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Ecce lignum Crucis

- John E. Sittard

Use: Good Friday
Required Resources: SATB choir, baritone cantor (or celebrant), congregation
Language: Latin and English

Ecce lignum Crucis was composed for the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Worcester, Massachusetts, for the Showing of the Cross during the liturgy of Good Friday. The liturgical setting heightens this powerful moment with even greater solemnity.

The piece begins by introducing the text, "This is the wood of the Cross" in Latin (Ecce lignum Crucis in quo salus...). This introduction takes place as the celebrant and ministers enter from the rear of the church.

The Sacramentary version of the chant, "This is the wood..." is intoned by the celebrant three times: at the rear, middle and front of the church. A cantor may invite the congregation each time to respond. "Come, let us worship." If necessary, the cantor may also intone the chant. A brief period of silence is kept following each statement of the chant. Between the second and third statements, the procession is clothed in text from the hymn, Vexilla regis. In keeping with tradition, the work modulates twice.

To accommodate the length of a particular church and the speed of the procession, the "drone" before each statement of the chant is given a fermata. The length of silence after each chant statement may also be adjusted.

John Sittard, a native of Massachusetts, received degrees in Organ Performance from The Eastman School of Music (Rochester) and Indiana University (Bloomington). He presently serves as Director of Music at North Christian Church (Columbus IN) and Conductor of the University Choir at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In 1995 Mr. Sittard was appointed Assistant Organist of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington DC), where he assisted Dr. Leo Nestor in conducting the basilica choir and played for nationally televised liturgies. Previously he was Music Director at the Cathedral of Saint Paul (Worcester MA).


Order #: 3139
Price: $1.85


- Liturgical Settings
- Triduum
- SATB Choir
- Cantor
- Congregation
- Latin / English
- a cappella

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