Fasting on Holy Saturday?

Can some one tell me what the traditional (ie pre-Vatican II) rule was regarding fast and abstinace on Holy Saturday?

As I recall it was fast and abstinence until noon on Holy Saturday. That is pre late 1950’s. The Holy Saturday mass was then celebrated in the morning. I think the rules changed when the Holy Saturday mass was moved to evening.

How was mass permitted on Holy Saturday morning? Shouldn’t there have been no mass from Holy Thursday through to Easter vigil if there was one, or Easter itself if not?

Until the Holy Week revisions in the late 50’s all consecrations had to be done before noon. Thus the Easter Vigil mass was celebrated on the morning of Holy Saturday. This was universal and whad been done that way for many centuries I think.

But but but … what happened on Good Friday? Morning Mass complete with consecration then too? :confused:

Good Friday had a morning service similar to the current one. However, only the celebrant received a host saved from Thursday. No one else received communion that day. [Somehow it always managed to be the 9th in your attempt to receive on 9 Firts Fridays. :frowning: ]

Wow! I was an altar boy back then and I can’t remember serving at an Easter Vigil until after V II. I went back to my 1962 St. Joseph’s Missal and give you the following"

" The Blessing of the New Fire

At a convenient hour, so as to allow the Solemn Mass of the Easter Vigil to start around midnight, the Altars are covered with altar cloths but the candles are not lighted until the beginning of the Mass."

I didn’t become an altar boy until 1960.

Awww …glad that rule’s changed then!

But it still begs the question of why on Holy Satuday then and not now … :hmmm: … one of life’s little mysteries I guess.

My 1962 Missal says this: “The Solemn Easter Vigil service, for which Pope Pius XII gave permission in 1951 and made obligatory in 1956, is intended to show liturgically how life and grace flow to us from the death of our Lord. . . The hour for beginning this solemn service should be selected so that the Mass of the Resurection may begin about midnight; but the Bishop of the Diocese may judge it better for special reasons to begin earlier; nevertheless, the earlier start should preferably be later than twilight, and on no account before sunset.”

My 1962 Missal says: “The fourth part, the Communion of Priest and people, completes what used to be known as the Mass of the Presanctified . . . Holy Communion is now distributed as on Maundy Thursday . . . When all have communicated . . .” So the Good Friday service did not always exclude Communion of the people.

I believe it used to be called the Mass of the Presanctified, and only the priest received communion. Others with longer memories can correct me. There were some changes in early 50s, and some changes in 1962, before the restoration of the Easter vigil, which must have been sometime in the mid 60s because I remember it. I do remember it as a day of abstinence because mom trying to cook the ham for Easter and not being able to taste it irked her.

I wasn’t born yet at the time, but I have a 1962 Missal. It did mention Priest and people’s Communion, so apparently the changes must have occurred some time in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s. I’ll check my mother’s Missal when I see her on Easter. She has a Missal from the 1950’s (an original, not a reprint like mine).

Prior to 1951 the Easter Vigil liturgy was celebrated on the morning of Holy Saturday. Through the centuries, the formerly nocturnal Easter vigil liturgy had gradually drifted to the early evening, afternoon and finally the morning, of Holy Saturday. The prayers of lighting the new fire all presuppose darkness, but the rite was being celebrated in the broad daylight of mid-morning. The full rite was usually found only in cathedrals, very large parishes and religious houses. Few regular in-the-pew types experienced it. Similarly, the rites for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday had drifted to the morning hours, which was also a departure from ancient custom.

In 1951 Pope Pius XII introduced a revised Easter Vigil rite, the Ordo Sabbati Sancti, and gave permission for its use in 1951-1952 at midnight on Holy Saturday. This permission was extended for 1953-1954. Also in 1953, permission was given for regular parish evening Masses under certain circumstances, and consequently the eucharistic fast was shortened from midnight the night before to three hours before Mass. There was great sucess with these reforms, and consequently the Pontiff wished to restore the entire liturgy of Holy Week.

