Sunday … Palms … Passion

Did you have a sung Passion?

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  1. Magpie says:

    No Father, just the priest and two lay people reading the Gospel.

  2. Genna says:

    We had a deacon reading the Gospel and a priest speaking the words of Christ. A woman did all the other parts. Very odd.

  3. KAS says:

    Beautiful church in that photo!

  4. KAS says:

    Is this Church in New York?

    It reminds me of one of my absolute most embarrassing moments!

    A dear friend had taken me to this gorgeous church (which this picture reminds me of) to enjoy a truly devout and proper worshipful Mass–and I thought I had turned my cell phone off–and it went off during the homily. I was horrified! Cell phones on during Mass is just so crass and uncouth and here I was guilty of it–by accident of course but I feel embarrassed all over again just thinking about it.

    And it was such a blessing to be at such a beautifully done Mass with a proper choir and everything–and I was the one to mar the perfection. sigh.

  5. PAT says:

    For Palm Sunday, we had an Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata (Schola), with the blessing and distribution of palms, a Procession, and a sung Passion. We will also have EF Good Friday Stations of the Cross and Liturgy (Missa Contata), and EF Easter Sunday Mass (Missa Contata). May God bless and keep our priests.

  6. Andrew says:

    No sung passion. A woman reding the part of St. Peter. A deacon reading the narrative and the Priest reading the words of Christ. And the congregation doing the “chorus”.

  7. revs96 says:

    Sung Passion? I wish!…and my parish is traditional. We just had Father, Deacon, and a lay reader with the congregation as the crowd. At least it was reverent & there were no abuses, but could have been better.

  8. Brian Day says:

    My parish does not have a sung Passion. The Gospel Passion is spoken in three parts: the priest speaking the parts of our Lord Jesus, and two lay readers speaking the parts of the narrator and crowd/commentator.

    I attended a Palm Sunday Mass once at a SSPX chapel. The Passion was sung – very beautiful.

  9. Huxtaby says:

    We had the Passion chanted here in the UK (Shrewsbury Diocese). I’m a layman but I wore choir dress, standing just outside the sanctuary facing liturgical north to sing the Chronista, the celebrant sang Christus and a tenor in the choir sang Synagoga. The multiple voice parts were sung by the choir to a 4 part setting by Victoria. This will be repeated on Friday (St John).

    I was just saddened by the lack of congregation there were about 40 (55 inc servers and choir). We have advertised and advertsied but still few came. I know it’s a long ceremony but nevertheless very moving – I wish people in general in the Church would have a change of heart and try to attend the EF. We must continue to pray.

  10. William says:

    No sung Passion here (are you kidding?)! The words of Jesus were, however, spoken by the priest; and because the Deacon neglected to tell everybody to sit down, we all remained standing. And nobody died, can you imagine that! I congratulated the Deacon on the way out and he sheepishly admitted that he forgot to tell the folks to sit out the reading of the Passion. Actions, like words, are potent symbols–it is high time Catholics in the pew take a stand.

  11. becket1 says:

    Went to an Extra-Ordinary Form Mass today. No sung passion, but very reverent and done by the priest alone. We had three altar boys, and one priest with a second priest aiding in distributing communion. I actually got to kneel today, when receiving communion!.

  12. TNCath says:

    No, we had the standard three readers with the celebrant at Jesus–this year.

    A particularly interesting part of the reading is when the little old ladies in the choir get a little emotional and start shouting in their best Southern drawls: “CRUCIFYYYY HIIIM! CRUCIFYYYY HIIIIM!”

    I particularly dread Good Friday, when the same lector, year after year after year, despite repeated corrections, refers to the high priest Annas as “Anus” and no one but me notices.

