A Brief Comparison of the Traditional Roman [1954] & Pian [1962] Holy Week Ceremonies

“The beginning of this renewal was the work of Our predecessor … Pius XII, in the restoration of the Paschal Vigil and of the Holy Week Rite, which formed the first stage of updating the Roman Missal for the present-day mentality.”
(Pope Paul VI, Missale Romanum, April 3rd 1969)

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Palm Sunday

Traditional Holy Week

Pian Reform

  1. Violet vestments for Procession.
  1. Red vestments for Procession.
  1. Folded chasubles used.
  1. Suppressed.
  1. Epistle, Gradual, Gospel, Preface and Sanctus are sung. Palms are blessed on the Epistle side of the altar. This rite is commonly called the "Missa sicca".
  1. Epistle, Gradual, Preface and Sanctus suppressed. Blessing of palms takes place on a table, facing the people.
  1. Blessing of palms speaks of the power of sacramentals against the demonic.
  1. These prayers are suppressed.
  1. Processional Cross is veiled.
  1. Processional Cross is unveiled.
  1. Two cantors enter the Church & sing the chorus of Gloria Laus, facing closed doors, repeated by those outside. The cantors sing each verse, those outside sing the chorus. The Subdeacon then knocks the door thrice with the foot of the Processional Cross and all enter.
  1. Doors are left open. Gloria Laus is one of many processional chants.
  1. Procession ends, Mass commences with the prayers at the foot of the altar.
  1. Procession ends with a new prayer facing the people. The prayers at the foot of the altar are suppressed.
  1. Passion is distinct from the Gospel, sung by the Deacon of the Mass.
  1. No proper Gospel.
  1. Passion begins with the Institution of the Eucharist (Matt 26:1-35).
  1. Matt 26:1-35 is suppressed.

Holy Monday

Traditional Holy Week

Pian Reform

2nd Oration “Against the Church’s persecutors” or “for the Pope” are said. 2nd Oration is suppressed.

Holy Tuesday

Traditional Holy Week

Pian Reform

Passion begins with the Institution of the Eucharist (Mark 14: 1-31). Mark 14: 1-31 is suppressed.

Holy Wednesday

Traditional Holy Week

Pian Reform

Passion begins with the Institution of the Eucharist (Luke 22: 1-39). Luke 22: 1-39 is suppressed.

NB. Throughout the Proper Office of the Triduum, each Hour ends with the Psalm Miserere Mei Deus. This practcie was abolished in the Pian Reform.

Holy Thursday

Traditional Holy Week

Pian Reform

  1. Priests in choro wear choir dress and wear a stole for Communion.
  1. The stole is worn for the whole of Mass.
  1. Communion is given with hosts consecrated at any Mass.
  1. Communion is given with hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday.
  1. 3. The washing of feet is separate from Mass and not done in the sanctuary.
  1. The washing of feet is allowed to be inserted into Mass and in the sanctuary.
  1. 4. A second host is consecrated and placed in the chalice and brought to the altar of Repose.
  1. There is no second host. The priest and laity receive from the ciborium on Good Friday.
  1. Confiteor recited before Communion.
  1. Confiteor is suppressed.
  1. The veiled cross remains on the altar, accompanied by two candlesticks.
  1. The cross and candlesticks are removed during the stripping of the altar.
  1. Vespers is sung after Mass.
  1. Those who attend Mass are dispensed from Vespers.

NB. A new Mass was created for the consecration of Holy Oils (Chrism Mass). Traditionally, a Bishop would consecrate the oils during the Mass of the Last Supper.

Good Friday

Traditional Holy Week

Pian Reform

  1. Name: “Mass of the Presanctified” or “Feria Sexta in Parasceve”.
  1. Name: “Solemn Afternoon Liturgical Action”.
  1. Cross and candlesticks are on the altar.
  1. Altar is completely bare.
  1. The priest, wearing a black chasuble, prostrates. The servers spread a single cloth on the altar.
  1. The priest, wearing only the alb and stole, prostrates. The altar is not dressed until Communion time.
  1. The Gospel is distinct from the Passion.
  1. The proper Gospel is suppressed.
  1. Seventh Solemn Oration titled: “For Heretics and Schismatics”.
  1. Seventh Solemn Oration changed to: “For the Unity of the Church”.
  1. No kneeling at the Oration for the Jews.
  1. Kneeling at the Oration for the Jews.
  1. The Cross is taken down from the altar and laid on a purple cloth to be venerated by the ministers, clergy and faithful.
  1. A procession of the Cross is created. It is held by two acolytes to be venerated by the ministers, clergy and faithful.
  1. The Blessed Sacrament returns in a procession of equal solemnity to that of Holy Thursday. The celebrant brings It back whilst the Vexilla Regis is sung.
  1. The importance of the Eucharistic procession is downplayed (along with references to Mass). The Vexilla Regis is suppressed.
  1. The Host is incensed.
  1. Incensing the Host is suppressed.
  1. The Orate Fratres is recited without the usual response.
  1. Prayers that make reference to sacrifice are suppressed.
  1. The Our Father is recited by the priest alone.
  1. The Our Father is recited by the priest and people.
  1. A fraction of the Host is placed in the wine. The prayer for consuming the Precious Blood is omitted.
  1. Placing a fraction of the Host into the wine is suppressed.
  1. Holy Communion is not given.
  1. Holy Communion is given.
  1. Vespers is sung after Mass.
  1. Those who attend the Afternoon Liturgy are dispensed from Vespers.

Holy Saturday

Traditional Holy Week

Pian Reform

  1. The fire is started using flint.
  1. The fire is lit before the ceremony starts.
  1. The fire and the grains of incense are blessed outside the church. The fire is passed to the tricereo (three candles).
  1. A blessing of the Candle is introduced. The Candle is held and carried by the deacon for the first part of the ceremony.
  1. The Candle remains unlit on its stand, always on the Gospel side.
  1. At each Lumen Christi all genuflect toward the Candle. It is then placed in the center of the sanctuary.
  1. The Exsultet begins whilst the Candle is unlit, grains of incense are fixed into the Candle, it is then lit by the deacon.
  1. The symbolism of the Exsultet is stripped away and its fundamental nature as a Diaconal blessing is distorted.
  1. Twelve Lessons are sung.
  1. Four Lessons are sung.
  1. The Litany is sung after the blessing ofthe baptismal water, before Mass.
  1. The Litany is divided into two, the baptismal water is blessed in the middle.
  1. The baptismal water is blessed in the Baptismal font. Catechumens are received at the entrance of the church, baptised and then enter into the nave.
  1. Introduction of placing the baptismal water in a basin in the middle of the sanctuary, the celebrant faces the people throughout the blessing.
  1. Does not exist.
  1. 'Renewal of Baptismal Promises' inserted.
  1. Does not exist.
  1. Our Father recited by everyone present, often recited in the vernacular.
  1. Mass begins with the prayers at the foot of the altar.
  1. Prayers at the foot of the altar are suppressed.
  1. Mass ends with a contracted form ofVespers.
  1. Mass ends with a contracted form of Lauds.
  1. Matins & Lauds of Easter Sunday.
  1. Abolished.

NB. The reform changed the Vigil from the morning to the night. The Vigil starts with a fire lighting ceremony, this is done when the sun is going down, not when it has been down for several hours.