Sunday, March 31, 2013


Holy Thursday:

Good Friday:

The Easter Vigil (last year's)

I was happy to open this morning's Macon Telegraph and find two large pictures of Saint Joseph Church Easter Vigil on the front page! One was the blessing of the fire and Paschal candle and the other was of the darkened church with parishioners holding their lighted candles.

Then I turned to the second page and there was a photo of Pope Francis at his Easter Vigil. The desciption of his was that it was shortened meaning that the Holy Father reduced the number of Old Testament readings, which is allowed.

In the past I have done the same thing, since day one of my first Easter Vigil as a priest. Bishop Raymond Lessard did the same thing at Savannah's Cathedral when I was the MC.

However, about four years ago at the behest of one of my parish's parochial vicars, whose name will go unmentioned, we went to reading all the readings, although not all the responsorial psalms, everyone of those being substituted with a moment of silence prior to the prayer that follows.

Of all the Liturgies of the Easter Triduum, by far Holy Thursday's is my favorite. Good Friday's is stark and beautiful too. I love the Easter Vigil but I get to a certain point where I find it interminable.

Last night we have 14 baptism and about 30 candidates for full communion. Then all were confirmed. That extended things as well, but in a wonderful sort of way. Our Vigil lasted a bit more than two and half hours.

We have a number of extended family members and friends of those being received into the Church attend this Vigil. I often wonder what in the world they are thinking, although everyone always says afterward how beautiful it is.

So, should we be liturgicalphiles and endure all the readings with joy or should we follow our Holy Father's example?

As most of you know, I am not ultramontane and thus not everything the Holy Father does should be copied around the world, or should it? I am amazed, though, at all the new progressives who are now ultramontane allowing the top down liturgical example of Pope Francis to guide their own parish celebrations. It makes older ultramontanes blush!


John Nolan said...

At the Birmingham Oratory last night the OT prophecies were reduced to four (from seven) which is the number in the 1955 revision (before that it was twelve, but I understand, it being before my time, that not many parishes did the full amount). There was one adult baptism and two confirmations. The Gloria and Agnus Dei were from Haydn's Nelson Mass, and we had 'I know that my redeemer liveth' and the 'Hallelujah Chorus' from Handel's 'Messiah'. Being the Oratory, virtually everything was in Latin, but there is a good case for always singing the Exsultet in Latin - it is such an important and ancient chant that it is surely not too much to expect the congregation to use a crib; after all Jews are expected to hear some Hebrew, and Moslems some Arabic.

Watching the Papal ceremonies for Holy Week, certain things come to mind.

1. The music is much improved, and I notice that the assembly were singing the Mass I Gloria alternatim with the schola (this is also the case with Masses IX, XI and XVII). Every parish could do this!

2. Pope Francis doesn't sing, and I notice when shown in close-up he has obvious breathing difficulties. At papal Masses there are usually concelebrants to help out.

3. He is an excellent homilist who makes his point directly and clearly, and sticks to the Oratory ten-minute rule!

4. His vestment choice is not Paul VI/JP II minimalist; it is understated elegance, and I can see why he might want to eschew (at least for the time being) the baroque, and why Guido Marini would be happy to go along with this.

5. After his first Mass as Pope there were a lot of snide comments about his Latin. It must be obvious by now that he doesn't have any problems. He could simply pronounce it as Italian, but his Spanish 'qu' pronunciation is indicative of the fact that he learned it a long time ago.

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco.

Anonymous said...

In my parish - I am Canadian - we proclaimed 7 readings and sang all the Responsorial Psalms. We had one adult baptism and one candidate. It lasted three hours but did not seem that long. Father, I'm trying to get my head around the fact of two and half hours with all your baptisms and candidates. And, if I understand correctly you may have left out some of the readings or was this a misunderstanding on my part? The Vigil has to be the most glorious night of the year and we need to be reminded of the story of our salvation. Liturgies that are celebrated well never seem too long but I will admit that there were "liturgical errors" in ours and I regret that.
On another note, I really enjoy this blog and read it daily and I find your comments refreshing and thought-provoking. Keep up the great work and Happy Easter.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

We started at 8 pm and finished at 10:45 pm. We did all the readings and prayers but every other Psalm. We sang everything and I used EP 1.

ytc said...

John Nolan, if you watch the Pope's Easter Vigil, you can hear that his breathing is very labored during the lucenarium.

John Nolan said...

I don't think I could stand all those responsorial psalms.
Far better to use the canticles from the Graduale Romanum.