Sunday, 21 March 2010

Passion Sunday

Passion Sunday is the fifth and penultimate Sunday in Lent. It is a semi-double Sunday of the first class.

The most apparent and visually striking feature of this Sunday is the Roman practice of veiling all crosses and images with violet cloth. Although the practice of veiling images for the duration of Lent e.g., the Lenten Array, the Lenten Veil or Cortina etc., is ancient the practice of Passiontide veiling appears to have only become universal for the Roman rite in relatively recent times. The custom seems to have developed from the words in the day's Gospel 'Jesus autem abscondit se' - but Jesus hid himself. The veiling takes place after Mass on the morning of Saturday before Passion Sunday before Vespers.

Yesterday morning's Vespers, along with the veiling, shows certain more penitential aspects in the Office. The Gloria Patri is omitted from the invitatory of Mattins, from the responsories of Mattins and from the short responsories of the Hours. It is also omitted from the Asperges ceremony before Mass on both Passion Sunday and on Palm Sunday. In Masses 'of the season' Gloria Patri is also omitted from the introit and Lavabo along with the psalm Judica me Deus. The Suffrage of the Saints is also omitted until after Trinity Sunday.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms were of Saturday, the chapter proper to the Sunday. The Office hymn changes to the poignant and magnificent Vexilla Regis prodeunt. This hymn is sung at Vespers throughout Passiontide and at the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified on Good Friday. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were proper to the Sunday. A commemoration was then sung of St. Benedict. At Compline, as noted above, the Lesser Doxology was omitted from the short responsory. The Dominical preces were not said because of the occurring double feast.

At Mattins the invitatory is Hodie, si vocem Domini audieritis, Nolite obdurare corda vestra from Ps. 94 and a special rubric indicates the omission of that verse in the psalm. The hymn is Pange, lingua. The same invitatory and hymn are sung until the Sacred Triduum. The antiphons given in the Psalter for Sundays are used. As usual Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the book of Jeremiah. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the ninth sermon on Lent by St. Leo the Great. In the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Gregory on St. John's Gospel. The Te Deum is omitted as on other Lenten Sundays and a ninth responsory, Quis dabit capiti, sung in its place. At Lauds the antiphons are proper to the Sunday and the second scheme of Psalms sung (50, 117, 62, Benedictus es, 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and hymn is Lustra sex. A commemoration is sung of St. Benedict.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons are proper to the Sunday. At Prime the psalms are 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the first two stanzas of psalm 118. The Dominical preces are not sung because of the occurring double feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The ministers wear folded chasubles. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of St. Benedict. There is no third collect in Passiontide. As usual in Lent a Tract is sung after the Gradual. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the Cross and the dismissal Benedicamus Domino.

(Note the veiled altar cross and images and the use of the folded chasuble in the photograph from the New Liturgical Movement above)

Vespers are of the Sunday (sung at the normal time). The antiphons and psalms are those used on Sundays, the chapter is proper and the hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt. A commemoration is sung of St. Benedict (which by a 'typo' is missing in Ordo 2010). At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted because of the commemorated double feast at Vespers.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Mattins is cut down to three lessons as usual. St. Benedict is omitted this year, there are no commemorations at either Vespers, Lauds or Mass. At Prime the psalms are 53 and the first two stanzas of 118. At Mass thedismissal is Ite, missa est. The ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle instead of folded chasubles.

Art (top): Jerome Nadal

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