Palm Sunday 2021
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 118
    It’s hard to believe it will be upon us next weekend.

    What are the moves for this year’s celebration? What do you have to change due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions? For us, and I’m assuming most of you, it will be nice to attend Palm Sunday liturgies in-person this year.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 670
    My pastor is using the option where everyone is gathered in the church already and the blessing of palms takes place in the church. No gathering outside with a blessing there and then a procession into the church.
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 948
    It seems we have no options: Mass starts with the introit of the Passion, and the whole of the foremass, including the Hosannas and the blessing and distribution of palms and the Gospel reading and the procession, are forbidden to us.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,159
    That's incredibly sad, Andrew.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 630
    We are waiting to see if we go back into lockdown or not. It might be a last minute call. Churches might be exempted.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,145
    We (E.F.) are going ahead as normal with minor changes for the Congregation... They are banned from processions, distribution of palms and singing. We therefore get to sing more polyphony, fortunately most members of the choir share breakfast or dining tables with other members of the choir so are exempt from antisocial distancing requirements.

    Meanwhile in the O.F. they have a different regime...
    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 192
    Like Andrew, Mass starts with "ante sex dies". Mass proceeds like normal, with distribution of palms afterward. It's good to have a congregation this year though.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,692
    We have gone back into lockdown, definitely until Easter Tuesday, looking at the numbers, I fear significantly longer.
  • At Walsingham -
    Solemn Evensong for Passion Sunday may be seen and heard at
    As of now it is being live-streamed, but will remain on the site later on.
    Thanked by 2Carol CHGiffen
  • Carol
    Posts: 688
    I don't know what will happen with the palms yet, but Father will begin with the Palm Sunday Gospel from the rear of the church and process up the aisle. This is an OF parish, but fairly traditional which is fine with me. I have been wondering how the Passion will be read when the parishioners don't have missalettes, unless they bring their own from home. I also heard we will not be Venerating the Cross in the usual manner. Much better situation than last year, but not normal. I get my second Pfizer vaccination dose on Palm Sunday afternoon, thanks be to God!

    I meant Good Friday for the Veneration of the Cross.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,217
    We still have social distancing - in my case, I often practice anti-social distancing - and congregation size is limited. Every other row seating and masks required is the new norm with communion having new regulations. I will be at home this year and will not attend any masses.
  • We are having Palm Sunday pretty much as normal. Cases are pretty low right now, and restrictions are raising in my area. The bishop even allowed congregational singing again. We have actually had missalettes since last fall. We will be doing the procession starting in the basement of the church and moving upstairs (don't worry, it's a wide staircase). To accommodate the livestream, we will be having a camera on a poll, probably carried by a server in the procession. Not the most asthetically pleasing option, but it's the best we can think of.
  • We have a schola of two, both from the same household, but it's a step up from "gatherings" indoors being banned.
  • vansensei
    Posts: 165
    Business as usual. EF Palm Sunday with full propers according to the 1962 Calendar.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Fully open - pre-55 Palm Sunday with all propers and some polyphony as well.
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 59
    Nothing, people are sneezing out there, everything has to be closed.
    Thanked by 3tomjaw CharlesW Carol
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    This is an OF parish, but fairly traditional which is fine with me. I have been wondering how the Passion will be read when the parishioners don't have missalettes, unless they bring their own from home.

    Rome has repeatedly asked for this practice to be abandoned. This year would be a good year to do so. Unfortunately, my longtime home parish no longer has three deacons in active service due to a death and a retirement, but they had employed them at least to read the Passion, which was better than nothing.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 217
    Rome has repeatedly asked for this practice to be abandoned.

