The Sacred That Surrounds Us: The Processional Cross & Candles
October 24, 2021, 12:00 PM

The processional cross is a crucifix (typically mounted on a long pole) to be accompanied by candles visible during the entrance processions as the altar servers proceed down the nave toward the sanctuary. These holy articles are likewise carried during the recessional at the end of Mass.

Processions have been a part of our Christian heritage from the beginning and are documented in the Old Testament (as with the Ark and at Jericho). Processions were common in Jesus’ time, as shown by his procession into Jerusalem, as well as after Jesus’s time, as during the funeral processions of Christians. There are typically a number of candles in the procession and at least two candles are to be placed on or next to the altar. The processional cross is also carried during the entrance procession and the recessional. The body of our crucified Lord always faces the way in which the procession is moving, with the exception of the papal cross, which is turned toward the pope.
The processional cross and candles help us to understand that we are on a journey through the passion and resurrection of Jesus into our heavenly home. As a leader in a battle directs the army and announces who there are, so too, the priest and servers walk in procession with these items, announcing that we are Christians, and that Christ and his light lead us toward the sacred power of the Mass and afterward out into the world, bringing the power of God to those in darkness.
“Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning.” – Luke 12:35