  13. TNCath says:

    CORRECTION to earlier posting: “celebrant AS Jesus–this year”

  14. J Kusske says:

    I did the chronista part for the English mass at my church in Nanjing, China. I made sure to wear a scarlet shirt to match the vestments–I was never an acolyte, I am not used to donning robes, and it never occurred to me to do it. Our celebrant took Jesus’ lines of course, and another layman (a laywoman actually) took the other parts (synagoga). The best we could do in a non-English speaking land for an English mass… I also made sure to get some good hymns for Palm Sunday, All Glory Laud and Honor, Were You There, and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

  15. vincentuher says:

    Thank you, Father, for the beautiful photo of the Church of Our Saviour in NYC. Hearing the Passion read poorly is one of those things one offers up to God and then one tries very hard to forget the whole debacle. It is a great mystery to me why Episcopalian and some Lutheran parishes can chant the Passion so beautifully but here in the USofA some Catholic churches present a reading of the Passion with muzak in the background.

  16. pewpew says:

    We didn’t even have the right reading…

  17. jlskey says:

    At the Sung-Mass today the newly designated Assistant-Priest sung the whole Passion himself.

  18. mwa says:

    No chanting–just the celebrant taking the Lord’s part, and two women for the “narrator” and “speaker.” The congregation read the crowd. It also appears they don’t practice ahead of time: many mis-speakings which often changed the meaning of the text.

  19. Crbtre says:

    No and we actually sat during the gospel. Maybe someone knows, but why are red vestments worn? I was reading in my 1962 Roman Missal that purple vestments were worn in the Extraordinary Form.

  20. Gregory DiPippo says:

    No sung PASSION… going Byzantine this year! The Gospel was sung.

  21. Phil says:


    I know that for the EF, red is used for blessing/distribution of palms and the procession because of its triumphal significance–commemorating Jesus’ victorious entrance into Jerusalem. Then, since the Passion is read for Mass, the vestments are those of penitence: purple (Mass is still in Lent, after all). This is why in the EF the vestments are Black for Good Friday, not red like the OF.

    Why red is currently used, no idea. I imagine that the significance is supposed to change from the triumphant entrance to that of bloodshed (for the Passion).

  22. Phil says:

    Oh, and our parish did not sing the Passion. Just Priest/Deacon/laywoman/congregation.

  23. Mark M says:

    Yes, we had the works, Procession, Sung Passion, the works – mind you, this was the FSSP Apostolate in Edinburgh. :)

  24. thesheepcat says:

    The Toronto Oratorians’ second parish had an Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata at 11:30. The Passion was sung by three priests and the schola. At 9:30 (the family Mass, English N.O.), a spoken Passion, with some members of the congregation joining in.

  25. JohnMa says:

    Yes, we had a Solemn High Mass at St. John Beloved in McLean VA. The Priest, Deacon, and Sub-Deacon took the three parts.

  26. JohnW says:

    A beautiful High Mass this morning,but the Passion was read by Monsignor at the Altar in Latin.A deacon read the passion in English at the same time from the pulpit .WE are Blessed to have such a beautiful Mass every Sunday in Houston.

  27. Bryan says:


    Father announced after the opening collect that the Church gives priest permission to also drop the first and second readings on Passion Sunday. Funny, don’t recall anything of the sort. But, I’m only a parishoner, right? Obviously not ‘in tune’ with the times.

    So, no first reading or St. Paul to the Philippians at Mass today. At least we discussed it at RCIA.

    Nor did we pray the Creed, either. Direct into the intercessions after his homily. This parish does that a lot on Sundays. Never hear the 1st EP…probably get the 2nd 90% of the time, and the rest is divided between one of the Children’s EPs or one of the reconciliation EPs.

    I need to go to the dentist to get my teeth fixed from grinding them down to a stump.

    Stoups have been empty since last weekend, too. So we ‘hunger for the saving waters of the Easter Sacraments’ as the sign says. With all that’s going on in the world and the evil afoot…let’s deprive people of a sacramental, right?

    And I can guarantee that the readings opening the Vigil will be ‘paraphrased’ rather than read. As in, they are read in ‘dialogue’ form between a cadre of readers rather than being read as published. “Moses?” “Yes, God.” “I want you to lead my people…”

    Can’t keep the folks in the pew too long, you know.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. This is the result of the famous “or other words” options in the missal.

  28. sejoga says:

    My parish does a sung passion on Good Friday. The particular sung passion that is used is a bit theatrical and new-church-y for me, but it is done pretty reverently and it does elevate things above a straight reading.

