Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

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Hare
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Hare » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:47 am

quaeritor wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote:
42. If no one is to be baptized and the font is not to be blessed, the Litany is omitted, and the
Blessing of Water (no. 54) takes place at once.


This would be the case only in some religious communities where baptisms never take place, there is no font, and the blessing of holy water takes place at another time. For all practical purposes, therefore, the Litany will always be sung in parishes,

Two points if I may:
The first is simply a question of fact: where are these quoted paragraphs (or sections)? - para 42 of what?

The second is more involved: we had a lengthy wrangle with our (then new, now moved on) PP about this, but my (then new now obsolete) missal was commendably clear - edited I guess by someone used to writing instruction manuals. The relevant part begins:
PART THREE: LITURGY OF BAPTISM
A Where there is a baptism
(If there is no baptism, turn to p 311

On page 311 you find:
B. Where there is no baptism
(If there is no baptism and no font is to be blessed, see p312.)


page 312 has:
Blessing of Water

To be used when there is to be no baptism, and no blessing of the font


It then proceeds to an invitation and prayer of blessing and then to the renewal of baptismal promises - but no litany. This is what we did for many years (to my chagrin as I was particularly fond of my setting of the antiphon "Springs of water . . ")

This would appear to conflict with SC's conclusion that for all practical purposes the litany will always be sung.

(My shiny new missal is much less tightly scripted - you could have already sung the litany before stumbling on the bit that says " . but you shouldn't have sung that is there in no baptism etc"

Q


Exactly why I am confused. So - no baptism; do we sing it or not? :?

Peter Jones
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Peter Jones » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:19 am

Rubric 42 (my emphasis)

If no one is to be baptised and the font is not to be blessed, the Litany is omitted and the Blessing of Water (no 54) takes place at once.


No font to bless? No Litany. But what about blessing water on the sanctuary?


I admit that rubrics 39 and 40 could be seen as poorly worded in the light of rubrics 41 and 42, so there is a certain degree of ambiguity if the font itself is not going to be blessed but water is going to be blessed on the sanctuary. The red print could be interpreted as: no one to be baptised - font not being blessed (even if there is a font) - water being blessed on the sanctuary - no litany. I think I'll sit on the fence now (but still sing the Litany).
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Peter Jones
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Peter Jones » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:17 am

For clarity, it would be helpful to know the intention behind the rubric at the top of page 405, where the distinction between baptistery and sanctuary (present at the opening of rubric 40) is omitted.

"If the font is to be blessed but no one is to be baptised" - reads as if we should take that literally and not sing the litany (42) if water is being blessed in a vessel on the sanctuary. But is that the intention of the author? Does "font" also include in its meaning "temporary vessel on the sanctuary""? The actual prayer of blessing (p.412) suggests that it does not, so I think "If the font is to be blessed but no one is to be baptised" is to be taken literally together with rubric 42 - and if water is being blessed on the sanctuary and no one is to be baptised, then there's no litany.

(I could be mistaken :( )
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John Ainslie
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by John Ainslie » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:56 am

I would suggest that the Litany of the Saints is connected with baptism rather than blessing water. Before every baptism there is a vestigial Litany of the Saints.

Now if there is a font and the water is being blessed for use at Paschaltide baptisms, one could argue that the Easter Vigil Litany of the Saints is part of the future rites of baptism to be performed in Paschaltide. But if the water is being blessed solely for the purpose of sprinkling the people at the Easter Vigil (or being taken away afterwards in bottles), then this doesn't hold.

So, IMHO: Litany of the Saints whenever there is to be a baptism, or the water is to be used later for same. Otherwise not.

alan29
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by alan29 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:34 am

Peter Jones wrote:Rubric 42 (my emphasis)

If no one is to be baptised and the font is not to be blessed, the Litany is omitted and the Blessing of Water (no 54) takes place at once.


No font to bless? No Litany. But what about blessing water on the sanctuary?


I admit that rubrics 39 and 40 could be seen as poorly worded in the light of rubrics 41 and 42, so there is a certain degree of ambiguity if the font itself is not going to be blessed but water is going to be blessed on the sanctuary. The red print could be interpreted as: no one to be baptised - font not being blessed (even if there is a font) - water being blessed on the sanctuary - no litany. I think I'll sit on the fence now (but still sing the Litany).


That has been how it has been done at ours for decades - no baptism, no font, water blessed on sanctuary for sprinkling = no Litany.

JW
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by JW » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:05 am

John Ainslie wrote:I would suggest that the Litany of the Saints is connected with baptism rather than blessing water. Before every baptism there is a vestigial Litany of the Saints.

