Home Liturgy – Palm Sunday

We find ourselves in a situation where we need to keep the liturgies of Holy Week at home. This sort of situation is not unprecedented. My thoughts are drawn to the recusant Catholics of the Anglican persecution, the true Church in China and other underground Christians and even His Eminence Cardinal Pell who has been denied the right to offer the Holy Sacrifice for many months.

Rather than becoming angry and frustrated, let us resign ourselves to the permissive will of God as did Our Lady during the Passion. We should make the most of this opportunity to grow in our understanding and practice of the faith.

Collect for Saturday in Passion Week

We beseech Thee, O Lord, may Thy devoted people grow in the spirit of pious devotion, that learned in the holy rites, they may become the more pleasing to Thy majesty as they abound in spiritual gifts. Through Christ Our Lord…

In the Pearce household, we have greatly benefited from praying in union with livestreamed Masses and we are grateful to all priests who have made the liturgy available to us, especially the FSSP at Livemass.net. For Holy Week, however, we have decided not to livestream Mass but to do what we can to be present to the liturgy in our own home- a time for us to up our ‘Ecclesia Domestica’ game. (For that is our WiFi name after all!)

Being church musicians we are fortunate that we can sing most of the liturgy at home and have chosen (since no permission is required from Rome for a Missa Sicca or ‘Dry Mass‘) that we will celebrate according to the traditional Holy Week liturgy from before the reforms of 1955 which anticipated the promulgation of the Novus Ordo. The timing of these liturgies is more toddler friendly too!

Below I have provided notes on how this can be done at home. Some points to consider:

  1. We don’t have to try to replicate liturgical perfection at home. The point of this is to pray and absorb the theology of the ancient prayers and chants.
  2. This is an example of the maximum that can be done. If your kids get restless, cut things out and read them privately once they are in bed. The point here is to celebrate what we can and not to overdo things and put our families off. Better to do less for the greatest spiritual payoff than to try to do everything and end up with tantrums. It is consistent with my Benedictine spirituality to adapt things to the needs of those participating rather than making unattainable demands.
  3. We don’t allow toys in our home chapel but we do allow anything that we would pack in the Mass bag. Age appropriate books and colouring sheets are a good idea and since the ceremonies are longer than usual, we will allow a little more moving around than at the family rosary each evening.
  4. For those who can’t sing the liturgy, I have compiled playlists. These could even be used outside of the prayer time to keep a recollected atmosphere throughout the day.

Texts for each liturgy can be found here by selecting rubrics pre-1955 and selecting ‘Sancta Missa’ at the top of the page. Another option would be to print the relevant pages from a pre-1955 Missal such as the Fr Lasance Missal.

Palm Sunday

  • Resources: Either sing or listen to chants using playlist here. Chant can be seen and printed here. Generally speaking, chants in Latin, readings and orations in English. Fr Lasance Missal pg388 onwards.
  • Asperges III- Father of the family sprinkles home altar and family with holy water.
  • Antiphon. Hosanna filio David followed by prayer- Deus Quem Diligere
  • Lesson from Exodus 15
  • Ant. In Monte Oliveti
  • Father reads Gospel
  • Always replace Dominus Vobiscum with V. Domine exaudi orationem meam. R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat
  • Father reads through the blessings- Only a priest can command a blessing of an object but we can still pray that God will bless the palms/branches that we have prepared. We also benefit from the rich theology of the ancient prayers.
  • Sing the Sanctus.
  • Sing Pueri Hebraeorum while the Father hands branches to each family member in order.
  • Procession- (The door of the prayer room/chapel is closed when the last person leaves.) The Father can lead with a large crucifix if one is available. Think of a reasonable procession route that includes parts of the house and garden.
  • Sing Gloria, Laus et honor tibi sit during the procession.
  • Return to the prayer room/chapel in time for the ending of the hymn. (If your family is large enough, you could have some inside the chapel as in the rubrics of the missal, if not just continue).
  • The family wait outside the closed door of the chapel/prayer room.
  • The father knocks three times on the closed door with the foot of the large crucifix. (He could just knock if no such crucifix is available.)
  • Sing Ant. Ingrediente upon re-entering the room.
  • N.B. You may decide here to skip to your time of spiritual communion depending on how the kids are doing.

