Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mandy Thursday Evening - Tenebrae of Good Friday



At the usual time Compline is recited on a monotone, as the Little Hours this morning. The altar candles are not lit. Again its form is absolute simplicity beginning with the Confiteorand the usual Sunday psalms, Nunc dimittis and then Christus factus est, Miserere and Respice as at the other Hours. At Compline this evening only Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem is said as it is still part of the Office of Mandy Thursday.

Tenebrae for Good Friday follows Compline, or after a short gap. In practice Compline can be chanted in the time it takes to light the altar candles and candles on the Tenebrae hearse. The service of Tenebrae is structurally the same as that sung for Mandy Thursday and the differences will be noted below.

The choir altar is as it was after the stripping this morning with six candlesticks and altar Cross veiled now in black (preferably) or violet. At Mattins the first antiphon is Astiterunt reges. The psalms are strictly proper: in the first nocturn Pss. 2, 21 & 26; in the second nocturn Pss. 37, 39 & 53; and, in the third nocturn Pss. 58, 87 & 93. After the last verse of each psalm a candle is extinguished on the hearse. The Lamentations of Jeremy form the first nocturn lessons. The second nocturn lessons are again from St. Augustine on the psalms and in the third nocturn from St. Paul to the Hebrews.

Lauds follow Mattins immediately beginning with the antiphon Proprio Filio suo etc. Psalms 50, 142, 84, Domine audivi auditionem & 147. The antiphon on the Benedictus is Posuerunt super caput ejus etc, sung to the same tone as last night and doubled. Exactly the same ceremonies take place as last night. When the Christus factus est is sung Mortem autem crucis is now added.

After Tenebrae in Cathedral and larger churches the Ceremonial Washing of the Altars takes place. The bare mensae ar ewashed with a mixture of water and wine and the surface scoured with brushes and dried with towels whilst Diviserunt and psalm 21 is monotoned. After this service Christus factus est ... Mortem autem crucis is added.



In the 1962 liturgical books 'Tenebrae' is celebrated tomorrow morning when, according to the rubrics, there are no candlesticks and no Cross on the altar at all.

Mandy Thurday Afternoon - The Mandatum


In the afternoon the Mandatum ceremony takes place. Dr. Glover never celebrated this so there are no photographs from Durham. However, the above is taken from Herbert Thurston's 'Lent and Holy Week'. The drawing shows the pope washing the feet of thirteen paupers on Mandy Thursday.

A procession to a suitable place is made with the celebrant vested in violet stole and cope assisted by a deacon in white stole, maniple and dalmatic, and subdeacon in white tunicle and maniple. The ministers make the usual reverences to the altar and the deacon lays the Evangeliarium on the mensa. All follows exactly as for the Gospel at High Mass and the same Gospel that was sung this morning is again proclaimed.


(The above photograph taken from St. Gertrude the Great's website shows Bishop Dolan vested in violet cope and golden mitre entering for the Mandatum.)

After the Gospel the celebrant removes the violet cope and puts on an apron. The ministers remove their maniples. Meanwhile thirteen men seated on benches remove their shoes and socks. Acolytes take a basin, ewer, towels and a plate bearing coins to the first man. The celebrant kneels before the man and water is poured over his right foot, held by the subdeacon. The deacon passes a towel to the celebrant (with the usual oscula) and the celebrant dries the man's foot and kisses it. He then gives the man a coin who takes it and kisses the celebrant's hand. This process is repeated for all thirteen men.


(This photograph shows Bishop Dolan carrying out the moving act of Christ kissing the foot of His disciples.)

During this the choir sings the antiphon Mandatum novum (the text giving Mandy Thursday its English name). Eight other antiphons are provided including the famous Ubi caritas. After the last man's foot is washed the celebrant and ministers return to the credence where the celebrant washes his hands and resumes the violet cope. They go to the Epistle corner and there the celebrant intones Pater noster (continued in silence), some versicles and the collect Adesto. All then return to the sacristy.

The Roman authors mention that the feet of thirteen paupers are washed and that after the service they are given a good dinner, new clothes and some money. This admirable tradition of course continues with Our Sovereign Lady, Her Majesty The Queen, distributing the Royal Maundy Money as She did today in Blackburn.
(Photograph: Lancashire Telegraph)

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Mandatum normally takes place after the Gospel of the novel evening Mass. The feet of twelve men, not thirteen, are washed but the feet are no longer kissed. The antiphon Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas is omitted. After the Washing of the feet the celebrant no longer returns to the Missal at the Epistle corner for the versicles and prayer Adesto but sings them before the altar in plano. For all the supposed 'authenticity' of times of celebration the deformers managed to get the order of Gospel events rather inverted here.

