Sunday, March 16, 2008
Palms are not an important part of Catholic worship so their treatment has changed over the years. I don't know if Protestants use palms but Catholics pass them out on Palm Sunday. They used to bless them before the first Mass on Palm Sunday and after that you picked them up at the door to the church and held them while the Gospel was read. Some years ago it was changed and they were blessed before each Mass and the ushers passed them out. Today they were blessed before each Mass and Father said to pick them up on your way out. That probably is a better idea. When my six children were little they all had to have palms and since the Gospel for that Sunday is very long they would end up hitting each other with them or getting careless and end up tickling the back of the necks of the people in the pew in front of them. Catholics would then take the palms home and tuck them behind the crucifix on the wall at home. Some people braided them and sometimes made little crosses out of them. We didn't know how to do that. On Palm Sunday you would take down the old palms to replace them with the new, but you had to burn the old ones because they had been blessed. At my Mom's church they collected the old palms and used them for ashes on Ash Wednesday. I don't know if the church purchases palms from a florist or whether there are farms that grow palms just for churches. But today I didn't bother to pick up any palms after Mass but I did notice that the older lady who sits behind us in church (and sings very loudly) was busy braiding her palms as we left church.