Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What do you do with Pergolesi

What do you do with Pergolesi on Good Friday evening? Some singers have offered to come and sing his Stabat Mater together with a small group of strings. I don't want a concert in the Church, on that day of all days. One possibility is using it for the Stations of the Cross but then there will be an awful lot of standing about as the Church isn't very large, and I don't really want to interrupt the music.

There is rite of veneration of the Relic of the True Cross, which close resembles Benediction. I asked about it last year but all anyone could come up with was the simple Rite in the 1959(?) Pocket Ritual. The more Solemn Rite has the Relic brought in under a red canopy, incense is used and there are proper prayers. I am sure the monks of Heiligenkreuz had a video on YouTube of parts the Rite but I can't find it, I want the text.

I thought the Stabat Mater would be useful during a period of adoration.



Anonymous said...

Why not follow the developed medieval practice and 'bury' the Cross in a Sepulchre after the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified on Good Friday?

In the evening, after Tenebrae, you could ensure the Sepulchre is a blaze of candles and then have the Pergolesi sung by candlelight. I am sure it would be most effective and deeply moving. A reliquary containing a fragement of the True Cross could be enthroned on top of the Sepulchre with incensation etc. before the singing of Stabat Mater.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Well it is a possibility but it is not a current rite of the Church.
I would prefer to do what the Church does.

Anonymous said...

Father, How wonderful. What a treasure the Pergolesi Stabat Mater is. It has some of the most stunningly beautiful music this side of Heaven. I am havering about it for Good Friday, though. I kind of think that Good Friday is a day of mourning with pomp giving way to simplicity. That's my tuppence for what it's worth.
How about having it as a stand-alone reflection on the Friday before Palm Sunday, followed by the usual Stations?

Anonymous said...

Fr. Ray,

If you visit many churches in Eastern Europe you will find Sepulchres thriving to this day. In Poland copies of the liturgical books (e.g. from my collection Cantionale Ecclesisasticum as usum Ecclesiarum Poloniae, Krackow, 1925) had rites for deposition of the Cross and its raising at Easter right up until the 1950s. I understand that the approved liturgical books for use today still contain these ceremonies, if somewhat diminished.

I am sure if you introduced a Sepulchre as a devotion on Good Friday evening you would please a lot of Polish parishoners along with others.

Stabat Mater doesn't appear in the current liturgical books of the Church for Good Friday.

Physiocrat said...

Not as part of the Liturgy. Perhaps later in the evening, say 7.30 as a separate event, with readings and meditation.

JARay said...

As I recall it, Tenebrae started at Midnight on Good Friday. Everyone carried a candle and, after each of the readings, a candle was extinguished (or a series of candles). The whole ethos is of "darkness". That is what Tenebrae is.
The whole idea is to plunge the church into darkness by stages and that is why the candles are extinguished, one by one.
When all is in darkness, the leader/priest, leaves by the tapping of a staff because all the world is in darkness. We are all blind!!
All withdraw.
There is no Mass on Holy Saturday.


Delia said...

Maybe you could email Heiligenkreuz?

Anonymous said...

JARay, That rings a bell. My father described exactly the same sequence on Good Friday when he was a boy. The altar boys also banged missals on to the benches to signify the eruption of the heavens and the rending of the Temple veil. It was much enjoyed by the youngsters after the solemnity of the liturgy.

Anonymous said...

In many Brazilian cities we make a procession with a statue of the Dead Savior and Our Lady of Sorrows on Good Friday evening

NB: Goog Friday is a brazilian national holiday.

Anonymous said...

Part of the ceremony of the veneration of the Crown of Thorns and pieces of the True Cross at Notre-Dame in Paris are shown in a video on the French site 'Daily Motion.fr'. (Type in 'Couronne d'epines notre dame paris on the Dailymotion site). There are also two videos there showing part of the ceremony when Patriarch Alexis II visited a couple of years ago.

I have been present 3 times - it is held on the 1st Friday of each month - and Russian priests have been present on each occasion. Their elaborate vestments and crowns contrast sharply with the plain vestments of the French priests.

The service is composed of hymns and readings alternating and the Veneration is well shepherded by oficials who I think are the Knights of Malta. The security of the precious relics is so important.

People are told that they may chose how to venerate before kissing the Crown of thorns (which is encased in a glass circlet) and some genuflect, some bow and the Orthodox bow down three times to the ground beforehand. It is truly an extraordinary experience and it is surprising how many Catholics visit Paris and do not know of it.

Anonymous said...


Do please tell more of what happens in Brazil.

Is anything done with the statue of the Dead Christ after the procession?

Do you have any processions on Easter Sunday?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Could do Tenebrae but there is no place in it for the Stabat Mater,

Anonymous said...

Fr. Ray Blake said: "Well it is a possibility but it is not a current rite of the Church."

Well neither is Tenebrae on Good Friday evening. Although of course it is an ancient rite of the Western Church.
Reflecting on what I suggested earlier it would perahps seem appopriate to have the Stabat Mater after the 'Liturgical Action' as the post-1955 rites describe. as part of Compline as a parallel to the 'Lamentations of the Mother of God' in the Byzantine Rite.

Anonymous said...

During the Stations of the Cross during Lent I remember the priest used to sing one verse of the Stabat Mater between each station. He had a good singing voice and could sing unaccompanied.

Last year I had the opportunity of singing it again when I followed the Way of the Cross with priests of the FSSP in Lourdes. It must have been some 45 years since I last heard it and yet it was so familiar - wonderful. I have not played the video shown yet so don't know whether it is the same
music which was a simple solemn melody.

Anonymous said...

old believer,

We venerate thes statue of the dead Christ and especially of Our Lady of Sorrows during all the night. The church only closes at midday on Holy Saturday.

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