Thursday, 9 April 2009

Feria Quinta in Coena Domini - Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday morning the Hours of Prime, Terce, Sext and None are chanted in aggregation. The choir altar is vested as it was on yesterday evening for Tenebrae with 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.

[Note: Most of the photographs posted of Dr. Thomas Glover's Triduum were taken in 1995 of the ceremonies in the Union Debating Chamber of the University of Durham. The above is from two years earlier of Dr. Glover's chapel at Sacriston, Durham.]

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 third 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 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 third is made on the last syllable.

The Hebdomadarius then montones the collect Respice, falling a third 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 third 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. The same is adopted for Sext and None.

After None the choir rises and the Hebdomadarius and ministers of Mass go to the sacristy to vest. Meanwhile the choir altar is prepared for Mass. The candles are changed for ones of 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. The Gloria in excelsis is sung and bells may be rung (see Practical Tip below). 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 minister 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 unvest. 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 and after a Pater noster and Ave Maria the service starts with the first antiphon, Calicem salutaris, is intoned, the choir Signing itself. The antiphon is doubled and the psalm follows. If Vespers are not sung a drop of a third is made at the end of the last verse of each psalm before the repitition of the antiphon. During the course of the five psalms and antiphons.

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.

[Note: In Cathedral churches the Holy Oils are consecrated during the Mass. Time constraints preclude me writing about this now. However, when there was evidence of several Masses on Maundy Thursday in Rome (vide: Gelasian Sacramentary) the Host was reserved at the Mass the pope confected the Chrism.]

After Vespers the ministers of Mass return 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) is then stripped of cloths, frontal etc leaving only the veiled Cross and candlesticks. The candles and sanctuary lamp are exstinguished. Lustral water is removed from the entrances to the church.

In the afternoon the Mandatum ceremony takes place. [Dr. Glover never celebrated this so there are no photographs.] 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.

After the Gospel the celebrant removes the violet cope and puts on an apron. The minsiters 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.

During this the choir sings the antiphon Mandatum novum (the text giving Maundy 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.

At the usual time Compline is sung. Again its form is absolute simplicity beginning with the Confiteor and the usual psalms, Nunc dimittis and then Christus factus est, Miserere and Respice as before.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' 'Tenebrae' so-called takes place in the morning outside Cathedral churches. The Miserere is omitted from the end of all the Hours. Vespers are omitted. An evening Mass takes place where the tabernacle is empty to begin. The Creed is omitted. Only one Host is consecrated and 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, Benedicamus Domino replaces Ite, missa est, there is no blessing and the last Gospel omitted. Watching at the altar of repose cease at midnight. Vespers are omitted. At Compline the collect Respice is replaced by the usual Visita.

Again interested readers are referred to Signor Gregory DiPippo's excellent series of articles, the relevant section for Maundy Thursday being here.

Practical Tips:
1) Older Office books often had a fly sheet with Christus factus est, Miserere etc that could be moved through the book as required and save flicking through pages for those who do not know the texts from memory causing an unnecessary and annoying hiatus as members of the choir find the correct page. If unavailable in original form such sheets could easily be reproduced.

2) When setting up the sanctuary for the Triduum it will be easier to veil the altar Cross first in a black veil then cover this with a violet one. Lastly ensure the white veil is of the right proportions to cover the violet one and can easily be added and removed.

3) My experience is that the ringing of bells at the Gloria today and on Holy Saturday is most effective if a moderate bell is rung rhythmically through all the Gloria rather than a cacophony of a clash of different bells ringing in competition with each other.


AP said...

"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."

So, there was very little time for adoration?

Rubricarius said...


The veiled Host at the altar of repose is adored thoughout the day of Maundy Thursday and through the night until the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified the next morning.

However, the ciborium with the reserved sacrament is taken to a place other than the altar of repose and is not adored at that place.

Anonymous said...

An eyewitness reports that at the FSSPX chapel in Singapore the Washing of the Feet was not done. Was this ceremony a medieval play that somehow got tagged onto the liturgy?

Rubricarius said...

Prior to the 'restored' order the Mandatum was a separate ceremony that took place in the afternoon. Following the 1962 books it may be a separate service but more usually took place after the Gospel of the evening Mass.

The Mandatum is certainly not a medieval play. Its importance was such that at one time it was almost considered to be on the level of a sacrament.

Anonymous said...

After the Maundy Thursday service at a Mumbai (TLM) Mass centre, a kindly soul had some hotcross buns distributed to the departing faithful. These must have been purchased from one of the last surviving Catholic owned bakeries in the city and it may well be a local custom to distribute these buns on Maundy Thursday. The priest (no guessing which order) saw this and ordered the faithful return the buns! It was not yet Easter, you see.
Is it a sin to eat a hotcross bun on Maundy Thursday?

Rubricarius said...

What a kind thought to give people a hot-cross bun like that. I am sure the Lord took notice of the persons generosity.

If any sin was involved it was by insulting this good persons act of kindness.

Anonymous said...

Carlos, did you attend the Holy Week liturgy at the Our Lady of Victories Church in Metro Manila, the continuing legacy of that church's founder, Fr Paul Morgan?

AP said...

"Carlos, did you attend the Holy Week liturgy at the Our Lady of Victories Church in Metro Manila, the continuing legacy of that church's founder, Fr Paul Morgan?"

This year I managed to attend only the Tenebrae of Good Friday at the SSPX church. I was the big guy who sometimes coughed like crazy in one of the pews.

In Holy Thursday I was at the 1962 Missa Cantata in the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy. From Good Friday late morning (immediately after Tenebrae) until Easter Saturday I was very ill with what turned out to be bronchitis and so wasn't able to attend anything else in the 1962 Missal. I did manage to drag myself to the new rite Easter Vigil in the parish right in front of my residence but I regret it since said Vigil was more of the priest's talk show than a true liturgy.