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AS FADES THE GLOWING ORB OF DAY (EVENING HYMN)

As fades the glowing orb of day,

To thee, great Source of Light, we pray;

Blest Three in One, to every heart

Thy beams of life and love impart.

 

At early dawn, at close of day,

To thee our vows we humbly pay;

May we, mid joys that never end,

With thy bright saints in homage bend.

 

To God the Father, and the Son,

And Holy Spirit, Three in One,

Be endless glory, as before

The world began, so evermore. Amen.

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SOL PRAECEPS RAPITUR – EVENING HYMN

THE SUN IS SINKING FAST (SOL PRAECEPS RAPITUR)

The sun is sinking fast,
The daylight dies;
Let love awake, and pay
Her evening sacrifice.

As Christ upon the Cross,
In death reclined,
Into his Father’s hands
His parting soul resigned,

So now herself my soul
Would wholly give
Into his sacred charge,
In whom all spirits live;

So now beneath his eye
Would calmly rest,
Without a wish or thought
Abiding in the breast,

Save that his will be done,
Whate’er betide,
Dead to herself, and dead
In him to all beside.

Thus would I live; yet now
Not I, but he
In all his power and love
Henceforth alive in me –

One sacred Trinity,
One Lord Divine,
Myself for ever his,
And he for ever mine!
(c.18th cent. Tr. E. Caswall)

 

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MAUNDY THURSDAY – IN THE MIDST OF MOURNING WE CELEBRATE OUR LORD’S LAST GIFT BEFORE HIS PASSION

“The name ‘Maundy’ is from ‘Mandatum,’ the ceremony of washing the feet at the end of the Mass, whose first antiphon begins: ‘Mandatum novum do vobis.’ It is usual to call a service after the first word of its chants. In the same way we speak of a ‘Requiem,’ a ‘Dirge’ (‘Dirge’ is the beginning of the first antiphon at Matins for the dead), and so on. It is curious that in England the ceremony of washing the feet should have given its name to the whole day.

THE MAIN FEATURE

The main feature of the function today and tomorrow is that on Good Friday the holy Sacrifice is not offered. That is as old a custom as any in the Church. It obtains equally in all rites. Indeed, in most of the Eastern rites, as once at Rome, there were many ‘aliturgical’ (that is, days on which the holy Liturgy [Mass] was not celebrated) days in Lent. The Byzantine rite, for instance, has this Liturgy of the Presanctified every Wednesday and Friday in Lent, and on Monday and Tuesday in Holy Week. We now have it only on Good Friday. But, although no priest consecrates on Good Friday, it is the equally old custom that the priest (and once the people, too) should make their Communion. For this purpose it is necessary to reserve the Sanctissimum consecrated at the Mass the day before. Nowadays, it would be easy to take the Sanctissimum from the tabernacle; but the ceremonies of Holy Week date from a time when it was by no means the universal custom to reserve in every church. So special arrangements had to be made to reserve for this occasion. At the Mass on Maundy Thursday the priest consecrates [hosts, some of them he takes to a place prepared where they are kept] till Communion on Good Friday. That is the root of the service on both days.

THE BETRAYAL OF JUDAS

For the rest, the Mass of Maundy Thursday is a festal Mass, with white vestments, with the ‘Gloria in excelsis.’ It is the only case in the year when the Mass of the day and office do not correspond. The office is all mournful. Here the memory which seems most to fill the mind of the Church is the betrayal of Judas. But when Mass is said the Church cannot forget, although it is the middle of the week of mourning, that this is the day to which we owe the Holy Eucharist. So, a startling exception to the usual note of the time, at Mass at least we put aside all thought of mourning and celebrate with joy our Lord’s last gift before he died.

The ringing of the bells at the ‘Gloria’ is only the sign that from now on they will not be heard again until the first Easter Mass. The Church is accustomed to do a thing solemnly for the last time before it ceases, as we say the ‘Alleluia’ solemnly twice at the end of Vespers before Septuagesima. Probably the time of the ‘Gloria’ is chosen because it corresponds to the time when the bells ring out on Holy Saturday. The playing of the organ at the same time is obviously a further development of the same idea. The organ, too, comes back at the ‘Gloria’ on Holy Saturday. (Thurston, pp. 277-281). To play the organ on Maundy Thursday is less logical, since it should not have been heard during all Lent; but one can see the connection of ideas.

From this time begin the ‘still days’ of our forefathers, on which all are to be intent only on the memory of what our Lord bore for us.

After Mass the procession takes the Sanctissimum to the place where it is kept till the next day. This is an example of a real Roman procession, having a definite object. It is usual to call the place to which the Blessed Sacrament is taken the ‘altar of repose.’ This is a harmless popular name; but it is not really an altar. No sacrifice is offered on it.

