Sunday, March 25, 2018

Palm Sunday - the Sunday of the Passion

Traditionally, St. Catherine's marks Palm Sunday with a procession around the church holding palm crosses or fronds.  Later, members of the congregation participate in presenting the Gospel that describes the Passion of our Lord.

The Rev. Cannon Herbert O'Driscoll has this to say about the Palm Sunday procession:*

"Liturgical processions are not just occasional attempts to vary the sequence of our liturgy.  A procession is full of symbolism in action.  It may not be a very grand procession.  There may be a small choir, a few children, a server in the latest runners under an ill-fitting alb or cassock, all followed by a very ordinary and familiar priest.  Grandeur and appearance is not the point.  Meaning lies in the actual doing of the procession.  The very important fact being acted out is that Christian life is a JOURNEY.  We are travellers, 'companions on the journey,' as a modern hymn sings.  The way in which we are doing our travelling may change.  At times we may travel as wanderers, rather lost and vulnerable.  We may travel as pilgrims, sure of our destination.  We may travel as nomads, barely surviving as we go.  Sometimes we may be confident enough to travel as adventurers, even explorers.  All these models are true of our Christian travelling.  All are implicit in that ordinary shambling procession on its way up the aisle, across the front pew, back around the font, and finally into the chancel and home."

* Thanks to Rev. Fred Tassinari for this quote from Praying to the Lord of Life (pp. 82-23) by Rev. Canon Herbert O'Driscoll.  Thanks to Ann Blue for the photograph of the procession.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Mothering Sunday, May 11

The fourth Sunday in Lent is Mothering Sunday, a day when the Church emphasizes the Family o  It is a time for mothers, in particular.  The traditions at St. Catherine’s are to give a carnation to each mother or adult woman in the congregation at the end of the service and to serve Simnel Cake during the coffee hour.
f God and the Human Family.
The tradition of Mothering Sunday is many centuries old.  It dates back to the time when domestic servants in England were permitted to go home to worship at their home churches and visit their mothers.  According to G.D. Rosenthal, Bishop Wheatley, who wrote a commentary on the Book of Common Prayer in 1720, thought that the idea of Mothering Sunday originated from the Epistle for Mid-Lent Sunday, which refers to Jerusalem as the “Mother of us all.”
When returning home the servants brought gifts for their families.  Often the gift was a cake, from which arose the tradition of the Simnel Cake.  According to Rosenthal, “In shape the Simnel cake resembled a pork pie, but in materials it was a rich plum pudding inside a stiff and hard pastry crust. Simnels were made up very stiff, tied up in a cloth and boiled for several hours, after which they were brushed over with egg and then baked. When ready for the table, the crust was as hard as if made of wood.”  The crusts of today’s Simnel Cakes are made of marzipan and may be decorated with 11 or 12 marzipan balls.  The 11 marzipan balls represent the 12 apostles minus Judas, who betrayed Christ. If 12 balls are used, the 12th one represents Jesus.

Further reading:
For a detailed history of Mothering Sunday see