Aleteia

Everything you need to celebrate Holy Wednesday at home

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Here you have the prayers, readings, and everything else you need to celebrate with God’s Word.

Aleteia is mobilizing to propose to you, with the help of Magnificat magazine, to sanctify this Holy Wednesday with a celebration of the Word of God.

 

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Instructions:

  • If you’re alone, it is better to simply read the readings and prayers of the Mass of the day in your missal.
  • This celebration requires the presence of at least two people.
  • This celebration is particularly suitable for use with family. In order to respect quarantine measures, you should refrain from inviting others from outside your household. If anyone in your house is ill, make sure they remain in isolation to ensure that all safety guidelines are strictly followed.
  • Set up the needed number of chairs in front of a prayer corner, respecting distance between them.
  • A simple cross or crucifix must always be visible in the background.
  • Light one or more candles, placing them on non-flammable stands (such as candlesticks or small porcelain plates). Don’t forget to blow them out at the end of the celebration. Flowers should not be used; this sign of joy will be reserved for the Easter season.
  • Designate a person to lead the prayer. He or she will also determine the length of the periods of silence. Designate a reader.

HOLY WEDNESDAY

Celebration of the Word

With our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ,
let us enter into God’s combat.

All are seated.
The leader of the celebration reads:

Brothers and sisters,
on this Wednesday of Holy Week,
let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.
The hour is near: let us prepare ourselves
to enter into God’s combat.
The days are drawing near when Jesus our Savior
suffered his Passion and rose in glory from the dead.

Our Defender is going to offer his life
to wrest us from the power of Satan
and to make us worthy
to receive the grace of his resurrection.
Brothers and sisters, if the Son of God himself
is coming in our defense,
who will condemn us?

Pause

O Jesus, we are prevented from
perpetuating the offering of your life
by the celebration of the Eucharist:
more than ever, we ask you to make it present
in the way we love each other
as you loved us.

After three minutes of silence, all rise and make the Sign of the Cross, saying: 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The leader continues:

To prepare ourselves to receive God’s Word
and in order for it to heal us,
we recognize ourselves as sinners.

The penitential rite follows. For example:

Have mercy on us, O Lord.
For we have sinned against you.
Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
And grant us your salvation.
May Almighty God have mercy on us;
forgive us our sins,
And bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

The following is said or sung:

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

PRAYER

The leader says the opening prayer:

O God, who willed your Son to submit for our sake
to the yoke of the Cross,
so that you might drive from us the power of the enemy,
grant us, your servants, to attain the grace
of the resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

The readings are taken from the Mass for Holy Wednesday.
The reader of the first reading remains standing while the rest sit down.

FIRST READING

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. (Is 50:4-9a)

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.

Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The reader of the psalm stands, while the others remain seated.

If the celebration is in a family context, the refrain may be simply said or sung by all after the reader has read each strophe.

PSALM (69:8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34)

R/ Lord, in your great love, answer me.    

For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother’s sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.

R/ Lord, in your great love, answer me.    

Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

R/ Lord, in your great love, answer me.    

I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving:
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

R/ Lord, in your great love, answer me.    

GOSPEL

All rise and say or sing the acclamation of the gospel.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
King of endless glory!
Hail to you, our King,
obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion
like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
King of endless glory!

The Gospel is not proclaimed, but merely read with simplicity.

The reader introduces the text by solemnly saying:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (Mt 26:14-25)

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”

They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”

He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,

“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

No acclamation concludes the reading of the Gospel.

All are seated.

The leader repeats slowly, as if it were a far-off echo:

In the depths of our heart marked by sin,
let us allow these prophetic to echo:

“See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?”

All observe five minutes of silence for silent personal meditation.

The leader indicates the end of the period of silence, and invites all to rise.

The leader introduces the Lord’s Prayer:

United in the Spirit and in the communion of the Church,
we dare to pray as the Lord Jesus himself
taught us:

All say or sing the Our Father:

Our Father…

Continuing immediately with:
For the kingdom…

Then the leader invites those present to share a sign of peace:

We have just joined our voices
with that of the Lord Jesus to pray to the Father.
We are sons and daughters in the Son.
In the love that unites us with one another,
renewed by the word of God,
we can exchange a gesture of peace,
a sign of the communion
we receive from the Lord.

All then exchange a greeting of peace from a distance: for example, by bowing deeply towards each other in turn; or, as a family, by blowing each other a kiss. Then all sit down.

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

The leader says:

When we cannot receive sacramental communion for lack of a Mass, Pope Francis urges us to practice spiritual communion, also called “communion of desire.”

The Council of Trent reminds us that this “consists in an ardent desire to feed on the Heavenly Bread, with a living faith that acts through charity and that makes us participants in the fruits and graces of the Sacrament.” The value of our spiritual communion depends therefore on our faith in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist as a source of life, love and unity, and our desire to receive Communion in spite of our inability to do so.

With that in mind, I now invite you to bow your head, to close your eyes and recollect yourselves.

Silence

Deep in our hearts,
may a burning desire arise within us to unite ourselves with Jesus,
in sacramental communion,
and then to bring His love to life into our lives,
loving others as He loved us.

All remain in silence for 5 minutes for a
heart-to-heart conversation with Jesus Christ.

A hymn of thanksgiving may be sung.

All stand.

All recite together the following prayer:

Visit your people, O Lord, we pray,
and with ever-watchful love
look upon the hearts dedicated to you.
Since your Son Jesus Christ has given us
the greatest proof of love that can be,
help us by your grace to love one another
the way you loved us.

FINAL BLESSING

The leader of the celebration, with hands joined in prayer,
says the blessing in the name of all:

Through the intercession of St. N.
[patron saint of the parish, diocese or country],
and of all the saints of God,
May the God of perseverance and courage
grant us to manifest throughout our lives
the spirit of sacrifice, compassion and love
of Christ Jesus.
Thus, in the communion of the Holy Spirit,
we will give glory to God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
for ever and ever!
Amen.

All together facing the cross, each with their hands joined in prayer,
invoke the Lord’s Blessing:  

May the Lord let his face shine upon us
and come and save us. Amen.

All make the Sign of the Cross.

Then parents may trace the Sign of the Cross on their children’s foreheads.

CLOSING HYMN

To conclude the celebration, one of the following Marian antiphons may be sung, or some other familiar hymn to the Virgin Mary.

Ave, Regina cælorum
Ave, Domina Angelorum,
Salve radix, salve, porta, Ex qua mundo lux est orta.
Gaude, Vírgo gloriosa, Super omnes speciosa;
Vale, o valde decora
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

Hail, Queen of Heaven!
Hail, sovereign of the angels!
Hail, root of Jesse!
Hail, door through which the Light of the world arose.
Rejoice, glorious Virgin, who prevails over all in beauty!
Hail, O most beautiful one,
and pray to Christ for us.

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To continue to sanctify this day, it would be good to reconnect with the venerable tradition of vespers by celebrating, towards the end of the afternoon, today’s Evening Prayer, which can be found here.

For each day of Holy Week, we will offer you increasingly rich formulas, to help you continue to celebrate, despite everything, the special seasons of our Christian life, for the glory of God and the salvation of the world.

You can also find other resources for free on the Magnificat website.

 

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