Friday, March 30, 2007

Feast days of the week Holy Week 1-7 April, A.D. 2007 (1962 liturgical calendar).

Holy Week

"Extract from the General Decree of November 16, 1955, which restored the Liturgy of Holy Week:

'Of the weeks in the Church's year Holy Week is truly singular for the fullness, majesty, and devotion of the ceremonies. From apostolic times special care had been taken to celebrate the central mysteries of our Redemption, and in the course of time three days - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - came to be set apart for the liturgical memory of Christ crucified, Christ buried, Christ risen. A little later was added a fourth day, of solemn ritual remembrance of the institution of the most Holy Eucharist. A further addition was made on the previous Sunday, to celebrate the triumphant entry into His holy city of Christ our Lord, Messias and King.

Originally these rites were performed at the hour of day at which had occurred the scenes liturgically represented. Thus the Mass on Thursday was celebrated, as the Last Supper had been, in the evening; the liturgical action of the Friday took place, as had taken place the climax of our Lord's Passion, in the afternoon; and late on the Saturday evening began the solemn vigil that ended early the first day of the week of the Resurrection.

In the middle ages various causes conspired to bring them forward earlier and earlier into the day, so that eventually they became morning functions, impairing the earlier harmony given in the Gospel narratives. This disharmony was most glaring on Saturday, which became liturgically the day of the Resurrection instead of that day's eve, and, liturgically again, from a day of darkest mourning became a day of light and gladness.

In the days of faith these three days, the Sacred Triduum, were days of obligation, and the faithful, freed from servile work, were able to take their part in the morning celebrations in great numbers. By the seventeenth century social and religious conditions had altered so greatly that in 1642 the Sacred Triduum was removed from the days of obligation and the three days became officially what they had long been in practice: ordinary workdays. The beautiful solemn liturgy of Holy Week had by this time become unknown to and unappreciated by all save the clergy and a handful of the faithful. A partial remedy was sought by introducing extra-liturgical devotions each evening (Holy Hour, Three Hours, Mater Dolorosa sermon, Stations of the Cross); but these lack much of the great dignity and sacramental power and efficacy of liturgical celebrations.

To bring an end to this serious loss liturgists, parish clergy, and Bishops in every part of the world have long begged the Holy See to restore the liturgical actions of the Sacred Triduum to their proper hours in the evening. This was a serious undertaking, calling for much thought and consultation. In 1951 the Easter Vigil liturgy was restored to late evening by the way of experiment, and in 1953 the Apostolic Constitution 'Christus Dominus' permitted Mass to be said and Communion to be received in the evening on certain days in the year. From every country the Holy See received reports of greatly increased attendance and fervour. A Commission was appointed to investigate further and propose definite action, and the Sacred Congregation of Rites concurred with the action proposed. The Restored Ordo for Holy Week was published in November 1955. The following prescriptions are noteworthy:

1. The Restored Ordo for Holy Week affects all the faithful of the Roman Rite, but not those who follow other Latin Rites.

2. It takes effect from March 25, 1956.

3. Sunday in Holy Week is officially named: 'Second Sunday in Passiontide, or Palm Sunday'.

4. Matins and Lauds for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, if sung in common, are to be said in the morning, not the previous evening.

5. On Thursday and Friday Vespers are omitted, since the liturgical functions of the two days replace them, Compline is chanted in choir after the function.

6. On Holy Saturday the Vigil celebration replaces both Vespers and Compline.

7. The Mass of the Last Supper should not begin earlier than 5 p.m. or later than 8 p.m.

8. Friday's liturgical action should begin after noon, preferably about 3 p.m., but the Diocesan Bishop may permit it to begin later, but not later than 6 p.m.

9. The Paschal Vigil should ideally be celebrated after sunset on Saturday evening.

Not only have the times been radically altered, but the ceremonies themselves have been modified. This is mainly be way of shortening and simplification: and the intention isa to make the main ideas of each function stand out more clearly. For the most parts these changes are not innovations. They are mainly a return to an older form, more in line with what was known in the days of St. Wilfrid and St. Bede.

The desire of the Holy See in all this is that the Holy Week Liturgy should be celebrated everywhere with the greatest solemnity possible, and that the people should in some way take and active share.'"

Sunday, 1 April, 2007
Second Sunday of Passiontide (Palm Sunday) (I)
"Extract from the General Decree restoring Holy Week:

'Let the faithful be invited to take part in the Procession of the Palms in greater numbers, thus rendering Christ the King public witness of their love and gratitude.’

The Second Sunday in Passiontide would be in any case a great and holy day as it commemorates the last triumph of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth and opens Holy Week. On this day, the Church celebrates the triumphant entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem; when the multitude, going before and following after Him, cut off the branches from the trees and strewed them in His way, shouting: ‘Hosanna (glory and praise) to the Son of David. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.’ It is in commemoration of this triumph that palms are blessed and borne in solemn procession.

