8:00 Low Mass
10:30am High Solemn Mass
Palm Sunday begins Holy Week. The 10:30 service begins on the Courtyard lawn (the 8:00am service begins in the Church and will not use incense, at the 10:30 incense will be used with the church being vented). Once gathered on the lawn the priest will bless and hand out the palm fronds, and then after some prayers and the reading of the Palm Sunday Gospel of St. Matthew, a procession forms and moves through the courtyard and into the Church, the faithful following, all singing “All Glory Laud and Honour”. All of this is done to remember and symbolize Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem when crowds gathered and laid palm fronds and cloaks on the road and shouted “Hosanna in the highest!” as Jesus entered Jerusalem right before his Passion.
Once we enter the Nave, the service continues in a joyous manner up until the Gospel, at which time in the stead of the priest and altar party coming out into the Nave to read the Gospel, the Church enacts a “Passion Play”.
The priest will come down to the transept to be the voice of the narrator, and different people from the congregation take their places throughout the Church as the voices of different characters in the Gospel passage.
The congregation as a whole becomes the voice of the crowd.
On this Sunday, we read the account of the Crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is often remarked that it seems backwards…or odd that we read of the death of Jesus twice- once on Palm Sunday and then again on Good Friday.
The reason for this is that there are two cycles of devotion in the Church. One- the weekly cycle that moves from Sunday to Sunday- the Passion should rightly be read on the Sunday preceding Easter Day. The other cycle is a daily one, and this places the Passion narrative on the actual day the Church remembers Christ’s crucifixion (Good Friday).
On this Sunday there is a severe transition in the ‘mood’ of the Liturgy. We begin in the courtyard, palm fronds in hand, praising Jesus Christ and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” and rejoicing in the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and then by the time of the Gospel reading, we are crying out “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
This Sunday almost every human emotion is expressed and felt, and our journey towards Easter begins in earnest.
It is customary to take the blessed Palm Fronds you receive on Palm Sunday home and place them on or near items of devotion, (such as behind a cross) as a reminder of the day and a symbol of our Lord’s victory- and this is perfectly fine and encouraged.
The remaining Palm fronds are stored, dried and burned on the following Mardi Gras to create the ashes for Ash Wednesday .