  29. basenji says:

    An OF liturgy with my beloved Archbishop present and celebrating Mass. The Narration was read by the parish pastor, Our Lord was voiced by our Deacon and the “crowd” was a young female.

    The most delightful part, for me, is always singing…Christus Vincit…Christus Regnat…Christus Imperat…during the procession.

  30. Vincentius says:

    Blessing of the palms and beatiful Mass in the Rite of Braga. Passion read by celebrant in Latin w/ simultaneous reading in English. We do have a sung Passion at the EF on Good Friday

  31. asperges says:

    Yes, East Leake, Leics UK: Our Lady of the Angels. Blessing of Palms, Procession (Gloria Laus etc), Sung (EF) Mass with full sung Latin Passion of St Matthew – Chronista, Christus, Synagoga.

  32. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    In our parish the Passion was not sung. The translation in the missalette was awful, in my opinion, very watered down, sterile, and bland. There was, though, quiet, reverence, and eagerness in the congregation as Holy Week began, which did my heart good.

    Some years ago, the parish of my youth used to have a “choral reading” of the Passion, which I thought was very effective; several readers took part, with the Celebrant taking the Christus part. I’d prefer that to the usual humdrum congregational droning that dominates every year.

  33. irishgirl says:

    No sung Passion at the chapel I go to. Just the Gospel reading of it by the priest from the altar. Then after reading the Epistle in English [already did it in Latin] he did the Gospel from St. Matthew about the entry into Jerusalem.

    Had a ‘tiny’ choir’-the organist, me, an adolescent girl, and two younger girls. We did ‘All Glory, Laud and Honor’ [different tune that I remembered from past singings in the OF] and three other songs in both Latin and English. It was all done a’capella. I think we did pretty good, considering the small size.

    Sung Passion? I wish!

  34. Heather says:


    That is the Church of Our Saviour in NYC.

  35. Stephen Anthony Gregory says:

    If by “Sung Passion” we mean a verse of “Were You There” in a few spots throughout the Passion, then yes. It was exactly as you might expect.

  36. Mary Bruno says:

    As a few others have said we had the Priest as Jesus, a woman as Peter and the Deacon as the narrator and the congregation as the crowd.

    After the blessing of the palms at the beginning of Mass the Priest talked for about 10 minutes about the reading/gospel. I was sitting there thinking ???? homily so soon ??? Then he finished and said since the Gospel was so long and self explanatory there would be no homily today.

    Then we heard the readings/gospel and rest of the Mass.

    I wondered why he talked so much after blessing the palms about everything including the gospel and then said there would be no homily. Maybe he should’ve just waited and talked after the gospel.

    After the gospel, for which we stood, except for those who were unable to stand, we all sat down in silence for a few minutes before standing and continuing with the Mass.

  37. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    “Were You There” is a hymn I love to hear during Holy Week. I don’t think it belongs in the reading of the Passion, though, or worse, “Now We Remain.” (Sounds like “Now We Are Six” of Winnie the Pooh fame, and I like the bear).

  38. JCCMADD says:


  39. Rose in NE says:

    Yes! As Mark M said, we had “the works” at our FSSP parish. So beautiful! The weather even cooperated, so we were able to have the procession outdoors. My son was blessed to serve as an acolyte.

    I’m only sorry my husband had to be out of town today and missed it. He said the Mass he went to had a childrens “choir” that pretty much made his ears bleed, because the kid they put closest to the microphone was the kid who was tone-deaf. I’m sure he’ll be glad to be back in town for the Triduum!

  40. Teddy says:

    At Our Saviour in NYC we had a Latin Mass at 9AM with Father Rutler as celebrant; first was the blessing of palms, procession, gospel and then the usual Mass in which he changed from Red Cope to Violet vestments; He sang the entire Passion I believe which was done with great reverence;

  41. trespinos says:

    I’ve never experienced a sung Passion. ‘Twould be good.

    That magnificent Christ Our Saviour and Pantocrator icon is actually quite a recent addition to the church: 2004. If you watch Father Rutler on the series currently showing on EWTN, the taping is apparently earlier and it does not appear behind him. The series taped later do show it.

    As Father Rutler commented at the time, “We have been blessed with a splendid church structure and it behooves us to pass along to future generations the best we can offer to the glory of God. I want a strong figure of Our Saviour to preach in silence to all those who enter the church to pray between the liturgies.”

  42. Hooray, Father! You made it to Church of Our Saviour!! No doubt a beautiful, reverent Mass.

    Alas, the Passion was recited in our humble little parish. However it does my heart good to know that it is sung in many parishes throughout the Church. Safe travels!

  43. ckdexterhaven says:

    Here in Raleigh, we had a sung passion. Just beautiful. Very solemn, and meaningful. Then, then, then.. the Father X sat down and said “after this solemn reading, the bishop has asked us to either give a short homily, or no homily because the reading is enough to think about.” So far so good, after 15 seconds of silence, Father X went on to make sure we knew the entire schedule of Masses this week. He couldn’t have said that after Mass was over? Two teenage girl servers…. It could have been so right. (sigh)

  44. momoften says:

    At the monastery Mass it was a read Gospel (Ordinary Form Mass) by a priest and 2 laymen..and various congregation members..At the other Mass it was sung (whew, and a long one too!)We did a procession in the beginning after distribution of the Palms…thought it was interesting to kiss the palm after receiving it. Then after Mass, Father had adoration for a bit..exhausted……

  45. Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Blessing of Palms, procession, Sung Gospel…I’m not complaining here (I sang the whole thing myself…recto-tonal because I just couldn’t’ do it in the “Ancient tone” today with everything else)…but I’m tired…but very happy to do this for our Lord and His People.

  46. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    The whole liturgy was sung today. No instruments at all. In the Byzantine Rite though.

  47. dinsdale says:

    At St. Boniface in Pittsburgh at the EF Mass, the Passion was sung in Latin. We are quite blessed.

  48. tired student says:

    Quebecois diocesan TLM. We only have one priest, so he skipped the Latin and read the passion from the pulpit in French. I don’t know what we’re going to do for Good Friday. There are local parish priests who are EF sympathizers but busy with their own parish work. Is there such a thing as a “low Presanctified liturgy”? Guess I’m about to find out.

  49. Traductora says:

    I had what Genna did, a deacon reading the Gospel (a deacon with lousy diction, may I add), the priest reading the part of Jesus, and an elderly woman doing everything else. I thought it was pretty strange, too, because otherwise the Mass wasn’t that bad and even our notoriously liturgically hostile bishop comported himself correctly.

    He was quite dignified and did a good job in the procession, although in his homily, he did feel called upon to quote some lines from Hopkins…after announcing that he had had to “edit” them because they were in “proper English” and we might not understand them! Poor man. Otherwise, the content of his homily was fine and he encouraged people to go to Confession next week, since our Cathedral will actually be offering individual confession on several occasions. But the poor bishop (who I am sure is recognizable to all here) has an obssession with the stupidity of the lay people, since we are apparently not capable of understanding anything ranging from poetry to the new translation unless it is put in words of two syllables or less.

    However, they didn’t sing “Were You There,” which is all I ask…

  50. kat says:

    Yep. In Latin; Father sang the narrator and Christ. Our men’s schola sang the third part (everyone that is not Christ or narrator). My husband says that is called the Sanhedrin?

    Anyway, always beautiful.

  51. nemo says:

    Yes. 3 FSSP priests (subdeacon, deacon, celebrant) sang the Passion. Procession started outside. It was sublime, possibly even ineffable. No sermon–Father had previously indicated that he could not, being a mere mortal man, give a sermon after the Passion. Procession and Mass lasted 2 hours 20 minutes.

  52. barbara s says:

    Here at the glorious mission of MATER ECCLESIAE in Berlin, NJ, we had a beautiful sung Mass with a sung Passion. Our very dear Pastor of Souls, Fr. Pasley, was the celebrant and of course sang the part of Our LORD.

    It’s funny but Traductora’s comment reminds me of the time about 20 years or so ago that the Passion was sung in my NO first parish of St. Philomena in Lansdowne, PA. The lay lector who had the part of the Narrator actually pronounced “Joseph of Arimathea” as “Joseph of Erythromycin.” It was (inwardly) hilarious!