THE ‘ALTAR OF REPOSE’

At first it seems that nothing more was done than to keep the Sanctissimum reverently in some safe place, often in the sacristy, as it is still reserved in many Eastern Churches. Then people realised that this was the one occasion when they had the Blessed Sacrament in their churches. So they made much of it. They fitted up and adorned a place of honour; they began to watch and pray before the ‘altar of repose’ all the day and all night. Much of the ideas of such later developments as Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, of the ‘Forty Hours’ and so on, seems to have begun during this time between Mass on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. And then, even after it had become usual to reserve the Sanctissimum on the altar of nearly every church all the year round, the old custom of special reverence on this occasion went on. That, too, is nearly always so. Custom preserves many things in liturgy after their first reason has ceased.

SPECIAL REVERENCE

This accounts for the special reverence with which we still treat the Sanctissimum at the altar of repose, although we have it now in the tabernacle always. And, indeed, on this night of all nights, when our Lord was suffering his bitter torment, it is natural that people should spend part of the time with him in prayer, honouring the gift of that day.

REGARDING THESE FAST DAYS

We leave the altar of repose, come back to the High Altar and say Vespers. This is not really a special feature of these days. On all fast days Vespers are now said in the morning, from the old idea that one does not break one’s fast till after Vespers. Easier rule now allows people to eat at midday on fast days; but the liturgical sequence is preserved; so the meal pushed Vespers back to the morning. The fact that on fast days at the end of Mass the deacon says not: ‘Ite missa est,’ but ‘Benedicamus Domino,’ meant once that he did not dismiss the people then, because they were to stay for Vespers.

STRIPPING THE ALTAR

After Vespers the altar is stripped. This ceremony has become to us one of the features of Holy Week; yet it is only one more case of an archaic custom, otherwise abolished, but preserved on these days. Once, after Mass on any day, the altar was stripped. Now on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday the stripping of the altar has become a symbol of desolation, or a memory that our Lord was stripped of his garments.

THE WASHING OF FEET

The Maundy follows. When our Lord had washed the feet of the Apostles he gave us a clear command to do as he had done (John xiii. 15). Doubtless this means, in the first place, rather the general attitude he then observed; but the Church has always taken his command literally too. There are innumerable cases of washing feet (at one time a very practical work of charity) by Heads of religious houses, done to poor travellers, pilgrims, and so on, by Popes, bishops, Kings. Still in Catholic countries it is the custom for the Sovereign to wash the feet of thirteen poor men today. Indeed, so definite is our Lord’s command to carry out this ceremony, so clear the implication of a grace given thereby (John xiii, 10, 11, 17), that at one time it seems to have been considered almost to approach the dignity of a sacrament. We shall certainly not consider the Mandatum to be a real sacrament; but it may be counted among the sacramentals.

Naturally, it was most of all on this day that people obeyed our Lord’s command. Whereas Fathers and synods, from the fourth century, recommend the washing of feet in general, often especially the washing of the feet of the newly baptised (Thurston, pp. 307-309. As a typical example see the Rule of St Benedict, chap. 35 and 53), in the seventh century we find a Spanish council insisting on the restoration of this ceremony on Maundy Thursday, since in some places it was falling out of use (Seventeenth Syn. of Toledo (694), can. 3 (Hefele-Leclerq: Hist. Des Conciles, iii, p. 586). It is curious that thirteen men whose feet are washed, not twelve, are constantly mentioned. In the twelfth century the Pope washed the feet of twelve subdeacons after Mass, and of thirteen poor men after dinner (Ordo rom. xii, 25, 27). Various explanations are given of the number thirteen. Either it is meant to include St Matthias, or St Paul, or perhaps the Lord himself. There is a legend about an angel who appeared and joined the twelve poor men entertained on one occasion by St Gregory I. No number is specified in the missal; but the Ceremonial of Bishops speaks of thirteen (Caer. Ep., L. II, cap. XXIV, 2); this is the usual number now in the West (the Eastern rites keep to twelve).

After the washing of feet the church is left all empty and bare; only in a distant chapel the lights burn and people watch silently before the altar of repose, waiting for the service of the next morning.”
– Adrian Fortescue, from “The Holy Week Book”, Burns Oates & Washbourne, London, 1913

 

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PRAYER FOR VESPERS, PALM SUNDAY

FROM THE BREVIARY

Oremus.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui humano generi, ad imitandum humilitatis exemplum, Salvatorem nostrum carnem sumere et crucem subire fecisti: concede propitius; ut et patientiae ipsius habere documenta, et resurrectionis consortia mereamur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate eiusdem Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst cause our Saviour to take upon himself our flesh, and to suffer death upon a cross, that all mankind may imitate the example of humility: mercifully grant that we may deserve both to learn the lesson of his patience, and to be made partakers of his resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

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MAGNIFICAT ANIMA MEA DOMINUM (LK 1:46-55)

MARY’S ‘MY SOUL GLORIFIES THE LORD’ IN LATIN (‘MAGNIFICAT’).