In fact, this Palm Sunday triumph of Our Lord only led to His death. But we know that this death was not a failure. It was through His Passion and Death that he conquered the world and entered into His Kingdom. ‘I, if I be lifted up … will draw all thing to myself’ (John 12:32). So the Church asks the faithful to join in the triumphal Procession today as an act of homage and gratitude to Christ our King. This triumphal beginning to Holy Week is full of meaning. Although the purple Mass vestments and the Gospel of the Passion remind us that the Cross lies ahead, we already know that this is the means of victory. So the church asks us to begin Holy Week by joyfully and publicly acknowledging Christ the King.

The principal ceremonies of the day are the Blessing of the Palms, the Procession, and the Mass with the reading of the Passion. The Blessing of the Palms used to follow a ritual similar to that of the Mass, - having an Epistle, a Gospel, a Preface, and a Sanctus. The Epistle referred to the murmuring of the Israelites in the desert, and their sighing for the flesh-pots of Egypt. The Gospel was the same as now, describing the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The prayers which followed the Sanctus, asked God to ‘bless the branches of palm … so that whoever receives them may find protection of soul and body … that into whatever place they shall be brought, those there may obtain His blessing; that the devout faithful may understand the mystical meaning of the ceremony, that is, that the palms represent triumph over the prince of death … and therefore the use of them declares both the greatness of the victory and the richness of God’s mercy.’

Here we clearly have the remains of the early usage of having two Masses on this day: one for the Blessing of the Palms, the other after the Procession. The prayers of the Blessing, the Antiphons sung during the Procession, and the hymn Gloria laus, make this one of the most impressive ceremonies of the liturgical year."
Gospel (Procession of the Palms): Matt 21:1-9.
Epistle (Mass): Philippians 2:5-22.
Gospel (First Mass): Matt 26:36-75; 27:1-66.
Gospel (Later Masses): Matt: 27:45-52.
Gospel (Last Gospel, Masses without Blessing of Palms): Matt 21:1-9.

Monday, 2 April, 2007
Monday in Holy Week (I)
Day of Fast (Traditional)
Lesson: Isaias 50:5-10.
Gospel: John 12:1-9.

St. Francis of Paula, Confessor (III)
“He founded the Order of Minims, whose name shows that they wished to be accounted the least in the household of God. Summoned to France, he died there in A.D. 1508.”
Epistle: Philippians 3:7-12.
Gospel: Luke 9:1-6.

Tuesday, 3 April, 2007
Tuesday in Holy Week (I)
Day of fast (Traditional)
Lesson: Jeremias 11:18-20.
Gospel: Mark 14:32-72; 15:1-46.

Wednesday, 4 April, 2007
Wednesday in Holy Week (I)
Day of fast (Traditional)
Lesson: Isaias 62:11; 63:1-7.
Lesson: Isaias 53:1-12.
Gospel: Luke 22:39-71; 23:1-53.

St. Isidore, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church (III)
“St. Isidore succeeded his brother as Archbishop of Seville. He was a master of ecclesiastical learning in Spain and a great Doctor of the Church. He died A.D. 636.”
Epistle: II Timothy 4:1-8.
Gospel: Matt 5:13-19.

Thursday, 5 April, 2007
Day of fast (Traditional)
“From the General Decree of November 16, 1955 restoring the Liturgy of Holy Week (Maxima Redemptionis):

‘Let the faithful be taught about the love with which Christ our Lord ‘on the day before He suffered’ instituted the sacred and holy Eucharist, sacrifice and Sacrament, the perpetual memorial of His Passion, to be offered day by day through the ministry of His priests. Let the faithful be invited to render due adoration after the end of the Mass to the most holy Sacrament. Finally, wherever to illustrate the Lord’s commandment of brotherly love the Washing of the Feet is carried out according to the restored rubrics, let the faithful be taught the deep significance of this holy rite, and let them spend this day in works of Christian charity.’

The Mass today, which by order of Pope Pius XII should not begin before 5 p.m. or after 8 p.m., specially commemorates the Institution of the Blessed Eucharist at the Last Supper, and the Ordination of the Apostles, and is, therefore, a Mass of joy and thanksgiving. Hence the Church lays aside for the moment the penitential purple, and assumes festive white vestments; the Altar is decorated; the Gloria is said. During the Gloria the bells are rung, and from that time until the Easter Vigil they remain silent.

At pontifical Mass the oils are blessed for Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Extreme Unction and the consecration of altars and churches.