Mandy Thursday Morning


The English name for today, Mandy Thursday (the spelling with a 'u' is relatively modern) derives from one of the key features of the day, the Mandatum, or Washing of Feet. Mandy Thursday is rather composite in its structure with many elements coming together before the celebration of the LORD's Pascha. Mandy Thursday is a Double of the First Class.

Anciently, Mandy Thursday was the day when the public penitents, previously expelled from the church on Ash Wednesday, were reconciled. When there were multiple Masses this day the first was for the reconciliation of the penitents. The rite for reconciliation, in some ways a mirror image of the rite of expulsion in that the penitents were led back into church, can still be found in the Pontificale Romanum. Interestingly, this rite clearly, in somewhat reduced forms, continued until modern times. Perusing an Ordo for 1943 for the Diocese of Angers part of the entry for Mandy Thursday reads "In Ecclesia Cath. Post Nonam, Preces Quadragesimales seu absolutionis."
The photograph above was taken about 1993 and is of Dr. Glover's former chapel at Sacriston, Durham. The colour balance of the photograph has not worked to well, the antependium and veils were actually violet.

In the morning the Hours of Prime, Terce, Sext and None are chanted in aggregation. The choir altar remains vested as it was yesterday evening for Tenebrae with a violet antependium, lighted candles of unbleached wax and a violet veil on the Cross. The Little Hours take on a special and much simplified form during the Triduum in the Roman rite.

The choir enters the sanctuary, seniores ante inferiores, and kneels for Aperi, Domini then rises whilst a Pater noster, Ave Maria and Credo are said on the lips. The usual start of the Hours is omitted, as are antiphons, and Prime begins with the first verse of Psalm 53, Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac being intoned by the duty side cantor. The choir Signs itself at the opening words. The psalms are monotoned the verses taken by alternate sides of choir. Gloria Patri is not sung or said during the Triduum. After the last verse of Ps. 53 the choir continues, without break or intonation, with the first stanza of Ps. 118, Beati immaculati, and then with the second stanza Retribue. At the last verse a fall of a tone is made on the last syllable.

The choir kneels and Christus factus est recited as far as ad mortem. A Pater noster is then said by all and the Miserere monotoned in a subdued voice. Other than polyphonic settings that may be sung at Tenebrae the Miserere is never sung at the other Hours of the Triduum but always chanted as above. During the last verse of the Miserere again a fall of a tone is made on the last syllable. The Hebdomadarius then montones the collect Respice, falling a tone at the last syllable of tormentum and then the conclusion is said in silence.

The choir rises and says a Pater noster and Ave Maria on their lips. Terce then proceeds as Prime had done the choir Signing at Legem pone mihi. A fall of a tone is made at the end of the third stanza of Ps. 118 and everything repeated as at Prime: Christus factus est, Pater noster, Miserere and collect Respice. Sext and None follow in the same manner.

After None the choir rises and the Hebdomadarius and ministers for Mass go to the sacristy to vest. Meanwhile the choir altar is prepared for Mass. The unbleached candles are changed for ones of lighted bleached wax, a white antependium is laid over the violet one and a white veil placed over the altar Cross.



Mass is celebrated in white vestments. Today two Hosts are consecrated and thus placed on the paten before Mass. The organ may be played to the end of the Gloria in excelsis. The psalm Judica me is not said as the Mass is de Tempore. Gloria Patri is not sung at the introit, Nos autem, or at any of the other chants. As the Gloria in excelsis is sung may be rung. There is one collect. The Credo is sung. The preface is of the Cross, the Communicantes, Hanc igitur and Qui pridie are all proper in the Canon. The Agnus Dei is sung as usual but the Pax is not given.

When the celebrant has communicated he takes the second Host and places it in a second chalice. The deacon then covers this chalice with a pall then an upside down paten over which is placed a white silk veil which is then secured with a ribbon tied around the stem of the chalice. (If the celebrant is without a deacon the chalice is veiled but the ribbon not tied at this point as tying a ribbon with ones thumb and digit held together is not practical. In this case the tying takes place after the ablutions). Mass now proceeds following the rules coram Sanctissimo - basically no one turns their back to the Sacrament. Holy Communion is distibuted as normal following the Confiteor etc.

