During Holy Week, the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of his life on earth, beginning with his messianic entrance into Jerusalem. The Lenten season lasts until the Thursday of this week. The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.
Readings for Holy Week and Easter 2017:
Monday in Holy Week 10 April 2017
Is 42: 1-7. Ps 26:1-3, 13-14, R/ v 1. Jn 12:1-11.
Our attention is now focused on the great mystery of Christ, dying and rising. The sense of impending doom hovers over the actions of Jesus. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, Christ does not cry out or shout aloud. Mary’s anointing becomes one of preparation of the body for burial after death. All things are being readied for the final hour. The chrism is prepared for blessing by the bishop this week: it will be used to sign new Christians with the Cross, to seal them for Christ.
Tuesday in Holy Week 11 April 2017
Is 49:1-6. Ps 70:1-6, 15, 17, R/ v 15. Jn 13:21-33, 36-38.
The words of Isaiah speak beautifully of our vocation in Christ. Chosen before birth, given great gifts of body and mind, called to be servant of the Most High, and destined to be a light of the nations so that Christ’s salvation may be brought to the ends of the earth. Such is our destiny. And yet, we can fail. We can reject this calling, give way to weakness. Both Judas and Peter in their weakness are put before us today, one to betray, the other to deny. So close to Jesus and yet capable of losing him.
Wednesday in Holy Week 12 April 2017
Is 50: 4-9. Ps 68:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34, R/ v 14. Mt 26:14-25.
Spy Wednesday we call it – for Judas has left his mark on our calendars. The pain of his betrayal is to be felt in the account of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. And thirty pieces of silver goes into language currency ever since. At the end of this lent, which has seen us trying to purify ourselves of all that is not Christian, these thirty pieces of silver come before us as a warning.
Holy Thursday 13 April 2017
Morning: Is 61:1-3, 6, 8-9. Ps 88:21-22, 25, 27, R/ v2. Apoc 1:5-8, Lk 4:16-21.
The Easter Triduum
Christ redeemed us all and gave perfect glory to God principally through his paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life. Therefore the Easter Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year. The celebration of the paschal mystery is not simply a recalling of past events in history. It is a sacramental celebration that renders present and actualises the saving power of Christ’s death and Resurrection to the Church.
Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Ex 12:1-8, 11-14. Ps 115:12-13, 15-18, R/ cf. 1 Cor 10:16. Jn 13:1-15.
The Scripture readings this evening direct our minds at the opening of the great Paschal celebration to the meaning of what we celebrate. We are entering into this mystery in such a way that when we break bread and share this cup that we once more proclaim the death of the Lord. With this Mass of the Lord’s Supper the Church begins the sacred Easter Triduum and devotes itself to the remembrance of the Last Supper.
Good Friday 14 April 2017 Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
Is 52:13-53:12, Ps 30:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25, R/ Lk 23:46. Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9. Jn 18:1-19:42.
Saint John’s account of the Passion is more reflective and theological. He emphasises Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will. The kingship of Jesus is asserted: the crucifixion is a victory, the hour of death is also the hour triumph. ‘Christ gives his life, he is “lifted up” on the Cross, but willingly’.
In contemplating the Cross of its Lord, the Church commemorates its own origin and its mission to extend to all peoples the blessed effects of Christ’s Passion that it celebrates on this day in a spirit of thanksgiving for his marvellous gift.
Holy Saturday 15 April 2017 Easter Vigil
In accord with ancient tradition, this night is one of vigil for the Lord. Saint Augustine called it ‘the mother of all vigils’. The Gospel of Saint Luke reminds the faithful to have their lamps burning ready, awaiting their master’s return, so that when he arrives he will find them wide awake and will seat them at his table.
There are several different elements to the Easter Vigil: The Service of Light, the Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of Baptism and Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The new fire is blessed outside the church, and its flames should be such that they dispel the darkness and light up the night. All present hold candles to which the light of the new Paschal Candle is gradually passed. The Liturgy of the Word follows with readings from sacred scripture. Through the sprinkling with blessed water and the renewal of baptismal vows, the faithful recall the Baptism they have received. The celebration of the Eucharist which follows is in the fullest sense the Easter Sacrament, the commemoration of the sacrifice of the Cross and the presence of the Risen Christ.
