This past Saturday, we celebrated the feast of the Triumph of the Cross (also known as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) with Solemn Morning Prayer followed by Mass. Our celebrant was Father Ian McElrath from Oil City.
Solemn Morning Prayer was prayed according to the rubrics outlined in the General Instructions on the Liturgy of the Hours. Vested in his cope, Father chanted the Invitatory Psalm, intoned the antiphons, and incensed the altar at the Benedictus.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered ad orientem and with great solemnity. Our entrance hymn was the first four verses of Crux Fidelis (sung in English). The Gloria was sung to the Congregational Mass setting arranged by John Lee. We used the Kyrie for the Penitential Rite, the Sanctus, Mortem Tuam for the Memorial Acclamation, the Pater Noster, and the Agnus Dei. For our communion hymn, Vexilla Regis Produent was chanted in Latin (thank you Joe!). We concluded Mass with the last four verses of Crux Fidelis (again sung in English). Afterward, all who were present gathered for coffee, donuts, and fellowship.
Altogether, it was a beautiful celebration that sought to proclaim with conviction, “How radiant is that precious cross which brought us our salvation” (Antiphon 3, Morning Prayer).
It is hard to believe that a feast of this caliber and liturgical significance (which is celebrated even when it falls on a Sunday) went virtually unnoticed in most parishes this year because it fell on a Saturday. Through celebrations like these, our hope is to capture the hearts of priests and laity alike with the beauty of the Sacred Liturgy in its fullness, so they can one day become a common occurrence in our parishes.
Stay tuned for more in the future!