After the distribution of Communion Mass continues, Ite, missa est is the dismissal sung by the deacon and the blessing and last Gospel follow their normal course - with the coram Santissimo changes in ceremonial. The ministers reverence the altar at the end of Mass and go to the sedilia where they remove their maniples and the celebrant dons a white cope. The ministers return to the altar, prostrate and kneel on the lowest step. Incense is put on two thuribles but not blessed. The reserved Sacrament is censed. The celebrant is then given a white humeral veil and the deacon presents him with the veiled chalice. A procession is made to the altar of repose whilst Pange, lingua, gloriosi Corporis is sung. At the altar of repose a further censing takes place and the veiled chalice is placed inside the capsula.



After due reverence to the Sacrament the ministers of the Mass return to the sacristy to take off their white vestments. However, the rest of the choir return to the choir altar. During the procession and ceremonies at the altar of repose the white veil is removed from the altar Cross, the white frontal removed and the candles exchanged for ones of lighted unbleached wax.

Vespers are begun at once and are again chanted to a monotone or sung where this is the custom. Vespers does have antiphons for today and tomorrow. After a Pater noster and Ave Maria the service starts with the first antiphon, Calicem salutaris. As this is intoned, the choir Signs itself. The antiphon is doubled and the psalm follows. If Vespers are not sung a drop of a tone is made at the end of the last verse of each psalm before the repitition of the antiphon. The psalms of Vespers today, and tomorrow, are Pss. 115, 119, 139, 140 & 141. After the last antiphon has been repeated Christus factus est etc is chanted to a monotone as at the Little Hours. During the Miserere a second priest in white stole removes the Sacrament from the tabernacle (if present) and takes it to the place - not the altar of repose - where it will be reserved until Holy Saturday. This Sacrament is used for sick calls during the Triduum and is not adored.

In Cathedral churches the Holy Oils are consecrated during this,single, Mass. The consecration of the Oils is, of course, associated with the initiation of those who were to be baptised on Holy Saturday and today is the last day the Eucharist is celebrated before the various anointings after baptism.

After Vespers the ministers of Mass return with the priest and deacon in vested in violet stoles. The celebrant of the Mass monotones the antiphon Diviserunt sibi which the choir continues followed by Psalm 21. The choir altar (and then other altars if present) are then stripped of cloths, frontal etc leaving only the veiled Cross and candlesticks. The candles and sanctuary lamp are extinguished. Lustral water is removed from the entrances to the church. The brethren retire for their collation.

The 'stripped' altar in the Union Debating Chamber appears below. As it consisted of a tressle table supported by chairs it was deemed better to have a base covering of black stuff. The compilator emeritus of the Ordo, the esteemed Mr. John Tyson, being a purist was most upset and said he would prefer to see a pile of chairs than any semblance of vesting!


In the 'liturgical books of 1962' 'Tenebrae' so-called takes place in the morning outside Cathedral churches as noted in the previous post. In Cathedrals a Chrism Mass, created in 1956, takes place. Some of the texts appear to be committee work innovations. Part of the previous text for the consecration of the Chrism has been cut and pasted to create a preface for the new Mass. The last Gospel is not part of this new Mass. After its celebration a rubric in OHSI and MR1962 orders Sext and None to follow in choir. Vespers are completely omitted today by those attending the evening Mass. The mandatory evening Mass takes place where the tabernacle is empty to begin with. The Creed is omitted. Only one Host is consecrated along with a ciborium for Communion today and tomorrow. After the Gospel the Mandatum may take place and the feet of twelve men are washed, the celebrant versus populum for the collect. In the Mass the third petition of Agnus Dei is miserere nobis and the prayer Domine, Jesu Christi omitted. The Confiteor and absolution before Communion is suppressed for the first time, later of course abrogated throughout the whole year except on Good Friday, Benedicamus Domino replaces Ite, missa est, there is no blessing and the last Gospel omitted. Watching at the altar of repose ceases at midnight. At Compline the collect Respice is replaced by Visita quaesumus.c

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Spy Wednesday Evening - Tenebrae of Mandy Thursday


The photograph (of a photograph) above was taken on Spy Wednesday evening 1995 just before the singing of <i>Tenebrae </i>in the Union Debating Chamber of the University of Durham. Even twenty-odd years on the 'Glover Triduum' remains one the most remarkable Western liturgical experiences for me, and for many others. It all seems a life-time ago and yet as of yesterday. Happy memories indeed.

