Thursday, August 06, 2015

40 Hours’ and Sawdust Carpets in a Eucharistic Procession

On Monday, August 3, Saint Joseph Parish in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, celebrated the close of 40 Hours’ Devotion. A packed attendance included over 20 priests of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, seminarians, Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, and the parish community. Antiphonal and sacred music selections were conducted by Nicholas Will, Assistant Professor of Music at Franciscan University of Steubenville. A beautiful tradition which the pastor Saint Joseph’s, Fr. Aron Maghsoudi, has included with this annual 40 Hours’ is sawdust carpets. Parishioners dyed sawdust in burlap bags in a number of different colors, drew outlines of liturgical designs in chalk, then filled them in to create a beautiful “carpeted” walkway for the priest to follow during the Eucharistic Procession. The idea of sawdust carpets originated at a seminary in the Black Forest region of Germany; the tradition eventually found its way to the United States in an area near Pittsburgh called Tarentum in 1943. The priest there, Father James MacNamara, assistant pastor of the former Sacred Heart Parish, suggested it as a good way to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. (Thanks to Mr Jordan Hainsey for sending us these photos.)

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