The Gospel reading on Palm Sunday (multiple readers)

Hello all,

We had a note in our Palm Sunday handout today that I found refreshing…instruction from the Archdiocese on the reading of the Gospel:

A special note from the Archdiocese of Seattle:
There is great difficulty in reading the Passion with various roles given to several readers, since the Passion accounts were never written to be scripts for a passion play. If there is to be more than one reader, the text could be divided according to scenes, rather than to characters. Also the proclamation of the scriptures was never meant to be a read-along (i.e., dividing the Passion into roles share by the congregation). This practice has been encouraged by missalette publishers, not by the liturgical books. Congregations therefore ought to set aside their missalettes, give up their “crowd” lines, and listen to the Passion as proclaimed, not read.

Our priest and one lector read the Gospel today. Priest first (don’t remember where he stopped), then the lector (stopped when we kneeled after Christ drew his last breath), then the priest again. Mind you, our missalettes don’t have the parts laid out as the notice mentions - our parish opted out of the OCP missalettes that are ubiquitous in our area, but it was nice to see the instruction. I hope other parishes heeded the Archdiocese’ notice. :thumbsup:

I would contrast this with what Paschale Solemnitatis has to say on the matter:

  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.

PS is an authoritative document of the Holy See, written in 1988. To my knowledge, it has never been abrogated.

I am perplexed by the statement that this particular Archdiocese made because it does seem to conflict what PS notes. Furthermore, I do have a concern regarding the parts of the people. After all, the Passion of Our Lord is not exclusive to just the folks who were there. We, through our own sins, are the ones who continue to cry out “Crucify him”.

So I am guessing the Pope’s Palm Sunday Mass wasn’t up to the standards of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Three Deacons read the traditional roles of the Narrator, Christ and the People.

But then again, the Seattle Archdiocese owns or at least has some share at OCP. The progressives at OCP have probably decided that the Passion needs to be politically purified. They probably want the Obama to be added to the roles in the Passion.

Actually, the Papal Mass went a step further by chanting the Passion. In addition to the three deacons (one of them read the part of Christ), the choir from the Diocese of Rome chanted the parts of the people. I think that the musical notes for the people may have been noted in the booklets that are distributed to the people. If I can get my hands on one from evilBay I will look at it.

Incidentally, my parish uses OCP :mad: and the Passion was divided into parts. My pastor tried to use the same scheme in the OP, but, the faithful went ahead, on instinct, and read the parts that pertained to them. :smiley: As I see it, these parts truly pertain to us. It bears repeating that we play a huge part in Christ’s crucifixion. The folks clamoring for His death were stand-ins for us, for all of mankind. When we sin, we call out for his crucifixion. When we do not believe in him, we challenge him as the chief priests did. By saying these same words, we are not acting out a play. We are the ones who did this. Saying the words is a concrete expression of that fact. We are the same people who greeted him in triumph when he entered Jerusalem. We are the same people calling out for his blood.

I was falling in and out of consciousness at 3 a.m. So I didn’t really see it and comprehend it. Thanks for fleshing out the description of the papal mass, Benedictgal (my fellow Longhorn).

We did it pretty much the traditional way at my parish and our pastor is good and orthodox and faithful to the GIRM. I had the role of the Speaker --I had the ancillary roles like Peter, the soldier who says “He was truly the Son of God,” the maid who accuses Peter, etc. . The regularly scheduled Lector was the Narrator. Father was Christ. And the People had the traditional people roles.

And I think the Diocese of Brownsville in Texas is a lot more liturgically correct than the Seattle Archdiocese.

Then again, we have missalettes from J.S. Paluch and not OCP.

It’s kind of strange that the Seattle Archdiocese is ranting against the missalettes their publisher puts out.

The new Lectionary for Canada divides the Passions only into Narrator, Jesus and S rather than Narrator, Jesus, S1, S2 & S3 as it did the old one.

Since we are still officially using the old Lectionary (until Pentecost), that presented a problem since the congregation wouldn’t have the parts they were supposed to be reading (traditionally S2) because the Sunday Missal & the Living With Christ already use the new translation. We opted to also use the new translation and at the last minute, due to a reader’s illness, I was called upon to read S (we have no male readers at the anticipated Sunday Mass).