Easter Sunday 16 April 2017 – Easter Day of the Lord’s Resurrection
Acts 10:34, 37-43. Ps 117:1-2, 16-17, 22-23, R/ v 24. Col 3:104 or 1 Cor 5:6-8. Jn 20:1-9.
‘Christ is risen, alleluia!’ This is the ancient Christian greeting on this day of great joy and happiness for all. Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the “Feast of feasts”.
Schedule of Pope Francis for Holy Week and Easter 2017
The Vatican has released the Pope’s schedule for Holy Week and Easter.
On Thursday 13 April Pope Francis will preside at the Chrism Mass with the blessing of the holy oils in Saint Peter’s Basilica, starting at 9.30am.
Pope Francis will wash the feet of inmates at Paliano prison, south of Rome, during the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. The Pope will travel to the penitentiary on the afternoon of 13 April for a private visit and the celebration of Mass marking Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples on the day before his Crucifixion.
Pope Francis began the tradition of travelling to a prison for the traditional Last Supper Mass in March 2013, just a few days after the inauguration of his pontificate. On that occasion he travelled to Rome’s Casal del Marmo youth detention centre where he included, for the first time, women and Muslims among the inmates whose feet he washed.
The following year, he celebrated the Last Supper Mass at Rome’s Don Gnocchi centre for the disabled, again including women among those who had their feet washed in memory of Jesus’ gesture of humility and service.
In 2015 Pope Francis travelled to Rome’s Rebibbia prison for the Holy Thursday celebration, while last year he washed the feet of refugees, including Muslims, Hindus and Coptic Orthodox men and women at a centre for asylum seekers in Castelnuovo di Porto, just north of Rome.
On Good Friday, 14 April, the Pope will lead the celebration of Our Lord’s Passion in Saint Peter’s Basilica, beginning at 5.00pm. That will be followed at 9.15pm by the traditional Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, at the Colosseum, after which the Pope will greet the crowds and impart his Apostolic Blessing.
On Saturday 15 April the Holy Father will celebrate the Easter Vigil in Saint Peter’s Basilica beginning at 8.30pm with the blessing of the new fire and a procession with the Paschal candle. During the celebration he will administer the Sacrament of Baptism before concelebrating Mass with the other cardinals and bishops.
Finally on Easter morning, Sunday 16 April, beginning at 10.00am, Pope Francis will preside at the Mass of Our Lord’s Resurrection in Saint Peter’s Square before giving his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing (to the city of Rome and to the world) from the central balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Bishops’ Messages and Homilies for Holy Week and Easter
13 April 2017: Homily notes of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for the Mass of Chrism 2017
12 April 2017: Homily of Bishop Kevin Doran for Mass of Chrism 2017
12 April 2017: Homily by Archbishop Michael Neary for the Mass of Chrism 2017
11 April 2017: Homily of Bishop Denis Brennan at the annual Mass of Chrism in Saint Aidan’s Cathedral
10 April 2017: Joint Holy Week and Easter Message from the Archbishops of Armagh
Additional messages and homilies for Holy Week and Easter will be posted here as they become available.
Details of Ceremonies in Dioceses for Holy Week
We have shared below some of the highlights of services for Holy Week and Easter. For full details on events in your diocese click on the relevant link here.
Diocese of Achonry
The Holy Week service in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and St Nathy, Ballaghderreen, are as follows:
- Holy Thursday: Chrism Mass at at 11.00am and Celebration of the Mass of the Last Supper at 8.00pm.
- Good Friday: Celebration of The Lord’s Passion at 3.00pm
- Holy Saturday: Celebration of the Easter Vigil at 9.00pm
- Easter Sunday: Masses at 8.00am, 10.ooam and 12noon
Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
The Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise has published details of ceremonies for Holy Week 2017. Many services will be held in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, during the Easter Triduum.