Mandy Thursday is a Double of the First Class and its liturgical colour is violet, except for the Mass in the morning. During the late afternoon of Spy Wednesday (following the practice in Rome), or in the early evening, the service of Tenebrae is sung. Tenebrae is Mattins and Lauds, as usual anticipated, of the following liturgical day but the Office of the Triduum shows signs of antiquity and has developed a ceremonial extinguishing of candles that mimetically represent the desertion of the LORD by his disciples and the days of darkness - hence the name. Pius XII's wreckovators of the 1950s completely got this wrong - like so much else - and, following the rationalist ideas expressed by people such as the Jesuit Herbert Thurston in the early years of the twentieth century, decided the candles were merely extinguished as dawn was approaching and the psalmody of Lauds was more familiar so books were not needed. The consequence of these ideas is the spectacle of the new rite service of extinguishing candles at a service often starting at 10:00am in broad daylight - so much for the supposed 'correct' time of celebration of services! The definitive work on the time of Tenebrae A.J. MacGregor, 'Fire and Light in the Western Triduum', Alcuin Club Collection 71, 1992, demonstrates that Tenebrae was never celebrated in the daylight hours until the Pacellian deforms.

After Compline of Spy Wednesday the Palms that have decorated the church since Sunday are removed. The choir altar retains its violet antependia and the Blessed Sacrament removed if It is present. The altar cross is veiled in violet and the candlesticks, the plainest set used on Good Friday, have six lighted candles of unbleached wax.

In Rome Tenebrae in the Papal Chapel was celebrated very early so the rays of the setting sun would pass through a window of the Sistine Chapel. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum mentions Tenebrae starting progressively later each day of the Triduum. In practice the service 'works best' if it at least ends in near darkness. The church bells are rung today to announce the beginning of the service but are silent for the other two evenings.

In the sanctuary in about the place where the Epistle is sung is placed the Tenebrae hearse. The hearse, for the Roman rite, bears fifteen lighted candles of unbleached wax. The choir enters, seniores ante inferiores, and take their places and kneel to say Aperi, Domine. When the choir rises the sign of the Cross is made as the cantors intone the first antiphon of Mattins, Zelus domus tuae etc. This is sung in full and then the first psalm Salvum me fac, Deus is intoned by the cantors. At the end of the psalm (there is no Gloria Patri during the Triduum) the lowest candle on the Gospel side of the hearse is extinguished. Before the 1911-13 reform the chant books had a special cadence at the end of each psalm, a drop of a fourth, which presumably was an audible indication for the acolyte to extinguish a candle. Then the next antiphon is sung with its psalm etc. After the first three psalms there is a versicle and response and then all stand for a silent Pater noster. During the Triduum there are no absolutions and blessings at Mattins. The psalms of Mattins for Tenebrae on Mandy Thursday are really the first nine of the twelve ferial psalms from the pre-Pius X Breviary for Mattins. In the reformed Breviary they appear 'proper' but are in fact the ancient practice. They are: I nocturn: 68, 69, 70; II nocturn: 71, 72, 73; and III nocturn: 74, 75, 76.

Then follows the Lamentations of Jeremy the Prophet as first nocturn lessons. These are based on a Hebrew acrostic. The first verse thus begins with 'Aleph'. The verses have several special tones in plainsong and have been set to polyphony by various composers. The lessons are sung from a lectern medio chori. A responsory follows the first lessons as usual at Mattins. After the third responsory the second nocturn begins and has lessons from St. Augustine on the psalms. The third nocturn has lessons from St. Paul to the Corinthians on the foundation of the Holy Eucharist. At Tenebrae the Hebdomadarius does not chant the ninth lesson. At the end of Mattins the Tenebrae Hearse has five candles extinguished on the Gospel side and four on the Epistle side with six remaining lit candles.

