Saturday, 23 April 2011

Sabbato Sancto - Holy Saturday morning Vesperal Liturgy

'Hora competenti toblaeis cooperiuntur Altaris, sed candelae exsintictae manent usque ad principium Missae. Interim excutitur ignis de lapide foris ecclesiam, et ex eo accenduntur carbones. Dicta Nona in Choro, Sacerdos indutus Amictu, Alba, Cingulo, Stola, et Pluviali violaceo, vel sine Casula, astantibus sibi Ministris cum Cruce, aqua benedicta, et incenso, ante portam ecclesiae, si commode potest, vel in ipso aditu ecclesiae benedicit novem ignem, dicens:'

Missale Romanum, rubric pro loco for Holy Saturday.

Holy Saturday is a Double of the First Class. On Holy Saturday morning the altar is dressed and vested as in the photograph above. A violet antependium is placed over a white one in such a manner that it may easily be removed later. Six candles of bleached wax remain unlit for the Hours.

The Hours are chanted as for the previous two days with the exception that choir reverences are omitted because of the unveiled Cross on the altar to which all reverence with a genuflection. As at Tenebrae yesterday evening Propter quod et Deus etc is added to Christus factus est.

After None is completed (or, in Pontifical functions celebrated by the Ordinary after Sext when the New Fire is blessed) the ministers of the Mass go to the sacristy and vest (celebrant in violet stole and cope; the deacon and subdeacon in violet folded chasubles). Meanwhile a fire, struck from flint as the rubric above describes, is kindled and charcoal placed on it for liturgical use in few moments. A procession comes from the sacristy to the place where the new fire is to be blessed. The procession is headed by three acolytes. In the centre the first acolyte carries the lustral water container and sprinkler. To his left is the second acolyte bearing the grains of incense on a salver. The thurifer, with an empty thurible, walks to the right of the first acolyte. Folling is the subdeacon carrying the Processional Cross, then the choir and lastly the celebrant and deacon. At the new fire all uncover and the subdeacon stands on the other side of the fire, opposite the celebrant. The celebrant then sings three collects of blessing of the fire and one for the grains of incense. The charcoal is put in the thurible and incense blessed as usual. The deacon then changes from a violet folded chasuble for a white dalmatic. (When the celebrant is not assisted by deacon and subdeacon the celebrant himself exchanges his violet cope for a white dalmatic as in the photograph below of Dr. Glover). Either the deacon or the celebrant takes a reed (bamboo cane = Arundinaria) with a triple candle with its branches arranged 'triangulo distinctis'. A procession is formed with acolytes bearing the five grains of incense to be inserted into the Paschal Candle and thurible followed by the subdeacon carrying the cross, followed by the choir, then the deacon with the reed and finally the celebrant.

[Note. The above is a photograph of a stained glass window in Kesgrave church showing the Procession into church on Holy Saturday morning. The subdeacon carrying the cross is wearing a folded chasuble and the deacon, in white dalmatic, the triple candle atop the reed followed by the celebrant. I am grateful to Mr. Alan Robinson for showing me this wonderful image.]

The procession pauses three times as it enters the church progressing towards the altar. Each time one of the wicks of the candle being lit from a taper bearing the new fire, the deacon (or celebrant) proclaims Lumen Christi and the choir responds Deo gratias, each time on a higher note.

When the procession reaches the altar due reverences are made and the deacon (who passes the reed to an acolyte) takes the Evangeliarium containing the Exsultet from the mensa and receives a blessing from the celebrant as when about to proclaim the Gospel at Mass. The deacon then goes with the lesser ministers to the Gospel side of choir where the book is placed on a lectern and censed. The deacon then sings the Exsultet pausing to insert the grains of incense into the Paschal Candle after the words curvat imperia. He then continues 'In hujus igitur noctis gratia, suscipe, sancte Pater, incensi hujus sacrificium vespertinum..' When he reaches 'rutilans ignis accendit' he again pauses and lights the Paschal Candle with one of the branches of triple candle. When the words 'apis mater eduxit' are sung an acolyte takes the fire from the triple candle and lights the lamps in the church. After the Exsultet the deacon takes off the white dalmatic and exchanges it for a violet stole, maniple and folded chasuble. The celebrant removes his cope and puts on a violet maniple and chasuble. The ministers then go to the altar and to the Epistle corner as at the introit of Mass.

The celebrant reads the twelve prophecies (these derive from the ancient Jerusalem practice c.f. Talley). In the middle of choir lectors chant each prophecy. After each (except the twelfth) the celebrant sings Oremus, the deacon Flectamus genua and the subdeacon Levate. Tracts follow the fourth, eighth and eleventh prophecy. The twelfth prophecy may be sung to one of several special tones (pace Signor Martinucci).

