Give Me the Ritual; We Want It All

On Palm Sunday I witnessed a touching moment as I saw the ritual of palm through the eyes of an eight-year-old. The boy was crying very hard but quietly. He turned to his mom who wondered what the matter was. “The water didn’t touch me or my palm,” he said sadly. What could be worse than a dead palm, a reed without blessing, a lifeless nothing to wave? The moment was a poignant reminder of the power of ritual. Throughout Holy Week, especially during the Triduum, I hope we were all focused on the rituals. As the musician and director, I was nervous about doing the “rites right.”  Yet even though a server or cantor or musician might be imperfect, the rich symbols of candle, water, chrism, kiss on the cross, raised chalice, and more would carry the weight of meaning and grace. Those symbols lifted some of the weight from my shoulders—just as receiving a blessed palm after Mass relieved the anxiety of the eight-year-old.

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  1. Catherine L Schneider on April 6, 2024 at 7:46 am

    Love that story!

  2. Sister Berneta on April 8, 2024 at 12:30 pm