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Ceremonies of Holy Week
































Holy Saturday - Common Liturgy



Holy Saturday marks the last day of Lent and is the final day of the Easter Triduum.

On Calvary, Our Lord has shed His Blood for the redemption of our sins. He has laid down His life for love of us, yet the Jews have hastened to remove His Body. He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and Roman guards were sent to keep watch outside of it.

"But now, dearest Jesus, it is time for Thee to rise from Thy tomb, and reunite Thy Soul to Thy Body. Heaven and earth await Thy Resurrection; the Church, Thy bride, has already sung the Alleluia of her glad expectation: rise then, from Thy grave, Oh Jesus, our Life! Triumph over death, and reign our King for ever!" (1)

*

The following guide for Holy Saturday is the common liturgy that laypeople normally attended prior to the progressivist reforms of the '50s and '60s. Sources used and cross-checked were the The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger, the 1934 edition of the Liber Usualis (book of chants), and the 1945 St. Andrew Missal. For the complete monastic liturgy, click here.

Hyperlinks are shown in blue to provide the music that ideally accompanies the ceremonies.

  1. Dom Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Loreto Publications, 2000, vol. 6, p. 640.


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Blessing of the New Fire and Incense

The Easter Fire is struck from a flint, followed by a blessing and incensing. This fire is preserved and used to light the candles of the ceremony, being a representation of Our Lord as the Light of the world.

The Paschal Candle

Exsultet jam angelica turba...
Response symbol. Amen.
Versicle symbol. Dominus vobiscum.
Response symbol. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Versicle symbol. Sursum corda.
Response symbol. Habemus ad Dominum.
Versicle symbol. Gratias agamus Domino...
Response symbol. Dignum et justum...
Vere dignum et justum est...


Here the deacon incenses five grains of incense and fixes them in the Paschal candle in the form of a cross.

In hujus igitur noctis...

The deacon lights the Paschal candle.

Qui licet sit divisus...

Here the lamps and candles of the Church are lighted from the Paschal candle.

O vere beata nox quae...
Precamur ergo te Domine
...

Here the priest takes off the white dalmatic and puts on purple vestments.

The Prophecies

Each prophecy is followed by a genuflection at the signal of the deacon saying: Flectamus genua, then a rising at the signal of the subdeacon saying: Levate.

First Prophecy
In principio...

Second Prophecy
Noe vero cum...

Third prophecy
In diebus illis...

Fourth Prophecy
In diebus illis:...
Tract: Cantemus Domino...

Fifth Prophecy
Haec est haereditas...

Sixth Prophecy
Audi Israel...

Seventh Prophey
Ub diebus illis:...

Eighth Prophecy
Tract: Vinea facta est dilecto...

Ninth Prophey
In diebus illis:...

Tenth Prophecy
In diebus illis:...

Eleventh Prophecy
In diebus illis:...
Tract: Attende caelum...

Twelfth Prophecy
Oremus
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, spes unica...
Response symbol. Amen

By the 11th century the Mass of Easter was being celebrated on the night of Holy Saturday, though it was always considered the Mass of the Resurrection Hour, and not a Mass for Holy Saturday itself. The Church allows this seemingly contradictory practice, seeing fit to give a foretaste of Easter joy to the faithful who long for the return of Christ. A new fire is lit and blessed outside the church while within all is dark.

Historically this was the time for the Baptism of the Catechumens, though this practice fell into disuse as Christianity became widespread and unbaptized adults became rare. Confirmation and the blessing of the baptismal font were accompanying ceremonies that no longer enjoy widespread use.


The Blessing of the Font

If the Church has a baptismal font, the Celebrant goes with his ministers and the clergy to bless the font at the end of the prophecies: during the procession, the following Tract is sung.

Tract: Sicut cervus...

Baptism

The catechumens come forward to be baptized, with their sponsors present and assisting.

Confirmation

If there is a bishop present, the candidates for confirmation (neophytes) come forward and receive the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, and have their foreheads signed with the holy chrism.

Mass of the Resurrection Hour

Collect
Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam...

Epistle
Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Colossenses.
Fratres: si consurrexistis
...

Confitemini Domino...

Tract
Laudate Dominum Omnes Gentes...

Gospel
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum.

Secret
Suscipe quaesumus. Domine...

Preface
Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare...

Vespers

Ant. Alleluia, alleluia...
Psalm 116
Ant. Alleluia, alleluia...

Ant. Vespere autem Sabbati...
Magnificat
Ant. Vespere autem Sabbati...

The celebrant censes the altar and sings:

Postcommunion
Spiritum nobis, Domine...
Versicle symbol. Ite missa est, alleluia, alleluia.
Response symbol. Deo gratias, alleluia, alleluia.




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Maundy Thursday - Common Liturgy - Monastic Liturgy


Good Friday - Common Liturgy - Monastic Liturgy


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