Bishop Francis Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, will celebrate the Chrism Mass in Saint Mel’s Cathedral at 11.00am on Holy Thursday, joined by the priests of the diocese. During that Mass, Bishop Duffy will bless the holy oils that will be used at baptisms, confirmations, ordinations and the anointing of the sick during the year ahead. There will be no other morning Masses in Saint Mel’s Cathedral or in Saint Joseph’s Hospital
The Mass of Our Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in Saint Mel’s Cathedral at 7.30pm on Holy Thursday. The Mass will be followed by Confessions from 8.30pm until 9.00pm and prayer before the Altar of Repose until midnight.
On Good Friday, the Celebration of Our Lord’s Passion will be held at 3.00pm in Saint Mel’s Cathedral. Stations of the Cross will be held in the cathedral at 7.30pm followed by Confessions until 9.00pm. Following Confessions, Taizé prayers will be said around the cross until 10.00pm.
Confessions will take place in Saint Mel’s Cathedral from 10:30am until 6.00pm on Holy Saturday. The Easter Vigil will be celebrated at 9.00pm.
Easter Sunday Masess will be celebrated in Saint Mel’s Cathedral at 10.00am, 11.30am and 1.00pm; Saint Anne’s Church, Curry, at 9.30am; Saint Michael’s Church, Shroid, at 10.30am; and in Saint Joseph’s Hospital at 11.00am.
For details of Dawn Masses in the diocese click here.
Archdiocese of Armagh
Archbishop Eamon Martin will be officiating at the following ceremonies for Holy Week and Easter:
Holy Thursday, 13 April:
11.00am Chrism Mass, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
7.00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
Good Friday Friday, 14 April:
3.00pm The Passion, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
Holy Saturday, 15 April: 9.00pm Easter Vigil Mass, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
Easter Sunday, 16 April: 10.00am Easter Sunday Mass, St Malachy’s Church, Armagh
Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly
The Chrism Mass will take place at 7.30pm on Spy Wednesday 12 April in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles.
On Holy Thursday the Mass of the Lord’s Supper will take place at 6.30pm in Bóthar na Naomh Church at 6.30pm and in the Cathedral at 7.30pm. Holy Hour will take place at 10.00pm in Lámh Chúnta and Bóthar na Naomh.
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion will commence at 3.00pm in the Cathedral and Bóthar na Naomh Church on Good Friday. At 7.30pm an outdoor Stations of the Cross will begin in Liberty Square and prayer around the Cross at 8.30pm in the Cathedral.
On Holy Saturday a Pilgrim Walk to the Holycross Abbey will begin at 9.30am from the Cathedral Yard. At 12 noon liturgy of the Blessing of the Bread will commence. Later that evening at 9.00pm, the Easter Vigil will take place. Confessions will be facilitated throughout the day from 11.00am – 1.00pm and 2.00pm – 6.00pm.
On Easter Sunday, Dawn Mass will take place at 6.00am in Killinan Cemetery. Sunday Mass times as usual in both churches.
Diocese of Clonfert
The Chrism Mass will take place in Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea at 8.00pm on Wednesday 12 April and will be celebrated by Bishop John Kirby with the priests of the diocese. The parishes of the diocese will have representatives present. The Holy Oils of Chrism, Baptism and Oil of the Sick will be blessed for use in the diocese throughout during the year and the priests will renew their priestly commitment.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated on Holy Thursday 13 April at 8.00pm in Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea. Adoration at the Altar of Repose until 11pm.
Bishop John Kirby will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Creagh, Ballinasloe at 8pm.
The Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion will take place at 3.00pm in Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea. There will be Stations of the Cross at 7.00pm.
Bishop Kirby will lead the Stations of the Cross through the streets in Ballinasloe at 12noon and will preside at the Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion in St. Michaels’ Church, Ballinasloe at 3.00pm.
There will be a traditional Slavic blessing of Easter food at 11.00am in Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea. Bishop John Kirby will celebrate the Easter Vigil in the Cathedral at 8.00pm.
