Shocked at use of JC Superstar at Palm Sunday Mass


I sing in the choir for 11 a.m. Mass at my parish. On Palm Sunday we chose for the “gathering” song All Glory Laud and Honor, which the choir before us also did. The procession with the palms was children with cut out construction paper palms, really cute. But they had been taught to enter singing the song from Jesus Christ Superstar which has the following lyrics, “Hosana, hey sana, sana, sana, ho. Sana hey sana hosana. Hey JC, JC, won’t you smile at me. Sana hey sana ho, superstar.” A woman from the parish school lead them and was singing as well. I believe she is the principal or whoever is in charge of the school. She asked everyone to join in. I did not, would not. (But kept a professional appearance.) I don’t think anyone in our small choir actually sang along either. Sadly, the lyrics were repeated over and over. (Including, “will you die for me”.)

I was really relieved we had an opportunity to sing the wonderful song we had chosen after that travesty. I can’t believe that was actually allowed!

I was a child of the 60s and saw the movie when it was first released, bought the album, memorized the songs. But at some point, I realized this musical is not truly honoring God. To bring this Broadway song into the Mass, using children to do so, really irks me. And obviously, sometimes adult leaders are misguided with what they teach children.


:eek: My sympathies. Thought the sixties were over. Guess not! :banghead:


Yes, there are so many more wonderful songs to choose than junk from a play that is mocking. I would complain to who was leading this and let your feelings be known. I am sure from what you described others felt that way too. Maybe sending a letter from you and other likeminded choir members likewise will make the point.


It’s sad that such “progressive” musicians are stuck forty years behind the times. If they want to be contemporary with what Rome is doing today, they’d be using Gregorian chant.


I love that song, and that musical. Still, using it at Mass???

Isn’t the Palm Sunday procession part of the Mass?

I have always used “The King of Glory” myself.


Sad isn’t it?



I remember in the 60’s and 70’s when they were trying to make Jesus relevant to the youth culture with JC Superstar and another one called Godspell. I thought someone told me that andrew lloyd weber was part of the song writing team for JC Superstar. I didn’t like any of the songs from that movie.
I can understand not wanting to participate in the singing and I am sadthe young children had to sing the song.
I wouldn’t have been happy hearing that for a Palm Sunday Mass either!


There can be two processions. After the procession of the palms, there is a Gospel reading and the blessing of the palms, then the actual Mass begins.

Years ago my parish tried doing the version where the entire congregation is outside the church for the blessing of the palms and the Gospel reading, then all processing into the church. It was really nice, but quite confusing for everyone.

Yes, we often would use the King of Glory as well. For some reason, though, almost everytime that was sung it was rushed. I know it is supposed to be fast, but when you can’t catch your breath you know the accomianment is too fast. (Sorry about spelling error.)


Lloyd-Webber is a Christian, and has done several musicals more on less dealing with Christian and Biblical themes, including Cats. That being said I agree, Jesus Christ Superstar is not the best source of music for a solemn service. I’d give the director the benefit of the doubt in her choice of music. While she could have done better, she could have done worse, too!:slight_smile:


Actually, I wouldn’t have had too much of a problem with it. Presumably they only had a few minutes to teach them and really, are the words that bad?
It would have reflected the confusion of the Entry into Jerusalem- would all of the crowd understood the significance of Jesus doing what He did? Certainly not the children. And surely the singing would only be a very minor part of the Mass.


The word hosana has a definite meaning related to Jesus. Hey sana is an informal salutation plus an Aramaic word that fits but a word that could also just be taken as gibberish. Ho is another informal salutation. Could be taken as hey there, ho there. Not really appropriate to begin our worship. What is more informal and inappropiate is singing a song that refers to the Lord using initials with an informal salutation. “Hey, J.C.” This is very disrespectful. To teach a child to say this is to teach them to unknowingly disrespect God.

We are not actually recreating the scene as in a play, just commemorating the day and beginning our WORSHIP with an added important ceremony that only occurs on this day. The song(s) used to begin Mass are very important. Singing together brings us together as one to begin worship of the Lord.


I go at about 85 beats per minute. Since I control the tempo, I can keep it even. Yes, you are right and I do find myself having to be mindful to keep it that slow.


I was a member of the chorus for a production of Superstar in Wellington NZ, and found it to be a memorable, moving show. The Hosanna song, in context, is also meaningful and memorable, as the crowd singing it are caught up in the moment and mostly don’t know what they are singing - they are in hero worship mode. The look on Jesus’ face when they sing ‘will you die for me’, is awe inspiring. He is going to die for every one of these rabble, who in one week will be yelling ‘crucify him’. Their reference to him as JC shows that most of them were just fans, not true followers. They’d jump on any bandwagon that was trundling past.

The 4 months I was involved with this show provided some incredible moments, including a couple of conversions. Mind you, the man who played Jesus remained an atheist, but his performance touched many, on and off stage.


Sounds like a good experience. But it is not what happened on Palm Sunday. Your experience was a play. Mine was Holy Mass.

I cried after seeing the movie for the first time. Well, actually broke down after holding it together. Yes, it is very touching to see the entire production done well. In fact, just taking one song and singing it in a concert does it an injustice. I was at a high school performance of Broadway songs last year. Herod’s song was sung. It doesn’t stand alone very well. It needs to be placed in the context that it belongs.

To hear a Broadway song in Palm Sunday Mass made me cringe. This is our time to honor God. I felt especially bad for the people in the pews. Sure, some would not care that much. Some would be mortified. I suppose the majority would feel nothing. But that is just it. Those of us in litigical ministries are meant to lead people in worship, not to make beginning Sunday Mass feel like something dead and devoid of real meaning. (i.e. “I can’t put my finger on it, but going to church just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.”)

Oh well, I guess the woman who arranged this entrance thought she was doing right and did the best she could knowing what she knows at this time. And we, the choir, did our best and so maybe it all evened out. Plus, we have an awesome priest.


That’s a goofy song to have at mass.


Gregorian chant? For children? Seriously? Any volunteers for choirmaster :wink:

Even we adults can give our choirmaster a run for his money from time to time and we sure did at Palm Sunday Mass.

Jesus Christ Superstar isn’t at all a bad musical, I loved it when I was a teen. I can understand wanting something simple for the children to sing. Is that so bad? :shrug:

I find it so sad when we criticize people trying to do their best with what they have.



I love JCS (for all its faulty theology, the occasional bad/corny line, the datedness of the 1973 movie and the awful Judas of the 2000 movie :D), but there’s a time and place for everything. Doing JCS at Mass - not good.


Songs from a secular play are not appropriate at Mass. I would be upset, too. I saw the JC Superstar play and liked it, but it’s not music for Mass. I also think they should have given the kids real palms - the palms aren’t expensive. No need for “cutesy” construction paper stuff.


I thought the title of this thread was theoretical in nature. I’m shocked that it’s real.

I second Sunbreak. Secular music should not be allowed…make that is not allowed…in the liturgy.

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