The prophecies are:
1) Genesis 1: 1-31; 2: 1-2
2) Genesis 5; 6; 7 & 8
3) Genesis 22: 1-19
4) Exodus 14: 24-31; 15
5) Isaiah 54: 17; 55: 1-11
6) Baruch 3: 9-38
7) Ezechiel 37: 1-14
8) Isaiah 4: 1-6
9) Exodus 12: 1-11
10)Jonah 3: 1-10
11)Deuteronomy 31: 22-30
12)Daniel 3: 1-24

After the twelfth prophecy, if the church has a font, the celebrant again dons a violet cope and a procession is formed to the Baptistery whilst Sicut cervus is sung. In the Baptistery the font is hallowed by the celebrant singing a preface of blessing culminating in the Paschal Candle being plunged into the waters of the font three times and Chrism being infused into the waters. Here baptisms are carried out. Anciently this liturgy was when adults were baptised and the prophecies were the last catechumenal address.

As the ministers leave the Baptistery two cantors kneeling in choir start the Litany of the Saints. As in all Processional Litanies the invocations are doubled i.e. the invocation and petition is sung by the cantors and repeated by the choir. On their return to the sanctuary the celebrant and ministers remove their cope and chasubles and prostrate before the altar. At Peccatores, te rogamus audi nos they rise and leave the sanctuary to vest for Mass whilst the Litany continues. Meanwhile acolytes remove the violet altar frontal (and violet humeral veil over the credence etc), light the altar candles and prepare the altar for Mass.

The celebrant, deacon and subdeacon return to choir, now vested in white, as the choir sings the Kyrie. The celebrant says Judica me etc and the altar is then censed as at the beginning of any High Mass. At the Gloria in excelsis the bells are rung as on Maundy Thursday. Before the Gradual the celebrant sings Alleluia solemnly three times. At the Gospel the acolytes carry do not carry candles. There is no Creed or Offertory chant.

In the Paschal preface the clause in hac potissimum nocte is sung. The Communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper. The Agnus Dei is not sung and there is no Pax. Instead of a communion antiphon Alleluia is sung three times as an antiphon to Psalm 116. This has the Doxology and the Alleluia is repeated. The celebrant then intones the antiphon Vespere autem sabbati which the choir continues. The Magnificat is then sung and the altar, choir and people censed. After the repitition of the antiphon the celebrant sings the Post-communion and collect for Vespers Spiritum nobis. Mass then ends as usual the dismissal being Ite, missa est, alleluia, alleluia.

A cardinal celebrant of Holy Saturday enters church weaing a violet cappa magna but leaves it wearing a red one.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the 'Paschal Vigil' is the third version of the new order celebrated in the late evening of Holy Saturday. In 1951 the 'Vigil' was 'restored' ad experimentum. The first version had Mattins and Lauds in the morning of Holy Saturday, with the omission of the Miserere and a new collect, Concede. A new Vespers was fabricated using the Vespers for the preceeding two days with a new first antiphon and antiphon on the Magnificat. Compline was said as on Good Friday evening but without Christus factus est but with the collect Visita. For the Vigil the ministers still wore folded chasubles. There is a single collect of blessing the fire and the grains of incense are stuck into the Paschal candle outside of the church. The collects Domine Deus pater etc and Domine sancte, Pater omnimpotens etc were suppressed. Veniat, quesumus was used to bless the candle (with the word cereum added) and it, not the reed with a triple candle (again suppressed), was carried into the church by the deacon (now in white dalmatic). The candle was stuck in the middle of the choir on a temporary stand and there incensed and had the Exsultet (without the actions it mentions being carried out) sung to it in a most curious manner. Four prophecies were then chanted to the candle in the middle of the choir whilst the ministers remained at the sedilia listening to them. From the former series of prophecies:

1) Genesis 1: 1-31; 2: 1-2 remained;
2) Genesis 5; 6; 7 & 8 was suppressed;
3) Genesis 22: 1-19 was suppressed;
4) Exodus 14: 24-31; 15 remained;
5) Isaiah 54: 17; 55: 1-11 was suppressed;
6) Baruch 3: 9-38 was suppressed;
7) Ezechiel 37: 1-14 was suppressed;
8) Isaiah 4: 1-6 remained (with the omission of its first verse in later forms);
9) Exodus 12: 1-11 was suppressed;
10)Jonah 3: 1-10 was suppressed;
11)Deuteronomy 31: 22-30 remained;
12)Daniel 3: 1-24 was suppressed.

The Litany (no longer duplicated) was sung as far as Omnes Sancti et Sanctae then interrupted and in the middle of choir before the candle and in the sight of the people a container of water was blessed in the sanctuary, as the font in the Baptistery had been in the traditional rite. Then in Latin (or where forms in the Rituale had been authorised in the vernacular) the people were invited to renew their baptismal promises. Then the Litany was resumed and after that Mass was celebrated. At the Mass Judica and the preparatory prayers were omitted, Vespere autem sabbati became the communion verse, Spiritum nobis the postcommunion and the last Gospel was omitted. These changes were, of course, later extended to the entire liturgical year.

