Friday, March 30, 2012

7 Readings at the Vigil

I have just been looking at the Easter Vigil, in the new translation of the Roman Missal. Others have noted the return of the bees in the Exultet - doesn't their absence show how poorly we were served by the previous translation.

What our director of music pointed out was the rubric that says all nine readings must be used "whenever this can be done...". "Nevertheless, where more serious pastoral circumstance demand it, the number of readings ... maybe reduced".  I think this will change the shape of the Vigil in many places, at least where the rubrics are read.
In the UK I think it is quite normal to reduce them to four, hence forth it is seven, though I am not sure what "serious pastoral reason" might mean to lead a priest to reduce the number; presumably if he celebrating the Vigil in a prison camp.

The other thing I am pleased to see is the ninefold Easter Alleluia is now in the Missal, together with its music.


The Rev. M. Forbes said...

Uh Do! If you have to use 7 use 9 There will not be that much difference, even if some themes overlap.


amator Dei said...

It depends surely how you do it. Seven OT readings one after another are hard to take in. The last two years I have been on a retreat where the Vigil began around 2 am, so it was a proper night vigil, and the readings were spaced out so that there were several minutes' silence after each one. The whole vigil took three hours, but seemed shorter because people had a chance to take things in. Whenever I mention this, I am always told we couldn't possibly do it like that in a parish. But I think why not? It is the most important liturgy of the whole year, Easter is the most important Christian feast - why can't we do something special and different to mark it?

Thomas said...

Exsultet has an 'S' in it Fr.

Where is the nine-fold Alleluia?

Miles Mariae said...

I wholly agree with amator Dei. The Vigil should be all about the greater Glory of the Most High God. If not then, when? My lapsed brother dragged himself along to a Vigil one year after I had told him how wonderful it was and that it was the longest Liturgy in the Church etc. Unfortunately the priest in his parish was of the mind that the worship of God was something to be rushed through as quickly as possibly, so that people can get on with something more important! My brother was so deflated he never returned. Not yet anyway.

Lautensack said...

It may be worth bearing in mind that the closest Byzantine equivalent of the Easter Vigil is called the 'Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil the Great with 15 Readings'.

Btw, the like the tripartite arundo on the photo.

Victor said...

Usually you will meet the argument that the children and the elderly can't make it through such a long service. This may sound harsh, but - nobody HAS to go to the vigil; you fulfill your obligation by attending Easter sunday mass (OT, Epistle, Gospel) - that shouldn't take much more than the usual sunday mass. If you want the fire, the dark church, the blessing of the water, well you have to take the nine lessons too.
And if people moan and grind their teeth, remind them that before 1955, there used to be 14 lessons. That should shut them up :)

nickbris said...

Can't remember how many there were last year but I noticed one or two people went over the Pub half way through. It can be very tiring for older people and children become very fidgety.

vetusta ecclesia said...

I don't know if I was "moderated" but shall make my point again.Whatever the rubrics "pastoral considerations" will usually trump, though, in my experience, these are often the convenience of the pastor.

I should like to see the Easter Vigil more delineated between the Vigil (Matins, Office of Readings - purple cope) and the Resurrection Mass (white, joy, music etc.)

John Nolan said...

The 1955 reform reduced the number of OT prophecies from twelve to four, with four canticles. This was increased to seven, with seven canticles in the further reform after Vatican II. The canticles are in the Graduale, but the missal gives responsorial psalms between the readings, and even one responsorial psalm is wearisome. If the Graduale texts are used, some can be done polyphonically, and others in chant.

To appreciate the Vigil (and the services of Holy Week generally) you really need to go somewhere which has the musical resources to do it justice, and is not allergic to Latin. My first choice would be the London or Birmingham Oratory.