Saturday, 11 April 2009

Sabbato Sancto - Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is double of the first class.

'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.

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. 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 (celebrant in violet stole and cope; ministers in violet folded chasubles) go to the church door where the New Fire is blessed. A fire is lit and charcoal placed on it for liturgical use. 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.

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).

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. More in a separate post later on this and its significance.

The ministers leave the Baptistery and the cantors start the Litany of the Saints. As in all processional litainies 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 late afternoon Compline is sung at its normal time. At Compline Noctem quietam etc is sung at the beginning. However the psalms are sung without antiphon to a special Tone2 (an introduction following the 1911-13 reform that I know little about). The hymn, chapter and short responsory are omitted and the fragment of Vespere autem sabbati is intoned before the Nunc dimittis is sung. The antiphon is repeated and Visita quaesumus returns as the collect. After the blessing Regina Caeli is intoned with its versicles and collect.

Paschal Mattins will be discussed in the next post.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Holy Saturday is the 'Mark 3' version of the new order. In 1951 the 'Vigil' was restored ad experimentum. The new order Mark1 had Mattins and Lauds in the morning of Holy Saturday, with omission of the Miserere and a new collect, Concede. A new Vespers was created using the Vespers for the preceeding two days with 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 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. Veniat, quesumus is used to bless the candle (with the word cereum added) and it, not the reed, is carried into the church by the deacon (now in white dalmatic). The candle is stuck in the middle of the choir and is censed and has the Exsultet (without the actions it mentions being carried out) sung to it. Four prophecies are then chanted to the candle in the middle of the choir whislt the ministers remain at the sedilia listening to them. The Litany (no longer duplicated) is 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 bucket of water is blessed as the font was before. Then in Latin (or where forms in the Rituale have been authorised in the vernacular) the people are invited to renew their baptismal promises. Then the Litany is resumed and Mass celebrated. At the Mass Judica and the preparatory prayers are omitted, Vespere autem sabbati is the communion verse, Spiritum nobis the postcommunion and the last Gospel is omitted.

Vigil Mark2 came out of the committee room onto the presses in 1952. Compline on Holy Saturday was omitted as were Mattins and Lauds of Easter where Vigil Mark2 took place. 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 returns to this version and is sung as the bucket of water is carried to the font after its blessing. In the invitation to renew baptismal promises the word celebrans replaces expectans (the Resurrection). Vernacular forms are 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 now treated as a psalm of Lauds (!). Et valde mane is the antiphon on the Benedictus with Spiritum nobis as the collect. Mark2 suppressed the Vigil of Pentecost ceremonies where it had been celebrated. [As the Vigil of Pentecost would remind of the old rite too much.]

Vigil Mark3 from 1956 got shot of the folded chasubles 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).

"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


Anonymous said...

This part of your blog should be re-printed - with pics - as a small pamphlet, so detailed and so valuable.
Happy and holy Easter to all the readers and the blogger.
Alan Robinson

Francis said...

What does it mean precisely to "duplicate" the Litany?

Rubricarius said...

When the Litany is sung the cantors sing the entire invocation-response and it is then sung by the choir and congregation, e.g.

Cantors: Pater de caelis Deus, miserere nobis.
Choir: Pater de caelis Deus, miserere nobis.

In the new order the cantors only sang the invocation. e.g.
Cantors: Pater de caelis Deus.
Chorus: Miserere nobis.

Try singing a Litany in procession without duplicating and the practical sense of why this was done soon becomes apparent.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, from experience, petitions tend to double when singing litanies during processions.