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Source: (consider it) Thread: Bowing to the Processional Cross
stonespring
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When did bowing to the processional cross start and in what denomination? It is pretty common in US Episcopal churches, but I don't recall ever having seen it in a US Roman Catholic church. I have seen some people cross themselves in the RCC when the processional cross passes by but most people do not.

Was it ever common in the RCC? I am assuming that it was not done in the post-Reformation, pre-Oxford Movement C of E - am I wrong? Whenever some Anglicans started doing it, was it in imitation of the 19th century RCC or of pre-Reformation English custom - or for some other reason?

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Brenda Clough
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In my church, which I've been attending for 30 years now, it has appeared within my memory. We certainly weren't doing it 30 years ago. But now many are. I never got the memo, have no idea where it began.

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mousethief

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From the EOC side of things (if anybody cares), we don't bow during processions that I can think of. But of course we do a lot of bowing in general, including to icons, relics, each other, etc.

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Oblatus
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
From the EOC side of things (if anybody cares), we don't bow during processions that I can think of. But of course we do a lot of bowing in general, including to icons, relics, each other, etc.

In our A-C shack, some bow not only as the processional crucifix passes by but also as the celebrant passes by. Lotsa bowing in general.
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Prester John
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At the A-C shack I occasionally visit I see both bowing and genuflecting at the processional cross.
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
From the EOC side of things (if anybody cares) . . . .

I do, I do! I’m always glad when you bring the EOC aside of things in.

For my part, I can attest to it being common in US Episcopal churches in my neck of the woods at least as early as the 1970s. I can remember noticing it when I went to church with Episcopal friends. How far back the practice went, I can’t say.

It always struck me as the equivalent of bowing when a monarch passes by, or saluting when the flag passes by in a parade.

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Gamaliel
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I've seen bowing at processions in Orthodox services here, but that might be because I've generally visited 'convert parishes' where there are a number of converts from (generally) high-ish Anglicanism as well as a smattering of Eastern Europeans.

Most of these have been Antiochian parishes and over 20 years since 10 Anglican priests were received into Orthodoxy via the Antiochians you still hear jibes from the Russians and Greeks about 'Angliochians'.

Perhaps they'd need to be Orthodox for 450 years before that one fades out ...

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AIUI, we bow as the celebrant passes since s/he is in persona Christi for that particular occasion.

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churchgeek

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I'm a convert to the Episcopal Church, back in 1997. All that time, people have been bowing as the processional cross goes by.

When I worshiped with RCCs at seminary, I noticed they did very little if any bowing. But I know they (as many Anglicans) hold Christ to be particularly visible or present in four places in the Mass: in the sacrament, in the celebrant, in the people gathered, and in the Gospel.

While in San Francisco, where we had an ex-RCC priest for Canon Precentor at the time, for the Gospel procession, we had a verger take the group out instead of a crucifer. So it was verger, the person who held the Gospel book while the deacon read, two torch-bearers, and the deacon. And a thurifer, if we were using incense. So I got used to bowing to the Gospel book - and in fact, that was why we didn't use the processional cross for that: the Precentor commented that it was a "confusion of symbols."

Now, back home, I'm annoyed that the Gospel procession is led by a crucifer, because in the choir, we bow as the processional cross goes by, and I want to bow as the Gospel book goes by! Which I generally do, even though I've tried to stop it... [Hot and Hormonal]

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mousethief

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In a normal liturgy we have two processions, o one with the Gospel book, and one with the chalice and paten. We do not normally process with the cross, except on feasts of the cross, then it's an around-the-church thing inserted near the end of the service. We don't have pre or post service processions.

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Gamaliel
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No, but I've seen High Anglicans do similar things with the Gospel during the service and not just bow at the processional bits at the beginning or end.

I've also seen Orthodox touch the hem of their priest's robe as he goes past and then cross themselves ... although some Orthodox (including your good self I think) tell me that they've never seen that.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I've also seen Orthodox touch the hem of their priest's robe as he goes past and then cross themselves ... although some Orthodox (including your good self I think) tell me that they've never seen that.

