About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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“After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West.”
— Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

An Unexplained Problem
published 9 May 2014 by Jeff Ostrowski

524 B16 URING THE EASTER VIGIL, after the 7th Reading (when there are no Baptisms) two possible options are given. There is nothing to indicate that one option should be preferred.

Notice that one option is identical to the Responsorial Psalm sung after the 5th Reading:

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Is. 12:2-3, 4, 5-6 — God indeed is my savior …

R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Ps. 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19 — A clean heart create for me, O God …

Music directors often choose the 2nd option to avoid repeating the same Responsorial Psalm that has already been sung after the 5th Reading.

Can anyone explain why the same Responsorial Psalm was assigned after the 5th and 7th readings? I’m not sure there’s another Mass like this. I know that the Offertory & Communion for the 1st Sunday of Lent are practically identical, but the musical setting is completely different.

Any thoughts? Let me know in the combox.


The remarkable thing here is not so much that one of the options given already appeared after the fifth reading, but that the English translation of the Lectionary gets the rubric wrong!

The Latin reads, after listing Ps 41 as the responsorial psalm for the seventh reading: “Vel, quando celebratur Baptisma, Is 12 ut supra (post lectionem n. 5), vel etiam Ps 50…”

So, according to the Latin typical edition, Ps 41 ‘Like a deer’ is always sung after the seventh reading, except when there are Baptisms, when also Is 12 ‘You will draw water’ or Ps 51 ‘Creat e a clean heart’ may be chosen. The English however reverses the condition to choose the options: “When Baptism is NOT celebrated”!

The reasoning of the Latin rubric makes much more sense to me: when there are Baptisms and the fifth reading wasn’t used (yes, that’s possible), Is 12 can be chosen as responsorial psalm because of its clear Baptism theme. If the fifth reading was used and so Is 12 was already sung, Ps 51 can be chosen, which is also related to Baptism.

Holy Saturday Responsorial Psalms for Ordinary Form