The Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday, 2012)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Service of LightLumen Christi (chanted)
After 1st reading (Genesis 1)Send forth your Spirit (Stephen Dean)
After 2nd reading (Exodus 14-15)I will sing to the Lord (Geoffrey Boulton Smith)
After 3rd reading (Isaiah 55: come to the water)With joy you shall draw water (Bob Hurd) with chant verses (mcb)
GloriaGlory to God (Peter Jones)
Easter Alleluia + Psalm 117Plainchant, verses by Paul Inwood
Litany of the SaintsMissal chant
Blessing of the FontSprings of Water (Marty Haugen)
SprinklingVidi Aquam (Cristóbal de Morales, c.1500-1553)
Prayers of IntercessionMiserere Nobis from Missa Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Preparation of the GiftsChristus Resurgens (Orlande de Lassus, 1532-1594
Sanctus, Acclamation A, AmenSpring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus DeiLamb of God II (mcb)
CommunionConfitemini Domino (Taizé) & Ps 117 (Laurence Bévenot)
DismissalGo in peace, Alleluia (chanted)
Final HymnThine be the Glory

For the first time in living memory we had a baptism and receptions at the Vigil, and so even with the Old Testament readings pared down to three, we were kept busy for two and a half hours. I was amazed, mind you, at how quickly the time passed. Our singing celebrants were magnificent: Canon Anthony Kay took the new Exsultet in his stride, Fr Ged Byrne sang the Gospel, and Bishop Terence intoned the Gloria, the Alleluia and the Dismissal.

We didn't have the Solemn Alleluia from the Missal: I completely agree with this poster that a musical line as elaborate as the solemn version can only reduce the congregation to silence. We had the simple chant melody usually known as the Easter Alleluia, which appears in the Gradual as an option for Postcommunion. This was within the reach of both the celebrant and the assembly, and it seemed obvious to me that the symbolic value of Bishop and people in joyful dialogue comprehensively outweighed the aesthetic merits of the more elaborate choir-only chant.

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