The second version of the 'Vigil' came out of the committee room onto the printing presses in 1952. Compline on Holy Saturday was omitted as were Mattins and Lauds of Easter where the 'Vigil', still optional, was celebrated. The collect Veniat had the word intende substituted for accende. At the collects following the prophecies the deacon, no longer the subdeacon, chanted Levate. The third prophecy (Isiah 4: 1-6) was shortened by losing its first verse. Sicut cervus returned to this version and was sung as the bucket of water was carried to the font after its blessing. In the invitation to renew baptismal promises the word celebrans replaced expectans (the Resurrection). Vernacular forms were permitted by the local bishop for the renewal of baptismal promises. At the Mass the communion verse goes and is replaced by Alleluia and Ps. 116 treated as a psalm of Lauds (!). Et valde mane was the antiphon on the Benedictus with Spiritum nobis as the collect. The second form of the Vigil also suppressed the Vigil of Pentecost ceremonies where it had been celebrated, no doubt as the Vigil of Pentecost would remind people too much of the old rite.

The third form of the 'Vigil' came with the 'restoration' of the rest of Holy Week in 1956. Folded chasubles disappear from Holy Week altogether and Ps. 150 was substituted for Ps.116. The text for Ps. 150 and the Benedictus are that featured in the 1945 'Bea' translation of the Psalterium (in the Vatican typical edition at least).

The above two photographs are of the 1962 'Paschal Vigil' celebrated by the FSSP in Denton. The first picture shows the ministers sat at the sedilia staring at a lector who is singing a prophecy to the Paschal Candle on its 'temporary stand' in medio chori. It will be noted that contrary to various commentaries by the reformers that the prophecies were sung by the light of the Paschal Candle a single candle in a dark church actually provides very little light - hence the recourse to additional candelabra in the photograph. In the second picture the celebrant is walking around the Paschal Candle censing it (do they do this with maypoles one wonders?) prior to the renovation of baptismal promises. The image below is from J.B.O'Connell's 'The Cermonies of Holy Week', 1960 and shows the arrangement in the sanctuary for the blessing of the baptismal bucket, versus populum.

In summary the 1956 form follows the form of the previous two creations: there is a single oration for blessing the New Fire, the candle, not the incense grains, is blessed with the former oration for blessing incense - with the addition of the words incensum cereum - and everyone (except the Crucifer and thurifer) turn and kneel towards the candle when Lumen Christi is sung. The candle is put in its temporaray stand in the centre of the choir and is censed by the deacon walking around it. The actions mentioned in the Exsultet are no longer carried out. Four prophecies are sung, whilst the ministers listen to them at the sedilia, from where the intervening prayers are also sung, not from the altar. The subdeacon no longer sings Levate. This arrangement seems to be based on the praxis of Pontifical Mass that the throne and the role of the two assistant deacons at the throne. After the lessons the ‘first part’ of the Litany is sung. No longer do the ministers prostrate before the altar instead they kneel at their place at the sedilia. The petitions are no longer duplicated. After the petition Omnes Sancti et Sanctae Dei the celebrant and ministers go to a table, facing the people where the bucket of baptismal water is blessed. When the blessing is finished (and any baptisms performed) the bucket is carried in procession to the church’s font during the displaced singing of Sicut cervus. (Where the Baptistery is seperate from the church the blessing of water may still take place at the font rather than blessing the bucked in the sanctuary, versus populum. After the bucket has been taken to the font the celebrant changes his violet cope for a white one and lead the congregation in the renewal of Baptismal Promises, in the vernacular. The celebrant and ministers then retire to the sanctuary and the remaining part of the Litany is sung. Meanwhile the Paschal Candle is moved from its temporary standard and placed on its, traditional, candlestick and the altar candles are lit. As the cantors intone the Kyrie the ministers, omitting Judica me and the prayers at the foot of the altar, cense the altar. After the Gloria and collect the celebrant sits and listens as the subdeacon sings the Epistle. Orate fratres is said in a clear voice, the rest of Mass continues as in the Old Rite except Lauds is inserted in place of Vespers and the last Gospel is omitted.

On the subject of the new Holy Week rites to quote the good Dr. Glover:
"There is that ludicrous business of changing into violet vestments in the middle of Good Friday and giving everyone Communion with the celebrant not even going to collect the Blessed Sacrament. One is supposed to wait until 3.00pm when Our Lord's Passion was already over. Holy Saturday is a miserable business, with no triple-branched candle, the Exsultet sung straight through without doing the things mentioned at various points in the text, the prophecies reduced to four, that horrible renewal of baptismal promises and so on. The whole thing gets turned into a sort of Midnight Mass but there is not the slightest reason for thinking the Resurrection happened at midnight, as the third day started at sunset on Saturday."

Rev. Dr. T.C.G. Glover, JCD - letter to the blogger 15th May 1990

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