Bishop Kirby will celebrate 9.00am Mass in the Carmelite Abbey, Loughrea and the 11.00am Mass in St Michael’s Church Ballinasloe. St. Brendan’s Cathedral Masses will be celebrated at 10.00am and 12noon.
See our Dawn Mass feature for details of Easter Sunday dawn Masses in the Diocese of Clonfert.
Diocese of Cloyne
Bishop Crean will be presiding at the following ceremonies for Holy Week in Saint Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh:
- Wednesday 12 April: Mass of Chrism with Bishop, priests and people of the diocese at 7.30pm. All Holy Oils Blessed.
- Holy Thursday 13 April: Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Procession to the Altar of Repose 7.30pm.
- Good Friday 14 April: Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3.00pm in the Cathedral
- Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil at 9.00pm.
- Easter Sunday: Mass at 12 noon.
Archdiocese of Dublin
The Chrism Mass will take place in Saint Mary’s Pro Cathedral on Holy Thursday 13 April at 10.00am. Priests and representatives from every parish will gather with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for Mass, during which holy oils are blessed for the coming year and for the Renewal of Priestly Service. Archbishop Martin will also be the chief celebrant at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday at 6.00pm in the Pro-Cathedral.
On Good Friday 14 April at 3.00pm, Archbishop Martin will be chief celebrant at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion in the Pro-Cathedral. Later that day, Archbishop Martin and Archbishop Michael Jackson will lead the Good Friday Ecumenical Walk, leaving Christchurch Cathedral at 7.15pm onto Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, carrying the Cross of Taize. Bishop Raymond Field will celebrate the Lord’s Passion in the Church of Our Lady of Nativity in Leixlip at 3.00pm. Meath Street parish will have their annual Passion Play on Good Friday at 3.00pm. The Animated Stations of the Cross with meditations and music will take place at 8.00pm in Saint Catherine’s Church, Meath Street.
On Holy Saturday 15 April, the annual Blessing of the Baskets for the Polish Community will take place in Our Lady of Mercy Church, Crosschapel at 11.00am.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will celebrate Mass in the Pro-Cathedral on Easter Sunday at 11.00am. Masses will also take place at 12.45pm and 6.30pm.
For more information on events and services for Holy Week in the Archdiocese of Dublin, please click here.
Diocese of Elphin
The following liturgies for Holy Week will take place in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo. The Cathedral Choir will provide the music for main liturgies during Holy Week. Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin will be the main celebrant or presider at the following:
Spy Wednesday: Mass of Chrism at 7.30pm
Holy Thursday: Morning Prayer at 10.30am
Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7.30pm
Good Friday: Morning Prayer at 10.30am
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, 3.00pm
Stations of the Cross, 8.00pm
Holy Saturday: Morning Prayer at 10.30am
Blessing of Food for Polish Community (Gillooly Hall) at 12noon
Easter Vigil at 11.00pm (televised on RTÉ Two Television and Radio)
Bishop Kevin will baptise two adults during the Easter Vigil.
Easter Sunday: Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection at 10.00am (televised on RTÉ1 Television and Radio and in Belgium, France and Switzerland). At the end of Easter Sunday Mass, Bishop Kevin will extend an invitation to those watching in Europe to come to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families 2018.
Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin
Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has invited parishioners from across the diocese to be part of this year’s Chrism Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow, on Monday 10 April. Bishop Nulty said, “The Chrism Mass provides us with a moment to gather as a diocese – bishop, priests and people – to support and pray for one another, to remember and pray for the people of our diocese and beyond.” The Diocese has invited people to stay on after the Mass for a gathering with light refreshments in Carlow College. This will be a chance to meet and greet Bishop Nulty and to catch up with friends and neighbours from across the diocese. All are welcome to the Mass which begins at 7.30pm.
On Good Friday 14 April there will be an ecumenical pilgrimage of reflection in the footsteps of Jesus, beginning at Saint Lazerian’s Church, Leighlinbridge at 9.30am.
For information on Dawn Masses in the diocese click here.
Diocese of Limerick
Bishop Brendan Leahy will celebrate the Chrism Mass on Spy Wednesday, 12 April in Saint John’s Cathedral at 7.00pm.
