Saturday, April 26, 2014

Holy Week at the Ordinariate Church of St John the Evangelist, Calgary

The report and photos below are from the Ordinariate Parish of St John the Evangelist in Calgary, Alberta. The parish website is here.

The Ordinariate church of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, Alberta celebrated the sacred triduum with full ceremonies this year. The parish was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church in December 2011, and has over doubled in size since its inception as a part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The parish uses exclusively the liturgical books authorised for the personal ordinariates, known as Divine Worship, and boasts the public recitation of morning and evening prayer (Mattins and Evensong) daily, alongside the celebration of the Mass.

Maundy Thursday was celebrated with the mandatum (or maundy), together with the traditional procession to the altar of repose at the conclusion of the Mass. The choir sang chant from the Anglican tradition, mainly in English and from the Wantage and English Gradual collections, together with hymns and anthems familiar to the faithful.

A solemn watch was kept at the altar of repose until midnight, and an all night watch was kept by the lay faithful before the Blessed Sacrament until the celebration of the Solemn Liturgy on Good Friday. After the conclusion of the Mass the choir sang Psalm 22 as the altars were stripped and washed, and Evensong was recited by the clergy in quire.

On Good Friday, after Mattins in quire in the morning, the solemn liturgy was celebrated at midday with the passion of Saint John being chanted by three clerics before the rood screen. The choir sang the chants during the veneration of the cross by the faithful, who maintained the tradition of ‘creeping to the cross’ with three genuflections.

Over 150 people ventured through the Good Friday snow to the liturgy. The cross was carried aloft through the church to the elaborate chant of the Behold the wood of the cross, from the Roman Gradual, set to music in many of the Anglo-Catholic chant editions.

The solemn intercessions were sung by the priest, before removing the black vestments and changing into the violet vestments prescribed for the Communion Rite. The Blessed Sacrament was brought from the altar of repose, and the faithful invited to receive Holy Communion kneeling at the altar rail of the sanctuary, as is the parish custom.

After the liturgy, Evensong was recited in quire and the cross and candles remained on the altar for the veneration of the faithful until Holy Saturday. On the morning of Holy Saturday, after Mattins, the church was prepared for the Paschal Vigil.

The vigil began with the blessing of the new fire, incense, and the paschal candle by the entrance to the church as the people gathered outside. The penitential character of the liturgical vigil is marked by violet vestments, except for the deacon who changes into gold in order to bear the paschal candle into the church and to sing the Exsultet.

The blessing of water took place at the epistle corner of the sanctuary, before bring carried to the font for the baptism of a new Christian, who was also confirmed during the ceremony.

After the vigil itself and the ceremonies of initiation, the first Mass of Easter was celebrated at the High Altar of the church. On Easter Sunday morning, a Solemn High Mass was offered, preceded by the Sprinkling with Holy Water (Vidi Aquam) and a procession around the church - one of the traditional characteristics of Anglican worship on feasts.

The choir sang the chant for the rite of sprinkling, and also vernacular settings of the chants of the Graduale Romanum for the Introit and Gradual, and an English setting of the great Easter Sequence.

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