The Fifth Sunday In Lent
About the Great Litany
The Great Litany was the first English language rite prepared by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. At Saint Thomas it is sung at the 11am Eucharist three times a year: the Second Sunday of Advent, the First Sunday in Lent and the Fifth Sunday in Lent.
Before it begins, the clergy and choir enter in silence and go to their respective places in the chancel. The Litany then starts with the words “O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth” chanted by the Celebrant, and the choir singing their response “Have mercy upon us.” As the Litany proceeds, the clergy and choir walk a long procession through the nave, moving down the center aisle and through the side aisles among the congregation. By the time the Celebrant chants “Son of God: we beseech thee to hear us,” the choir and clergy have returned to their places in the chancel. The Litany ends with the familiar Kyrie, “Lord, have mercy upon us; Christ, have mercy upon us; Lord, have mercy upon us.”
The complete text of the Great Litany can be found in the resources section of this page. If you listen to this service via the webcast, you will notice the movements of clergy and choir throughout the Litany Procession as they as they go farther and come nearer.