Holy Week is the hardest but most rewarding time of the Christian Year, especially when we share and observe it together as unworthy but faithful disciples. We walk with Jesus from Adulation, through Companionship, Betrayal, Suffering and Acceptance to Resurrection; a real emotional roller-coaster, to use the current parlance. Please join us as often or occasionally as you are able.
Sunday 20th March, Palm Sunday, 10.30am (N.B. earlier start) Sung Mass with Blessing and Procession of Palms around Mount Dinham. Sung Passion Gospel. Mass in F by Harold Darke. Motet: When I survey the wondrous Cross, by Wilby. Celebrant is Ven David Gunn-Johnson.
Monday in Holy Week, 21st March, 10am, Low Mass said by Ven David Gunn-Johnson with short Homily by Br Michael Jerome.
Tuesday in Holy Week, 22nd March, 10am, Low Mass said by Canon Tom Honey with short Homily by Br Michael Jerome.
Tuesday in Holy Week, 6pm, Plainsong Vespers and Meditation. Choir Practice at 7pm.
Spy Wednesday, 23rd March, Morning Prayer at 9.30am, Low Mass at 10am.
Spy Wednesday 23rd March at 6pm, when Judas arranged to betray Jesus, the traditional 14 Stations of the Cross are prayed, with the singing of the devotional poem Stabat Mater Dolorosa to music by Charpentier for upper voices.
Maundy Thursday, 24th March, 6pm, Plainsong Vespers and Meditation.
Maundy Thursday, 24th March, Sung Mass at 7.30pm. We especially remember Jesus and his Disciples in the Upper Room, the Foot-washing, how the Last Supper became the First Holy Communion, the words of Jesus to his followers, and the Betrayal.
The Mass Setting is by Charles Wood in F, and the Anthems are “Ubi caritas et amor Deus ibi est” by the contemporary composer Paul Mealor and “God so loved the world” from Sir John Stainer’s Victorian meditation, The Crucifixion.
At the end of the service, the High Altar is stripped, the Blessed Sacrament carried to the Altar of Repose in the Lady Chapel, and the Watch is kept there through the night recalling Christ and his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane and then before Pontius Pilate.
Friday 25th March at 10.30am, Good Friday Liturgy. Reproaches, by former St Michael’s member, Chris Upton. Veneration of the Cross. Crux Fidelis, attr. King John IV of Portugal.
Good Friday, 8pm, Tenebrae. An ancient service sung in Latin and English from the West Gallery to plainsong and polyphony by Lassus (1532-1594) and Palestrina (1525-1594), ending in darkness and silence to symbolise Jesus’ descent to the dead.
Saturday 26th March, Holy Saturday 8pm – The Easter Vigil. We kindle the New Light, prepare and bless the Paschal Candles for St Michael’s and St David’s, hear the Exsultet, the proclamation of Christ’s Resurrection, and renew our Baptismal Vows.
Setting: Mass in C&F by Charles Villiers Stanford. Anthem: Out of the Stillness, by Richard Shephard to a poem by Jonathan Draper, Dean of Exeter.
Out of the stillness of dark before dawn,
In the still and the quiet and the damp of the night,
The morning star glimmers alone in the sky:
Signal of day, herald of light.
Deep in the stillness of anguish and fear
Lie hopes that were shattered by death and by doubt,
The husk of a dream lies empty and crushed,
Mind seeks for meaning, heart flickers out.
Out of the stillness the dawn comes again
Darkness is vanquished and hope is renewed
The sun has arisen, never to set,
A new day is dawning with heaven suffused.
Death with its terrors at last overcome
By one burst of light, by one gift of love.
Wholeness and healing and hope in his arms,
The sun has arisen with life for the world.
Easter Sunday, 27th March at 10.45am. (N.B. clocks will have gone forward one hour overnight!) Festal Sung Mass and Blessing of the Easter Garden.
All at St Michael’s wish you a Happy and Blessed Easter. Christ is Risen; He is risen indeed!
Introit: Sing out this Eastertide, by Graham Keitch.
Setting: Mass in G, Franz Schubert.
Motet: Haec Dies, by William Byrd.
This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Low Sunday, 3rd April, Sung Mass at 10.45am – it remains to be seen whether we can repeat the excitement of last year’s Easter Bonnet Parade, but please come and enjoy Spring worship and Easter Hymns with us anyway. Music is Darke in E Mass Setting and Easter Anthem by William Billings.
Sunday 3rd April may be Low Sunday but for our 6pm Choral Evensong & Benediction we will be in joyful Easter mood. Responses by Smith, Office Hymn 115, Psalm 16, and the Canticles, Mag & Nunc, will be Stanford in C.
Anthem:- Blessed be the God & Father by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (who died 19 April 1876 and is buried across the valley from Mount Dinham just below the Exeter Catacombs). Composed for Easter Sunday evensong at Hereford Cathedral, 1834, when only trebles and a single bass voice were available, hence the unison ATB passages. Words selected from 1st Epistle of Peter, chapter 1.
One of the few Feasts usually to occur within Lent, the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary this year is “transferred” from Holy Week to after the Octave of Easter, and will be celebrated at St Michael’s on Monday 4th April with Sung Mass at 7.30pm. Please note this date, which is also the CBS Mass for April. Setting “Missa Aeterna Christi Munera” by Palestrina; Motet “Ave Maria” by Parsons.