By Fr. J. D. Crichton, Editor of 'Liturgy'
PREPARING FOR EASTER, by Fr. Clifford Howell, S.J. (Burns, Oates, 6s.)
AT the beginning of the official text of the service for the Easter Vigil issued by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1952, the clergy are exhorted to instruct their people before the Vigil so that they may derive due spiritual profit from it and the universal experience of the pastoral clergy is that this is a necessity. But. alas. in this country there has been no literature at all to assist the clergy in this task until the opportune appearance of Fr. Howell s new book now under review.
With his usual thoroughness and practical good sense he has pro vided us with instructions, arranged to be given from Septuagesima Sunday to Passion Sunday. that convey the deep spiritual meaning of the Easter festival.
His approach is biblical-indeed, among other things. he has given us an excellent piece of biblical theology-and his first eight instnictions are largely concerned with the Passover of the Old and New Testaments.
Eight more instructions are intended for use on Sunday evenings or other suitable occasions. in which he comments on the great days of Holy Week. with special reference to the Vigil liturgy. This is followed hy some specimen commentaries of the sort a priest might like to usc during an actual service.
That nothing shall be wanting to make this a Complete Handbook to Holy Week, he has included some summary instructions on what is to he prepared in church for these days.
If in some of the earlier instructions thoughts seem to have been
thrown down a bit pell,mell. that is compensated for by the vigour and lucidity of the exposition.
All the great themes of the Holy Week liturgy will he found here, ranging from the Flood to Our Lord's Resurrection from the dead. passing beyond that, indeed, to show us ilia( Easter is also an anticipation of the Parousia or the Second Coming.
Any priest using this hook to instruct his people will himself learn much. and laypeople who for one reason or another cannot hear such instructions will come to Easter with thoroughly " Paschal " minds, after a reading of this book.
The publishers are to he congratulated on the speed with which they have produced the book and on its low price.