Later on Easter Sunday

I’m not just discussing the Gospel reading (Luke 24:13-35) in Lectionary #42 “(a)t an afternoon or evening Mass.” More and more, though, we are seeing evening Masses on regular Sundays. Especially where clergy are available to serve. How does an Easter Mass look when the morning has long since broken–and the afternoon, too?

The image, right, is from my cathedral’s nave. And yes: they have liturgy at 4pm (Vespers) and 5:30 (Mass) today.

I feel certain that extroverts concocted the traditional notion of Vespers on Easter evening, as promoted in Paschale Solemnitatis #98:

98. The tradition of celebrating baptismal Vespers on Easter Day with the singing of psalms during the procession to the font should be maintained where it is still in force, and as appropriate restored.

Here is the citation from deep into the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, plus my own comment from nearly ten years ago:

Great care should be taken to maintain, where it exists, the particular tradition of celebrating evening prayer on Easter Sunday in honor of baptism. During this there is a procession to the font as the psalms are being sung. (#213)

Many of my colleagues in liturgy and catechumenate ministry attempt this. Many more beg off, citing the demands on energy, time, and volunteers. I confess I’ve fallen into the latter category, but it’s really a matter of pacing oneself.

A decade later, and I’m still looking forward to enjoying the evening of Easter Sunday with my family after the 4pm Mass. I suppose if a monastery was nearby, I’d talk my wife into joining me for one last breath, the seventy-second hour of Triduum.

Some of my music people served at as many as five liturgies this Triduum. That’s dedication. If I were to do Easter Vespers, I’d want it to compare favorably to the quality we managed for the big Masses.

All that said, I do find a curious point on psalms as moving music: how long does it take for an assembly to move from seats to font? Psalms 110 and 114 aren’t terribly long, but still …

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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