I have always detested the use of the congregation during the Passions: 1) because I like to listen to the readings and not follow in a booklet; 2) because the responses are usually mumbled and undecipherable to the human ear; 3) because a good number of those present also don’t use missals or booklets so cannot participate.

Much to my dismay, my parish inexplicably split the Gospel into four speaking parts, similar to what the OP provided from Seattle. The priest was joined by three laymen (one of which was a woman). They did somewhat of a “round robin”, reading sections of the text instead of the individual roles. The obvious problem that arose from this situation is that the priest did not exclusively read the parts of Christ! Sometimes it fell upon the priest to read, other times the men, and quite suspiciously it often fell upon the woman!!!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the congregation was asked to sing “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom”, or something similar, intermittently throughout this exercise.

Does anybody know the origins of this particular arrangement? Was my parish simply being innovative? (It wouldn’t be the first time).:mad:

What makes you think that OCP is from the Seattle Archdiocese?

My parish’s tradition (which I think is associated only with our present pastor) is to have the pastor and two readers to proclaim the Passion in chunks, not roles.

While I do not mind not speaking the words attributed to the “crowd”, I would prefer we read the Passion in the traditional manner described in Paschale Solemnitatis.

It would be interesting to look at the OCP Missal for Palm Sunday this year and contrast it with next year’s. If the progressives at OCP are involved, then it will be changed to match the Seattle Archdiocese’s instruction. My parish doesn’t use OCP, so I can’t check.

Oh, and it’s either “The Obama” or “Lord Obama,” although I think “Lord Obama” is the prefered honorific. At least that’s what’s preferred when he’s referred to as a faux-messiah on the other posting boards I belong to. :wink:

Please forgive me. I just totally made a fool of myself.

Seattle is in Washington. Not Oregon. OCP is part of Portland. DUH.

I now hold myself out for scorn and ridicule.

at our parish the priest was jesus, the lector was the narrator and the choir spoke in unison as the people.

Apparrently my pastor did not get “the special note from the Archdiocese of Seattle” because we read the Passion in four parts as it is in the missalette: Narrator, Christ, the Voice, the crowd.

Haha…no scorn or ridicule! I would be surprised though if the Portland Archdiocese criticized them. I pulled up the Board of Directors, and it includes the Archbishop of Portland, Bishop of Baker and Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

At our parish, the priest was Jesus, the deacon was the narrator, the lector was the voice, and the congregation was the crowd.

The Seattle Archdiocese may have been in error, but I don’t see why you would think that OCP would follow their lead or that the comments from our Archdiocese are “progressive.” Pulling back from the turning of the Gospel reading into a play during Mass is hardly “progressive.” It certainly has no link to Obama that I can see. :shrug:

If you go back to the quote from PS, you will note that dividing the reading up into three people is the Traditional way of proclaiming the Passion. Furthermore, the part of Christ is reserved for the priest when done in this manner. The deviation from the norm and from Tradition is what is troubling.

Instead of the priest, our church had a couple of lay people read the part of Christ during the Passion on Palm Sunday.

I know the part of Christ is supposed to be reserved for the priest per the Missal, but how big of an infraction is this? Is it worth bringing up to the priest or not?

Our Pastor had Christ’s part, and he had some Latin to read, didn’t he?

A little humor here: Our new Deacon had the Narrator’s part, and, he missed reading the line in the Gospel where Christ breathed his last breath and died. He then paged ahead and read something from perhaps another version of the Gospel which was further along. Our Pastor interrupted and said, “I think that we should all kneel.” When kneeling, the Deacon must have caught his error, for, on rising, he had found his place again in the Narration!

The other thing that happened, and, if they read (not "red’) this, I am sorry for telling on them: The men of the Parish were having there weekend retreat. They were sitting together at the 9 am Mass. When the crowd was to say “Prophecy!” (long “i” - verb), they said in unison using the (noun) pronounciation “Prophe-cee!”

We were allowed to sit through the beginning, but, once standing that was the posture until the end of this long Gospel.

I would suggest asking the priest about it, rather than telling the priest about it. Ask him why the parts of Christ were not reserved to the priest. Let him know that you read about that as the proper practice somewhere.

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