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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is the origin and purpose of the processional cross?

A. 1. The Processional Cross, also known as the "processional crucifix," is a well known religious object to most Catholics. While its designs and style may vary, the crucifix is large enough for the faithful to see during a procession because it is usually mounted on a long handle. The Processional Cross is used in most liturgical processions within the Catholic Church. It is carried at the front of the procession, with the figure of the crucified Christ facing the direction towards which the procession is moving. This is symbolic of the Christians being followers of Christ. Once the cross is carried to the altar, it may be placed on or near the altar or, if a fixed altar cross is already in place, it may be taken to the sacristy.

The usage of the Processional Cross in the Liturgy dates back several centuries. The origin of this tradition is commonly credited to St. Augustine of England who died in 604. In the 8th century, St. Bede wrote Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People), and in this document he included a description of Augustine of England, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, carrying a processional cross.

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