    And of course a co-worker and I still roar over the time his parish priest referred to Zechariah 12’s “flaming brassiere!”

  53. Tom A. says:

    St Margaret’s in Waterbury, CT. Father sung the Passion beautifully during the 10:15 AM EF Mass. Waterbury is now blessed with two EF Masses on Sundays.

  54. AnnaTrad51 says:

    In our FSSP parish we had the whole works. The blessing of the palms whith the red cope, then a procession outside and the beautiful hymn at the door where Father at the end knocks twice on the door with the processional cross. There were few dry eyes to be seen at the beauty of this practice. Our two Priests with their purple stoles on and scola sang the Golspal with the ladies in the chior joining in only for the parts of the crowds. The whole Mass last about 2 1/2 hours but it seemed to be over to soon.

  55. mfranks says:

    Yes, here in Seattle at North American Martyrs, we had three (3) FSSP priests (subdeacon, deacon, celebrant) sing the Passion with the schola singing the part of the crowd. After distribution of the Palms, we started the procession from inside the church and went around the block and back into the chruch with the celebrant knocking loudly at the door before the doors were opened by the users. No readings in english or homily. None were necessary. And for this particular Mass, I thought it was appropriate.

  56. WBBritton says:

    Yes, and Father’s voice didn’t waver a bit.

  57. mfranks says:

    Typo alert: that would be ushers not users. One of these days we’ll have the ability to edit after posting… :-)

  58. Steve K. says:

    “Yes, we had the works, Procession, Sung Passion, the works – mind you, this was the FSSP Apostolate in Edinburgh. :)”

    As did we in Chesapeake, VA. We blessed now to have two priests in the chapel now, Fr. Nichols and Fr. Byrne, both FSSP. A layman chanted the narrative parts, Fr. Byrne chanted Christ’s role, Fr. Nichols the other roles.

  59. Jaidon says:

    I was at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Syracuse, NY at 4pm Mass today. The priest sang the Passion! It was incredible – not his singing ability, etc. – but the fact he chanted that huge Gospel, and we all stood. This was my first Extraordinary Form Mass for a Palm Sunday, and that part was incredible.

  60. Climacus says:

    Amazingly, I still have a voice left after chanting the entire Passion (in Latin) by myself. (The chant setting requires a single singer to have an extraordinarily wide vocal range. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off without acquiring the proverbial frog-in-throat syndrome.)

    Although there were only about eight people in the congregation (St Gregory Nazianzen Church in Sitka, ALASKA!), we still did our best to offer Divine Worship according to the mens ecclesiae.

  61. helgothjb says:

    Yeah right! We had Fr. and two lay people reading. Fr. read all the words of Christ but all three alternated between reading the narrator and the other parts. We were not told to read the crowd but many did. Fr. also asked us to sit for the Gospel.

  62. wanda says:

    No sung Passion. Father spoke the part of Christ along with 2 lay people. We did stand for the Gospel.

  63. Jack007 says:

    Our FSSP priests omitted the reading of the Passion for the early morning Mass as we are constrained by time. We catch hell if we run too close to the Spanish NO Mass. They read an epistle and gospel for the day. I’m not sure what that all means; I assume its allowed?
    The whole thing, including blessing and distribution of palms took just under an hour.

    There was quite a larger crowd than usual. I hate to speculate, but I assume many came early to avoid the long Palm Sunday liturgy.

    Jack in KC

  64. Titus says:

    Sung? Ha, like the last few years, the church I was in couldn’t even find a lay man to read the “voice”—it might have been a LCWS convention up in the sanctuary. The TLM was canceled “due to Palm Sunday.” Not something I thought I’d ever hear about a Mass.

  65. Ef-lover says:

    At St. Mary’s in Norwalk Ct., Solemn EF mass sung Passion

    At Immaculate Conception, Sleepy Hollow NY, sung EF mass , Passion was also chanted

  66. Mary G says:

    We had our Bishop as Celebrant and he took the part of Jesus for the Gospel. A lay man and a lay woman took the other parts and they were both very good readers. The Passion was not sung, although the Bishop sang the parts of the Mass.

