Category Archives: Catechesis

Good Friday 2019

The Solemn Afternoon Liturgy of Good Friday will be celebrated in the traditional Latin form at St. Stanislaus Church in New Haven at 12:00 Noon.

The Good Friday Liturgy is at once one of the most dramatic and austere services of the Church Year. It comprised of four parts: the lessons, solemn orations, adoration of the cross, and communion.  The externals of this service are marked by both a solemnity and simplicity appropriate to the day.  The altar is bare except for one cloth, the missal stand is not covered, the vestments are black for the first portions of the service and violet for the communion, and bells are not rung.

Most striking perhaps is the Adoration of the Cross in which the priest progressively unveils the cross and thrice chants, each time on a higher pitch, Ecce Lignum Crucis (Behold the Wood of the Cross).  After the cross the unveiled, it is laid on a cushion and the clergy and servers venerate it by removing their shoes and making three double genuflections as they advance toward it before kissing it.  Removing shoes is a common act of piety in the Coptic Rite (Catholic and Orthodox), and reminds us of when God told Moses to remove his sandals since where he was standing is holy ground (Exodus 3:5).  During the Adoration of the Cross the “Reproaches” are sung by the choir.

Besides the Kyrie regularly sung at Mass, the Reproaches are the only other liturgical text in the Roman Rite in which Greek is used. The Trisagion is sung in both Greek and Latin and is another indication of how ancient certain elements of the Good Friday liturgy are.  Other reminders of the antiquity of this rite are its simplicity with the use of one altar cloth and the rather abrupt beginning of the service with a lack of preparatory prayers.

Music for the service, sung by the Schola Cantorum of the St. Gregory Society, will include Tomás Luis de Victoria’s “Reproaches,” motets by Palestrina, Anerio, and Loyset Compère, and the proper Gregorian chants.

Palm Sunday 2019

Palm Sunday will be celebrated in the Blessing of Palms, Procession and High Mass at St. Stanislaus Church in New Haven on April 14, at 2:00 pm. The celebrant will be the Reverend Jan Pikulski.

In the Liturgy of Palm Sunday, the two-fold point of view from which the Church regards the Cross is expressed in two ceremonies, one marked by joy and the other by sadness. First comes the Blessing and Procession of Palms, in which everything overflows with a holy joy, enabling us after twenty centuries to revive the spirit of the magnificent scene of our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Then follows the Mass with its changes and lessons relating exclusively to the sorrowful memory of our Redeemer’s Passion.

We should keep carefully a blessed palm branch in our home. This palm is a sacramental, and, fastened to our crucifix, should serve to remind us of the victory gained for us by Christ on the Cross.

Music for the service performed by the Schola Cantorum of the St. Gregory Society, will include the Italian Renaissance master Costanzo Porta’s “Missa Primi Toni” motets by Josquin DesPrez, Jachet de Berchem and Tomás Luis de Victoria, and the proper Gregorian chants for the Procession and Mass.

Second Sunday in Lent 2019

The Second Sunday in Lent will be celebrated in a Latin High Mass at St. Stanislaus Church in New Haven on March 3, at 2:00 pm. The celebrant will be the Rev. Jan Pikulski.

Between Moses and Elias, Jesus shows forth his divine glory, thus foreshadowing His resurrection. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of all things. Today’s Mass places before us the transfigured Lord and the model toward Whom we must tend, and our own transfiguration as the goal we must attain. We reach this goal by a profound realization of our sinfulness and need of a Redeemer; by preserving purity of body and soul; by combatting our passions and carnal instincts and observing the commandments; and, most importantly, by participating in the Mass.

Let the light of the grandeur of Jesus transfigured prepare us for a contemplation of the humiliation of His Passion.

Music for the service performed by the Schola Cantorum of the St. Gregory Society, will include the Gregorian chant Missa Orbis factor (Vatican edition XI), the chant proper for the Mass (Reminiscere), and polyphonic motets by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso.

Quinquagesmina Sunday

Quinquagesmina Sunday will be celebrated in a Latin High Mass at St. Stanislaus Church in New Haven on March 3, at 2:00 pm. The celebrant will be the Rev. Jan Pikulski.

The third of the Sundays preparing us for the fast of Lent, Quinquagesima Sunday, 50 days before Easter, signals that Ash Wednesday is close at hand. The great Benedictine abbot, Dom Prosper Guéranger, speaks of Quinquagesima as a “time of Abraham” because of Abraham’s “docility and devotedness in following the call of his God.”

The Church has given us in today’s sacred Liturgy the Gospel of St. Luke in which our Lord prepares His apostles for the coming sufferings, that is, His sacred Passion in Jerusalem. The blind man represents the sinners who break their relationship with God, thus rejecting the offer of the promises of the Kingdom because of fallen man’s own selfishness in pride. We ought to understand the blind man as a model. It is said that “this man has lost the light and knows it” while “others lose the light and refuse to acknowledge it.” Some of have a keen awareness of the movements of grace and sin, while others are patently ignorant of them.

The cry of the blind man, then, is our cry, too: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”. This prayer moved the heart of Jesus who stopped, called him, and healed him. This personal encounter prompted our Lord to ask the blind man to name the desire of his heart: “What do you want me to do for you?” the Lord asks him. “Master, let me receive my sight,” the blind man answers. “Go your way, your faith has saved you.”

Quinquagesima Sunday invites us to ask for the grace that the blind man had been given: sufficient awareness to beg for the Lord’s mercy in hearing our prayers for forgiveness of sins so that we may live in perfect freedom. Are we as Catholics prepared to be docile and devoted, like Abraham, like the blind man, before the promptings of the Holy Trinity?

Music for the service performed by the Schola Cantorum of the St. Gregory Society, will include the Gregorian chant Missa Orbis factor (Vatican edition XI), the chant proper for the Mass (Esto mihi), polyphonic motets by Guillaume Dufay and Antonio Cebrián, and organ music by Eugène Gigout and Ernest Chausson.