Lauds follow immediately. The psalms sung at Lauds are Pss. 50, 89, 35, Cantemus Domino, 146. After each psalm of Lauds a further candle is extinguished so that after the last psalm only the candle on the summit of the hearse is still alight. After the last antiphon is repeated a versicle and response follow. Then the antiphon on the Benedictus is intoned, which for Mandy Thursday is Traditor autem dedit eis signum, dicens: Quem osculatus fuero, ispe est, tenete eum. The concept of the betrayal of Judas is key to the day. The plainsong for the Benedictus is the haunting tone 1g. During the last six verses each of the altar candles is extinguished beginning with the outside candle on the Gospel side. All other lamps in the church are now also extinguished. During the repetition of the antiphon the MC takes the candle from the hearse and places it on the mensa at the Epistle corner of the altar. All kneel and the choir now sings Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem. During this antiphon the MC hides the lit candle behind the altar. A Pater noster is now said in a low voice by all and then psalm 50, the Miserere is chanted in a subdued voice. This has been adapted by many composers into polyphonic masterpieces, perhaps the most famous being by Allegri. The Miserere was part of the ferial preces of Vespers until 1911-13. After the Miserere the collect Respice is chanted by the Hebdomadarius still kneeling. Then a strepitus or noise, is made traditionally by banging books against the stalls. On a practical point it is not a good idea to bang a valuable Holy Week book thus - use a '62 one for that purpose and bash it to death.

After the strepitus the MC brings forth the candle and returns this symbol of the light of Christ to the top of the hearse. It either remains there, or is extinguished or, what seems the better practice, is taken by the MC ahead the procession as the choir retires.

In the 'restored' rite found in the 'liturgical books of 1962' the symbolism of the service is completely and utterly lost as the service takes place in broad daylight tomorrow morning, except in Cathedral churches where the Chrism Mass is celebrated. Mattins, and Mattins only, not Lauds, is then anticipated in the Cathedral church due the the Chrism Mass the following morning - quite what one does with the remaining lit candles on the hearse and altar? Keen observers will see numeous celebrations advertised on the Web for Tenebrae in the evening supposedly under the auspices of Summorum Pontificum - more on that later.

The Music of Nicholas Wilton



An American composer, Jack Gibbons, has put together the above video which features the music of our friend of long-standing Nicholas Wilton along with images of the art of Fra Angelico.

The featured music is taken from Nicholas' CD 'Sacred Choral Music' which is available to order here.

Jeffrey Tucker of 'The Chant Cafe' wrote 'Nicholas Wilton is another of many composers of outstanding liturgical music in our time.'

Do enjoy the video and order a copy of the CD. I understand that the composer is seeking a patron.

Spy Wednesday

Wednesday in Holy Week, Spy Wednesday, is a privileged ferial day. Although of simple rite no feast may take precedence over it. A feast is either commemorated or transferred depending on its rank. The liturgical colour of the day is violet.

At Mattins the invitatory is Hodie etc and the Office hymm Pange, lingua, gloriosi. Mattins has a single nocturn. The lessons are taken from the book of Jeremy the Prophet, the responsories are proper. At the second scheme of Lauds the antiphons are proper, Libera me etc sung with psalms 50, 64, 100, Exsultavit cor meum and 145. The Office hymn is O sol salutis. After the antiphon on the BenedictusSimon, dormis etc., has been repeated after the canticle the choir kneels and the ferial preces are sung followed by the, proper, collect of the day. These same antiphons, Libera me etc., are sung at the Hours. At Prime (Pss. 25, 51, 52 & 96 the chapter is the ferial Pacem et vertiatem. The ferial preces are also sung at each of the Hours, again the choir kneeling.

At Mass, sung after None, the deacon and subdeacon wear folded chasubles. The formula is proper to the day with the introit In nomine Jesu.  After the Kyrie the celebrant sings Oremus, the deacon sings Flectamus genua and the subdeacon responds Levate. A collect is sung followed by an OT lesson from Isaiah which, in turn, is followed by a gradual. After the gradual has been sung the collect of the day is sung, preceded, as usual, with Dominus vobiscum etc., followed by the second collect,  Ecclesiae. The Passion according to St. Luke is sung (Luke 22:1-71; 23: 1-53). The preface is of the Cross, there is an Oratio super populum and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino sung by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar. Vespers follow Mass. The Office hymn is Vexilla regis sung for the penultimate time this Lent. After the antiphon on the Magnificat, Ancilla dixit etc., has been repeated the choir kneel and the preces feriales are sung. The collect, Respice, will become very familiar during the Triduum. At Compline, sung at the usual time, the Dominical preces are also sung kneeling. After Compline the Palms decorating the sanctuary etc are removed and candles of unbleached wax placed upon the altar for Tenebrae.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the day is I class.  At the Hours the ferial preces are omitted. At Prime (Pss. 25, 51, 52 the chapter is the festal Regi saeculorum. At Mass there is no additional  collect, the Passion is shortened to Luke 22: 39-71; 23:1-53 - the special Gospel portion being sung with the rest of the Passion without distinction, the dismissal is Ite, missa est and the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. Vespers are sung in the afternoon and are sung without the ferial preces. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Dominica in Palmis - Palm Sunday


