2 April 2021

How to pray Holy Saturday

For reasons of propriety, I shall not publish a post tomorrow. In Magno Sabbato quiescimus. My next effusion will be my Risus Paschalis on Sunday.

A fine way to meditate and to pray on Holy Saturday, before the Vigil, would be to watch the video of the SSPX Chrism Mass, celebrant HE Bishop Fellay, to which Fr Zed most usefully provides a link. Since the Mysteries of Christian Initiation are at the heart of our wonderful Latin Catholic celebration of the Easter Vigil, the Consecration of Chrism (done on Thurday so as to provide what is necessary for the Great Vigil) is a most suitable way of getting into the right frame of mind!

NOTICE, however, that this video does not provide the ancient Roman form. The Liturgy shown dates from the Bugnini reforms of 1955. Previously, the Oils were consecrated during the main Maundy Thursday Mass. What Bugnini did was to extract the 'Oil' elements from that Mass, to fit them up with the necessary propers (Introit, Collect, etc.etc.), and to present them as a separate Eucharistic celebration. But, otherwise, the Consecrations and Blessings are (I think) almost entirely uncorrupted, except that a paragraph in the Consecration of the Chrism has been filletted out and restored to its historically original job as a Preface.

The earlier rites can be read ... for example ... in the edition of the Roman Pontifical published by the authority of Papa Lambertini. (Happily, I acquired a copy of this in Thornton's when I was an undergraduate ... verily, a ktema es aei!) I wonder if this pre-1955, pre-Bugnini, pre-Pacelli, Mass of Maundy Thursday, including the Consecrations and Blessings of the Oils, nowadays happens anywhere in Christendom. 

I'm sure they would love to do it in Sede-land, but I doubt if, poor poppets, they would have enough clergy!


Farmer's boy said...

Off topic, but I wonder if anyone has an answer. When I was a boy in London suburbs my parents and I used to have a devotion of 'the 7 churches', when we visited 7 churches to pray before the beautifully decorated altars of repose. This would only be possible if one had a car and lived in an area with plenty of churches. Was this a general devotion, unique to London area, encouraged by the Jesuits at Wimbledon, a foreign import, or just invented by my family? I've never read anything about it.

Shaun Davies said...

A very old lady friend of mine R.I.P. talked about this practice with enthusiasm, her husband had been a pupil at the Oratory school (early 1920s) and perhaps got the idea from there - didn't St Philip Neri teach people to do this ? I can remember trying to do this devotion in Paris in 1981 with little success - almost all the churches had closed. I think that many churches now start the evening Maundy Thursday Mass later in the evening - not so long to watch and indeed I am sure that I have seen gloomy notices saying Altar Of Repose until 10 p.m. - aren't the words addressed by the Pharaoh to the children of Israel suitable "for they be idle" ?

PM said...

You remind me, Father, if one of the saddest changes I have seen in Oxford: the disappearance of Thornton's.

Wishing you a blessed Easter.

Martin McDermott, sj said...

to Farmer's Boy

Beirut, Lebanon, has plenty of churches, people were visiting them Thursday, even though officially discouraged from it.

Pontiacprince said...

We had (have?) the same action here in Canada. I knew not a few who would make every attempt to visit 7 churches today and pray for the souls in Purgatory.It was easy to find 7 churches so distanced in Ottawa in those days and public transit was in good fashion unlike today.
We did not know of this Holy Saturday devotion back in my farm days.Of course churches then were few and very far between.Like you I would like to know the origin of this Holy Saturday action.

frjustin said...

@Farmer's boy: It seems that the tradition of visiting seven churches was started by Saint Philip Neri around 1553. He and a few friends would gather before dawn and set out on their "Seven Churches Walk". These pilgrimages were designed to be a counterpoint to the raucous behavior of Carnival. Wikipedia has an entire article on the subject:


Unknown said...

From martin hartley

O/T but I hope you will allow fr John

The police broke up the good friday liturgy at a polish catholic church in Balham s london. Where is the denunciation from Cardinal Nichols? Or is it now burning incense to Caesar more important than following the catholic worship of the ages

Fm Martin Hartley

Kathleen said...

The tradition of visiting seven churches was common practice in Dublin when I was growing up in the sixties. It was carried out throughout the year, as there were lots of churches both north and south of the river.

Agnes Regina said...

The idea of the seven churches comes from the seven Stational churches in Rome (if I remember right, the ones the Pope said Mass at during Holy Week). There is (was?) an indulgence for visiting all seven in one day. It makes sense to turn that idea into an Altar-of-Repose tour... which we also do here in St. Louis, MO.