palm branches, and the proclamation of a gospel account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  This typically takes place at the entrance to the church, or may even take a simple form with the priest leading from the sanctuary.  One Mass on the Sunday, however, should commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem by means of a procession from a location outside the church.

As such, we will celebrate Palm Sunday in a similar fashion as in previous years.  9:00 am Mass will begin with a procession beginning under the shade structures in the school playground (outside the parish hall).  All other Masses will begin with a solemn entrance beginning in the narthex.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, which leads us to the Easter Triduum.  This will be the first time we celebrate the Easter Triduum according to the new English translation of the Missal.  There are some changes to texts that we may only use once a year, such as the showing of the cross on Good Friday and the Litany of the Saints.  Please be mindful of this.  We will do our best to prompt and assist you with any changes.

Please take note of the times of the various Holy Week and Easter Triduum celebrations, and make sure you pass the timetable on to others (perhaps there are people in your neighbourhood) who may be interested in participating, but don’t get a Carmel bulletin.