Liturgy battles: Easter Vigil or Easter Day?
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 255
    Jeff Ostrowski wrote a very interesting piece re the changes to holy week from 1950-1962.

    He states: Easter Sunday Should Be The Pinnacle •

    While I do agree with what follows,  Because of the Easter Vigil ‘reform,’ Easter Sunday Mass is often neglected—or not celebrated properly—and this seems regrettable and contrary to tradition., I was always taught that the Easter Vigil is the greatest liturgical celebration and the pinnacle of the liturgical year.

    I respect Mr. Ostrowski, but this article glosses and dismisses points re early changes of the liturgy and succumbs to unfortunate hyperbole. The reformers—bound by the zeitgeist’s false literalism—decided that all the Catholics saints for 1,200 years were wrong to celebrate the Easter Vigil when they did.

    I am curious about others' thoughts on this article. I am especially curious about what you have learned about the Easter Vigil being the highest and most important mass and whether you believe that is a "bad thing" or a problem.

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,039
    From The Roman Missal (2011), page 343:


    2. Of this night’s Vigil, which is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities, there is to be only one celebration in each church.

    4. The Mass of the Vigil, even if it is celebrated before midnight, is a paschal Mass of the Sunday of the Resurrection.

    The reformed liturgy is a good thing.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 693
    [Edited to remove a personal criticism which is contrary to the Forum Etiquette Guidelines. --admin]

    I can't comment on the TLM aspects of the article but for the last forty-five years that I've been singing in the choir, the NO Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses have always been celebrated with equal reverence and with all the proper observances. Absolutely, beautiful celebrations. At St. Mary's in Akron, Ohio once every other year from 1977-2005, we celebrated Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday in the NO in Latin. In this way we helped to "preserve" the Latin.

    At St. Paul's in Akron, Ohio from 2010 to 2021 everything was done in English with very little Latin except for a few hymns like Ubi Caritas. The difference was the "parish culture." St. Mary's has always been a very traditional NO parish were St. Paul's was more contemporary. Today, St. Paul's celebrates the TLM and the NO.

    Thanked by 2Liam tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,409
    I think it instructive that this reform under Pius XII by a Commission with secretary A Bugnini, was completely swept away by the 1969 reform under Paul VI by a Concilium steered by A Bugnini.
    Thanked by 2Liam tomjaw
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 255
    a_f_hawkins- can you elaborate?
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 248
    Jeff wrote a previous post on the same topic:
    There he says
    It is not “traditional” to make the Easter Vigil more solemn than Easter Sunday. In my experience, where the Easter Vigil is celebrated with maximum solemnity the night before, the ceremonies on Easter Sunday always suffer.
    The Easter Vigil has less music than any other Mass. Even a ferial Mass has more music! There is no “Vidi Aquam.” There is no Introit. There is no Sequence. The (short) Alleluia is followed by a Tract! There is no Gradual or Greater Alleluia. There are no candles at the Gospel. There is no Creed. There is no Offertory Antiphon. The Kiss of Peace is omitted. There is no Agnus Dei. There is no Communion Antiphon.
    Although the first pertains to anecdotal evidence, I think all of those points are beyond dispute. It seems unfitting to celebrate the principal Easter Sunday morning Mass as a Missa cantata without deacon or subdeacon when the principal liturgies of last three evenings were celebrated with as much solemnity as possible, but that seems to have become the common practice at most TLMs in my experience as well.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw LauraKaz
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,409
    PolskaPiano - You mean what do I learn? That the problems of liturgical reform are so great that one is bound to make mistakes and therefore should be prepared to evaluate and modify.
    The Church of England learnt from our experience and put out an experimental Alternative Service Book in 1980 with a stated expiry date of 1990, to replace their Book of Common Prayer (1662 with slight adjustments). They extended the date to 2000 to allow time for reflection and discussion, and then issued a revised definitive version as Common Worship.
    Bugnini himself said he expected the 1969 Missal to be overhauled after 20 years.
  • Carol
    Posts: 856
    I love the Easter Vigil! I have been going to Easter Vigil's since about 10 or 11 years old when my mother became a cantor and had to be taught all the proper responses and psalms. I think the way the Old Testament readings tell the whole salvation story and the symbolism of darkness up to the moment of the Gloria when the lights come on. This is the NO experience for me and I think I have instilled it in my sons, too.

