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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Appointments & Architecture > Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsI. Lenten SeasonEndnotes

Preface

1. The Easter Solemnity, revised and restored by Pius XII in 1951, and then the Order of Holy Week in 1955 were favorably received by the Church of the Roman Rite. [1]

The Second Vatican Council, especially in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, repeatedly drawing upon tradition, called attention to Christ's paschal mystery and pointed out that it is the font from which all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. [2]

2. Just as the week has its beginning and climax in the celebration of Sunday, which always has a paschal character, so the summit of the whole liturgical year is in the sacred Easter Triduum of the passion and resurrection of the Lord, [3] which is prepared for by the period of Lent and prolonged for fifty days.

3. In many parts of the Christian world, the faithful followers of Christ, with their pastors, attach great importance to the celebration of this rite and participate in it with great spiritual gain.

However, in some areas where initially the reform of the Easter Vigil was received enthusiastically, it would appear that with the passage of time this enthusiasm has begun to wain. The very concept of the Vigil has almost come to be forgotten in some places, with the result that it is celebrated as if it were an evening Mass, in the same way and at the same time as the Mass celebrated on Saturday evening in anticipation of the Sunday.

It also happens that the celebrations of the Triduum are not held at the correct times. This is because certain devotions and pious exercises are held at more convenient times and so the faithful participate in them rather than in the liturgical celebrations.

Without any doubt, one of the principal reasons for this state of affairs is the inadequate formation given to the clergy and the faithful regarding the paschal mystery as the center of the liturgical year and of Christian life. [4]

4. The holiday period which, in many places today, cioncides with Holy Week and certain attitudes held by present day society concur to present difficulties for the faithful to participate in these celebrations.

5. With these points in mind, the Congregation for Divine Worship, after due consideration, thinks that it is a fitting moment to recall certain elements, doctrinal and pastoral, and various norms that have already been published concerning Holy Week. All those details that are given in the liturgical books concerning Lent, Holy Week, the Easter Triduum, and Paschal time retain their full force, unless otherwise stated in this document.

It is the aim of this document that the great mystery of our redemption be celebrated in the best possible way, so that the faithful may participate in it with ever greater spiritual advantage. [5]

Table of ContentsI. Lenten SeasonEndnotes

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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Appointments & Architecture > Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts  Back one page.

Home | New | FAQ | Search | Forum | Links


All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com