Monday, November 29, 2010

Today's Word: Procession

Procession (pro-SEH-shuhn) - Sacred parades, either inside or outside the church, in which clergy and faithful travel from one place to another, giving praise, thanks, and worship to God.

You may be familiar with traditional Advent Posadas, have fond memories of May Crownings or have participated in city-wide, elaborate Corpus Christi processions, but remember, you can also duplicate the very Catholic tradition of the procession in your domestic church.

Epiphany is the traditional time to bless your home, but I also know of families who place a figure of the Christ Child in their creche on Christmas Eve with procession and song and some who return the "Alleluia" to their family prayer table at Easter with a joyful procession. It's important to consider the age and attention span of your kids when planning your event, but even very small children can appreciate the solemnity of the occasion.

I suggest you map out your route ahead of time (following the simplest progression through your home) and that you give each family member something relevant to carry. At least one candle is a must, but safety is primary - use glass globes (tested ahead of time to make sure they don't get hot on the bottom), or electric flameless candles. A Crucifix, icon, or other relevant picture works well, as does a Bible, a container of holy water, or even incense.

It is traditional to sing as you walk and I'm sure you'll have no trouble coming up with appropriate songs that your family knows. You can simplify even further by singing the same song more than once. If you have a budding musician, make their Advent practice assignment a song you can use.

At each stop (even if there's only one), you want a short time of prayer. Of course this can be spontaneous prayer, but it may be more in keeping with the occasion to have something prepared. Assign a leader and begin with the Sign of the Cross. Your procession will have a more liturgical feel if you begin each stop the same way ("A reading from the book of Luke," or "Our hope is in the name of the Lord/who made heaven and earth," or even "Peace be with you/and also with you.") You could break up an appropriate Bible story and read part at each stop, or if you are blessing your home at Epiphany, stop at each room and ask the Lord's blessing for the intended use of each. ("Lord bless this dining room and all our activities here." Then invite anyone to add a petition.)

Conclude by asking the Lord's blessing on all of you, and by blessing your children by tracing a small cross on their foreheads.

The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc. CCC 1674
See also the Directory on Popular Piety, paragraph 118.

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