On this day an extra Ciborium is consecrated for the ‘Mass’ of the Presanctified (hence the name) on Good Friday. After the Mass this Ciborium is borne in solemn Procession, during which the Pange Lingua is sung, to the Altar of Repose.

The derivation of the word Maundy reminds us of the ceremony of washing the feet, called Mandatum, from the first words of the Antiphon: Mandatum novum do vobis
(John 13:34). The Mandatum takes place on this day because our Lord washed the feet of His Apostles before the Institution of the Holy Eucharist from which this feast (in Latin Feria Quinta in Coena Domini) derives its most characteristic features. The Epistle, Gospel, Secret, Communicantes (special form), the Postcommunion, the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass, and the placing of the Ciborum of Hosts consecrated during the Mass in a tabernacle at the ‘Altar of Repose’ where It is to remain until the following day, are all intended to commemorate the institution of this Divine Sacrament. This day was the only Feast of the Blessed Sacrament up to the time when a special and very solemn Feast was instituted on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Private Masses are forbidden on this day. There is a general Communion at the Solemn Mass in which the priest takes part, to commemorate the custom of ancient times, when in cathedral churches the holy Sacrifice was offered by the Bishop, surrounded by his priests. Another ancient rite of this day is the Blessing of the Holy Oils and the reconciliation of public penitents. The only trace of the reconciliation of the penitents in our present Roman Missal is the Collect of the Mass ‘Deus a quo’ which is very ancient. In the early Middle Ages, when these ceremonies were observed, three Masses were celebrated on this day: (1) in memory of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, (2) for the Blessing of the Holy Oils, and (3) for the reconciliation of public penitents. The second of these Masses is celebrated by the Bishop before noon in his Cathedral Church surrounded by his clergy.

After the evening Mass the Altar is stripped in order to show that the holy Sacrifice is interrupted and will not be offered again until Holy Saturday is ending.”

The Mass of the Chrism
“During this Mass the Bishop blesses the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick, and perfects the Chrism by mixing blessed oil of olives with the blessed balsam…”
Epistle: James 5:13-16.
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13.

The Mass of the Last Supper.
Epistle: I Paul 11:20-32.
Gospel: John 13:1-15.

St. Vincent Ferrer, Confessor (III)
“A famous Dominican who gave lustre to the Church by his preaching and miracles. He converted thousands of sinners and heretics. He died A.D. 1419.”
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 31:8-11.
Gospel: Luke 12:35-40.

Friday, 6 April, 2007
Day of fast (Obligatory)
“Extract from the General Decree restoring the Liturgy of Holy Week:

‘Let the faithful be led to understand properly today’s special liturgical act, in which the Passion of our Lord is solemnly chanted: prayers offered for the needs of the whole Church and the human race: the Holy Cross, monument of our Redemption, is adored most devoutly by clergy and faithful, the whole family of Christ: finally, as for hundreds of years was the practice, all who wish and are duly prepared go forward to receive Communion, with this as their chief intention, that by devoutly receiving the Body of the lord (which He delivered this day for all men) they may enjoy richer fruits of that Redemption. Let the priests urge the faithful to make this sacred day one of loving recollection, neither should they forget the law of abstinence and fasting.’

The instruction given by Pope Pius XII stipulates that Good Friday’s solemn liturgy take place after noon; the best time would be three o’clock. The same Pope revives the old practice of all receiving Communion this day as a necessary part of the liturgical function. This consists of four main divisions, each of which has its own historical interest, the whole forming a dramatic representation of the Sacred passion.

I,II. The first two parts consist of reading from Scripture and a prayer, followed by St. John’s story of the Passion, and concluded by a long series of prayers for the various intentions. In this part we have preserved the form of the earliest Christian prayer-meeting, a service which was derived from the Jewish Synagogue. To this service of Scriptural readings the celebration of the Eucharist was afterwards joined to form the one solemn act of worship now called the ‘Mass’. The Mass still preserves these distinct divisions: the first from the beginning to the Offertory, in which the Introit and Gloria are included; the second from the Offertory to the Communion. The first division is called the Mass of the Catechumens, (for the Catechumens were not permitted to remain for the celebration of the Eucharist); the second the Mass of the Faithful.

III. The third part consists of the unveiling and adoration of the Cross. This ceremony was originally connected with the relic of the true Cross, and had its origin in Jerusalem. A veiled Crucifix is gradually exposed to view, and three times at the words Venite adoremus the faithful kneel in adoration of the Cross.

IV. The fourth part, the Communion of the Priest and people, completes what used to be known as the Mass of the Presacntified. Today’s liturgy clearly does not constitute a Mass, for there is no Consecration; all who communicate receive sacred particles consecrated at the Mass of the previous day. This form of ‘Mass’ is familiar in the Greek rite.

