1570 Holy Week
Nothing–not even the COVID-19 pandemic–will suppress the beauty and solemnity of Holy Week. True to that sentiment, Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish in Pittsburgh will be streaming High (sung) Masses for the Easter Triduum. Once again, the parish is celebrating the ancient liturgies of Holy Week, as promulgated in the 1570 Missal by Pope Pius V. This liturgy predates the revision of 1955, and was celebrated universally throughout the Catholic Church for hundreds of years. 

Taking great care to observe the state-imposed restrictions for public gatherings, these Masses will be celebrated in an otherwise empty church; keeping no more than 10 persons in the building at all times. This allows for a skeleton crew of 2 priests, 4 servers, 1 camera technician, and 3 musicians. Even with these seemingly meager means, the inherent dignity and beauty of the liturgy shines through; as evidenced by the parish’s celebration of Palm Sunday at the beginning of this week.

The music, while certainly limited when compared to the schola’s normal repertoire, offers a striking contrast to the spoken Missa Privata (Low Mass) with a refreshing, further appeal to the spiritual senses. A major portion of the music will be the original Gregorian chants proper to the liturgies, but there are several key moments that offer the opportunity for 3-part polyphony, which will be well suited by pieces like Messa a tre voci by Antonio Lotti, Salve Festa Dies by contemporary composer Christoph Dalitz, and harmonized propers by Martini and Ravanello.

All Masses will be streamed and archived on the parish’s Facebook page. The schedule is as follows:
Maundy Thursday 4/9: 7pm
Good Friday 4/10 – Mass of the Presanctified: noon
Holy Saturday 4/11 – Easter Vigil: 6pm
Easter Sunday 4/12: 11am

It is an honor to be a part of this most holy of times, especially in spite of the fear and anxiety of the world’s pandemic. Please try to take advantage of this week’s spiritual opportunities. Even if you are more comfortable with the contemporary Novus Ordo Mass, there are numerous resources available. The Diocese of Pittsburgh has a dedicated YouTube channel, with all Holy Week Masses streamed, plus other inspiring videos.

Let’s make the most of this Holy Week, and this Easter season, to grow in faith and overcome the doubt and uncertainty in the world today.

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