Easter – Ad cenam Agni providi

One of the earliest Ambrosian hymns, 6th century or earlier, this hymn is used for Vespers from Easter Sunday until Ascension. In the Breviary revision of 1632 by Pope Urban VIII the hymn was so greatly altered that only three lines of the original remained and thus is really a different hymn entirely. The revised hymn can be found under the title of Ad regias Agni dapes. (source) Continue reading

Maundy Thursday – Dominus Jesus postquam cenavit

Dominus Jesus, postquam cenavit cum discipulis,
suis lavit pedes eorum, et ait illis:
Scitis quid fecerim vobis, ego Dominus et Magister?
Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos ita faciatis.

Jesus the Lord, after He had supped with His disciples,
washed their feet, and said to them:
“Know you what I, your Lord and Master, have done to you?
I gave you an example, that you also may do likewise.”

Palm Sunday – Pueri Hebraeorum

Pueri Hebraeorum, vestimenta prosternebat in via,
et clamabant dicentes: Hosanna Filio David:
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

The Hebrew children spread their garments in the way,
And cried out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Domini est terra, et plenitudo eius,
Orbis terrarum et universi qui habitant in eo.
Quia ipsa super maria fundavit eum,
Et super flumina praeparavit eum.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and all those who dwell therein.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Attollite portas, principes vestras,
Et elevamini, portae aternales:
Et introibit rex gloriae.
Quis est iste rex gloriae?
Dominus fortis et potens:
Dominus potens in praelio.

Lift up your gates, you princes,
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors:
And the King of glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

Attollite portas, principes vestras,
Et elevamini, portae aeternales:
Et introibit rex gloriae.
Quis est iste rex gloriae?
Dominus virtutum ipse est rex gloriae.

Lift up your gates, you princes,
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors:
And the King of glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts; He is the King of glory.

Epiphany – Reges Tharsis

Reges Tharsis et insulae munera offerent,
Reges Arabum et Saba dona adducent.
Et adorabunt eum omnes reges terrae,
Omnes gentes servient ei.

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles offer gifts,
The kings of Arabia and Sheba bring gifts.
And all the kings of the earth worship Him,
All peoples bow before Him.

Christmas – Puer natus est nobis

Puer natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis: cuius imperium super humerum eius; et vocabitur nomen eius, magni consilii Angelus. Cantate Domino canticum novum, quia mirabilia fecit. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

A Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, upon whose shoulders authority rests: and His name shall be called the Angel of great counsel. Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Christmas Eve – Rorate caeli

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum.

Ne irascaris Domine,
Ne ultra memineris iniquitatis:
Ecce civitas Sancti facta est deserta:
Sion deserta facta est,
Jerusalem desolata est:
Domus sanctificationis tuae et gloriae tuae,
Ubi laudaverunt te patres nostri.

Peccavimus, et facti sumus tamquam immundus nos,
Et cecidimus quasi folium universi:
Et iniquitates nostrae quasi ventus abstulerunt nos:
Abscondisti faciem tuam a nobis,
Et allisisti nos in manu iniquitatis nostrae.

Vide Domine afflictionem populi tui,
Et mitte quem missurus es:
Emitte Agnum dominatorem terrae,
De petra deserti ad montem filiae Sion:
Ut auferat ipse jugum captivitatis nostrae.

Consolamini, consolamini, popule meus:
Cito veniet salus tua:
Quare moerore consumeris,
Quia innovavit te dolor?
Salvabo te, noli timere,
Ego enim sum Dominus Deus tuus,
Sanctus Israel, redemptor tuus.


Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness.

Be not wroth very sore, O Lord,
Neither remember iniquity forever;
The holy cities are a wilderness;
Zion is a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation:
Your holy and beautiful house,
Where our fathers praised You.

We have sinned, and are as an unclean thing,
And we all fade as a leaf;
And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away;
You have hidden Your face from us,
And have consumed us, because of our iniquities.

Behold, O Lord, the affliction of Your people,
And send forth Him who is to come:
Send forth the Lamb, the Ruler of the earth,
From Petra in the desert to the mount of the daughter of Zion,
That He may take away the yoke of our captivity.

Comfort, comfort ye My people;
My salvation shall not tarry;
Why will you waste away in sadness?
Why has sorrow seized you?
Fear not, for I will save you;
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Redeemer.

Pentecost – Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
Et emitte caelitus
Lucis tuae radium.

Veni, pater pauperum,
Veni, dator munerum,
Veni, lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
Dulcis hospes animae,
Dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
In aestu temperies,
In fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
Reple cordis intima
Tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine
Nihil est in homine,
Nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
Riga quod est aridum,
Sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
Fove quod est frigidum,
Rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
In te confidentibus,
Sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
Da salutis exitum,
Da perenne gaudium.

Come, Holy Spirit,
and send forth the heavenly
radiance of Your light.

Come, Father of the poor;
come, Giver of gifts;
come, Light of the heart.

Greatest Comforter,
sweet Guest of the soul,
sweet Consolation.

In labor, rest;
in heat, temperance;
in tears, solace.

O most blessed Light,
fill the inmost heart
of Your faithful.

Without Your grace,
there is nothing in man,
nothing that is not harmful.

Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.

Give to Your faithful,
those who trust in You,
the sevenfold gifts.

Grant the reward of virtue;
grant the deliverance of salvation;
grant eternal joy.

Ascension Day – Viri Galilaei

Viri Galilaei, quid admiramini aspicientes in caelum? Alleluia.
Quemadmodum vidistis eum ascendentem in caelum, ita veniet. Alleluia.
Omnes gentes plaudite manibus: jubilate Deo in voce exultationis.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Men of Galilee, why stand you looking into heaven? Alleluia.
He shall so come as you have seen Him going into heaven. Alleluia.
All ye nations, clap your hands: make jubilation to God in the voice of exultation.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Easter – Victimae Paschali

Victimae Paschali is the Sequence for Easter Sunday. At one time there were many sequences in use, but the Council of Trent abolished all but a few. Today only four are used: Victimae Paschali (Easter), Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Pentecost), Lauda Sion (Corpus Christi), and Stabat Mater (Our Lady of Sorrows), of which the first two are obligatory and the later two are optional. Victimae Paschali is usually attributed to Wipo of Burgundy (1039), chaplain of the German Emperor Conrad II in the 11th century. It has also been attributed to Notker Balbulus (10th century) and Adam of St. Victor (13th century). (quoted from Thesaurus Precum Latinarum)

Victimae Paschali laudes
Immolent Christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
Reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello
Conflixere mirando:
Dux vitae mortuus,
Regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria,
Quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis:

Angelicos testes,
Sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Praecedet suos in Galilaeam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
A mortuis vere:
Tu nobis, victor Rex miserere,
Amen. Alleluia.

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer sacrifice and praise.

The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb;
And Christ, the undefiled,
Hath sinners to His Father reconciled.

Death with life contended;
Combat strangely ended!
Life’s own Champion, slain,
Yet lives to reign.

Tell us, Mary,
Say what thou didst see upon the way.
The tomb the Living did enclose;
I saw Christ’s glory as He rose!

The angels there attesting,
Shroud with graveclothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen:
He goes before you into Galilee.

That Christ is truly risen
From the dead we know.
Victorious King, thy mercy show!
Amen. Alleluia.