VNO 43-44: For Those Held In Captivity/For Those In Prison

The Lectionary Mass “For Those Held Captive” seems to be split into these two intentions in the Roman Missal’s Third Edition.

If you refer to the Lectionary, a single reading is given, Matthew 25:31-46 describing a look back from the Last Judgment and where we may have found Jesus, even among those in prison. Maybe “captivity” implies unjust persecution, and this Mass offers two Psalm antiphons for the propers:

Entrance Antiphon Psalm 88:2-3

O Lord and God of my salvation, I have cried before you day and night. Let my prayer come into your presence. Incline your ear to my cry.

Communion Antiphon Psalm 69:31, 34

I will praise God’s name with a song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving. For the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his own in their chains.

As for VNO Mass #44, As a stand-alone observance “For Those in Prison,” perhaps not a popular one. I suppose if a priest were to lead Mass in prison on a day other than Sunday, it might be a choice. No proper antiphons are offered here, just this note:

For those imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel, the antiphons For Persecuted Christians may be used.

I refer readers to the nineteenth VNO Mass on which we wrote here.

Even for those justly incarcerated, it would be a fitting Christian act to pray for them. The Psalms cited in part, above, are each laments–entirely fitting for those in prison as a result of either personal offense or by the sin or neglect of another in power. They deal with persecution and have strong connections to the Lord and observances of his Passion, especially the 69th and its use on Spy Wednesday.

The verses cited from Psalm 69–31 and 34–are part of the final thanksgiving of that piece. But I remember verse 21 from its use at Mass during Holy Week:

Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.

It would be difficult to omit this powerful expression of despair from the singing Church.

Some years ago, we blogged on Masses And Prayers For Various Needs And Occasions. In the GIRM, sections 368-378 cover the universal regulations on their use. You can check our brief comments here and here and here. The USCCB’s unannotated text on the matter is here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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