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Musical Musings: Easter

Ideas from The Liturgy of the Hours:

The Solemnity of the
Ascension of the Lord

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 +

A feast kept on the fortieth day after Easter Sunday to commemorate the departure of Jesus Christ in his glorified body from this world to the right hand of the Father in heaven. One of the universal holdays of obligation. [In many dioceses in the United States, this feast is transfered to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, whose mass and Office is replaced by that of the Ascension.]
Taken from: A Catholic Dictionary, © Copyright 1941, edited by Donald Attwater.

+ Evening Prayer I +

Latin Hymn Jesu, nostra redemptio


  • Psalm 113
    Antiphon I came from the Father and have come into the world; now I leave the world to return to the Father, alleluia.
  • Psalm 117
    Antiphon After he spoke to his disciples, the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father, alleluia.
  • Revelation 11:17-18; 12:10b-12a
    Antiphon No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven, alleluia.

Reading Ephesians 2:4-6

[excerpt] God ascends to shouts of joy, the Lord to the blast of trumpets, alleluia, alleluia.

Magnificat Antiphon
Father, I have made known your name to the men you have given me;
now I am praying for them and not for the world, because I am coming to you, alleluia.

[response] Lord Jesus, you are the King of glory.

+ Invitatory Antiphon +

Alleluia, come let us worship Christ the Lord as he ascends into heaven, alleluia.

+ Office of Readings +

Latin Hymn Aeterne rex altissime


  • Psalm 68 (I)
    Antiphon Sing to God, sing psalms to his name, make a path for him who rides high above the clouds, alleluia.
  • Psalm 68 (II)
    Antiphon The Lord God ascended on high; he has led captivity captive, alleluia.
  • Psalm 68 (III)
    Antiphon They see your procession, O God, the procession of my God and king into the sanctuary, alleluia.

The Lord opened their minds; that they might understand the Scriptures, alleluia.

First Reading Ephesians 4:1-24 [He ascended to heaven and led captivity captive]

[excerpt] When Christ ascended on high, he led captivity captive;
he gave gifts to men, alleluia.
God ascends to shouts of joy, the Lord to the blasts of trumpets.

Second Reading From a sermon by Saint Augustine [No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven]

[excerpt] During the forty days after his passion, he appeared to them and spoke with them about the kingdom of God.
As they watched, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight, alleluia.
While he was with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the fulfillment of the Father's promise.

 Back to Easter Index

Part 2: Morning Prayer, etc.

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