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Musical Musings: CNP Feedback

CNP Feedback - Blessing of Palms

Q. Dear CNP:

Can palms be blessed on an anticipated Sunday Mass held Saturday evening?

Palm Pilot

A. Dear Palm Pilot:

Thank you for browsing the CanticaNOVA Publications website and for your question about blessing palms at an anticipated Mass on Saturday evening.

The answer is yes, any rite allowable at a Sunday Mass is allowable at the anticipated Mass as well. The only exceptions might be Sundays that have their own special Vigil Mass (like Easter, Pentecost, Christmas). The sequences that are part of the SUNDAY Mass are NOT used at the vigil Mass in these cases.

There are three ways to begin a Palm Sunday Mass [see Palm Sunday Kyrie?].

  1. Procession
  2. Solemn Entrance
  3. Simple Entrance

At the principal Mass, the Procession may be held. This begins outside the church and includes the blessing of palm branches.

If a Procession cannot be held, the Solemn Entrance may occur at the principal Mass, or presumably at other Masses as well. This also includes the blessing of palms.

If the Solemn Entrance does not occur at a Mass, the Simple Entrance (which is just like the beginning of any regular Mass) takes place. The Sacramentary makes no mention of blessing palms when the Simple Entrance is used.

Hence, it would appear that palms are blessed dependent on the type of opening used at a Mass, not necessarily on the time of day.

To me, the ideal situation would be to schedule the Procession at the main Mass on Sunday morning, with the congregation gathering in another area (school, social hall, parking lot, lawn) and eventually processing into the church. The Solemn Entrance should be scheduled at other Masses. Palms would be blessed at each Mass, then, and everyone would get a sense of the "Palm Sunday festivities."

Gary Penkala
CanticaNOVA Publications

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