Palm Sunday is a privileged semi-double Sunday of the first class and the sixth, and last, Sunday in Lent. No feast can take its place. In the Roman rite Palm Sunday, in its authentic form, is a truly magnificent day with the splendid solemn blessing of Palms and Procession before the principle Mass. It is interesting to note that this year again the number of celebrations of the traditional rite is increasing - still very small but, to coin a phrase, brick by brick!

The Office began, as usual in Lent, with Vespers yesterday morning. Vespers were sung with the antiphons and psalms of Saturday. The chapter, from Philippians, Fratres: Hoc enim senite, was proper to the Sunday. The Office hymm was Vexilla regis. The antiphon on the Magnificat, Pater juste, and collect were proper to Palm Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration was sung of St. Hermengild. The Suffrage is omitted being Passiontide. At Compline, sung at the usual time, the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins there are the usual three nocturns. The antiphons and psalms at all the nocturns are those appointed for Sundays. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the book of Jeremiah the Prophet. In the second nocturn the lessons are a sermon of St. Leo the Great and in the third a homily of St. Ambrose. The Te Deum is not sung but a ninth responsory, Circumdederunt me viri mendaces etc., is sung in its place. At Lauds the antiphons are proper, Dominus Deus etc., to Palm Sunday and the second scheme of Psalms is sung (50, 117, 62, Benedictus es, 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn is Lustra sex. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. Hermengild is sung.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons are proper to the Sunday, Pueri Hebraeorum etc. At Prime psalms 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the first two divisi of Ps. 118 are sung. The Dominical preces are sung and the short lesson is Faciem meam. At Terce the antiphon is Pueri Hebraeorum vestimenta which again will be heard shortly afterwards at the distribution of Palms.

After Terce, as usual, the Asperges ceremony takes place before Mass. The deacon and subdeacon wear violet folded chasubles. A superb set of photographs from last year is available on the website of the FSSP in Rome, Santissima Trinita dei Pelligrini, shewing the details described below. Being in Passiontide the Lesser Doxology is omitted after the verse of the Miserere. After the Asperges the celebrant and ministers proceed to the Epistle corner and begin the solemn blessing of Palms whilst the choir sing the antiphon Hosanna fili David, O Rex Israel etc. The rubrics give a direction that the Palms to be blessed at the Epistle side.



(The two photographs above and the others below - used with the kind permission of the Rector - are taken from the excellent series by Mark Coleman from St. Clement's Church in Philadelphia, USA. Note the folded chasubles and the deacon's broad stole when he is proclaiming the Gospel of the blessing of Palms.)

The blessing begins with the celebrant reading an antiphon Hosanna Filio David followed by a collect Deus, quim diligere and then the reading of an Epistle and Gospel. The normal ceremonies of High Mass are followed. The subdeacon removes his folded chasuble to sing the Epistle taken from the Book of Exodus. Following the Epistle two texts are given, Collegerunt pontifices and In monte Oliveti (the latter will appear again as a responsory during the Triduum) to be sung as a 'gradual', both may be sung.

