Friday, 22 March 2013

Easter Ceremonies: a guide to our Cathedrals...**updated

As Easter is rapidly getting closer, I've updated my guide to what is planned in our Cathedrals.

So far the cathedrals go, I'm pleasantly surprised to see some changes for the better since my initial post a week or two back.

Good too, to see some of the Liturgy of the hours, such as Solemn Vespers and even Tenebrae scheduled in some places.  Vatican II did suggest that the Divine Office should be part of the regular schedule of a church after all!

There continue to be some interesting 'innovations', on which I invite you to comment on the pros and cons.

What do you think of Chrism Masses not held in Holy Week for example?  I can see the case for holding it on a day other than Thursday in farflung dioceses, but separating it altogether from Holy Week?

Then too, there is Ballarat's Easter Vigil Mass - at 6am on Easter Sunday.  Well, it is still dark then!

So what do we have to look forward to at Easter in Australia this year?

In any case, here is a look at this year's Easter offerings, starting with the Archdioceses.

I will continue to update it to fill in the missing dioceses.  I haven't generally included Good Friday times, because the main liturgy tends to be pretty standard (ie 3pm).

And if those running or attending EF Masses would care to alert me to their schedules, I'd be happy to set up a post to publicize them, particularly for the benefit of those of us away from home base over Easter.

The Easter Vigil

Prior to 1955, the Easter Vigil usually took place around midday Saturday, and indeed traditionalists are lobbying for formal permission to be able to return to the pre-1955 ceremonial and even timings.

Without or without any actual approval, in past years I've certainly experienced a number of different versions of the 'traditional' Vigil, from full 1950 ceremonies; the radically revised 1962 version; and odd hybrids thereof.  I guess it is possible that some of those variations were duly authorized.

Still, at least they do represent versions of the liturgy that have actually been formally approved, as opposed to the oddities one encounters at Ordinary Form ceremonies at that time, with assorted hand washing ceremonies (scheduled this year for Perth on Maundy Thursdy!) and more, added in for the entertainment of the crowd.

Pope Pius XII's reforms, however, aimed, amongst other things at restoring the 'actual' timings (though it is pretty debatable what the actual timings really are given that the early timing of the 'Vigil' started pretty early), including a requirement that the Easter Vigil not start until it is actually dark.

Chrism Masses

The Chrism Mass is an important ceremony for a diocese, and I have to admit that one of my pet peeves is the many dioceses who hold the Chrism Mass on some day other than Maundy Thursday, and thus losing an important part of the symbolism of the event.

I can understand it, perhaps, in the widely dispersed dioceses.  But surely the chrism mass could at least be held during Holy Week!

And last year Sydney was the only diocese to actually hold the Chrism Mass on its proper day, viz Maundy Thursday.  This year Perth has joined the party, but alas, that seems it, so far at least!



Sydney's splendid Holy Week offerings, which include:

The Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday at 10:30am;.
Holy Saturday: 10:00am Tenebræ The Office of Readings; 7pm, Easter Vigil (Sunset is at 6.53, so it will be full dark)

And on Easter Day, a 10:30am Solemn Mass* (with Apostolic Blessing & plenary indulgence); 12 noon Low Mass (Extraordinary form); and 5:00pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction.


Perth's Chrism Mass is also scheduled for the actual day: Thursday 28th 11am.

And I'm glad to see that the 'Washing of Hands and Holy Communion' ceremony scheduled for the evening of Maundy Thursday, has been replaced by the 'Mass of the Lord's Supper, 6.30pm', with Compline at 9.30pm!

Perth Cathedral also has Tenebrae scheduled for Holy Saturday at 10am,  the Easter Vigil at 7pm.

On Sunday there is a low Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Noon, as well as Solemn Vespers in the evening.


Chrism Mass: Tuesday, 11am
Maundy Thursday Mass: 7.30pm
Tenebrae for Holy Saturday: Friday night at 7.30pm
Easter Vigil: 8pm


Chrism Mass: Monday 25 March, 6pm
Maundy Thursday: 8pm (7pm EF at Holy Name)
Saturday Vigil Mass: 7.30pm (sunset in Adelaide is at 7.15pm on that day); 10pm EF at Holy Name


The Brisbane Chrism Mass is a week early, on Thursday 21st March 2013, 7.30pm
Maundy Thursday: 7.30pm
Easter Vigil: 7pm


Chrism Mass: Monday 25 March at 7.30pm
Holy Thursday 7.30pm,
Easter vigil 7.30pm


(Date unclear from the website but perhaps Wednesday as a Vigil Mass?) Chrism Mass: 7:30 PM
Holy Thursday: 7:30 PM (Mass of the Lord’s Supper )
Holy Saturday: 7:30 PM (Solemn Vigil of Easter ) (Sunset in Hobart is at 7.05pm, so more or less dark by then)

Other dioceses


**Chrism Mass: Tuesday 26 :11am


'Mass of the Oils' Monday, March 25, 2013, 6.30pm
Holy Thursday:   7.00pm
Easter Vigil:  6.00am (**An interesting innovation!  Sunrise isn't until 7.38am so it will still be dark).