THOSE OF US WHO DON’T PRAY IT ALREADY COULD PRAY IT IN THE EVENING, UNITING OURSELVES WITH THE WHOLE CHURCH FOR ONE OF THE GREAT HOURS OF PRAYER, VESPERS.

FOR THE GREAT MORNING HOUR OF PRAYER (LAUDS), WE CAN JOIN FROM WHERE WE ARE BY PRAYING THE BENEDICTUS (CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH; Lk 1:68-79).

THE ENGLISH TEXTS CAN BE FOUND IN THIS BLOG. BOTH (IN ENGLISH OR LATIN) ARE GREAT PRAYERS FOR BEFORE AND AFTER WORK.

THE MAGNIFICAT:

Magnificat anima mea Dominum;
et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salvatore meo,
quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes,
quia fecit mihi magna qui pontens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam bracchio suo;
Didispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles.
Suscepit Israel, servum suum,
recordatus misericordiae suae,
sicut locutus est ad patres nostros,
Abraham et semen eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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ABOUT THE EASTER TRIDUUM

The greatest mysteries of the Redemption are celebrated yearly by the Church, beginning with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and continuing until Vespers on Easter Sunday. This time is called ‘the triduum of the crucified, buried and risen’, it is also called the ‘Easter Triduum’ because during it is celebrated the Paschal mystery, that is the passing of the Lord from this world to his Father. The Church by the celebration of this mystery, through liturgical signs and sacramentals, is united to Christ, her Spouse, in intimate communion.

The Easter fast is sacred on the first two days of the Triduum, during which, according to ancient tradition, the Church fasts ‘because the Spouse has been taken away’. Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence; it is also recommended that Holy Saturday be so observed, so that, the Church, with uplifted and welcoming heart, be ready to celebrate the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection.

It is recommended that there be a communal celebration of the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It is fitting that the bishop should celebrate the Office in the cathedral with, as far as possible, the participation of the clergy and people. This Office, formerly called ‘Tenebrae’, held a special place in the devotion of the faithful, as they meditated upon the passion, death and burial of the Lord, while awaiting the announcement of the Resurrection.

For the celebration of the Easter Triduum it is necessary that there should be a sufficient number of ministers and assistants who should be prepared so that they know what their role is in the celebration. Pastors must ensure that the meaning of each part of the celebration be explained to the faithful so that they may participate more fully and fruitfully.

The chants of the people and also of the ministers and the celebrating priest are of special importance in the celebration of Holy Week and particularly of the Easter Triduum, because they add to the solemnity of these days, and also because the texts are more effective when sung.

Episcopal Conferences are asked, unless provision has already been made, to provide music for those parts which it can be said should always be sung, namely:
(a) The General Intercessions of Good Friday; the deacon’s invitation and the acclamation of the people;
(b) chants for the showing and veneration of the cross;
(c) the acclamations during the procession with the paschal candle and the Easter proclamation, the responsorial ‘Alleluia’, the litany of the saints, and the acclamation after the blessing of water.

Since the purpose of sung texts is also to facilitate the participation of the faithful they should not be lightly omitted; such texts should be set to music. If the text for use in the Liturgy has not yet been set to music it is possible as a temporary measure to select other similar texts which are set to music. It is, however, fitting that there should be a collection of texts set to music for these celebrations, paying special attention to:
(a) chants for the procession and blessing of palms, and for the entrance into church;
(b) chants to accompany the procession with the Holy Oils;
(c) chants to accompany the procession with the gifts on Holy Thursday in the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and hymns to accompany the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the place of repose;
(d) the responsorial psalms at the Easter Vigil, and chants to accompany the sprinkling with blessed water.
Music should be provided for the Passion narrative, the Easter proclamation, and the blessing of baptismal water. Obviously the melodies should be of a simple nature in order to facilitate their use.
In larger churches where resources permit, a more ample use should be made of the Church’s musical heritage both ancient and modern, always ensuring that this does not impede the active participation of the faithful.

It is fitting that small religious communities, both clerical and lay, and other lay groups, should participate in the celebration of the Easter Triduum in neighbouring principal churches.

Similarly where the number of participants and ministers is so small that the celebrations of the Easter Triduum cannot be carried out with the requisite solemnity, such groups of the faithful should assemble in a larger church.

Also where there are small parishes with only one priest it is recommended that such parishes should assemble, as far as possible, in a principal church and there participate in the celebrations.

On account of the needs of the faithful, where a pastor has the responsibility for two or more parishes, in which the faithful assemble in large numbers and where the celebrations can be carried out with the requisite care and solemnity, the celebrations of the Easter Triduum may be repeated in accord with the given norms.

