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. This is a beautiful and somber way to enter into Adventide, this season of penance, preparation, and joyful anticipation leading up to Christmas. There will be no Great Litany at the 8:00 AM Mass.
History of these Prayers: During the procession we will be chanting together The Great Litany which is the oldest piece of English liturgy in existence, first published in 1544. However, the roots of this litany go back even further to Pope Pelagius and Gregory the Great in the sixth century who assigned similar litanies to be used at the beginning of Mass on certain days.
Why a Procession? 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. Processions are ancient, going back at least as far as 1,000 BC to King David who processed with the Ark of the Covenant. Also, our Lord processed into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey while the people sang his praises. These are two examples among many of the symbolic reasons for processions.
What Will the Procession Be Like? This first Sunday of Advent procession is always well attended so be sure to arrive early to save your seat. The procession will begin at the building with the altar party leading the way. You can leave any personal belongings that you have in your chair. We will then process outside and around the property and then back into the building. While we walk, I will be chanting the prayers and you will enter into the litany with a simple sung response which is repeated after each short prayer. The procession normally takes ten to fifteen minutes after which we will arrive back inside the building and the Mass will proceed as normal.