The Armchair Liturgist: Acclamations During The Passion Reading

This might be in that twilight zone of things recently frowned on, but my parish has a long tradition of musical acclamations inserted within the Passion Gospels. I see the Lucan refrain of the thief on the cross used in many places every year. But I don’t like that. It reminds me too much of the pastor who used to tell his own version of the Passion from “memory” every year, incorporating all four Gospels. And maybe Veronica, too.

Last year, for Mark we used a refrain based on the centurion’s confession:

Jesus, Jesus, truly the Son of God.

Did you know that the good thief’s refrain is one of the few times in the Bible (maybe the only in the Gospels) in which the Lord is addressed by name and without an honorific?

Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.

I confess a love for the hymn from which this refrain is derived. And I use it on Good Friday:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand.

What would be a good one for Matthew? I can’t recall what I used two years ago. If anything. Maybe the refrain from Psalm 22 or 31. What would you use? Take up the purple chair and decide: how would you handle the Passions readings of Holy Week?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Holy Week, Liturgical Music, The Armchair Liturgist. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Acclamations During The Passion Reading

  1. Liam says:

    Well, having been in three different communities that employed acclamations during the passion, in different ways, I gradually became convinced that they are solution looking for a problem.

    If one wants to break up the proclamation, there is only one convincing and suitable approach: moments of silence.

  2. Dustin says:

    Watching Francis’ Palm Sunday mass, I noticed the choral acclamations, and thought of this this post. Whatever they sung wasn’t in the PDF released by the office of liturgical celebrations. The Seven Last Words, maybe, or is that just for Good Friday?

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