Why does the priest process down aisle in NO?

Why does the priest process down the aisle from the back of the church during the NO, rather than come out of the sacristy as in the TLM?

While I don’t know how it started, it isn’t a universal practice even at NO Masses. For example, our priest processes with the altar servers from the side on weekdays but from the back, along with the reader and EMHCs on Sundays. When I lived on South America, the priest always came in from the side (vestry).

I have been in many “modern” Church’s where the vestry is in the back off the entrance hall. To enter from the side would be awkward in those buildings since the priest would have to first come down the side aisle.

I have been to MANY TLM’s prior to VII where the priest processed up the main isle of the chuch. I dont get your guestion maybe?

The entrance procession was restored to the Mass from the days of the Early Church. Originally the bishop and all his clergy would process from the bishop’s home to the church and then down the center aisle. Later the procession was shortened to just coming down the aisle. During the Tridentine era the “procession” was reduced to coming in from the sacristy. There has always been a “procession” but the length of it has varied with time. It is only in the Byzantine East that there is no “entrance procession” – the Liturgy starts with all the clergy in the holy place (for Latins this is called the “sanctuary”).

Deacon Ed

Odd, I have seen a procession down the main aisle in some TLMs as well. At the Tridentine Mass I serve at the procession is from the sacristy, up a side aisle to the back and then down the nave to the sanctuary- except at Low Mass where the procession is just from the sacristy to the foot of the sanctuary. This can also be seen in several videos of the TLM that are floating around, including the 1941 High Mass in Chicago, and the recent videos of the High Mass celebrated by the ICRSS in the Cathedral of St. Louis.

Personally, I like long processions.

This is just how it is done at the TLM I attend. Later it’s back the way they came as we sing every verse of the concluding hymn. :slight_smile: :shamrock2:

I, too, have seen a TLM where there is an entrance procession down the center aisle.

Check out this video from an SSPX seminary in France.



If you got a good organist any grand processional works for any liturgy.:thumbsup:

That’s a good one, so is this one. Has an Asperges Me too.


I think it all depends on preferance.

Long, slow processions are good :thumbsup:

Thank you Caesar and Deacon Ed. Those were great explanations. Personally, I like a longer procession. Although, I would prefer the procession to start from the sacristy, then go around the side, then to the back and then up to the sanctuary. I don’t like the priest and servers just standing in the vestibule in the back before the Mass and then processing up the center aisle when the Mass starts. I think it’s more reverant to see the priest and servers come out of the sacristy. If somebody enters the church through a side door they don’t see the priest until the procession starts if he’s in the vestibule before the Mass.

Yeah, the entrance procession is relatively traditional.

It is the recessional song and** exit** procession which irks me a little. It’s so anti-climactic. At the end of the mass…the mass is over. And yet…this sort of parade at the end. This hymn now common at the end is extra-liturgical, and yet people feel compelled to stay for the whole thing because of the parade-like atmosphere of it all. In an old High Mass, music may indeed play at the end, or even be sung, but the priest walked into the sacristy and the mass was clearly over.

I am fine with an entrance procession, done without song, though perhaps with the organ playing or something (the introit does not come until later in the tridentine mass, there is no “entrance antiphon”).

But if done improperly…these constant processions at beginning AND end just contributes to the new atmosphere of mass as a show, a preformance, a lecture, a story-telling session, or a concert designed to somewhat entertain the people and keep their attention…and takes away from what should be official public (and thus more impersonal) ritual cultus to God.

I see the opposite–at the Sunday TLM they process from the back up the center aisle, but at daily NOMs, they just come out from the sacristy :shrug:

At daily NO Mass at my parish, the priest just comes out of the sacristy because he says Mass by himself without any servers.

To allow time for the processional hymn to be sung. :slight_smile:

Actually, I’m not sure, but this is the first thing that popped into my head!

I don’t think that it’s specifically “Novus Ordo” for teh priest to process down the aisle. I am the senior server for my parish, a normal Catholic parish without NO. We have always processed in and out. I think it’s just to allow the full hymn to be sung, and the whole atmosphere to seem active and full. Just my ideas :slight_smile:

For High Mass the priest and servers process at our TLM.

For daily Low Mass they just come out of the sacristy.

In the Tridentine era, there was still a procession down the aisle for Solemn High Masses. The cross bearer and acolytes would lead and then the rest of the servers would process in. At the very end of the procession would come the celebrant in the center with the deacon and subdeacon on either side of him.

For the same reason the priest processes down the aisle from the back of the church in the TLM.

This entrance and also recessional procession not only is at High Mass but low Mass as well at my TLM chapel.

There is no difference NO or TLM. Even in the NO sometimes there is no procession from the back of the church.


Very nice. I like the KofC.:slight_smile:

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