Mass of the Lord’s Supper will take place in Saint John’s Cathedral from 6.30pm – 7.30pm on Holy Thursday.
Good Friday ceremonies will take place at 10.00am, 3.00pm, 6.00pm and will include Stations of the Cross.
On Holy Saturday 15 April, in Saint John’s, Mass will take place at 10.00am and the Easter Vigil will begin at 9.00pm.
Masses will take place at 8.00am, 10.30am, 12 noon and 7.00pm on Easter Sunday in Saint John’s Cathedral. Mass as Gaeilge will take place at 10.00am in Saint Michael’s Church. At 5.45am, Dawn Mass will begin on the banks of the Abbey River (Goose’s Corner) in Saint Mary’s parish and Shannon Fields in Saint Nicholas parish. There will be a Dawn Mass at at 6.00am in Cratloe parish, at the grotto.
Diocese of Meath
All the major Holy Week ceremonies will take place in the Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar. These include the Chrism Mass which will be celebrated by Bishop Michael Smith and all the priests of the diocese on Wednesday 12 April at 7.00pm. During that Mass, Bishop Smith will bless the holy oils that will be used at baptisms, confirmations, ordinations and the anointing of the sick during the year ahead. Bishop Smith will also celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper on Thursday in Saint Mary’s Parish, Navan and the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, also in Navan.
Good Friday liturgies will be taking place in virtually every church in the diocese. Outdoor stations of the cross will take place in nine parishes: Bohermeen, Castlepollard, Clara, Collinstown, Drumraney, Longwood, Mullingar, Navan, Slane and Tullamore. Bishop Smith will preside at the Easter Vigil in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar on Saturday 15 April.
Details of Dawn Masses for Easter Sunday in the Diocese of Meath are available here.
Archdiocese of Tuam
The Archdiocese of Tuam has published details of the ceremonies for Holy Week 2017. All the major Holy Week ceremonies will be celebrated by Archbishop Micheal Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, and will take place in the Cathedral of the Assumption, in Tuam, Co Galway. The annual Chrism Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Michael Neary with the priests of the Archdiocese of Tuam on Wednesday 12 April at 6.00pm. During the Chrism Mass, Archbishop Neary will bless the holy oils that will be used at baptisms, confirmations, ordinations and the anointing of the sick during the year ahead.
Archbishop Neary will also celebrate Morning Prayer on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Saturday at 10.00am.
Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be concelebrated at 7.30pm on Holy Thursday by Archbishop Neary and the Tuam parish clergy. The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion will take place at 3.00pm on Good Friday and the Easter Vigil Mass will be held on Easter Saturday at 9.00pm.
Easter Sunday Mass will be celebrated at 8.30am, 10.30am and 12.30pm.
Easter Sunday Dawn Masses
Many Irish dioceses and parishes will host Dawn Masses on Easter Sunday morning. Dawn Mass is a very spiritual opportunity to celebrate Mass while watching the dawn break over the countryside. Please click here for a list of Dawn Masses taking place around Ireland on Easter Sunday.
Services and Events in Dioceses for Holy Week and Easter 2016
We will be sharing information on events and services in dioceses for Holy Week and Easter as they become available.
Holy Week Broadcasts
A Living Word on RTÉ Radio One
Father Vincent Sherlock of Achonry Diocese will be sharing reflections on Holy Week from Monday 10 – Friday 14 April on the thought for the day feature on Rising Time on RTÉ Radio One at 6.15am each morning. The feature is known as A Living Word and Father Vincent’s reflections take the form of letters exchanged between Jesus and some of the characters in the Passion Story.
You can listen to the podcasts here.