On the contrary, I have seen and done that. I was told that it is a form of respect to the woman who touched the hem of Christ's robe and was healed. It is a way of remembering her and applauding her faith.

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Gamaliel
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Ok. My memory must be playing tricks. I know what it's about and why it's done but it still raises my eyebrows.

One could get used to such things. I can take a lot more flummery and stuff than I would or could have done at one time.

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Hooker's Trick

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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
I am assuming that it was not done in the post-Reformation, pre-Oxford Movement C of E - am I wrong?

Processional crosses themselves were a C19 innovation. Pre-Oxford movement Anglican churches would not have had so much as a cross upon the Holy Table.

St Paul's Washington DC claims to have employed the first processional cross in this city. They also claim the first midnight mass at Christmas in the entire US.

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Gamaliel
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Yes, indeed, apart from a brief flurry of tat under Archbishop William Laud - and look what happened to him - the CofE would have been pretty plain and somewhat drab throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.

I was rolling my eyes watching that Jimmy McGovern drama, 'Banished' in 2015 which was set on the original British penal colony at Botany Bay in the 1780s. The vicar in the series was shown crossing himself and carrying out all manner of 'Popish' practices that wouldn't have been seen in the CofE until the Oxford Movement as far as I'm aware.

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Brenda Clough
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One must never rely upon movies/TV for accuracy in this kind of thing. A 27-year-old director who was last in a church for his baptism will yell, "Make him more churchy -- haven't you got a miter, one of those brocade capes? Wardrobe!" And it all goes south.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I was rolling my eyes watching that Jimmy McGovern drama, 'Banished' in 2015 which was set on the original British penal colony at Botany Bay in the 1780s. The vicar in the series was shown crossing himself and carrying out all manner of 'Popish' practices that wouldn't have been seen in the CofE until the Oxford Movement as far as I'm aware.

And still aren't, with rare exceptions, in that region, seeing as it's the diocese of Sydney. [Eek!]
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Oblatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
One must never rely upon movies/TV for accuracy in this kind of thing. A 27-year-old director who was last in a church for his baptism will yell, "Make him more churchy -- haven't you got a miter, one of those brocade capes? Wardrobe!" And it all goes south.

"Then have him lead a parade or procession or whatever, swinging one of those smoking things!" Because bishops always did that.
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Planeta Plicata
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At the FSSP parish I used to attend, a profound bow when the processional cross passed was usual; at the Extraordinary Form mass at my current parish, about half the congregation genuflects while the other half bows. An inclination of the head as the priest passes is also common.
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leo
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I reckon the origin of people bowing to the cross lies in bowing to the altar – on which there happens to be a cross.

Bowing to the celebrant – yes – to cross, no

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Nick Tamen

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FWIW, Adoremus, the “Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy,” says this in its bulletin on “Gestures and Postures”:

quote:
Gestures and Postures of the Congregation at Mass…

Entrance Rites …

Stand for the entrance procession.

Bow when the crucifix, a visible symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, passes you in the procession. (If there is a bishop, bow when he passes, as a sign of recognition that he represents the authority of the Church and of Christ as shepherd of the flock.)…

Conclusion of Mass …

Remain standing until all ministers have processed out. (If there is a recessional, bow in reverence to the crucifix as it passes by.)

So apparently it’s not just an Episcopal/Anglican thing.

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Bishops Finger
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Quite, but, as usual - all may, none must.

IJ

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Quite, but, as usual - all may, none must.

I agree. That drill sergeant approach to divine worship has always been alien to most of our tradition, and is becoming increasingly so. How true is it of ordinary parochial Catholicism these days rather than a dream version of how a small clique think everything ought to be done?

A question for those more familiar with ordinary parochial Catholicism than I am.
quote:
"The congregation remains standing until the end of the Sanctus (“Holy, holy”), when they kneel for the entire Eucharistic Prayer. "
Is that current Catholic practice? In my childhood and early adult years, we normally knelt all the way through, but these days in most CofE parishes round here, posture is optional but most of the congregation stands throughout the Eucharistic Prayer and then kneels for the Lord's Prayer.

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Gee D
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Our experience here in Catholic churches is that the congregation remains standing until the end of the Benedictus ("Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest") then kneels for the Eucharistic prayer. After that, everyone stands, including for the recital of the Lord's Prayer. That's pretty common at St Sanity also, but not universal.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Quite, but, as usual - all may, none must.

I agree. That drill sergeant approach to divine worship has always been alien to most of our tradition, and is becoming increasingly so. How true is it of ordinary parochial Catholicism these days rather than a dream version of how a small clique think everything ought to be done?
I agree as well. I only noted it for what is was worth because the question had been raised about Catholic practice. When I read the list, and the article to which it links, I read it as encouraging (strongly, ‘tis true) rather than mandating anything, and given the source, my assumption was that anything encouraged was grounded in traditional Catholic practice.

quote:
A question for those more familiar with ordinary parochial Catholicism than I am.
quote:
"The congregation remains standing until the end of the Sanctus (“Holy, holy”), when they kneel for the entire Eucharistic Prayer. "
Is that current Catholic practice? In my childhood and early adult years, we normally knelt all the way through, but these days in most CofE parishes round here, posture is optional but most of the congregation stands throughout the Eucharistic Prayer and then kneels for the Lord's Prayer.
It is current Catholic practice in these parts. The congregation stands again for the Our Father.

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Forthview
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In this part of the world it is not usual to bow to the processional cross if it passes in procession,but there is nothing to stop anyone doing so. I have,however,often seen this in France.
when I was a child people always knelt down when the bishop passed by. That is very rare now, though people will usually bow to receive the bishop's blessing when he passes by in a procession.

I'm talking here about normal Catholic parishes, not those which would use the Tridentine rite of Mass.

It's funny, but although I go to Mass almost every day ,I couldn't say if people here kneel down before, during or after the Sanctus. Certainly most people will kneel during the Eucharistic prayer.
If it is a church or chapel with no kneelers then
people will generally stand. Those who sit during the Eucharistic prayer are either those who are physically unable to kneel or those who are not Catholics.(Presbyterians in Scotland would rarely kneel during religious worship).

One thing I find strange when I go to an Anglican eucharist is that, invariably, the parishioners kneel down for the Lord's prayer, whereas Catholics always stand.(Of course that is only since 50 years ago !!)

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crunt
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I bowed to a processional cross during a midnight mass at Wellington's Cathedral of St Paul. A mere nod, and I would have thought nothing more of it if it weren't for the fuss the people I was standing with made. Not really a fuss, they just hissed "waddayadoin?" or suchlike at me.
Growing up in a bog-standard Anglican parish in south Wales is obviously a bit different from growing up in a bog-standard Anglican parish in NZ. Bowing toward crosses, as Leo pointed out upthread, is more Anglican than Catholic, but I think my flatmates (raised as kiwi Anglicans) thought that bowing toward a bishop or a cross in procession was very unAnglican, indeed.

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Utrecht Catholic
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The first time that I attended an US Episcopal service was in the well known beautiful Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Paris.
And I remember very vividly that many worshippers bowed to the Processional during the Opening and final hymn.A custom which I had hardly seen in the U.K.
It struck me too that many worshippers crossed themselves during the service,and I witnessed this custom too later during visits to the USA in churches which could not be considered as
very High Church or Anglo-Catholic.
I had always thought that only High Church Anglicans/Anglo-Catholics make the sign of the cross,when attending the Eucharist, Evensong or starting their private prayers.

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Brenda Clough
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US Piskies have started crossing themselves too, in my lifetime. Within the past 20 years or so it's become common.

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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
One must never rely upon movies/TV for accuracy in this kind of thing. A 27-year-old director who was last in a church for his baptism will yell, "Make him more churchy -- haven't you got a miter, one of those brocade capes? Wardrobe!" And it all goes south.

As an aside, I recall the first episode of the television bodice-ripper The Borgias, in which Roderigo Borgia becomes Pope, and is processed to the strains of Zadok the Priest.

The bowing is unusual in my shack, but I do a lot of things that they find a little odd.

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John3000
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quote:
Originally posted by Hooker's Trick:
Processional crosses themselves were a C19 innovation. Pre-Oxford movement Anglican churches would not have had so much as a cross upon the Holy Table.

