Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Snowy Week

Monday of Holy Week has dawned.

When I walked out the door of my home here in Chicago this morning, this was the scene that greeted me:


I felt like singing "The Snow Lay on the Ground" instead of "Were You There?"

Before the reading of the Passion on Palm Sunday this past weekend, the celebrant of the Mass accounced, "The reading of the Passion is lengthy. For those of you who find standing for a long period of time a challenge, please free to be seated."

I was not at my home parish, but at a Saturday evening Mass in a nearby parish (my parish does not have a Saturday anticipated Mass). There was a large number (50%) of elderly people at Mass. One person sat down about half way through the reading of the Passion.

How did things go in your parish with regard to the posture of the assembly during the proclamation of the Passion?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

10 comments:

Janice Grochowsky, CSJ said...

At our parish the congregation is invited to be seated for the Passion. The Passion is proclaimed by four readers--each reader proclaiming a section. The priest has the final section, and before he begins he invites the congregation to stand. This seems to be a "happy medium:" it addresses the desire to be hospitable to those who cannot stand for long periods of time and it invites a posture of standing for to give reverence to the Gospel.

Maureen Grisanti Larison said...

Our parish did exactly the same thing: four readers, presider last, and the assembly seated until the final section. It worked well for us, since the Mass we usually attend is comprised mostly of older adults and only a few young families.

I thought of what you had written recently, Jerry, and did feel a twinge of guilt at sitting down from the very beginning. I also timed it, out of curiosity, and the entire proclamation took just about 18 minutes.

FJH 3rd said...

Three readers (priest, deacon, lector) plus the "crowd" (congregation) all reading the specified parts. There was no invitation to sit and, while I was near the front and don't know what transpired behind me, I didn't see anyone take it upon themselves to sit. I didn't time it, but I would guess the Passion took about 15 minutes. It was quite a lovely Palm Sunday Mass, with the full procession at the start.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed that we used the short version of the Passion, which is shorter than the previous three Sundays' gospels, and even so, we were asked to sit until the last part (following the kneeling at the death of Jesus). I thought surely we'd be able to stand for the short version!

Anonymous said...

Jerry,
I actually thought about you and your previous comment about posture while I was at mass yesterday evening.

At the mass that I attended, The Passion was read by multiple readers, with the crowd, and everyone seemed to remain standing the entire time. There was no mention of the option to sit down, but since it was a student mass at a university, there was probably not very much concern about people having difficulty standing.

By the way--I mentioned in a comment to last week's post that I remembered growing up with instructions to sit during this reading. I was told that this year at the parish where I grew up attending mass, the priest told people that the reading was going to be long and that they could sit if they felt that they needed to, but that it appeared that nobody ended up sitting down during the reading.

John Black said...

Our pastor invited all to be seated. Our Associate Pastor did not. A few, at some point, needed to sit. Standing (at those two Masses) did not seem to be an issue for the majority.

I do like the idea of standing for the last section. I'll suggest it to the pastor.

Pam said...

The priest we had for Mass forgot to tell everyone to be seated for the readings. When they were over, he apologized for that. He said he likes people to think about the readings and not how much their back for feet might be bothering them!

Linda Reid said...

Nothing was said about sitting. The pastor seemed to think that folks would have enough sense to sit down if they needed to sit. No one did that I could see.

Anonymous said...

The Episcopal tradition is to sit for the most of the Passion but to stand at the verse mentioning Golgotha. This intentionally honors the most profound part of the reading, and eases strain if the Passion is being chanted with turba choruses such as those by Victoria or Byrd.

Chironomo said...

When I was completing the final version my Doc dissertation, one of my advisors took me to task for the use of the word "lengthy" to describe something that was simply "great in length" (I think I was referring to a passage in Luciano Berio's "Sinfonia"). The reason? "Lengthy" is generally a pejorative in English, with the connotation of "longer than required" or "beyond the scope required to say what needs to be said". in other words... "too long".

That being said, I'm not sure I would describe the Passion Reading as "lengthy". Perhaps "The Passion is the longest reading in the lectionary cycle", or something similar. Just my impression when I hear this.