turner glory in the cross coverI haven’t been reading much other than canon law for the past little while, but yesterday I did finally finish reading Paul Turner’s Glory in the Cross: Holy Week in the Third Edition of The Roman Missal (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2011. 204pp).

I highly recommend it to anyone who is involved in the preparation of the Holy Week liturgies.  Turner goes through every rubric and prayer proper to the principal liturgies of Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion through to Easter Sunday Mass inclusive.

It is fascinating, from an historical perspective, to know the history of the prayers in use, and the development of the various rites to what we have today.  One thing I have come to appreciate after reading the book is that the changes we find in the new English translation of the Roman Missal do not concern only the translation of the words of the prayers.  Many of the rubrics have undergone revision in the Latin typical edition, in many instances clarifying things that maybe were unclear.

As a presider of the Holy Week ceremonies, I had – like many I suppose – the files of the liturgies on the computer, which didn’t need much editing from year to year.  Those really need to be discarded now, not just because the prayers have been revised, but the rubrics themselves are new.  Liturgy planners would do well to study carefully the liturgies of Holy Week in the new Missal, and to especially review the rubrics that are contained therein.  It’s good to remember that the Introductions to the rites and the rubrics within the rites are not just “helpful suggestions,” but are law, and are to be observed like all other laws in the Church.