Pius XII was sick early in 1955, so it was not until November, 1955 that the restored rites of Holy Week were introduced in Ordo Hebdomadae Instauratus. In this decree–which was a major milestone in the history of the Liturgical Movement–he directed all parishes to celebrate the rites of Holy Week as fully as possible. One of the major emphases of this reform was the restoration of the rites to their proper hours of the day. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper was moved back to the evening, and the Chrism Mass at the cathedral became the only morning Mass of Maundy Thursday. The Good Friday liturgy, formerly known as the Mass of the Presanctified, was returned to its afternoon hour, and was renamed the Liturgy of the Passion and Death of the Lord, to express the fact that it was not actually a Mass. Communion was extended to the faithful. And as had been the case with the experimental Easter Vigil reforms, that liturgy was celebrated Saturday night–generally at midnight, but it could be earlier in the evening for just cause, so long as it was after dark.

These rites were completely in Latin, and followed the same format as is used in most parishes today, but a number of revisions from the pre-1955 rite were made, including the reduction of old testament prophecy readings at the Easter Vigil from twelve to four. (Today between three and seven OT readings are used, except at TLM, where the 1955 rite is retained.) Since the blessing of the baptismal water and baptisms were part of the Easter Vigil rite, a completely new element, the renewal of baptismal promises by all the faithful, was added. This part of the rite remains today. The restoration of the catechumenate–an element that was emphasized even more in the post-Vatican II rites–essentially began to evolve during this period, where baptisms at the Easter Vigil began to be emphasized once again, after several centuries of neglect. But there were baptisms only, no confirmations.

Another facet of the 1955 reform was the curtailment of the Pentecost Vigil rite, which had included a blessing of the font, baptisms and prophecies–a sort of mini-version of the Easter Vigil rites. Some extremely minor clarifications and revisions were made in 1957.

In 1960, Blessed John XXIII dropped the word perfidious (meaning faithless) from the prayer for the Jews on Good Friday. A completely modified prayer for the Jews, eliminating the reference to “the veil of disbelief” being removed from their hearts, was released by Pope Paul VI, as part of his 1965 reforms. Until that same year, all rites were in Latin. In the period between 1965 and 1969, as the entire Order of Mass was being incrementally revised and vernacular tongues were increasingly being used, the Holy Week rites were included in the vernacularization. In 1966 the eucharistic fast was shortened again, this time to one hour. But the rites remained those of Pius XII’s 1955 Order of Holy Week, until 1970, when the new (and current) missal took effect.

In the current missal, the catechumenate was completely restored, including the rites of Scrutinies during Lent. Part of this reform was the delegation of confirmation to pastors for the Easter Vigil. Bishops are the ordinary ministers of the sacrament of confirmation, but for that one night, since the bishop cannot be everywhere, pastors of parishes are delegated to minister confirmation to all newly baptised and newly received candidates. New holy oil, blessed by the bishop at the Chrism Mass earlier in Holy Week, is used by each pastor, In all other circumstances a bishop celebrates confirmation (except in exceptional situations, when he may delegate a senior priest, such as a chancellor or vicar general, to celebrate the sacrament in his place).

Awesome post, Chatter163! You even answered a question I had asked in a different thread. :extrahappy:

Yes, great post chatter163,

In the early church the elect were brought into the church at a mass that started [probably after midnight] in the dark of night such that the baptisms would be completed just at dawn. Ancient baptismal fonts [from archeological digs: in baptistries seperate from the church] are situated such that the early rays of the dawnning sun will bath the baptistry in light.

That was a change that came about in 1956. Before that only the priest could receive (and if it interrupted the First Fridays, they were extended by a month and it still ‘counted’ ).

Originally in Rome, no one received communion. But Ordo Rom. 23 (8th century) says that people were allowed to receive at the city churches of Rome but not in the basilica where the Pope presided over the Good Friday ceremonies. This custom persisted for at least 5 more centuries and in the basilicas more (At that time, it wasn’t as if there was one uniform liturgy even within Rome. The Papal Chapel and the Curia had one Use, each of the major basilicas had their own Use which was the ancient rites of Rome since the basilicas were the most conservative, and the city churches had there Use)

The people receiving communion continued until the 13th century. Around this time, the Good Friday took on the appearance of the Mass. In mediaeval times, the Missa Sicca (dry Mass) was a common devotional practise. For devotional reasons, the priest could say another “Mass”, usually without his chasuble, omitting everything from the Secret to the Our Father and certain other prayers.

Anyhow around the same time, communion was restricted to the priest alone. The practice varied but was standardized in 1570 by St. Pius V with the new Missale Romanum.

The rite for this is:

On Maundy Thursday the second Host consecrated is placed in the chalice, covered and reserved.

On Good Friday, when the time comes, the sacred ministers go the place of reservation. The sacrament is incensed (but the incense is not blessed: it usually was not for Masses in black vestments). The sacrament is carried back in procession to the altar, preceded by 2 thurifers. The hymn prescribed is Vexilla Regis.

At the altar, the Host is placed on the corporal, and wine and water are poured into the chalice as at a normal Mass except that there are no prayers and no blessings. Likewise the oblations and altar are incensed together with the prayers normally said at the incensing. However the people, including the priest are not incensed.

Then the priest washes his hands (again, no prayers), says In spiritu humilitatis, and then the Orate Fratres (but no response is made)

Then he says the Our Father together with the Embolism aloud. Then comes the elevation, followed by the fraction and commixture (minus prayers) and then the communion of the priest as it is in the missal from the prayer Perceptio Corporis tui (minus of course, the prayers for the consumption of the Precious Blood) to the first ablution prayer Quod Ore. And then he leaves.

Here’s a proclamaition from the Holy See from 1954. It is about the 1955 reforms.

Originally during Holy Week the faithful would retrace Our Lords footsteps by celebarting the events that took place that week at their set times. So the Mass of the Lord’s Supper used to take place on Maundy Thursday evening, the Good Friday service would take place mid-afternoon, and the Easter Vigil would take place late Holy Saturday Evening or early Easter Sunday morning. But this was back in the days when you needed to fast for 12 hours prior to recieving communion. As a result of this, the church eventually moved these events to the morning, so that the faithful might recieve more easily. Also during the renaissance, the days of the Paschal Triduum were dispensed from being Holy Days of obligation. In 1955 the church decided to move these events back to the times of day when they historically took place. So the Mass of the Lord’s Supper was moved back to the evening, when the Last Supper actually took place, etc. Shortly after that, the fasting time was also shortened to 3 hours, then finally to the one hour requirement of today.

(It was in 1955 that communion began to be distributed to the faithful on Good Friday.)

On Good Friday, when the time comes, the sacred ministers go the place of reservation. The sacrament is incensed (but the incense is not blessed: it usually was not for Masses in black vestments).

Good post, but the latter statement is not correct. Incense was blessed at High Masses for the Dead; it was not blessed at this point in the Good Friday rite because of its use in connection with the Blessed Sacrament. Incense is never blessed, at Mass, Benediction, Blessed Sacrament processions, etc., when it is used to cense the Most Holy. Its direct consumption for the Sacrament Itself is considered to be its blessing.

This is why the thurifer or master of ceremonies places incense in the thurible himself before the consecration at Mass, and it is not blessed by the priest.

True. Blessed Sacrament incense is never blessed.

I know Fortescue who is (along with many others) says “yes” to blessing incense at the Offertory but this is disputed by some (Posetti) due to the apparent silence/vagueness of the rubrics at the point.Posetti quotes some descisions of S.C. Rites- though these are general and not specific to incense. Fortescue’s reason was that the incense is blessed during the blessing of the catafalque and that “Per intercessionem” is never said without accompanying gesture. Even so, I ought not to have said that it is “usually” since I suppose Fortescue is the one “usually” followed-but it so happened that the book I was referring to was the one by Posetti- so thank you for the correction. :tiphat:

talked to my older brother, who took me to my first Easter Vigil in the Detroit cathedral when in the late 1950s and he recalls, as previous poster states, it started after dark, but rather late, so that communion was received shortly after midnight. We also attended Eastern Rite Easter liturgies in our town with my brother’s godparents, which began at midnight and lasted until dawn.

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