St Paul's Washington DC claims to have employed the first processional cross in this city. They also claim the first midnight mass at Christmas in the entire US.

From my understanding the processional cross is the forerunner of the altar cross since Augustine carried one to Canterbury?

When I have been paying attention the processional cross is normally stood upright somewhere before the altar. Is this what happens everywhere?

I have never seen any bowing for it. On a similar note of appropriate reverence the other week I was at a service in an English cathedral and the cross was born by the head chorister ahead of the choir. Whilst everyone else was getting themselves seated he went to place it in a stand before the high altar, only he couldn't get it to fit in. By now everyone was ready and had turned to stare at him, wondering what the delay was. Looking around he suddenly spied the a solution, a row of plastic chairs along the side of presbytery. Laying the cross unceremoniously on these he stayed a moment to ensure it wouldn't slide on to the floor before taking his seat in the stalls. I noticed the moment everyone was suitably distracted by some singing a cathedral volunteer, or maybe it was the verger, emerged from the darkness behind the altar and put the cross in it's Proper Place.

[Angel]

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Bishops Finger
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Ah, the C of E's amazing ability to make it up as we go along! The trick, of course, is to make it look as though that's what you meant to do...

At Our Place, we call it 'Liturgy On The Hoof', and, though I say so myself, we're quite good at it.

Yes indeed, processional crosses (where used) are often put into some sort of stand near the altar. We don't have a stand at Our Place, so, on the rare occasions when a processional cross is used (once a year, I think, on our Patronal Festival), it is carefully leant against a handy pillar in the chancel. [Paranoid]

IJ

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Brenda Clough
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Stands for crosses (and flags and processional candles) are easily found or even made -- someone with woodworking skills can easily make one for you. A deep disk or square with a hoke of the right size drilled in the center; if it's tippy weight it with lead or sand. Or buy one of those stands for patio umbrellas (essentially a plastic container that you fill with sand or water), and paint it.
Since crosses and candles are not cheap, it's important to take care of them. Our processional cross is gilded (golded? it's not plate, some kind of thin wash) and the finish is so fragile that you can't touch it with your bare fingers -- the oils in your hand make the gold deteriorate. It's handled only through a cloth. The last time we had it refinished the cost made us reel.

[ 16. December 2017, 15:05: Message edited by: Brenda Clough ]

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Bishops Finger
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Plain wood. Like wot Our Saviour suffered upon.

IJ

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John3000
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How about processional other things? I know one famous college chapel uses an eagle. I wonder if cross-bowers when visiting that place would bow to the eagle?
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Gee D
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# 13815

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I reckon the origin of people bowing to the cross lies in bowing to the altar – on which there happens to be a cross.

Bowing to the celebrant – yes – to cross, no

Bowing to the celebrant? Only if she/he is carrying the host in procession at the time, not otherwise surely?

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Gee D
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# 13815

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Stands for crosses (and flags and processional candles) are easily found or even made -- someone with woodworking skills can easily make one for you. A deep disk or square with a hoke of the right size drilled in the center; if it's tippy weight it with lead or sand. Or buy one of those stands for patio umbrellas (essentially a plastic container that you fill with sand or water), and paint it..

A small wooden plate at floor level with a round hole drilled into the centre to take the base of the cross. Then a hinged clasp much higher with a simple turnkey - or even a semi-circular bracket with a chain - will hold the cross upright. At St Sanity, the cross is brass with a wooden handle; the clasps, one each side of the sanctuary and 2 more in the vestry, are also brass. The brass is treated so that it does not need polishing but just a wipe with a damp cloth.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I reckon the origin of people bowing to the cross lies in bowing to the altar – on which there happens to be a cross.

Bowing to the celebrant – yes – to cross, no

Bowing to the celebrant? Only if she/he is carrying the host in procession at the time, not otherwise surely?
Yes - always - in the past, he would bow to both sides of the choir and then to the nave before Asperges and after the dismissal before the Angelus.

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Gee D
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# 13815

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That seems to have the celebrant bowing, whereas you earlier post talked of bowing to the celebrant.

