Question about Palm Sunday


Hi all,

So a little background first - I’m a cadet at the US Coast Guard Academy and I attend mass at the Academy Chapel. There’s a Navy Chaplain who celebrates Sunday Mass and the occasional daily Mass as well for the cadet corps, and I wasn’t quite sure about something he said. He said that this year, because the Palm Sunday passion reading is so long, we’ll be skipping the Epistle and the Psalm. There isn’t any real reason to try and keep Mass short, though - it’s just a Sunday morning Mass like normal. I’m not 100% sure, but isn’t skipping readings against Church law? I don’t know where to find the rules about that, though, and Father is pretty stubborn about doing things ‘his way’…
Any advice?



Thank you for your service!!!

There may be constraints on time, maybe the chapel is used by other groups on Sunday, maybe Father has to celebrate Mass elsewhere. Perhaps his Bishop has given him a dispensation for this.



Thank you for your response. I just wanted to clarify that there is another group that comes in on Sundays, but Mass starts at 9 and the Protestants don’t get there until 11 or 12. I think it’s safe to say that that’s enough time to read the Epistle and the Psalm…
There are no other constraints on time that I know of. Honestly, though, I wasn’t asking about why my chaplain is doing this, I’m more interested in making sure it’s valid.



Hi, from a USAF guy (just joined, so take my advice with a grain of salt).

If he is truly skipping just to skip, he’s not really allowed to, but he might have other demands on his time, or there may be factors we don’t know about. Remember, that we assume that everyone is doing their job well in the US military until presented with evidence otherwise.

So, assume he has legitimate reasons, and attend mass, would be my advice.



This… Like stated, non-Catholics may be there at 11. I’m pretty sure palm Sunday is over 90 min long.

It’s quite possible, if non-Catholics have service at 11, that the church may need to be cleared 30-15 min prior.

My guess is he has a dispensation due to time constraints of the facility.

U.S. Army, '97-'05

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Completely agree with this. It isn’t licit (valid isn’t the word to use here) to skip readings, but until you’ve asked him, you’re obligated to a charitable assumption.



It is a legitimate option to have only the reading of the Gospel for this day.

In the Australian Lectionary (1981, Volume 1, page 338) it has this rubric for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, before the first reading:

“It is strongly recommended that, unless there is some overriding pastoral reason to the contrary, all three readings given for the Sunday be used.

In view of the importance of the reading of the story of the Passion of the Lord, the priest may, taking into account the particular character of his congregation, read only one of the readings which precede the Gospel. Or he may, if necessary, read only the story of the Passion, even in its shorter form. But this may be done only at Masses celebrated with a congregation.”

In the Latin edition of the Lectionary this rubric is after the listing of the readings, on page 26, of Ordo Lectionum Missæ Editio Typica Altera , 1981.

[Excerpt from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass, © 1969, 1981 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.]

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Thank you @JohnLilburne for answering! That’s what I was looking for.



Here’s what the USCCB website says:

May any of the readings at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion be omitted?
The Lectionary for Mass does not indicate that any readings may be omitted at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. All three readings (Isaiah, Hebrews, and the Passion according to John) are required.”

It should be noted, however, for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, the Lectionary indicates that while all three readings provided should be used, there may be circumstances in which one or more of the readings at Mass could be omitted: “Given, however, the importance of the account of the Lord’s Passion, the priest, having in mind the character of each individual congregation, is authorized to choose only one of the two readings prescribed before the Gospel, or if necessary, he may read only the account of the Passion, even in the shorter form. This permission applies, however, only to Masses celebrated with a congregation.” Thus, the account of the Passion is never omitted.

Similar to Australia’s, but worded slightly differently.

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