Q: Greetings from Down Under. Thanks again for your most helpful blog/posts.
Our Palm Sunday this year coincides with our monthly parish Mass which the local Catholic school supports in term time and at which numerous children and their families are present who are not frequent attendees. Given the length of the Gospel/Passion Reading is it permissible to shorten because of the youthfulness of the assembly; if so, what would you suggest is an acceptable text for the occasion?
A: The Palm Sunday readings may be abbreviated. I’m not sure if the Australian lectionary carries this rubric, but it should at #37 and #38 because it is in the Latin edition: “For good reason, the shorter form of the passion may be read.” This year we’ve got Mark, and he’s already the shortest of the four, but the passion may be reduced to Mark 15:1-39. Notice that you may also eliminate one or both of the other readings on this day. So you can trim the entire liturgy of the word to 39 verses. Even with kids, I’d want them to hear the story of the death of Jesus.