Following my series on how to celebrate the pre-1955 Holy Week liturgy at home, here are some ideas for Holy Thursday.
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!