Following the Gospel the deacon resumes his folded chasuble and the collect Auge fidem is sung followed by a preface, Sanctus and four further collects Deus, qui dispersa, Deus, qui miro, Deus, qui per olivae and Benedic quaesumus. The presence of a preface is indicative of the solemn blessing (c.f. the great blessing of waters at Epiphany). The collect Deus, qui miro is a didactic masterpiece. Readers will note the strong correlation between the text of the collect and of the second lesson of Mattins for the Saturday before Palm Sunday from St. Augustine:
O God, who, by the wonderful order of Thy disposition, hast been pleased to manifest the dispensation of our salvation even from things insensible: grant, we beseech Thee, that the devout hearts of Thy faithful may understand to their benefit what is mystically signified by the fact that on this day the multitude, taught by a heavenly illumination, went forth to meet their Redeemer, and strewed branches of palms and olive at His feet. The branches of palms, therefore, represent His triumphs over the prince of death; and the branches of olive proclaim, in a manner, the coming of a spiritual unction. For that pious multitude understood that these things were then prefigured; that our Redeemer, compassionating human miseries, was about to fight with the prince of death for the life of the whole world, and, by dying, to triumph. For which cause they dutifully ministered such things as signified in Him the triumphs of victory and the richness of mercy. And we also, with full faith, retaining this as done and signified, humbly beseech Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, that in Him and through Him, whose members Thou hast been pleased to make us, we may become victorious over the empire of death, and may deserve to be partakers of His glorious Resurrection.

The celebrant then puts on incense and blesses it. The Palms are then aspersed with lustral water, the celebrant saying in a low voice Asperges me etc, and then censed. Another collect, Deus, qui Filium is then sung. The celebrant then receives his Palm from the senior canon present. If no other priest is present the celebrant kneels and takes the Palm from the of the altar, kisses it then passes it to the subdeacon who places it again on the mensa. The celebrant then gives Palms to the deacon and subdeacon and other ministers and then the people. The Palm is kissed first and then the celebrant's hand. During the distribution the antiphons Pueri Hebraeorum and Pueri Hebraeorum vestimenta are sung. After the distribution the celebrant and ministers go back to the altar, bow to the Cross and then go to the Epistle corner where the celebrant's hands are washed. Then, at the missal, he sings the collect Omnipotens sempiterne.


Holy Week has inspired many great musical compositions. An example of one of the finest for Palm Sunday is Victoria's Pueri Hebraeorum vestimenta.


The celebrant's hands are washed after the distribution of Palms whilst the Processional Cross is decorated with the blessed Palms. A Procession is then formed, led by the thurifer, followed by the subdeacon (of the Mass, not this day an additional subdeacon) bearing the Processional Cross. The deacon sings Procedamus in pace and the following antiphons are sung during the Procession Cum appropinquaret, Cum audisset, Ante sex dies, Occurrunt turbae, Cum angelis et pueris and Turba multa.


Ideally the Procession goes outside and around the church. Often circumstances dictate the Procession must simply go around the aisles of the church. Towards he end of the Procession cantors re-enter the church and the door is closed. The beautiful hymn of Theodolph Gloria, laus, et honor is then sung in alternation between the cantors inside the church and everyone else outside. At the end of the hymn the subdeacon strikes the church door three times with the foot of the Processional Cross and the party re-enters the church to the singing of Ingrediente Domino.




(The photograph above is taken from 'Cardinal Bourne - A Life in Pictures', a memorial tribute to Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, and is from Palm Sunday 1919. Note the elaborate Palm the Cardinal is holding and the folded chasubles worn by the Canon Assistant Deacons (who are also wearing rochets). The photograph is at the stage when Gloria laus is being sung before the re-entry into the Cathedral.)

Mass then follows the usual manner. The celebrant removes his cope and dons his chasuble. The preparatory prayers are said but the psalm Judica me is omitted being in Passiontide. The introit is Domine, ne longe etc. There is no Gloria. No commemoration is made of an occuring Office on Palm Sunday so there is only one collect. Psalm 21 is sung in its entirety as a Tract. The major difference from any other Sunday is singing of the Passion according to St. Matthew by three additional deacons of the Passion. The text of the Passion is Matthew 26: 1-75; 27: 1-66. After the singing of the Passion the last part, Altera autem die...lapidem cum custodibus, is sung with the ceremonies of a Gospel by the deacon of the Mass (having removed his folded chasuble etc) to a most haunting tone.


The choir and people hold their Palms during the singing of the Passion. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the Cross and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar.

Sext and None again have proper antiphons, Tibi revelavi etc and Invocabo etc respectively. At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday are sung. The chapter is Hoc enim senite and the Office hymn is Vexilla regis, both as at Vespers yesterday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations of St. Justin, St. Hermengild and of SS Tiburtius and Companions are sung. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

A very merry Palm Sunday and a blessed Holy Week to all our readers.