This Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week - the week which culminates in the Sacred Paschal Triduum of Holy Thursday through Holy Saturday. The liturgy of Palm Sunday carries two notes which in some way foreshadow all of Holy Week. Before Mass, palm branches are blessed and distributed among the faithful for the Commemoration of Our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. We then read the Gospel account of that entry into Jerusalem and then process into the Church while chanting various antiphons, hymns, and psalms. This portion of the liturgy is triumphant and heralds the victory of Christ which we celebrate most fully at the Sacred Paschal Triduum and in the Paschal Octave which follows. The Mass, however, is the Mass of the Passion. The propers focus on the suffering of Christ complete with a reading (or chanting) of the Passion according to St. Matthew.
The Blessing of the Palm Branches
Ant. Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! O King of Israel, hosanna in the highest!
The Distribution of the Palm Branches - Antiphon 1
Ant. The children of the Hebrews went forth to meet the Lord bearing olive branches, crying out and saying, “Hosanna in the highest!”
V. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and all they that dwell therein. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and hath prepared it upon the rivers.
V. Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in. “Who is this King of glory?” “The Lord who is strong and mighty; the Lord, mighty in battle!”
V. Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in. “Who is this King of glory?” “The Lord of hosts! He is the King of glory!”
V. Glory be…
The Distribution of the Palm Branches - Antiphon 2
Ant. The children of the Hebrews spread their garments on the road, and cried out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
V. O clap your hands, all ye nations! Shout unto God with the voice of joy! For the Lord is high, terrible, and a great King over all the earth!
V. He hath subdued the people under us, and the nations under our feet. He hath chosen for us His inheritance, the beauty of Jacob, which He has loved.
V. God is ascended with jubilation, and the Lord with the sound of trumpet. Sing praises to our God, sing ye! Sing praises to our King, sing ye!
V. For God is the king of all the earth, sing ye wisely! God shall reign over the nations; God sits on His holy throne!
V. The princes of the people are gathered together with the God of Abraham. For the strong gods of the earth are exceedingly exalted.
V. Glory be…
The Procession of Palms - Antiphon 1
Ant. The multitude goes forth to meet our Redeemer with flowers and palms, and pays the homage due to a triumphant Conqueror; the Gentiles proclaim the Son of God, and the voices thunder through the skies in praise of Christ, “Hosanna!”
The Procession of Palms - Antiphon 2
Ant. Let the faithful join with the angels and the children in singing to the Conqueror of death, “Hosanna in the highest!”
The Procession of Palms - Antiphon 3
Ant. A great multitude that was met together at the festival cried out to the Lord, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
The Procession of Palms - Antiphon 4
Ant. On their way down, the whole multitude began with joy to praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying, “Blessed be the King who comes in the Name of the Lord! Peace on earth and glory on high!”
The Procession of Palms - Hymn to Christ the King
Refrain: Glory, laud, and honor to Thee, O Christ, the King and Redeemer, to Whom children poured their devout Hosanna!
V. Thou art the King of Israel, David’s Son of royal fame, O blessed King who comest in the Name of the Lord!
V. The angel hosts laud Thee on high, and mankind with all created things on the earth!
V. With palms, the Hebrews went forth to meet Thee. We greet Thee now with prayers and hymns.
V. On Thy way to die, they crowned Thee with praise; we raise our song to Thee now, now King on high.
V. Their poor homage pleased thee, O gracious King! O clement King, accept too ours, the best that we can bring!
The Procession of Palms - Antiphon 5 and Psalm
Ant. All praise Thy name highly and say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
V. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise Thy God, O Sion!
V. Because He hath strengthened the bolts of thy gates. He hath blessed thy children within thee.
V. Who hath placed peace in thy borders, and fills thee with the fat of corn.
V. Who sends forth His speech to the earth; His word runs swiftly.
V. Who gives snow like wool, and scatters mists like ashes.
V. He sends his crystal like morsels. Who shall stand before the face of His cold?
V. He shall send out His word and shall melt them. His wind shall blow and the waters shall run.
V. Who declares His word to Jacob, His justice and His judgment to Israel.
V. He has not done in like manner to every nation, and His judgements He has not made manifest to them.
V. Glory be…
The Procession of Palms - Antiphon 6
Ant. We are prostrate amid shining palms before the Lord as He approaches. Let us all run to meet Him with hymns and canticles, glorifying Him and saying, “Blessed be the Lord!”
The Procession of Palms - Antiphon 7
Ant. Hail, our King, O Son of David, O Redeemer of the world, Whom prophets foretold as the Savior to come of the house of Israel. For the Father sent Thee into the world as victim for salvation; from the beginning of the world, all the saints awaited Thee: “Hosanna now to the Son of David! Blessed be He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
The Procession of Palms - Responsory
R. As the Lord entered the Holy City, the children of the Hebrews, declaring the resurrection of life with palm branches, cried out, “Hosanna in the highest!”
V. When the people heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they went forth to meet Him
R. With palm branches, and cried out, “Hosanna in the highest!”
Ant. O Lord, keep not Thy help far from me; look to my defense. Deliver me from the lion’s mouth, and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
V. O God, my God, look upon me! Why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
Ant. My heart has expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none. I sought for one that would comfort me, and I found none, and they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink.
Ant. Father, if this chalice can not pass away unless I drink of it: Thy will be done.