what Psalms and readings tend to be used in a Tenebrae service? I would like to put one together for our little community for Holy Week next. Tenebrae Candlesticks Tenebrae candlestick “Tenebrae” is the name given to the service of Matins and Lauds belonging to the last three days of Holy Week. ‘Tenebrae’ sounds weird, but even though it is somber, it might end up being your favorite church service.

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Tenebrae meaning ‘darkness’ or ‘shadows’ is the morning prayer of the church on Holy Cwtholic, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It involves extinguishing candles one by one as Christ goes through his passion.

This adaptation of the Liturgy of Tenebrae works well in schools and has an impact on pupils. It can be dramatic and different and provides a good alternative to Mass for ending the term before Easter. Texts for Tenebrae are provided below. Please feel free to adapt and rewrite according to your school’s needs.

The prayers are written for secondary school pupils and may need rewriting for younger children. Seven readings and the liturgy set out below with a large congregation has a running time of comfortably under 1-hour. If you use this liturgy of Tenebrae, please do let us know how you got on, what cathollic adapted, and, if possible, share any rewrites or ideas you used.

This is how the resources on this website are developed for the benefit of all.

If you wish to have a procession to begin the liturgy, a suitable hymn is needed. Alternatively, you could begin simply with the priest, or other presider, in place. Again, a hymn may gather the community together.

But starting in silence is also effective and different from the usual liturgy. If you have a procession, you may wish to bring up the seven lit candles and place them on the front of the altar.

What is a Tenebrae Service?

Or they can already be in place. It is suggested you use large candles. The introduction tenebfae important. It could be read by one or several readers. Read slowly and reflectively. It is designed to focus attention and create calm. After each reading, a pupil should come forward and extinguish one candle. This needs to be given some thought so it is done in a dignified and dramatic way using a snuffer rather than blowing it out perhaps.


It is also an idea to have all the lights on at the start of Tenebrae and then to put some off as each candle is extinguished until there are no lights on when the seventh candle is hidden. By tradition, the seventh candle representing Christ, light of the world is not extinguished but cayholic solemnly taken from its place and hidden usually behind the altar.

This should be done in silence and followed by silence. It is suggested there are no further prayers, hymns, or blessings. Pupils are dismissed in silence and asked to keep silence until they are outside the church, or wherever – if this is explained in the homily it can be very effective.

Supervising staff need to be briefed so that they know how to dismiss pupils without speaking and are themselves silent and solemn. It is traditional to pause after the words of the fifth reading “Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. The sixth reading is the dramatic portrait of the suffering servant from Isaiah. It is intended to provide a good lead into the homily or reflection which, it is suggested, reflects on the person of Jesus on the cross and our reactions to that.

A custom that developed for the liturgy of Tenebrae was the ‘strepitus’ – this was a loud noise made as the seventh candle was removed and hidden created by banging books on pews and sounding rattles and untuned percussion instruments. The ‘strepitus’ signifies the confusion and terror which accompanies the tenberae of Christ and his burial. If you think you can pull it off with your pupils, it may be worth trying: Obviously this needs to work well – if it is likely to descend into laughter and farce it is best left out!


But it can be effective, especially as it is followed serrvice silence and dismissal in silence.

Sisters of Carmel: Catholic Devotions: Tenebrae

If you are producing a printed order of service, you may wish to include a powerful image at the end which pupils can look at as they wait to be dismissed. There is a PowerPoint to accompany this adaptation of Tenebrae with moving clouds to accompany the introduction, an image for each reading, and tenebrrae candle being extinguished for the end. Introduction read slowly, inviting people into the silence. As we come to the end of Lent, we begin a journey into darkness to a place of deep shadows.

Today we accompany Jesus in his last hours. We witness the cruelties and the suffering he endures. We listen to the words of condemnation and ridicule. In all this he is innocent. And so, in this liturgy, we are invited to walk solemnly and attentively with Jesus. Better to be his friend, his disciple, his witness. Be still and know that God is here. First Reading Mtt Second Reading Mtt Third Reading Mk Fourth Reading Mk Renebrae Reading Mtt Sixth Reading Isaiah Seventh Reading Mtt Do not worry about the words matching the reading – this is an old problem in liturgy – remember we know the whole story and are reading it dramatically so there is no problem with hymns that refer to other parts of the story.

Were you there when they crucified setvice Lord? The deposition from the cross origin unknown. The Liturgy of Tenebrae. Liturgy of Tenebrae for schools.

Tenebrae – Wikipedia

PowerPoint to accompany Tenebrae. Tenebrae PowerPoint Images to accompany the service of Tenebrae using the introduction and seven readings described on this webpage.

The Crucified Christ Brad Ball link. It Is Finished Patricia Brintle link. Christ in his shroud origin unknown. Jesus is laid in the tomb origin unknown.

The lamentation of the dead Christ c.