‘This is a penitential season of fasting and intercession for the fruits of the earth. The celebration of the Eucharist preceded by the Litany would seem the most suitable observance for the three days. In addition the connexion between processions and penitential seasons must not be forgotten. The more public this procession the better. In some country places the route might follow the bounds of the parish, stations being made fairly frequently by the allotments or other crops. In town parishes a convenient route varying, if desired, from year to year, might be planned with stations at suitable places.
“Stations” may take the form of very short informal services, e.g. a reading from Scripture, followed by a collect, the Lord’s Prayer, and possibly a hymn. At one or more important stations an address should be given. The proper place is before the Eucharist, but in practice the evening will be found to be the most suitable time for this Procession.
All who take part in the procession - and it should include all the congregation - will meet in Church for a few initial prayers and, if desired, a hymn. As it is extremely difficult to sing hymns in an outdoor Procession, psalms and litanies should be chosen in preference or hymns sung by a few voices with a popular refrain in which all may join. Psalms ciii, civ, cxiv, and cxv, the Lent and Advent proses in the English Hymnal, the Prayer Book Litany, and some metrical Litany will be found suitable. When the Procession returns to the Church, a hymn, collect, and blessing might terminate the service.
The most convenient order of Procession will be as follows: Verger with mace, Churchwardens with staves, Cross-bearer, Servers with lanterns on poles, Priest, Banner-bearer and the Passiontide or some very simple banner, members of the congregation in fours, Choir boys, Chanters, Choir men, Clergy in choir habit, and the remaining members of the congregation’.
from A Directory of Ceremonial: Part II, Alcuin Club Tracts XIX, 1930
Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: we humbly pray that thy gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labour to gather them; that we, who constantly receive good things from thy hand, may always give thee thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon