Congregation to walk the track during mass?

Okay…someone tell me if this is normal.

We were told that for Palm Sunday we’re going to be given palms and that the whole congregation is going to leave the church in the middle of the mass and walk around the school’s track while singing. What the heck??? Should I join or should I stay inside. (Atleast if I stay inside and wait for them to get back I’ll finally get some quiet time at church!! lol)

While I don’t know about walking the track, many parishes do walk outside and around the Church building and then back inside. If that is not possible sometimes they process around the interior of the Church then sit back down. It is to resemble/remember Christ’s walk into Jerusalem.


But that’s right at the beginning, not in the middle of Mass. I wonder if the OP meant ‘middle of Mass’ literally or figuratively?

While the option for the procession certainly exists for Palm Sunday, here is what is supposed to happen:

  1. The commemoration of the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem has, according to ancient custom, been celebrated with a solemn procession, in which the faithful in song and gesture imitate the Hebrew children who went to meet the Lord, singing “Hosanna.” [33]

The procession may take place only once, before the Mass that has the largest attendance, even if this should be in the evening of either Saturday or Sunday. The congregation should assemble in a secondary church or chapel or in some other suitable place distinct from the church to which the procession will move.

In this procession, the faithful carry palm or other branches. The priest and the ministers, also carrying branches, precede the people. [34]

The palms or branches are blessed so that they can be carried in the procession. The palms should be taken home, where they will serve as a reminder of the victory of Christ, which they celebrated in the procession.

Pastors should make every effort to ensure that this procession in honor of Christ the King be so prepared and celebrated that it is of great spiritual significance in the life of the faithful.

The Missal, in order to commemorate the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem, in addition to the solemn procession described above, gives two other forms, not simply for convenience, but to provide for those situations when it will not be possible to have the procession.

The second form is that of a solemn entrance, when the procession cannot take place outside of the church. The third form is a simple entrance such as is used at all Masses on this Sunday that do not have the solemn entrance. [35]

  1. Where the Mass cannot be celebrated, there should be a celebration of the word of God on the theme of the Lord’s messianic entrance and passion, either on Saturday evening or on Sunday at a convenient time. [36]
  1. During the procession, the choir and people should sing the chants proposed in the Roman Missal, especially Psalms 23 and 46, as well as other appropriate songs in honor of Christ the King.
  1. The passion narrative occupies a special place. It should be sung or read in the traditional way, that is, by three persons who take the part of Christ, the narrator, and the people. The passion is proclaimed by deacons or priests, or by lay readers. In the latter case, the part of the Christ should be reserved to the priest.

The proclamation of the passion should be without candles and incense; the greeting and the sings of the cross are omitted; and only a deacon asks for the blessing, as he does before the Gospel. [37] For the spiritual good of the faithful, the passion should be proclaimed in its entirety, and the readings that proceed it should not be omitted.

  1. After the passion has been proclaimed, a homily is to be given.

The procession does not occur during the middle of the Mass; rather, it occurs at the beginning. The proclamation of the Passion occurs in the middle and occupies a significant chunk of the liturgy.

Yes - good point - I just assumed it was happening where it’s supposed to. But I guess in some parishes you can’t assume anything these days. :wink:


well since the procession with palms, and the proclamation of that Gospel, happen before Mass begins, I doubt this is going to happen “in the middle of Mass” but before, as is entirely appropriate. anyone who can’t manage walking may of course stay inside church. The actual reason we are given palms before Mass is to participate in that procession btw. What is going to happen “in the middle of Mass” is the narration of the Passion.

It could be that everybody is starting inside the church, there’ll be a prayer, and then they’ll do the procession. To a lot of people, that would be “the middle of Mass”, especially if you toss in a little natural hyperbole.

Well, they didn’t specify. They said “in the middle”. So…if I understand correctly, it’s okay to join this procession? Even if it doesn’t happen at the beginning?

The procession is supposed to happen in the beginning of the Palm Sunday liturgy, as evidenced in the section from Paschale Solemnitatis that I quoted in my intial response. The proclamation of the Passion of the Lord occurs in the middle of the liturgy.

Now, you might be confused because on Palm Sunday, we listen to two different Gospel accounts. The first one, at the beginning of the Mass, is the Gospel account (this year, taken from St. Luke) of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. After this Gospel is read, the procession begins and goes into the church. When we arrive at Church, the introductory rites are omitted (except for the Collect, I believe). The second Gospel reading is the account of the Passion of Our Lord, again, this year, from St. Luke. This occurs in the middle and is very lengthy. This is also the only time when the faithful have a part in the reading, proclaiming the parts of the people (i.e. Crucify, him).

That actually sounds pretty amazing (as long as they do it according to the rubrics, of course). The priest in my parish (a student center) is from Africa, and he was telling the RCIA class last week that the people there do processions from one village to another on Palm Sunday–some 3-5 miles–singing, with branches. It sounds beautiful. We tried to talk him into letting us do one through campus :D, but he said it would be pretty logistically difficult.

I’m happy to say that the new translation of the Lectionary in Canada has the Passion in only 3 parts: Narrator, Jesus & S. None of this waiting to jump in with 'Crucify him!" for the congregation. We can actually sit and listen without waiting for our cue to be dramatic. Now one single reader will read the responses.

More difficult than walking from one village to another in Africa???

Oh, I hope that never happens in the United States. I always found that particular part of the Palm Sunday Mass to be particularly powerful; our sins have crucified Christ, and it us who are now saying “Crucify him!”

Whether it was intended that way or not, I always found it to be worthwhile.

It is that way in the United States. You’ll see on Palm Sunday. Get back to us afterword, and let us know if you find any good in the change.

Generally the Blessing of the palms, the Gospel reading that goes along with the Blessing and the procession I believe should take place BEFORE Mass begins. Mass should not be interupted for this.

In my church we process from each church in the neighbourhood with the other local churches. There are five different groups so it is quite a crowd. At each church the priest or minister says a prayer and the choir sings something. There is even a little donkey who leads the procession.

Not the walking, but the getting permission from the university. My school is traditionally Baptist, and just recently started allowing Christians of other traditions to legitimately/officially congregate for worship on campus. I think he was thinking it might raise a few too many eyebrows, and he doesn’t want to undo all the Catholic Student Association’s hard work.

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