So that seminary students ‘may live fully Christ’s paschal mystery, and thus be able to teach those who will be committed to their care’, they should be given a thorough and comprehensive liturgical formation. It is important that during their formative years in the seminary they should experience fruitfully the solemn Easter celebrations, especially those over which the bishop presides.
– given at Rome, at the Offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 16 January 1988

 

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WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHURCH DURING HOLY WEEK?

HOLY WEEK

During Holy Week the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of his life on earth, beginning with his messianic entrance into Jerusalem.

The Lenten season lasts until the Thursday of this week. The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, is continued through Good Friday with the celebration of the Passion of the Lord and Holy Saturday, to reach its summit in the Easter Vigil. It concludes with Vespers of Easter Sunday. The days of Holy Week, from Monday to Thursday inclusive, have precedence over all other celebrations. It is not fitting that Baptisms or Confirmation be celebrated on these days.

Holy Week begins on ‘Passion (or Palm) Sunday’ which joins the foretelling of Christ’s regal triumph and the proclamation of the Passion. The connection between both aspects of the paschal mystery should be shown and explained in the celebration and catechesis of this day.

The Commemoration of the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem has, according to ancient custom, been celebrated with a solemn procession, in which the faithful in song and gesture imitate the Hebrew children who went to meet the Lord singing ‘Hosanna’.

The procession may take place only once, before the Mass which has the largest attendance, even if this should be in the evening either of Saturday or Sunday. The congregation should assemble in a secondary church or chapel in some other suitable place distinct from the church to which the procession will move.

In this procession the faithful carry palm or other branches. The priest and the ministers (also carrying branches) precede the people.

The palms or branches are blessed so that they can be carried in the procession. The palms should be taken home, where they will serve as a reminder of the victory of Christ which the community celebrated in the procession.

Pastors should make every effort to ensure that this procession in honour of Christ the King be so prepared and celebrated that it is of great spiritual significance in the life of the faithful.

In addition to the solemn procession described above, the Missal gives two other forms to commemorate the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem. This is not simply for convenience, but to provide for those situations when it will not be possible to have a procession.

The second form is that of a solemn entrance, when the procession cannot take place outside the church.

The third form is a simple entrance such as is used at all Masses on this Sunday which do not have the solemn entrance.

Where the Mass cannot be celebrated, there should be a celebration of word of God on the theme of the Lord’s messianic entrance and passion, either on Saturday evening or on Sunday at a convenient time.

During the procession, the choir and people should sing the chants proposed in the Roman Missal, especially psalms 23 and 46, as well as other appropriate songs in honour of Christ the King.

The Passion narrative occupies a special place. It should be sung or read in the traditional way, that is by three persons; one takes the part of Christ, another is the narrator, while the third represents the people. The Passion is proclaimed by deacons or priests, or by lay readers; in the latter case, the part of Christ should be reserved to the priest.

The proclamation of the Passion should be without candles or incense; the greeting and the signs of the cross are omitted; only a deacon asks for the blessing, as he does before the Gospel.

For the spiritual good of the faithful the Passion should be proclaimed in its entirety, and the readings which precede it should not be omitted.

After the Passion has been proclaimed, a homily is to be given.

THE CHRISM MASS

The Chrism Mass, which the bishop concelebrates with his presbyterium and at which the Holy Chrism is consecrated and the oils blessed, manifests the communion of the priests with their bishop in the same priesthood and ministry of Christ. To this Mass, the priest who concelebrate with the bishop should come from different parts of the diocese, thus showing in the consecration of the Chrism that they are his witnesses and cooperators, just as in their daily ministry they are his helpers and counsellors.
The faithful are also to be encouraged to participate in this Mass, and to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Traditionally the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Thursday of Holy Week. If however, it should prove to be difficult for the clergy and people to gather with the bishop, this rite can be transferred to another day, but always close to Easter. The Chrism and the oil of catechumens is to be used in the celebration of the sacraments of initiation on Easter night.

There should be only one celebration of the Chrism Mass given its significance in the life of the diocese, and it should take place in the cathedral or, for pastoral reasons, in another church which has a special significance.

The Holy Oils can be brought to the individual parishes before the celebration of the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, or at some other suitable time. This can be a means of catechizing the faithful about the use and effects of the Holy Oils and Chrism in Christian life.

THE PENITENTIAL CELEBRATIONS IN LENT

It is fitting that the Lenten season should be concluded with a penitential celebration, both for the individual Christian as well as for the whole Christian community, so that they may be helped to prepare to celebrate more fully the paschal mystery.
These celebrations should take place before the Easter Triduum, and should not immediately precede the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
– Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 16 January 1988

 

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