I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
The Catholic entrance procession
Father David Jones
While I am on this pilgrim journey, I want Jesus to walk with me. That is the theology behind or beneath a Catholic entrance procession. The entrance procession recalls Jesus entrance into Jerusalem. Jesus coming forward to carry us to the altar and carry us home. The entrance procession symbolizes our pilgrim journey, how we are putting the world behind us and the cross before us, marching to Zion, that beautiful city of God.
The order of the procession is important. If incense is to be used, it precedes the cross to symbolize that our prayers go up first. Then the blessing that is the Lord comes down and leads us and we follow.
We should always have a cross bearer. Any one who is a follower of Jesus can be a cross bearer. The cross bearer helps us to follow the cross! The procession behind the cross proclaims I want to be a follower of Christ. It means something and it sets up our hope to make it to the altar.
The altar servers follow the cross with lighted candles. They help us to walk in the light and to let our little light shine because Jesus is the light of the world. It makes no sense to carry or follow a candle that is not lit. That is a terrible sign.
Then the ministers who have a role in the liturgy follow. They remind us that we are in the service of the Lord. However, since we all have a role, we could all join in the procession. Especially if one is running late, don’t wait until it’s over, get in line in order to get into the church! Just don’t jump in front of the cross or behind the celebrant. Know what the Lord is doing and let the Lord use you.
The deacon carries the Book of the Gospels.
Can a reader carry the Book of the Gospels? Yes, but it’s not the norm.
Can the lectionary be carried in procession? Please don’t.
Can other items be in the procession? Yes, but they don’t have to!
Mainly the procession helps us honor Jesus and follow him to the altar.
Anyone that helps that goal is practicing good religion. Anything that distracts from that goal is bad liturgy.