  67. drwob says:

    At St. Margaret Mary in Oakland CA: Solemn High Mass (EF) with blessing and distribution of palms followed by a procession outside. Sung Passion, the works.

  68. Agnes of Prague says:

    At Mater Dei in Dallas our new additional FSSP priest (making two!) sang the Passion beautifully.

  69. Kent says:

    No sung Passion on Palm Sunday but we will have one on Good Friday evening followed by veneration of the Cross. We will also have Stations of the Cross and veneration at 2:30 in the afternoon on Good Friday. Our priest has asked that, if possible, we either close our businesses or take time off from work from noon to 3:00 PM on Good Friday.

  70. Ygnacia says:

    Yes, at Mission San Juan Bautista in California – Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Blessing of Palms, procession, Gospel sung by our Chaplain and the Schola :)

  71. kiwitrad says:

    I have never heard a sung Passion and I’ve lived on this earth many years both in the UK and NZ. On Sunday we had 2 women read the gospel and the priest was Jesus…even “Peter’ was a woman, so were All the other readers and All the Eucharistic ministers (10 of them). Last year ALL the people who had their feet washed were women!!! I expect it will be the same this year. I offer it all up…

  72. laurazim says:

    Today we had blessing of palms, Gospel and procession. Passion was read rather than sung. Monsignor read Reader I, lay gentleman read Reader II, Bishop read words of Christ. We knelt at the point of the death of Our Lord. Friday will be very long and very reverent and very beautiful. Passion will be sung by two tenors and Monsignor. I can scarcely wait…so many Masses between now and then though!

  73. Sean og says:

    No, and since the Gospel was sooo looong, we were invited to remain seated for the entire liturgy of the word. Eish.

  74. We had the parts read by the priest as Christ, and two readers as narrator the other as ‘the rest’. We sang the antiphon in Latin and most mass parts. Being in the schola I went to both Saturday eve and Sunday morning mass, and we were required to stand for the reading of the passion, unless you were aged or infirm… good excercise :D

  75. jravago says:

    At St. John Cantius in Chicago, Illinois we had a procession and a sung Passion during the Ordinary Form (Latin). The Passion was sung in Latin by three indviduals (two lay and one member of the Canons Regular)and a choir. We are eternally grateful to Fr. Phillips and the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.

  76. MaryRoseM says:

    Yes! It was awesome. We had a procession inside since it was raining outside, but I still liked it. It made me think of all the people who traveled to see Jesus Christ as He entered Jerusalem. We have a men’s schola that sung the Passion and they did a magnificent job. We stood the entire time. I was able to track the Gospel partially but lost my way a few times, still – it was beautiful. What struck me was the end of the service. Usually we have a hymn as the priest and the servers leave but yesterday there was no hymn. The priest and servers left the altar in silence and as they left, someone dimmed the lights until the sanctuary was darkened, only lit by candles. Because it was overcast, the interior was especially darker than usual. It was solemn and very powerful as we pondered how the world was about to enter into darkness as our Lord and Savior wrestled with temptation, torture, and death – all on our behalf. Very moving.

  77. lofstrr says:

    Read, not sung, but 3 women. So great to hear the words of Jesus in a high pitched voice.


  78. Janine says:

    I read this post.. and i thought.. the Passion can be sung?? it would be awesome to hear it. Fr. Z, is this something you can post as a podcast or on Radio Sabina?

  79. Luce says:


    Thanks for putting in the word for St Margaret Mary in Oakland. I was struggling with what to call each of the “singers.” Is father Forbes the subdeacon? And what about Roger, what is his official title in that scenario? I’m still learning so much about how the Church works:)We are so blessed.

  80. Laurinda1230 says:

    Yes! ! ! An it was so beautiful!! I love our priest who delights in chanting, facing the same way as the people, Latin prayers and holy water in the baptismal font during Lent. I’m enjoying our liturgically accurate Novus Ordo (small errors, but upon comparison to most these can be forgiven).

  81. California Girl 21 says:

    Yes–St. Margaret’s, Oceanside, CA.

    Beautifully chanted by our cantor, with Father chanting the part of Christ, and another cantor doing both “voice” and “crowd”. (OF Mass, chant in English.)

    Also chanted on Good Friday.

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