"at the name of Jesus every knee should bend"

Today's second reading at today's Passion Sunday Mass included the phrase from Philippians 2:10 quoted in the post title.

The phrase has always been particularly striking to me because the long-standing practice at my parish has been no kneeling. This appears to go back to the construction of the present church building circa 1985. The interior is amphitheater style, with floor slanting down to the sanctuary, and no kneelers. Sometimes we'd hit a trifecta of a scripture passage in the readings, a hymn lyric, and the instructions in the hymnal's order of worship all referring to kneeling, but no one kneeling. Back when members of an earlier generation of priests were our pastors, they didn't genuflect during the Eucharistic Prayer.

(Some of variations in practice were a topic of my blog post back on September 29, 2002.)

Years later when Archbishop Dolan came to our parish to preside at a service, I was a bit surprised to see some kneeling indicated in the order of worship printed for the occasion. I was then further surprised when we then didn't kneel. So I inquired of our then-pastor. He indicated that the Archbishop gave an apparently last minute oral waiver of the kneeling requirement because of the slanted floor and lack of kneelers. It struck me odd that the issue didn't come up when the liturgy team, having claimed over many previous years that foregoing kneeling was authorized, didn't raise this when composing and before printing the order of worship.

At Passion Sunday Mass this morning the Gospel reading was Luke 23:1-49. We were asked to follow the order of worship in the Breaking Bread hymnal for the congregation's part. The reading included, between Luke 23:46 and 47, the instruction

"Here all kneel and pause for a short time."
Upon reaching that point almost everyone did so.

In almost 30 years at the parish, I don't recall ever seeing that before. By now, I hadn't expected to live to see it. A little checking indicated it hadn't happened at Passion Sunday masses in prior years. So looks like it's news: Congregation kneels at Mass at St. Al's in Greendale.

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