By Tony DeGol
With a desire for continued safety in a pandemic, Bishop Mark has announced guidelines for the blessing and distribution of palms this year on Palm Sunday.
During the liturgy, the priest is to greet the faithful, bless the palms, and read the Gospel. This may occur at the main entrance of the church or in front of the altar. The priest then proceeds to the chair for the collect, and the Mass continues as usual.
Palms are not to be distributed before the blessing, but rather at the conclusion of Mass, the Bishop directed.
“This may be done by having them placed near the exits or having persons (wearing masks and gloves) handing them to the faithful as they exit the church,” he stated. “This will preclude people leaving palm branches in the pews, which interrupts sanitizing procedures between Masses. It is the safest way to minimize handling of palms by multiple persons.”
Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry in Jerusalem, marks the beginning of the most solemn week of the liturgical year. It will be celebrated on March 28 this year.