CNP Feedback - A Vigil Mass
The "Feedback Box" on the CanticaNOVA Publications website has proven quite effective in promoting communications on a variety of subjects, and expressing concerns of liturgists and musicians.
From time to time, we'll compile a few of these questions or comments and anonymously put them in public view, with the hope that others with similar concerns may benefit from their content.
Q. Dear CNP:
Is it obligatory to use the Pentecost Vigil Mass with its specific readings (and without sequence) at the the Saturday afternoon/evening Mass?
I've found little info that says one way or another.
A. Dear Auntie:
When there is a specific vigil Mass for a solemnity (like on Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Saint John the Baptist, Saints Peter & Paul, Assumption), one can assume that the special readings in the Lectionary are to be used.
Otherwise, why would they be there?
As far as I know, only on Christmas are the readings for the Masses [Vigil, Midnight, Dawn, Day] interchangeable — and this is clearly stated in the Lectionary.
There are also options for choosing which Gospel to use on Easter (i.e. the regular one specified for the cycle, or the one from the Vigil, or a different one for an evening Mass).
Other than that, there are two distinct Masses and two sets of readings — they should both be used.
If you didn't use the readings for the Vigil Mass of Pentecost, I suppose you would use the readings for the next day.
Is it a question of the same homilist needing to "adapt" to slightly different themes?
That seems like a minor issue.
The vigil Masses and the solemnities they precede are part of a very rich liturgical tapestry the Church gives us for our sanctification and edification.
Certainly, one could hang a black-and-white outline of a tapestry on a wall, but if one has the original (in beautifully-colored thread), why choose black-and-white?
P.S. The Sequence is not part of the Vigil Mass of Pentecost, just like it's not used at the Easter Vigil.