The service opens with a Mass of the Catechumens in what is perhaps its oldest and simplest form. It has neither Introit, Gloria, nor Credo, but consists merely of two lessons, followed each by a Tract, also taken from the Prophets. The Gospel is the story of the Passion according to St. John. This is followed by the most ancient form of intercession. The Priest (formerly the Deacon) makes a solemn appeal to the faithful, telling for whom each prayer is to be offered: for the Church, the Pope, the Bishops, Priests, etc., the Jews, pagans, heretics, prisoners, etc. The Flectamus genua is said and all kneel down to pray until the Subdeacon bids them to rise. Then the Celebrant turns to God, Almighty and Eternal, and formulates the prayer in the name of all. This was the oldest form of Collect or public prayer.

The Adoration of the Cross, which follows the Collect, is a rite by itself. The veneration of the Cross is very old and found expression most naturally on Good Friday. The ceremony observed in the fourth century, in the Church of Golgotha, differs little from that carried out at the present day, in the church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (where the most precious relics of the Passion are preserved) and in all our Catholic churches. The antiphons and repositories which are sung during the adoration of the Cross, are called Improperia or Reproaches. They form one of the most tragic features of this Friday service, which is a real drama and suggested the mediaeval Passion-plays.

The Adoration of the Cross is followed by a short service. The ciborium containing the sacred Hosts consecrated the day before is brought in silence with the simplest of ceremonial from the Altar of Repose. Preparation for Communion itself is followed at once by three prayers of thanksgiving. These end the day’s solemn functions.”
Lesson: Exodus 12:1-11.
Gospel: John 18:1-40; 19:1-42.

Pater noster, qui es in coelis:
Santificetur nomen tuum.
Adveniat regnum tuum.
Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum quotidianum do nobis hodie:
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in tentotianem:
Sed libera nos a malo.

Saturday, 7 April 2007
Day of fast (Traditional)
“Holy Saturday is liturgically a day of deepest mourning, a day which the Church spends at our Lord’s sepulcher, meditating on His Sacred Passion and Death. There is no Mass; the sacred altar is bare.

The Solemn Easter Vigil service, for which Pope Pius XII gave permission in 1951 and made obligatory in 1956 (not to be confused with a Holy Day of Obligation – TPC), is intended to show liturgically how life and grace flow to us from the death of our Lord; the Light of the World is exhibited under the symbol of the Paschal Candle, dispelling the night of sin by the light of grace; the Exultet – the Easter Proclamation – is the song that heralds Easter, singing of the brightness of the holy night of Resurrection; the Lessons taken from the ancient prophecies tell of God’s wonderful dealings with His people under the Old Covenant, faint types of the glorious happenings that were to come to pass under the New; the waters for Baptism are blessed – those waters in which those who have been buried along with Christ, die to sin and with him rise and walk in newness of life; this grace he has won for us, and in Baptism bestowed on us; by renewal of our baptismal promises we publicly announce our purpose to show forth this newness in our daily lives; and finally the Church Triumphant is called on to intercede for us, and the Mass of the resurrection begins.

The hour for beginning this solemn service should be selected so that the Mass of the Resurrection may begin about midnight; but the Bishop of the Diocese may judge it better for special reasons to begin earlier; nevertheless, this earlier start should be later than twilight, and on no account before sunset.”

Lessons from the Prophecies
“These four lessons from the Old Testament prepare us for what is to come. The first is the story of Creation, and the prayer at the end reminds us how God, who created us at the beginning, has more wonderfully redeemed us. The second is the story of the Exodus from Egypt, followed by the singing of Moses’ canticle of triumph after crossing the Red Sea. The prayer tells us how these wonderful events are even more wonderfully repeated now by our deliverance from the slavery of sin through the Water of Baptism. The third is one of the great prophecies of Isaias. It tells how God is going to create a new, spiritual people – His Catholic Church, and is followed by Isaias’s song about God’s favourite vineyard, His Chosen People. The prayer reminds us that we are the vineyard, cared for by God’s own hands. In the last lesson, Moses, the leader of God’s people in the Old Testament, reminds them that they must now keep the Law He has given them: and this is repeated in the Song of Moses which follows. We, too, must keep the New law of Christ, a law no longer of fear but of joy (Rom 8:15).”
The First Lesson: Gen 1:1-31; 2:1-2.
The Second Lesson: Exodus 14:24-31; 15:1.
The Third Lesson: Isaias 4:2-6.
The Fourth Lesson: Deuteronomy 31:22-30.

The First Solemn Mass of Easter Sunday
Epistle: Colossians 3:1-4.
Gospel: Matt 28:1-7.

[1] Remarks are abstracted from The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, from Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962
(Baronius Press Limited, London, 2004, in conjunction with the Fraternal Society of St. Peter,

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