The Missa Sicca proper

  • Follow the missal as is.
  • The reading of the passion.
  • Option 1- Read the full Passion. C-Mother, S- All, + – Father
    OR (if your kids are getting restless by now!)
  • At what would be a low Mass, the Passion is substituted for the Gospel that is read before the blessing of the palms. You may decide that since you already read this earlier, you may omit it and give a summary of the passion in your own words for the benefit of the children.
  • Sing the Credo
  • Sing the offertory
  • After the offertory, select some prayers from offertory of the Mass to prepare for a spiritual communion. (Suggestion- Suscipe Sancta Trinitas, asking God to receive all the Masses throughout the world. The preface could be read and the Sanctus sung. Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, Act of Spiritual Communion, silence.)
  • Finish the prayers of the Mass. End with Benedicamus Domino in place of Ite Missa Est

I will post the same sort of resource for the Sacred Triduum in due course.

Homemade Paschal Candle
Making facemasks for priests and palm crosses for friends

Vespers: Feast of the Holy Family

Today is the feast of the Holy Family. Here is the Immaculate Heart of Mary Schola joined by a few of the monks of Papa Stronsay singing Vespers of this feast day in 2019. You can follow with this booklet. The hymn at 18.02 is particularly beautiful.

The collect of the feast is a mission statement for every family:

COLLECT O Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified home life with untold virtues by being subject to Mary and Joseph. May they assist us to imitate the example of Your Holy Family, so that we may share with them their eternal happiness; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .

Learn about the Three Hearts Devotion Here

Heart of Jesus I adore thee,

Heart of Mary I implore thee,

Heart of Joseph pure and just,

In these Three Hearts I place my trust.

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

Happy feast of the Holy Name of Jesus!

For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father Phillipians 2:9-11

The Latin original is by St Bernard of Clairvaux and the translation below is by Fr Edward Caswell, a convert from Anglicanism and collaborator of Saint John Henry Newman. There isn’t a suitable recording of this hymn online to share but nonetheless, the English provides material for hours of meditation.

Jesus, the very thought of Thee With sweetness fills the breast! Yet sweeter far Thy face to see And in Thy Presence rest.

No voice can sing, no heart can frame, Nor can the memory find, A sweeter sound than Jesus’ Name, The Saviour of mankind.

O hope of every contrite heart! O joy of all the meek! To those who fall, how kind Thou art! How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah! this Nor tongue nor pen can show The love of Jesus, what it is, None but His loved ones know.

Jesus! our only hope be Thou, As Thou our prize shalt be; In Thee be all our glory now,And through eternity. Amen.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent, the origin of the Hail Mary

During Advent, the Sacred Liturgy is replete with references to the Blessed Virgin Mary who bore the Word Made Flesh in Her womb. From prophesies about the tender shoot that came from the root of Jesse to chant motifs appearing in the propers, Our Lady is evoked and invoked continually.

Today, I was astounded to learn that the origin of the Hail Mary that we pray so regularly finds its origin in the offertory chant of today’s Mass. I was aware that the ‘Holy Mary Mother of God’ part of the prayer was added later but according to the liturgical scholar Fr Lasance, the first time that the angelic salutation (Hail Mary) and the greeting of St Elizabeth (Blessed art thou among women) were placed together was in the offertory chant of today’s Mass.

This chant dates back to the Gregorian Antiphonary (compiled by Pope Gregory the Great, 6th century) used in the early Roman basilicas which was widely considered to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore untouchable- and we sang it this morning!

Requiem Sequence: Dies Irae

The sequence of the Requiem Mass is both an exquisite piece of poetry and a striking meditation on the four last things. It is quite astounding that this prose was supressed in the new Mass of Paul VI and even the tract is replaced with the Alleluia! This is key to understanding the principle ‘lex Orlando, lex credendi’ because this change in the prayer of the church signifies a significant change in belief.

The Dies Irae provides a sobering meditation to us and excites a keen desire to pray for the Holy Souls. May we all redouble our efforts to assist them by our prayer, fasting, almsgiving, indulgences and Masses.

In a lighter note, here is a presentation about the influence that the chant of the Dies Irae has had on popular culture.

Feast of All Saints: O Quam Gloriosum

Happy feast of All Saints.

Here is a motet by the Spanish Priest composer, Fr Thomas Luis de Victoria- O Quam Gloriosum, complete with beautiful footage from the BBC.

O quam gloriosum est regnum,
in quo cum Christo gaudent omnes Sancti!
Amicti stolis albis,
sequuntur Agnum, quocumque ierit.

O how glorious is the kingdom
in which all the saints rejoice with Christ,
clad in robes of white
they follow the Lamb wherever he goes.

And Fr Victoria’s Mass on the same theme.