    I think the same argument could be made about Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve vs. a Christmas Day Mass.

    Sorry if I am missing the point.
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    I've not experienced the Easter Sunday morning Mass being less-than the Easter Vigil in terms of festiveness and solemnity, only that it is significantly less complex, which is true regardless of the Missal one uses.

    I have experienced the Masses of Christmas Day being afterthoughts as compared to the Eve, though mercifully not in the last decade and a half.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    It is not “traditional” to make the Easter Vigil more solemn than Easter Sunday. In my experience, where the Easter Vigil is celebrated with maximum solemnity the night before, the ceremonies on Easter Sunday always suffer….

    Easter Vigil does not have to contend with the Easter Sunday practical problem of additional Masses to accommodate the CEOs and capacity crowds, which can rule out an orchestral Mass and other nonessential beauties, just to get one crowd out before the next one arrives. EV is for a self-selecting group of diehards and night owls, and can theoretically last right up until the prelude for the first Mass of Easter morning.

    The Easter Vigil has less music than any other Mass…

    This is not true of the NO, nor is it true of the pre-‘62 if one counts the Tracts and Magnificat etc.
    Thanked by 1Roborgelmeister
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 248
    the symbolism of darkness up to the moment of the Gloria when the lights come on
    According to the rubrics for both 1962 and the NO, the lights of the church are to come on at the third Lumen Christi, not the Gloria. But the rubrics are very widely ignored!
    This is not true of the NO, nor is it true of the pre-‘62 if one counts the Tracts and Magnificat etc.
    The tracts/canticles and litany in the 1962 are before the Mass itself, which begins with the Kyrie, and "any other Mass" has an introit, offertory, and Agnus Dei. The Easter Sunday Mass also has sequence and Credo.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    The tracts/canticles and litany in the 1962 are before the Mass itself

    Point well taken; I was thinking of “Mass” in a less technical sense and mentally picturing “everything we have to sing on Saturday night until ‘Deo gratias, alleluia, alleluia’”, which is a huge amount of music.
  • My experience of the Triduum has (unfortunately) always been in the O.F. and in a smaller parish. My observation has been that, since the vigil is unusual and elaborate, it always was ritually awkward, sloppy, and somewhat forced, even when celebrated by clergy who cared. I've always preferred Easter Sunday (whether on the bench or in the pew) because it's all of the ecstatic joy without the ritual over-complexity. This, of course, is entirely anecdotal.
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores tomjaw
  • @don9of11

    [Edited to remove a quote of another user's personal criticism which is contrary to the Forum Etiquette Guidelines. --admin]

    That’s pretty uncharitable. You’re saying he would lie to sell a book, which is untrue. He’s a faithful catholic and excellent church musician who has made tremendous strides in making sacred music accessible to many people. You should agree or disagree with the points given in the article rather than make a personal attack.

    Thanked by 1chonak
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    I dare say that many of us here (I certainly do!) owe Jeff a debt of gratitude. For all his hyperbolic articles, the fact remains that CCW is an absolute treasure trove of wonderful resources, good information, and excellent free scores and practice resources. It’s is a monumental collection. When I first discovered CCW, it was a revelation for me. I still check the website regularly and learn much.
  • @don9of11

    I do think that you might not have actually laid your hands upon the beautiful Campion Missal that you are criticizing? Have you even seen the Campion Missal? Have you flipped through its pages? If you had done so. I don't think you would ever have dismissively termed this, beautifully-done, intricately researched Missal as 'wares'.

    I have obtained a copy of this latest, 3rd edition of the St. Edmund Campion Missal and it is a treasure to behold, not just for the magnificent translation of the 1950 Holy Week by Monsignor Ronald Knox, but for all the details in the listings of the manuscripts drawn from, the beautiful colour pages that reproduce in intricate detail, the ancient texts from Missals that were made hundreds of years ago...even the quality of the paper within the Campion Missal speaks much of the love and effort that these editors and writers and researchers have done to produce such a gorgeous missal.

