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Musical Musings: Easter

Ideas from The Liturgy of the Hours:

The Solemnity of Pentecost

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 +

Pentecost, meaning fiftieth in Greek, is the feast on which is commemorated the visible descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles and the establishment of the church founded by our Lord on Saint Peter, formerly called Whitsunday in English. It occurs fifty days after Easter [and has its own vigil Mass]. At Mass the sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus is sung and the vestments are red, as always in reference to the Holy Ghost, perhaps symbolizing the tongues of fire. The coming of the Holy Ghost is the completion of the Redemption, and on this feast a new law-giver, the Spirit of God, comes into the hearts of men.

The title Pentecost also refers to the feast second in importance in the Jewish calendar; originally the harvest festival and the end of Passover-time, but now a commemoration of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. The descent of the Holy Ghost happened during the Jewish Pentecost.

Taken from: A Catholic Dictionary, © Copyright 1941, edited by Donald Attwater.

+ Evening Prayer I +

Latin Hymn Veni, creator Spiritus


  • Psalm 113
    Antiphon On the day of Pentecost they had all gathered together in one place, alleluia.
  • Psalm 147:1-11
    Antiphon Tongues as of fire appeared before the apostles, and the Holy Spirit came upon each of them, alleluia.
  • Revelation 15:3-4
    Antiphon The Spirit who comes from the Father will glorify me, alleluia.

Reading Romans 8:11

[excerpt] The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete; he will teach you all things, alleluia, alleluia.

Magnificat Antiphon
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of all believers, and set them on fire with your love.
Though they spoke many differen languages, you united the nations in professing the same faith, alleluia.

[response] Send forth your Spirit and make the whole world new.

+ Invitatory Antiphon +

Alleluia, the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world; come let us worship him, alleluia.

+ Office of Readings +

Latin Hymn Lux jucunda, lux insignis


  • Psalm 104 (I)
    Antiphon The Spirit breathes where he wills; you hear his voice but do not know where he comes from or where he is going, alleluia.
  • Psalm 104 (II)
    Antiphon Suddenly from the heavens there came the sound of a great wind, alleluia.
  • Psalm 104 (III)
    Antiphon Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created; and you will renew the face of the earth, alleluia.

The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole earth; he sustains all creation and knows every word that is spoken, alleluia.

First Reading Romans 8:5-27 [All who are led by the Spirit of God are God's children]

[excerpt] Since you are all children of God through your faith in Christ Jesus,
God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of his Son, crying out: Abba, Father, alleluia.
The Lord has not given us a timid spirit, but a spirit of strength, of love and of self-control.

Second Reading From the Treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, bishop [The sending of the Holy Spirit]

[excerpt] On the day of Pentecost they had all gathered together in one place.
Out of the heavens suddenly there came the sound of a great wind, which filled the whole house, alleluia.
The disciples had gathered together in one room. Suddenly there came a sound from heaven.

 Back to Easter Index

Part 2: Morning Prayer, etc.

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