Saturday, 19 April 2014
April 6th - Holy Saturday Morning - The Vesperal Liturgy
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 go to the sacristy and vest (celebrant in violet stole and cope; the deacon and subdeacon in violet folded chasubles). Meanwhile a fire, struck from flint as the rubric above describes, is kindled and charcoal placed on it for liturgical use in few moments. A procession comes from the sacristy to the place where the new fire is to be blessed. The procession is headed by three acolytes. In the centre the first acolyte carries the lustral water container and sprinkler. To his left is the second acolyte bearing the grains of incense on a salver. The thurifer, with an empty thurible, walks to the right of the first acolyte. Folling is the subdeacon carrying the Processional Cross, then the choir and lastly the celebrant and deacon. At the new fire all uncover and the subdeacon stands on the other side of the fire, opposite the celebrant. 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 to a white dalmatic. The deacon (or the celebrant if there are no ministers) takes a reed with a triple candle upon it 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. 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, each time on a higher note.
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 prophecies are:
1) Genesis 1: 1-31; 2: 1-2
2) Genesis 5; 6; 7 & 8
3) Genesis 22: 1-19
4) Exodus 14: 24-31; 15
5) Isaiah 54: 17; 55: 1-11
6) Baruch 3: 9-38
7) Ezechiel 37: 1-14
8) Isaiah 4: 1-6
9) Exodus 12: 1-11
10)Jonah 3: 1-10
11)Deuteronomy 31: 22-30
12)Daniel 3: 1-24
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.
As the ministers leave the Baptistery two cantors kneeling in choir start the Litany of the Saints. As in all Processional Litanies 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.