Chrism Mass: Monday 18th March 2013 in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. John in Bathurst at 5.45pm.
Maundy Thursday: 7.30pm
Easter Vigil: 7.30pm

Broken Bay

Chrism Mass – Mass of Oils: Tuesday 26 March 7.30pm
Holy Thursday: 8.00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Holy Saturday: 10.00am Morning Prayer
Easter Vigil: 8.00pm


Not available on website


Not available on website


Chrism Mass - Not listed on website

Holy Thursday - 7pm;
Holy Saturday - Morning Prayer 9am Bishop’s House Chapel
Easter Vigil Mass 7pm (Sunset is 6.20pm, so it will be dark)
Easter Sunday - Masses 6.30am, 10am, 5pm


Chrism Mass (Mass of the Oils): This year the Chrism Mass will celebrated at Holy Spirit Parish Church, at 7.00pm. Celebrant will be  Most Rev Eugene Hurley DD, Bishop of Darwin. Priests from Parishes of the Diocese of Darwin will concelebrate.
Holy Thursday: 7pm (followed by Adoration)
Easter Vigil: 7pm


Not available on website


Chrism Mass: Not listed on website

Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7pm
Good Friday Celebration of the Lord's Passion 3pm
Holy Saturday Easter Vigil at 7pm. (Sunset is at 6.46pm, won't be fully dark)


Chrism Mass: Tuesday 26 March at 7.00pm.
Maundy Thursday: 7pm
Easter Vigil:7.15pm (Sunset is at 6.51pm, so just about dark)


Chrism Mass: Wednesday 27 March at 7.30pm
Holy Tuesday: Liturgy of Tenebrae (8pm) [Tenebrae usually is for Holy Thursday  - saying it on Tuesday seems a big anticipation!  Could this be an error?]
Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7.30pm
Good Friday: Sung Lauds - Morning Prayer, 9.30am
Easter Vigil, 7pm (Sunset is at 6.53pm, so won't be dark)

Port Pirie

Chrism Mass: Tuesday 19 March (timed to coincide with a week of (Diocesan assemblies)
Easter Vigil: Not available


Mass of The Oils: Wednesday 20 March 2013, 7pm
Holy Thursday 28 March 6.00pm Mass of the Last Supper, Adoration until 10pm
Easter Vigil 30 March 6.00pm Mass (Sunset is at 5.58pm)
Easter Sunday 31 March 6.30am Mass, 10.00am Mass, 6.00pm Mass


Tuesday, March 26: Mass of the Oils 11am
Wednesday, March 27: Ecumenical Tenebrae service 7.30.
Holy Thursday, March 28: Mass of the Lord's Supper 7.30pm, Watching with the Lord until 10.30pm
Easter vigil 7.30pm


Chrism Mass: March 20
Holy Thursday 9.00am Morning Prayer, 7.30pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper; Watch before the Blessed Sacrament ends at 10.00pm.
Good Friday 9.00am Morning Prayer.
Holy Saturday 10.00am Morning Prayer, 7.00pm Easter Vigil Mass


Not on website or online as far as I can find (Cathedral website is still back at Christmas time!).


Chrism Mass: March 21 (concludes a Priests’ Day of Reflection)
Holy Wednesday: Tenebrae, 7.30pm
Maundy Thursday: 7pm
Easter Vigil: 6pm (Note: Sunset is not until 6pm!)

Wagga Wagga

Not listed on website and Cathedral has no website.


Chrism Mass this year - Thursday 21 at 6 p m.  A week early, but as the bishop-administrator has to do his own Cathedral as well, fair enough!


Chrism Mass: Wednesday, 7.30pm
Maundy Thursday: 7.30pm
Easter Vigil: 7.30pm


A Canberra Observer said...

Given the timing rules are written with an early (winter/spring) sunset in mind, not the antipodean summer/autumn long days (complete with daylight saving still?), I wonder if we shouldn't cut some of these guys some more slack.
Maybe there are indeed good pastoral/practical/logistical reasons [the clerics involved making it to Easter Sunday?] to start just a little early.

This is not what I would say is ideal.

Of course the Vigil in the dark is still actually an innovation compared with recent (but also) long praxis ...

Kate Edwards said...

I'm certainly sympathetic to the case for early vigils in country parishes/where one priest is serving multiple locations.

But these are our Cathedrals.

And its not like any of the bishops in question are going to be doing midnight and (actual) dawn Masses, because they've long gone!

A Canberra Observer said...

you are convincing me! But these once great cathedrals are now oft sadly manned by aged grandfathers and occasionally young boys. :-(

SPWang said...

I know this is for Cathedrals etc but we're having the Triduum again this year. More info -