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Musical Musings: Holy Week

Ideas from The Liturgy of the Hours:

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

The Liturgy of the Hours provides a rich, underused source of creative ideas for music during Mass. We have here the wisdom of the Church, offering new readings to amplify the familiar readings at Mass. We also have valuable new psalm selections and hymns, all a legitimate part of Sacred Liturgy, which can be a fertile new ground for selecting music that the Church relates to the themes of a particular feast. Practically speaking, for the music planner, these texts may lead one to a long-forgotten choral motet, or to a new possibility for an opening or communion processional based on one of the prescribed psalms or canticles.

CanticaNOVA Publications will offer these Ideas from the Liturgy of the Hours periodically, with the hope that musicians may find new sources of traditional music to enhance the Mass within the guidelines proposed by the Church.

+ Brief History of this Feast +

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, on which is commemorated our Lord's entry into Jerusalem by the blessing and procession of palms before Mass. The Mass itself is entirely devoted to the Passion, which was to take place five days later and of which the [Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 22] is a prophecy. The [Passions according to Saints Matthew, Mark and Luke are read or sung by three deacons, according to the three-year cycle]. Palms are held in the hand during the Passion reading as a gesture of faith and acclamation. In the Byzantine rite a procession follows the Liturgy, the celebrant carrying the icon of the day.
Taken from: A Catholic Dictionary, © Copyright 1941, edited by Donald Attwater.

+ Evening Prayer I +

Latin Hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt including O crux ave spes unica

  • Psalm 119:105-112
    Antiphon Day after day I sat teaching you in the temple and you did not lay hands on me. Now you come to scourge me and lead me to the cross.
  • Psalm 16
    Antiphon The Lord God is my help; no shame can harm me.
  • Philippians 2:6-11
    Antiphon The Lord Jesus humbled himself by showing obedience even when this meant death, death on the cross.
Reading I Peter 1:1-21

[excerpt] We worship you, O Christ, and we praise you; because by your cross you have redeemed the world.

Magnificat Antiphon
Praise to our King, the Son of David, the Redeemer of the world;
praise to the Savior whose coming had been foretold by the prophets.

[response] Lord, have mercy on your people.

+ Invitatory Antiphon +

Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.

+ Office of Readings +

Latin Hymn Pange lingua gloriosi, proelium certaminis

  • Psalm 104 (I)
    Antiphon Lord, our God, in splendor and majesty you are clothed, wrapped in light as in a robe.
  • Psalm 104 (II)
    Antiphon The Lord has brought forth bread from the earth, and wine to give warmth to men's hearts.
  • Psalm 104 (III)
    Antiphon The Lord looked upon all he had made and saw that it was very good.
When I am lifted from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.

First Reading Hebrews 10:1-18 [We are sanctified through the offering of Christ]

[excerpt] Sacrifice and offerings you did not desire, but you prepared a body for me. Burnt offerings for sin could not please you. So I said:
Here I am, Lord God, I come to do your will.
The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins.

Second Reading From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop [Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel]

[excerpt] When the people heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem, they went out to meet him. Many spread their cloaks before him, while others took branches from the trees, as they cried aloud:
Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

 Back to Holy Week Index

Part 2: Morning Prayer, etc.

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