    Can you provide a source for this? My Googling hasn't revealed anything yet.
    Thanked by 1PaxMelodious
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 926
    Cantor / Choir will chant Hosanna filio David.
    [Palms will be blessed in the back of church; no formal procession]
    All Glory, Laud, and Honor in place of the Entrance Antiphon
    Missa XVII
    Psalm setting by yours truly: (a spartan setting over a pedal tone)
    Gospel Acclamation:
    2 Masses will have the Bartlett Simple English Offertory Antiphon
    >>The "choir mass" will sing my motet setting of this text:
    [Missa XVII; incl. the ICEL Mysterium Fidei]
    Communion Antiphon (Bartlett)
    Communion Hymn: Ah, Holy Jesus (Herzliebster Jesu)
    Ave Regina Cælorum at the end of Mass.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 926
    Rome has repeatedly asked for this practice to be abandoned

    Can you clarify which part you're referring to? Reading the gospel from the back? "Reading" vs singing the gospel? Having the people make public responses during the reading (I really don't care for this...).
  • Carol
    Posts: 688
    I have always felt that to turn the Passion into a "skit" seemed odd. I theorized, though, that the point was to feel the weight of your own guilt when you say "Crucify him." I am curious to read the scholarly responses as our current pastor is very "by the book" so if this is style of reading the Passion is discouraged I am surprised he would perpetuate it.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    Yeah, the reading with lay intervention as such. Cf. Paschalis Sollemnitatis nº 33 & 66. It's true that it doesn't explicitly mention dividing the parts with lay people, but it's clearly excluded, and, IMHO, this nonsense was already known to the CDW.

    A strict reading would also exclude the Victoria or other polyphonic settings, but considering that those are considered immemorial custom, I think that the Holy See would frown upon excluding the choir serving as the voice of the crowd provided that the individual voices are still sung by the Synagoga.

    I naturally prefer everything in Latin, but I stuck around for the principal Mass with the cardinal at Wawel Cathedral, where a polyphonic adaptation was sung in Polish along with the text sung by three deacons, also in Polish, using the melody of the traditional Gregorian books.

    This Zenit article made me laugh though, having been the narrator of Good Friday. Why? Well, taking away the separate Gospel in 1955 makes the narrator's task longer, even with the elimination of at least part of the traditional text during the first three days of Holy Week (or on Palm Sunday in the NO), which was shorn of the institution narrative in 1955, partially restored in 1969.

    Anyway, even the libs agree that the Passion isn't to be read by the crowd, though I think that if the Legionary of Christ priest (!) who writes the Zenit column correctly supports singing the Passion, then this ought to be pushed; however, singing the readings is far, far, far from the agenda for most people. (I know that some PrayTell folks contribute here, but I think that the gap is pretty well-entrenched at this point, sadly.)
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 926
    Matthew, thanks for that link to P.S.

    I personally don't object to the choir singing the Turbæ Choruses since there's a long tradition of this; I dislike, however, when all the people are forced to "actively participate" in the proclamation of the Gospel. I understand the rhetorical pedagogical intent behind having the people say "Crucify Him!" but it seems forced/contrived and half the time people miss their cue anyway because they aren't reading ahead. I think it is typically more powerful to hear a choir sing "crucify Him" with an intense mini-motet than it is to have the people in the pew next to you mumble it 2 beats late. The other thing that happens is it can cause anxiety in people as they follow along not wanting to miss their next cue, and then there's the potential that they are NOT paying as close attention as if they had simply been listening. It's a bit like how it takes me three weekend masses to pray one mass's worth of prayers since I'm so busy making Mass happen.
  • Indeed, Serviam -
    Having lectors and congregation simply read their parts of the Passion is lacking in power. Most parishes that I know of normally have a deacon/priest sing a chant adaptation of the original Latin Passion tones.
    The likes of Bach and Schutz show us the way - as do any number of Catholic composers of earlier times, not to mention chant.

    A good book on the subject is -
    The Background of Passion Music: J.S. Bach and his predecessors
    By Basil Smallman, professor of music at the University of Liverpool
    Pub. Dover, 1957
    (It is currently available from Amazon for about $12.)

