John Lilburne's journal about the Palm Sunday Walk in Melbourne and whether it was a popular devotion or liturgy.


About John Lilburne


Links to the Directory on Popular Devotions on the Liturgy are at my Journal for 1 July 2002




1142 L Mon 25 Mar 2002

Yesterday I was part of the Palm Sunday Walk in Melbourne. We carried palm branches and stopped for the Stations of the Cross. It began at 1400 at St Augustine's church and we walked up Bourke Street to St Patrick's Cathedral where there was a Mass at 1600.

The 1975 Roman Missal describes a procession for Passion Sunday (also known as Palm Sunday):

At the scheduled time, the congregation assembles in a secondary church or chapel or in some other suitable place distinct from the church to which the procession will move. The faithful carry palm branches.

The priest and ministers put on red vestments for Mass and go to the place where the people have assembled. ... (page 122).

But I do not think the walk was this procession. One priest wore vestments. But Archbishop Hart did not, nor did other priests. The Roman Missal procession does not include the Stations of the Cross. So I think it was a popular devotion rather than liturgy.

The instructions given in the 1975 Roman Missal are:

On this day the Church celebrates Christ's entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish his paschal mystery. Accordingly, the memorial of this event is included in every Mass, with the procession or solemn entrance before the principal Mass, with the simple entrance before the other Masses. The solemn entrance (but not the procession) may be repeated before other Masses that are usually well attended. (page 122).

The principal Mass was at 1100 and we had a procession then. We went out a side door of the cathedral and in through the back door. So there should not be another procession to the cathedral that day.

On Wednesday night at the liturgy class we were given a handout from a document by the National Liturgical Commission. It includes:

... The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome is currently finalizing a new Directory that will focus on the question of popular devotions and their relationship to the liturgy. ...

I hope this new Directory will convey the message: "If you do not like a liturgical law, such as one procession on Passion Sunday, do not circumvent it by calling it a popular devotion."

I think it would be great to have a proper procession (with vestments, candles, thurible and choir) down Bourke Street on Passion Sunday.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 25 March 2002. Last updated 2 July 2002. Roman Missal extracts from: The Sacramentary, Catholic Book Publishing Co, New York, 1985.


Other sites:

Catholic Youth Ministry

National Liturgical Commission