    It seems to me that if Mr.Jeff Ostrowski has mentioned the Campion Missal in his article, it is only because the missal has so much detail within its pages, about the various liturgical reforms, rubrics etc. that it is only fitting to refer the readers to seek out a more detailed resource than his article. Yes, Mr. Ostrowski's article details '73 changes'. The Campion Missal details so many more such details. One should be encouraged to go to the Missal to check out more, as a natural progression from the interest of reading the said article written by Mr. Ostrowski.

    That would be the most natural conclusion of an author pointing a reader to a book beyond the scope of the article.

    And with that, I do believe @don9of11 owes Mr. Ostrowski an apology, for trivialising his incredible effort and contribution towards a deeper understanding and love of Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy. And perhaps, it's a good time, to buy yourself a nice copy of the Campion Missal.

    Thanked by 1AndreaLeal
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 273
    I have to echo @trentonjconn and their explanation of the Vigil vs. Easter Sunday. While I love the Easter Vigil for what it is, there’s something about Mass on Easter Sunday that makes my heart leap for joy. Entering the brightly-lit church decorated with all of the magnificent Easter flowers after the austerity of the Lenten season always warmed my heart as a child. Easter Sunday Mass also follows the same formula as a typical Sunday, save for the Easter Sequence and renewal of baptismal promises/sprinkling rite, so I think the familiarity makes it easier to enjoy. Nothing else matches the organ blaring “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” at the processional.

    I’ve experienced many Easter Vigils at my home parish, and all of the moving parts of the liturgy can really take me out of the Mass for a minute. The simplistic nature of Easter Sunday is always the most moving to me.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    Is it just me, or do I smell a whiff of something which would violate forum rule 11?
  • @littleway I agree - if it was mentioned it was definitely relevant. Great observations about the missal. A blessed Palm Sunday to all!
    Thanked by 1littleway
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    Is it just me, or do I smell a whiff of something which would violate forum rule 11?

    Is that like Order 66?
  • @charlesw @gamba Do I smell a whiff of something which would violate forum rules 1, 5, 6, and 7?

    [I agree: #6 at least, and am editing out the offending statement. I'm just sorry I didn't catch this earlier.--admin]
  • @Gamba

    I am actually so new to this forum that I actually had to go and look up what forum rule #11 is. That is so strange that you think I might have multiple accounts. Do people do that here? Anyway. I do like Rule #1 :) which is why I wrote into the discussion in the first place. It pains me when good people are maligned. Especially on a forum talking about Easter Vigil, and darkness to light. I figured I'd try to do my own 'bringing some light' into the matter. Hope that clarifies it for you.

    [Actually there was a case of someone who used to post comments from multiple accounts, arguing against each other's views. --admin]
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    Enough of this tit for tatting.

    Let’s just be happy (stressed) musicians during Holy Week.
  • Can we perhaps preserve this thread as opposed to letting it devolve into sniping back and forth about Jeff Ostrowski?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    @charlesw @gamba Do I smell a whiff of something which would violate forum rules 1, 5, 6, and 7?

    How many forum rules are there? After all, God only gave ten.

    If you like Ostrowski's work buy it. If you don't, disregard it and use something else. There is plenty of music out there, much of it free. CPDL is a great resource.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,155
    Rule #1? Do you mean 'Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly men'?
    (From 'Thief of Time' by Terry Pratchett)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 255
    My original question perhaps boils down to, "Is the viewing of the Easter Vigil as the 'greatest solemnity' a new perception in the church- post VII- or does this view go back centuries."
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 248
    The Catholic Encyclopedia gives a concise history:

    I think Jeff's point was that the solemnity with which the Vigil is celebrated should not detract from the Easter Sunday morning Mass, which it often does. At my parish, the Vigil according to the 1962 Missal (but see my comment above!) begins at 10:30 p.m. and is very well attended despite the length of the liturgy and the late hour, but many people don't come back Sunday morning, and the 11:00 a.m. Easter High Mass tends to be the least attended Sunday High Mass of the year—and usually a Missa cantata without deacon or subdeacon, which illustrates Jeff's point. What else would cause that except a sort of exaggeration of the Vigil? Sure, people have family activities and dinner to prepare, but that's no less true for the people at other churches that are packed to capacity on Easter morning.