At the 10:15 liturgy, we will begin outside by chanting the Great Litany (a prayer of repentance) while walking around the perimeter of the property prior to entering the church to begin Mass. The first Sunday of Lent has always been well attended at St. James, so be sure to arrive early if you would like a good seat. You can leave your personal items at your seat during the procession since you will be returning to your seat immediately after the procession. There will be no Great Litany at the 8:00 AM Mass.
The Great Litany is a beautiful and somber way to begin Lent, this season of penance, preparation, and anticipation leading up to Easter. “The Great Litany” is the oldest piece of English liturgy in existence, first published in 1544, though with even older roots. There is evidence of litanies going back Pope Pelagius and Gregory the Great in the sixth century who assigned them to be used at the beginning of Mass on certain days.
Processions are ancient, going back to King David who processed with the Ark of the Covenant as well as to Our Lord’s procession into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. Theologically they remind us that we are a pilgrim people, moving prayerfully through life with the goal of arriving in the presence of our Lord, symbolized by entrance into the church.