    Serviam -
    I like your responsorial psalm and your gospel acclamations.
    Very nice indeed.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,768
    Only the ministers will do the palm procession; otherwise, pretty much as usual.
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 118
    Does anyone know where the practice of singing an acclamation during certain parts of the Passion reading originated? I remember my home parish used to do this when I was a kid. Usually, it was the Taize Jesus, Remember Me or something similar in length and style.
  • davido
    Posts: 503
    As aside, many of the Lutheran passions (Bach etc) were non liturgical. The Bach passions for instance were written for an evening vespers-like service, and did not replace the liturgical recitation of the passion that occurred earlier in the day at the service analogous to our Good Friday liturgy.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 217
    It's true that it doesn't explicitly mention dividing the parts with lay people, but it's clearly excluded

    Ah, okay. I thought maybe there was something more strongly worded I could use in arguing against this practice.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,689
    I feel a certain sympathy toward having the people sing the parts of the turba in the Passion, since it was done well for many years at St. Paul's in Cambridge, under the direction of Theodore Marier, director of the choir school and former president of CMAA.

    Moreover, it wasn't an isolated practice: some hand missals from the 1970s (e.g., New American Sunday Missal) directed that the people were permitted to recite the words of the crowd, so I expect that at the time the bishops' conference approved such things.

    But it doesn't seem that the Vatican envisioned the same idea: the 1977 Missale Romanum cum Lectionibus (a handheld edition in four volumes) has this instruction:


    The account of the Passion of the Lord is read without candles and without incense, without a greeting or the signing of the book. It is read by a deacon, or if one is lacking, by a priest.
    It can also be read by lectors, with the part of Christ, if possible, reserved for a priest.
    Deacons, but not others, before the reading of the Passion, ask for a blessing from the priest, as otherwise before the Gospel.

    It doesn't specify how many lectors would be involved: whether all the third-party utterances go to a single lector or use some other arrangement.
    620 x 147 - 115K
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,362
    As ammunition, one might suppose the Lectionary trumps the vague wordings of Paschalis Sollemnitatis and similar documents, given that they seem to take small account of historical custom that sanctioned Davy, Victoria and Lassus. This essay cites Plures locorum (1965) which I can't seem to track down.
    John Bertalot offers a protestant take on turbae in a preface to his Passion … Luke "This seems unfortunate, since the faithful are being asked to sing the words of unfaithfulness. Therefore, in this setting …the congregation is invited to sing the part of Jesus- to see the story from his viewpoint. It seems appropriate that the part of Christ be taken by the Body of Christ." The allotting of Christus to the choir is found here and there in Renaissance Catholic music as well, such as Francisco Martins.
    I'm now very curious about what the morning Good Friday service at Leipzig might have been and whether it was in fact the 'main' Hauptgottesdienst; Smallman and Boyd's Oxford Bach Companion shed no light, but perhaps Stiller or Melamed do?
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,159
    Honestly, if I was forced to sing a part, but was allowed to choose, I would be Pilate and call it a day.
    I really dislike voicing the turba. Our schola will be chanting those parts at our EF Mass on Palm Sunday.
  • A fascinating point of view, Richard - namely that of John Bertalot. As fresh and logical an idea as it is, I think that most if not all of us would shrink from acting the part of our Lord - at least as one in a multiplicity of people. Jesus, after all, was one Person; not a crowd.
    At Walsingham we do an Englished renaissance passion on Palm Sunday and a congregational one on Good Friday. I don't understand the logic behind this, but think that a choral version should be standard everywhere - either that or an adapted chant version.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,692
    Richard Mix - Found in Acta Apostolicae Sedis
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Richard Mix
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 143
    I will be attending the pre-55 rite for Palm Sunday at an Institute of Christ the King parish. As far as I know, it will be the same as usual, except that the procession will be clergy and servers only, inside the Church - the city has a mask mandate that almost no one in the parish follows, and we would likely get reported for being outside in a large, non-"socially distanced" group.
    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth