This is a strange time to be alive, and a strange time in which to worship. As Christians everywhere prepare to enter Holy Week, we do so in unprecedented ways, with liturgies streamed via television and internet, gathered as the Body of Christ but separated from the Table. Christ will be with us; that has not changed. Yet the prayer of the Church, especially in this holiest of all seasons, is intricately entwined with music, and this year, there will be no choirs, no orchestras. Some parishes, like mine, will offer a pared-down version of our usual music with one or two musicians, but it is certain that wherever you worship, Holy Week will not sound the same.
Nothing I could put into a blog post will change that fact. But for those who love to pray through music, I have put together a few offerings to help you lift up your soul—if not your voice—to the Lord on each day of the Sacred Triduum. Some are songs you might expect to hear in Catholic liturgy; some are borrowed from our brothers and sisters in other faith traditions; some are not liturgical at all, but to me, they reflect the spirit of each day. I hope you will pray while you listen and feel a little more connected to the mysteries of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. I am posting each one a few days ahead of time so that you will have a chance to share with anyone who may benefit from them before the Triduum begins.
There is one advantage to this strange era of virtual worship, however, which is that it is just as easy to tune in to Mass on the other side of the globe as it is to attend your own parish. If you are looking for a “place” to pray this Holy Week, I invite you to join me at St. Jean Vianney Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I will be the cantor at our live-streamed services on this Facebook page. We begin Palm Sunday at 9:30 am, Holy Thursday 7:00 pm, Good Friday 3:00 pm, Easter Vigil 8:00 pm, and Easter Sunday 9:30 am, Central Daylight time. But wherever you are, whatever Mass you watch, know that we will be praying together, even from our living rooms.
And so let us enter into the three days in which we glory in the cross of Christ.
We Glory in Your Cross – Donald Pearson
Gloria in excelsis deo – Mozart, from Twelfth Mass
Psalm 116: 1-11 – Yehezkel Braun, sung in Hebrew by Matthew Kirchner with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Ubi Caritas – Gregorian chant, sung by the Choeur Gregorien de Paris
Let Us Break Bread Together, sung by Jessye Norman
Doxastikon of the Praises in the Holy Thursday evening Passion Gospels service, “My garments they took from me.” From the Greek Orthodox liturgy for Holy Thursday, sung by Fr. Apostolos Hill
Regardez l’humilité de Dieu, Anne-Sophie Rahm, recorded at Notre Dame des Champs, Paris
Pange Lingua, Gregorian chant, Chœur de l’abbaye Saint-Martin de Ligugé