The Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts will be our next liturgical topic on this site. To give you a taste of what is to come, I’ve extracted the outline with section numbers:
6-20 I. THE LENTEN SEASON
a) Concerning the Rite of Christian Initiation 7-10
b) Celebrations during the Lenten season 11-20
c) Particular details concerning the days of Lent 21-26
27-37 II. HOLY WEEK
a) Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) 28-34
b) The Chrism Mass 35-37
38-43 III. THE EASTER TRIDUUM IN GENERAL
44-57 IV. HOLY THURSDAY EVENING MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
58-72 V. GOOD FRIDAY
73-76 VI. HOLY SATURDAY
77-107 VII. EASTER SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S RESURRECTION
a) The Easter Vigil 77-96
b) Easter Day 97-99
100-108 VIII. EASTER TIME
Perhaps a more accurate title than “Easter Feasts” would specify this document covers the “ninety days,” not just Eastertime but Lent and Holy Week too. On other sites, I’ve seen this document labeled with “Paschal” instead of the other adjective. Perhaps that is paschal, as in mystery.
John Baldovin’s online commentary is useful, and I think we’ll use the simple two word Latin title, Paschale Solemnitatis. Or PS for short. Fr Baldovin says that this 1988 document adds little novelty to the post-conciliar liturgical reform, but is mostly a reminder of what is already on the books. That accurate assessment is one reason why I’ve overlooked this document for so long.
Were people in 1988 not really celebrating the Ninety Days poorly? Good liturgy does not pour out like water from a spigot. I’m less inclined to be critical and would rather suggest there is good work ahead in terms of implementing what the liturgy already gives us. And speaking as a liturgist who serves parishes that do most all of our options, there is always room for improvement.
Stay tuned: bright and early (Western Hemisphere) tomorrow.