Now if there is a font and the water is being blessed for use at Paschaltide baptisms, one could argue that the Easter Vigil Litany of the Saints is part of the future rites of baptism to be performed in Paschaltide. But if the water is being blessed solely for the purpose of sprinkling the people at the Easter Vigil (or being taken away afterwards in bottles), then this doesn't hold.

So, IMHO: Litany of the Saints whenever there is to be a baptism, or the water is to be used later for same. Otherwise not.


Having read the whole thread, like Hare I'm more confused than I was beforehand. Our PP, who is by no means liturgically ignorant, was adamant last year that we should not sing the Litany as there were no baptisms. We have a font: water was blessed.

What happens to this water after it is blessed? I thought it was used in the holy water stoops etc. Is it really stored somewhere for a year for use at future baptisms? Aren't there hygene considerations here? I'm not sure many parents would want year-old water sloshed over their new-born, however blest the water may be!
JW

Peter Jones
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Peter Jones » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:16 am

JW wrote:
What happens to this water after it is blessed?


It is often snaffled for domestic use. ( For use in domestic holy water stoups (yes, I have been careful with the spelling - a stoop is a porch), as a daily reminder of baptism. (Maybe for its perceived apotropaic qualities - in some cases?))
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Peter Jones
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Peter Jones » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:26 am

Further confusion arises in that rubric 40 foresees the possibility of water being blessed in a temporary vessel on the sanctuary - even if there is a font in the church. However, the actual prayer of blessing (p.412) appears to make no allowance for this. Whatever the vessel, the prayer regards it as a font. (Must go and look at the Latin.....)
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Peter Jones
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Peter Jones » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:57 am

I have come to the sorry conclusion that whoever wrote/translated these rubrics has never read a guide to plain language. See, for example, p.412 - half way down - to what does "if appropriate" refer? I think i know but it's open to misinterpretation.
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Peter Jones
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Peter Jones » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:19 pm

And here's one for the canonists.....

If the temporary vessel (a large fruit bowl, perhaps) on the sanctuary is blessed as a font, is it then consecrated solely for that use or can it be used afterwards as a fruit bowl? :wink:
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Hare
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Hare » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:28 pm

Let's throw something else into the equation! Our font has, since last year, been moved so it is in full view rather than round a corner out of sight. At the Vigil for many years, the porcelain bowl that sits in the font was removed and put on a table in view of the assembly, and the water blessed in it. Our previous PP instigated the practice of the assembly coming forward in procession and signing themselves with the newly-blessed water, rather than him going round sprinkling. So, if the water is blessed in the font that is not going to be used for baptisms at the vigil, rather than in the sanctuary for the sprinkling, do we sing the Litany....?! :shock: :? 8) :lol:

Peter Jones
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Peter Jones » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:24 pm

Hare wrote:However, there are bits in the litany for use "if there s no-one to be baptized".


There are indeed but does that mean font or fruit-bowl notwithstanding?
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Southern Comfort
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:36 pm

It is worth recalling that the Litany of the Saints existed at the Vigil in the preconciliar rite, both before the 1955 revision and after. Before 1955, there was never any baptism at the Vigil, and yet the water was blessed and the Litany was sung. It was associated in people's minds with the blessing of water, even if that water would never be used for baptising anyone but for the replenishment of stoups, etc. The memory of baptisms at the Easter Vigil had been dead for many centuries.

From 1955, provision was made for a baptism (presumably of an infant) to take place, but I never heard of anyone making use of this option. The Litany was used as a "filler", half of it covering the changing of vestments and the lighting of candles, unveiling of statues, etc. It was not until the RCIA was promulgated in 1972, available in English from 1974, that baptisms generally took place at the Vigil.

So I tend to disagree with John Ainslie when he says that the link with baptism is what determines whether the Litany is sung or not. For many centuries it seems to have been linked with the blessing of water, for whatever purpose, as well as covering scene-changing activities.

Because the font in many churches was (and often still is) sited in a difficult place for liturgy, temporary vessels were routinely used. I vividly remember the huge cauldron used in the parish where I spent most of my childhood. After the water was blessed, the cauldron was hefted onto the shoulders of a number of burly sodality members, vested in cassocks and cottas, who then carried it down the church to the baptistery at the back and poured the water from it into the font. The huge slooshing sound was guaranteed to rivet even the most sleepy congregation.

I therefore also disagree agree with Peter Jones, who I think is saying that it's the font which determines whether the Litany is sung or not.

For me, it is much simpler:

Are there going to be baptisms? Then the Litany is sung.
If no baptisms, is water going to be blessed, whether in a temporary vessel or the church font? Then the Litany is sung.
If no baptisms, and no font, whether permanent or temporary, then no Litany.