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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:

Yes indeed, processional crosses (where used) are often put into some sort of stand near the altar. We don't have a stand at Our Place, so, on the rare occasions when a processional cross is used (once a year, I think, on our Patronal Festival), it is carefully leant against a handy pillar in the chancel. [Paranoid]

IJ

When I was a teenager and my local parish erected a new building there was unaccountably no such convenient stand, nor any pillars. Fortunately I was soon able to designate a suitable Spot Beneath The Hymn Board Next To The Organ for such a purpose.
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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
That seems to have the celebrant bowing, whereas you earlier post talked of bowing to the celebrant.

Around here, at least in the places where this is done (usually Catholic places when there is censing) the celebrant bows to the congregation, and the congregation then bows to him in response.

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Angloid
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# 159

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I think it is traditionally the thurifer who bows to and then censes the congregation. Although if the priest censes the altar and the elements s/he ought also (theo)logically to cense the people too rather than delegate it to a subordinate.
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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Although if the priest censes the altar and the elements s/he ought also (theo)logically to cense the people too rather than delegate it to a subordinate.

That is what I’ve typically seen—the thurible being handed to the priest (or bishop), who censes the altar, elements and congregation.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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stonespring
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# 15530

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
I think it is traditionally the thurifer who bows to and then censes the congregation. Although if the priest censes the altar and the elements s/he ought also (theo)logically to cense the people too rather than delegate it to a subordinate.

Correct me if I am wrong - and this has nothing to do with practice in any other denomination - but in the RCC I think in the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) the GIRM (the rubrics) says that when there is censing of the altar at the offertory, the presiding celebrant censes the altar, then hands the thurible to an acolyte or altar server who censes the presiding celebrant, then concelebrants, then the deacon(s), then other ministers in the chancel, then the congregation. One may not agree with this practice, but it is what I have observed in those RC parishes that use incense (and there aren't many of them where I am).
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stonespring
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# 15530

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
FWIW, Adoremus, the “Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy,” ...

You may already know this, but Adoremus is part of the "Reform of the Reform" movement that seeks to make the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (the Mass most Catholics today celebrate) more like the Extraordinary (Tridentine or Pre-Vatican II) form, and to make the congregation's personal gestures and devotions at Mass (which are often not addressed in the rubrics - the old ones or the new ones) conform with what devout Roman Catholics would do in the pre-Vatican II days. Most Roman Catholics, even ones that have had a full set of religious education classes up through Confirmation or as adult converts, have probably never heard of a lot of Adoremus' stipulations, or, if they have seen them in practice, have not noticed or given much thought to them.
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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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Yes, I am familiar with Adoremus's philosophy and goal. That's why upthread I said:
quote:
. . . given the source, my assumption was that anything encouraged was grounded in traditional Catholic practice.
Whatever else Adoremus may advocate, they're not going to advocate innovation. So if they advocate bowing when the professional cross passes, it’s safe to assume there is pre-Vatican II precedent for the practice.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Zappa
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# 8433

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quote:
Originally posted by Planeta Plicata:
At the FSSP parish I used to attend, a profound bow when the processional cross passed was usual; at the Extraordinary Form mass at my current parish, about half the congregation genuflects while the other half bows. An inclination of the head as the priest passes is also common.

I suspect in NZ the inclination would be more to do the eyebrow thing™

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Although if the priest censes the altar and the elements s/he ought also (theo)logically to cense the people too rather than delegate it to a subordinate.

That is what I’ve typically seen—the thurible being handed to the priest (or bishop), who censes the altar, elements and congregation.
Deacon's job.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Although if the priest censes the altar and the elements s/he ought also (theo)logically to cense the people too rather than delegate it to a subordinate.

That is what I’ve typically seen—the thurible being handed to the priest (or bishop), who censes the altar, elements and congregation.
Deacon's job.
I've seen deacons do it, I've seen priests and bishops do it—again, in RC contexts.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I've seen deacons do it, I've seen priests and bishops do it—again, in RC contexts.

Sorry to double post, but I guess I should qualify by adding "unless my memory is really pulling a fast one on me." I'm pretty sure it's not, but the possibility can't, of course, be discounted.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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