Are we going to use Palm branches this year for the Liturgy of the Palms, and if so, how do I get my Palm branches?
The use of palm branches in the Liturgy of the Palms is incredibly meaningful to so many Episcopalians who have marked this moment on the calendar annually with the processional, the singing of a grand hymn, and the proclaiming of “Hosanna!” Last year, separated by COVID-19, there were members of the congregation who felt vexed by not being able to do this.
This year, due to supply chain interruptions, we were not able to get Palm leaves delivered in time, but we do have palm crosses (palm leaves woven into crosses) available for your pick-up.
You will be able to stop by the church tomorrow, Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27 from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM to pick up crosses for your family. These crosses will be in a basket, on a table in front of the church.
For those who cannot pick-up the crosses, or who are still concerned about COVID-19 transmission issues, I have excerpted the rubrics of the Prayer Book below:
The branches of palm or of other trees or shrubs to be carried in the procession may be distributed to the people before the service, or after the prayer of blessing. (Page 270)
The Book of Common Prayer, 1979, not only permits but anticipates the use of branches other than the branches of palm. So, for those who are not here to pick-up Palm crosses, you are encouraged to find branches in your own gardens to use for this year’s Liturgy of the Palms. For those who avail themselves of this option, one which I heartily encourage, you will know that the blessing of your local branches is effective, they will be just as holy as a palm branch, that you will be honoring the environment by using only local flora, and that this would be how churches remembered this story for centuries before palm branches were easily and cheaply available through international trade.
In this time of social distancing and Pandemic disruptions, we are encouraged to substitute the possible and the good for the perfect.
Blessings on your Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday!
Holy Week Events at St Francis Episcopal Church