Is the place where the water is to be blessed on the sanctuary? Then the introduction to the baptismal liturgy comes first and the Litany follows.
Is the place where the water is to be blessed somewhere else? Then the Litany is sung in procession to that place, followed by the introduction to the baptismal liturgy.

-------------------------

A further thought:

This is of course not the first time that the Easter Vigil rubrics have been found to be confusing. In the previous (1969/70) Holy Week rites, the Paschal Candle was lit from the new fire immediately after it had been blessed (p. 187, para 9 of the previous Missal). Then the incisions took place and the insertion of grains of incense. But then, on p. 189, para 12, the priest is instructed to light the candle from the new fire again!

This was in fact the result of editorial sloppiness, but many priests followed the rubric, lit the candle on page 187 and then got spattered with wax while they were incising and inserting.

The fact is that the incisions and insertions were all optional (they are printed between lines, accompanied by clear statements that they might be done, or that episcopal conferences were free to adapt or substitute other rites). When they were completed, the candle was lit. All very practical, and avoiding spattering, etc, as already mentioned..

Clearly, the rubric at the foot of page 187 does not belong there at all, but should have come after the optional rites — i.e. at the head of page 190, before the procession of the candle, where it will be read when the options have been omitted. In other words, the whole thing was an editorial layout error. The 2010 Missal is notorious for layout errors of this kind. The revisers have evidently no experience of publishing work.

Coming back to the 2010 Missal, it seems clear that, while the insertions remain optional (para 12: "the Priest may insert..."), it appears that the incisions are no longer optional (para 11: "the Priest...cuts a cross" etc). The language has changed, and the telling phrase in the previous edition "This may be done as follows" is no longer present. Could it be that the Congregation had heard about priests omitting the incisions because cross and symbols and year were already on the candle in the form of a Hayes and Finch decal? We will never know.

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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by Peter Jones » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:05 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:If no baptisms, and no font, whether permanent or temporary, then no Litany.


Hang on. We need some sort of vessel for water. I think we have to determine if the container is a font or not.

If the font is to be blessed and there are baptisms, then the blessing prayer p.411 is used. The Litany is sung - wording for baptisms
If the font is to be blessed but there are no baptisms, then the blessing prayer p.411 is used. The Litany is sung - wording for no baptisms.

If the temporary vessel in the sanctuary is used as a font and there are baptisms - it's a font - and the blessing prayer p.411 is used. The Litany is sung - wording for baptisms.
If the temporary vessel in the sanctuary is used and there are no baptisms - the vessel is not a font - and the blessing prayer on p.416 (Blessing of Water - rubric 54) is used. The Litany is not sung because no font is being blessed.

i.e. If water (but not its container) is blessed in the sanctuary solely for the purpose of sprinkling, the Litany is not sung. Is that correct?

Even if some of the water is subsequently used for baptisms, that there is a Litany in the Rite of Baptism indicates to me no particular necessity for a Litany here.
Last edited by Peter Jones on Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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keitha
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Re: Litany Of The Saints at Easter Vigil

Post by keitha » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:15 pm

I'm not sure that the 'Litany or not' issue is that unclear. Using the paragraph numbering from the Missal (comments in italics and underlining are mine):

37. 'The Priest goes with the ministers to the baptismal font, if this can be seen by the faithful. Otherwise as vessel with water [ie not a font] is placed in the sanctuary.'

39. '...if there is to be a procession to the baptistery or to the font, it forms immediately...during the procession, the Litany is sung. when the Litany is completed, the Priest gives the address (no. 40).'

40. 'If, however the Baptismal Liturgy takes place in the sanctuary, the Priest immediately makes an introductory statement.' [If the are baptism candidates, version 1 is used; if there is a font to be blessed and no baptism candidates, version 2 is used.

41. 'The Litany is sung' (unless sung during the procession - see 39 and 41).

42. 'If no-one is to be baptised and the font is not to be blessed, the Litany is omitted, and the Blessing of Water (no. 54) takes place at once.'

So the options are:

1. Font remote from the sanctuary and not visible to the people: vessel with water on sanctuary; if baptism, address version1/Litany/items 44 to 53 then renewal of baptismal promises (no. 55); if no baptism, no address, no litany, go to Item 54 (Blessing of Water) then item 55.

2. Font in sanctuary: if baptism, address v1/Litany/items 44 to 53, then item 55; if no baptism, address v2/Litany/items 44 to 47, then go to item 55 (items 48 to 53 simply don't happen);

3. Remote but visible font: if baptism, litany during procession to font; address v1/prayer/items 44 to 53, then item 55; if no baptism, litany during procession to font; address v2/prayer/items 44 to 47 (no items 48 to 53) then item 55.

I can't think of any other combinations!
Keith Ainsworth

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