Thursday 13 April (Holy Thursday)
16.40-17.35 Mass of the Lord’s Supper, at the culmination of Trócaire’s annual Lenten campaign, Father Edward Gallagher leads a Mass commemorating the Last Supper, with the choir of Dean Maguírc College, Carrickmore and parishioners from Greencastle, Co Tyrone (simulcast RTÉ One Television and RTÉ Radio 1 extra)
Friday 14 April (Good Friday)
14.55-15.45 Solemn Liturgy for Good Friday, Father Paul O’Driscoll leads the Good Friday Liturgy with a congregation from The Parish of The Travellers. Music will be led by Jack Delaney and Bernard McDonagh, with an introduction by Margaret McDonagh, in which she reflects on the significance of the cross for members of the travelling community, especially in the wake of terrible suffering and grief in Carrickmines and Clondalkin. (simulcast on RTÉ One Television and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra)
2.00-22.30 The Leap of Faith. In this special programme for Good Friday, Michael Comyn and guests question whether and why Jesus had to die. What if Pilate had released him?
Saturday 15 April (Holy Saturday)
23.00-00.30 Easter Vigil Mass from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo (simulcast on RTÉ Two Television and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra)
Sunday 16 April (Easter Sunday)
10.00-11.00 Eurovision Mass for Easter Sunday: Bishop of Elphin, the Most Rev Kevin Doran, celebrates the resurrection of Christ from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo (RTé One with delayed transmission at 11.00 on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra)
11.00-11.25 Urbi et Orbi – Pope Francis gives his traditional Easter Message from Saint Peter’s “to the city and the world” with commentary and translation from Father Thomas McCarthy OP. (RTÉ One Television)
11.20-12.10 Easter Sunday Service The Rev. Andrew Dougherty leads a Service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, with a congregation and musicians drawn from from the Methodist Centenary Church and the Dublin Korean Church. Music is led by Derek Seymour. (RTÉ One with delayed transmission at 11.45 on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra)
23.40-00.40 Pope Benedict at 90. On the 90th birthday of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, another chance to see this fascinating portrait of his life and career, first shown at the time of his resignation in 2013. (RTÉ One)
Holy Week on Lyric FM: Monday 10 to Friday 14 April
1200-1400 Niall Carroll’s Lunchtime Favourites
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi was an Italian composer, gambist, singer and Catholic priest. He was one of the major composers of the late 16th and early 17th centuries and was a key figure in the transition from renaissance to baroque music. A child prodigy, he began his musical education as a member of the Cathedral Choir in Cremona. In 1613 he became conductor at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. His first church work was his Mass, Missa In illo tempore to which he added his famous Vespers in 1610. These works laid the foundation for the two masterpieces of sacred Baroque music, Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Niall chooses five pieces of Monteverdi’s sacred music each day this week at 12.30 on Lunchtime Favourites.
14.00-14.14 Jerusalem Passion. A five-part daily series which explores the Passion of Christ, through dramatisations of medieval texts with documentary contributions and original music, elucidating universal themes of suffering and devotion. Produced by Conor O’Toole; Dramatic parts played by Mark D’Aughton; Historical Contributor Dr Malgorzata Krasnodebska-D’Aughton of UCC School of History; Original Music composed and performed by Mark Wilkins; Producer for RTÉ lyric fm – Eoin O Kelly.
Episode 1: Jerusalem as the centre of the world. Exploring the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a pilgrimage site with the aid of the only medieval account of a pilgrimage from Ireland to Jerusalem ‘The Journey of Simon Semeonis from Ireland to the Holy Land’.
Episode 2: Visions of Jerusalem. Virtual pilgrimage and relics of the Passion are explored using dramatisations from the medieval travelogue ‘The Journey of Simon Semeonis from Ireland to the Holy Land’.
Episode 3: Images of Suffering. The significance of personalised accounts of suffering and the ‘The Journey of Simon Semeonis from Ireland to the Holy Land’.
Episode 4: The Suffering Mother. The featured text is the Latin hymn Stabat Mater Dolorosa which is attributed to the 13th century Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi. Edward Caswall translation from the Lyra Catholica (1849) is used as starting point for a discussion of depictions of Mary living through the suffering of her son.
Episode 5: The Death of Christ. Francis of Assisi’s ‘The Office of the Passion of the Lord’ is the textual base for an introduction to medieval forms of devotion to the suffering of Christ.
