Q. What should be done with old blessed palms from last year and where is the correct place to put the newly blessed palms from this year?
A. Blessed palms are sacramentals (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1667-1679.) and, like all sacramentals, can be a means of grace for their users from the blessing and prayers of the Church and from the devotion they inspire. The palms should be put in one’s house behind the crucifix and behind other icons or holy pictures one might have. The old palms can be given to the parish priest, who burns them to make the ashes used on Ash Wednesday, or one can simply burn them oneself.
Q. Why don’t we sing “Alleluia” during Mass in Lent?
A. Alleluia is the song of the angels in heaven, who sing “Alleluia,” or “praise Yahweh,” unceasingly in the glory of heaven. When we sing “Alleluia” in the Mass, we’re reminded that we’re called to praise God eternally in heaven. In Lent, we remember that we are sinners, and that, absent repentance, forgiveness, and grace, our sins separate from us from the love of God. Liturgy is simple and austere, during Lent, as a reminder of our sinfulness, and as a call to repentance. We refrain from the “Alleluia,” from the Gloria, and from some other elements of liturgy to remember that we are exiles from our heavenly home. At the Easter Vigil, the glory of the Mass is revealed in magnificent splendor, to remind us of the richness of redemption in Christ. As we observe the simplicity of liturgy during Lent, we can look forward to Easter, and and we can repent, looking forward to praising God eternally in the company of the angels.
Write to Ask the Register online or at 3700 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.