Daily Archives: March 19, 2008

Maundy Thursday Vigil Devotion

I’m theoretical in charge of the vigil over the reserve sacrament between the end of the Maundy Thursday service to Good Friday’s Masses of the Pre-Sanctified at my congregation. Due to my bite I’ve mostly been writing bits for newsletters, announcements, etc. instead of doing real organizing work.

I completed my final task here at the last moment; it’s a booklet of devotions for use at the vigil. Two I borrowed with light adaptations from the St Augustine Prayer Book produced by the Order of the Holy Cross some years back. I also edited one myself out of George Herbert poems and hymns. Since, to the best of my knowledge, these are not under copyright I’ll post them here: Herbert-Hymn Devotion

I noted something interesting in the midst of preparing the other two. The St. Augustine’s Prayer Book is an Anglo-Catholic book that runs in line with current (or current then) Catholicism rather than being the medievalist sort of Anglo-Catholicism. My congregation is not Anglo-Catholic. It’s MOTR to low and very broad. The Maundy Thirsday vigil itself is perceived as being “too Catholic” in some quarters. In any case, I decided to tone down some of the elements that might scandalize and disrupt devotion should a MOTR to low parishoner read through one of these. One item I took out was a concluding prayer after intercessions that was a devotion to the Sacred Heart. I substituted instead the Prayer for All Sorts and Conditions from the BCP.  In reading through the final copy, it stood out like a sore thumb; it has a dignity, poise and spare eloquence that the surrounding prayers lacked. I’m not saying they were bad prayers or anything—I’m just saying that they weren’t the BCP. . .