The ceremonies of Holy Saturday are performed on Holy Saturday Morning. Because these are long and because many baptisms were performed after the blessing of the font, I suggest splitting the liturgy in two
In the morning- The Easter Fire-The prayers of the blessing of the font ending with inserting a renewal of baptismal promises and sprinkling of holy water.
After dinner-The Litany of Saints to the end, in the manner of a Dry Mass as explained in previous posts. The prayers of the Mass begin to talk about ‘this sacred night’ and so it makes sense to delay this half until evening- as well as pacing things for your family.
We plan to spend the time in the afternoon making Easter decorations.
Some pointers for adapting the liturgy in the booklet.
Part 1- Morning
The liturgical colour is violet
We plan to light a fire in a small barbecue that we have in the garden. While we cannot command a blessing in the way a priest can, in the manner I explained for the blessing of palms, we can still ask God to bless things so the Father of the house can pray these prayers without making the sign of the cross etc, simply asking God to bless the fire.
For the triple candle I intend to use three blessed dinner candles that we had blessed at Candlemas and will place them in a candelabra that we have on the dining room table, leaving the additional candle holders empty.
My wife has made a paschal candle from a pillar candle (also blessed at Candlemas) and we already have incense that has been blessed so that I can insert grains into the Paschal Candle. (Tip- use a pointed tool to make the little holes beforehand!)
All chants are in the play list or can be sung using the cant linked above. The exultet is difficult so just listen to it. If you are keen to do it, miss out the bit about being in the order of levites- this is for priests.
For the 12 prophesies, you could decide which ones to include. We have a two year old so we will read a few and then finish reading them in our own prayer time later. If you have older children, you can adapt to what you think is best.
For the blessing of the font, you could read the prayers and catechise the family on this or simply give an explanation of what would be performed, reminding the family of their baptism and the significance of that sacrament. A simple renewal of baptismal promises can be found here as a way to finish this portion of the liturgy. The liturgy so far is not considered to be in Paschaltide so if you wanted to sing an antiphon, it would be best to stick with Asperges Me for now. Or, you could listen to Palestrina’s setting of the baptism antiphon Sicut Cervus in the playlist.
Part 2- Evening
The home altar is dressed in white and the candles are lit
Begin at the litany of the saints. This takes the place of the Introit and Kyrie.
The Gloria is sung with the ringing of bells. During the Gloria, the purple veils are removed from the sacred images. The character of this liturgy is still one of anticipation as shown by the alleluia mixed with the lenten-style tract.
Continue the dry Mass as described before, with a spiritual Communion made.
After the spiritual Communion, the shortened form of vespers is prayed as in the booklet.
If singing the Ite Missa Est Alleluia, sing Benedicamus Domino Alleluia instead.
The last gospel is read as usual.
Once the children are in bed, it is time to decorate the house, prepare the Easter lunch and hide the eggs for the Easter egg hunt!
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!)
Below I have provided notes on how this can be done at home. Some points to consider:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
O Emmanuel (December 23) O Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14; 8:8; Luke 1:31-33), our King and Lawgiver (Genesis 49:10; cf. Ezekiel 21:32), the Expected of the nations and their Savior (Isa 33:22): Come, and save us, O Lord our God.
O Oriens or O Rising Dawn or Morning Star (December 21) O Rising Dawn, (Jer 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12), Radiance of the Light eternal (Habakkuk 3:4; Wisdom 7:26; Hebrews 1:3) and Sun of Justice (Malachi 3:20): * come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107:10; Lk 1:78).
O Clavis David or O Key of David (December 20) O Key of David, (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7) and Scepter of the house of Israel (Numbers 24:17): You open and no man closes; you close and no man opens (Isaiah 22:22). * Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107:10).
O Radix Jesse or O Root of Jesse (December 19) O Root of Jesse, (Isaiah 11:1) You stand for the ensign of mankind (Isaiah 11:10); before You kings shall keep silence and to You all nations shall have recourse (Isaiah 52:15). * Come, save us, and do not delay (Habakkuk 2:3).
O Adonai or O Lord and Ruler (December 18) O Adonai (Exod 3:14) and Ruler of the house of Israel (Matt 2:6; Micah 5:1; 2 Sam 5:2), You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exod 3:2) and on Mount Sinai gave him Your Law (Exod 20). * Come, and with an outstretched arm redeem us (Jeremiah 32:21).
A few months ago Mrs Pearce and I decided that to add to our family evening devotions, we would begin commemorating the feast of the day by opening our family rosary by singing the Magnificat antiphon and Collect of the day. We are very much into liturgical living and our meals, house decorations and family activities mark out the feasts and fasts of the church calendar. This is especially important for children who also learn a lot through practice and culture rather than only academic learning.
This practice really comes into its own in the next few days when the Church sets before us a different Magnificat antiphon each day which take typological titles of Jesus relating to the incarnation. These are a reflection bon the expectations that the people of Israel had of the coming Messiah and in the Church we reflect on these in the knowledge of how Christ fulfilled them each one begins with ‘O’ and so they are called the ‘O’ Antiphons.
The first is sung at Vespers on the 17th of December and is O Sapientia. We are reminded that, as the last Gospel of the Mass presents, Jesus is the eternal Logos, the Word or Divine Mind made flesh. He is Wisdom incarnate.
O Sapientia or O Wisdom (December 17) O Wisdom (Sirach 24:3), You came forth from the mouth of the Most High (Sirach 24:3), and reaching from beginning to end You ordered all things mightily and sweetly (Wisdom 8:1). * Come, and teach us the way of prudence (Isaiah 40:14).