2200-0100 The Blue of the Night with Carl Corcoran
The vocal group Calmus Ensemble bring us this week’s Blue of the Night featured CD. Hymns of Martin Luther in arrangements by Bach, Reger, Mendelssohn and Pärt with chorale motets from the Middle Ages via the Renaissance and the Romantic period into the Modern age, all sung with melodic precision by Calmus. Carl Corcoran features Luther Collage all this week on the Blue of the Night.
Good Friday, 14 April
1415-1600 The John Kelly Ensemble. On today’s programme, John will feature Gesualdo’s 1611 work Responsoria et alia ad Officium Hebdomadae Sancta spectantia.
20.00-2200 The Friday Concert with Paul Herriott. Paul presents Bach’s St Matthew Passion in a performance recorded earlier this afternoon at the National Concert Hall. Easter in Ireland is traditionally marked by performances of Bach’s oratorios or ‘Passions’ – either the St John or, this year, the St Matthew. The work is a compilation from St Matthew’s gospel, with narration interspersed with chorales and arias. First performed almost 300 years ago, it’s become one of the most profound reflections on the Passion of Christ. Conductor and Early music specialist, Matthew Halls, Irish soloists Brendan Collins (Pilate), Rachel Kelly and Aoife Miskelly are joined by Ben Johnson from England (Evangelist), Mark Wilde from Scotland, and Stephan Loges from Germany (Jesus), all supported by the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, whose chorus master Mark Hindley has worked assiduously with them to prepare for this sacred presentation at the centre of the Christian calendar. The performance also features RTÉ Cór na nÓg choral – director: Mary Amond O’Brien
Easter Sunday 16 April
0700-10.00 Vox Nostra with Vlad Smishkewych. Although many of us might associate the famous Messiah by Handel with the Christmas or Advent season, the composer had a different time of year in mind for its ultimate theme: Eastertide. The premier date of this emblematic work, on 13th April 1742, is a good indication that George Frideric Handel intended the work’s theme to culminate on this holiday, even though it paints a stunning musical picture of Jesus’ early life and of the Passion as well. Easter Sunday morning’s Sunday Sonata on Vox Nostra features the third part of the Messiah, the so-called ‘Easter Section,’ performed by the English Concert & Choir under Trevor Pinnock. A star-studded line-up of soloists including soprano Arleen Augér, contralto Anne Sofie von Otter, countertenor Michael Chance, tenor Howard Crook, and bass John Tomlinson perform one of the Baroque’s best known works, Handel’s Messiah. In this recording under director Trevor Pinnock, the English Concert & Choir achieve such a high standard of clarity, musicality and expression that this version has remained a classic, as fresh today as when it was recorded in 1988. There’s a wealth of gorgeous vocal and instrumental music for the Paschal holiday, drawing from Eastern and Western Christian liturgical traditions, as well as composers from the Medieval through the Baroque periods: Guillaume de Machaut, Francesco da Milano, Johann Fasch, and the curious Sir Tobias Hume.
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Easter Performances
The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, along with the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and RTÉ Cór na nÓg, will perform Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the National Concert Hall on Good Friday, April 14.
Easter in Ireland is traditionally marked by performances of Bach’s oratorios or ‘Passions’ – either the St John or, this year, the St Matthew. The work is a compilation from St Matthew’s gospel, with narration interspersed with chorales and arias. Bach’s magisterial telling of the Easter Story is arguably the greatest of all musical masterpieces. Deeply moving, with music of exquisite beauty, it’s a drama of tremendous urgency, profundity and overwhelming poignancy. First performed almost 300 years ago, it’s become one of the most profound reflections on the Passion of Christ.
Ahead of the 3.30pm performance of the St Matthew Passion, the RTÉ Contempo Quartet will perform the string quartet version of Haydn’s deep and darkly moving The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross, composed as an orchestral work to serve as an aid to meditation during Good Friday religious services. This will be interspersed with Pulitzer-prize winning American poet Mark Strand’s Poem after the Seven Last Words, read by Cathy Belton. This event is free for those with tickets to the St Matthew Passion.
Tickets for both events can be found on the RTÉ Orchestra website.