Good Friday 2017 and Stabat Mater Dolorosa

Tonight at church, the stripped altar will be adorned in black with six candles upon it and the seventh being the Paschal candle. The crucifix is already veiled, not to be seen again till Easter. This is how things are done in my church, but I learned from a little digging around that a good many churches use red instead of black to accentuate the martyrdom of Christ. Sometimes a priest will wear black for the first two-thirds of a church service and then switch to a violet. And then there are some churches that do not even have a service for Good Friday, which seems to be just a shame. Good Friday, although solemn and even emotionally moving, is essential to bringing about a wonderful celebration on Easter morning. We cannot have a beautiful, stunning Easter service without first having a Good Friday service.

Anyhow, we would like to hear from everyone: what color are your church’s vestments and paraments for Good Friday? We are discussing making new collections or sets in collections for 2018 and would like to know what people are in need of as far as colors…


1Roberts, Carrie. Good Friday 2017. April 13th, 2017. Personal Collection, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Minnesota.

Also, I thought I would try something today. This is a bit of a personal challenge and I would like to share it here. A few weeks ago, my Latin teacher told our class about a famous piece of writing known as the Stabat Mater Dolorosa, which is about Mary at the Cross on Good Friday. So I took it upon myself to try to translate the piece as best I could with the aid of my dictionary. Putting aside any English translation of the piece—there are MANY better translations out there than my humble attempt—I would like to present for your pleasure an amateur’s rendition of Stabat Mater Dolorosa.


Stabat Mater dolorosa iuxta Crucem lacrimosa, dum pendebat Filius.

The mournful Mother, weeping, was standing by the Cross, while the Son was hanging down.

Cuius animam gementem, contristatam et dolentem pertransivit gladius.

Whose soul groaning, the sword has passed right through afflicting and painful.

O quam tristis et afflicta fuit illa benedicta, mater Unigeniti!

Oh how sad and afflicted, she has been that blessed woman, mother of the Only Begotten.

Quae maerebat et dolebat, pia Mater, dum videbat nati poenas inclyti.

Who was lamenting and was grieving, Holy Mother, as she was seeing the punishments of the glorious child.

Quis est homo qui non fleret, matrem Christi si videret in tanto supplicio?

What man is there who does not cry out, if seeing the mother of Christ in great supplication?

Quis non posset contristari Christi Matrem contemplari dolentem cum Filio?

Who is not able to be as afflicted as the Mother of Christ as she notes the pain with the Son?

Pro peccatis suae gentis vidit Iesum in tormentis, et flagellis subditum.

Because of nations’ own sins, one sees Jesus in torment, and the submissive scourges.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum moriendo desolatum, dum emisit spiritum.

She sees her own sweet Child dying desolate, until He has expelled His spirit.

Eia, Mater, fons amoris me sentire vim doloris fac, ut tecum lugeam.

See, Mother! The baptism of love makes me feel the force of the pain, as with you I will be in mourning.

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum in amando Christum Deum ut sibi complaceam.

Make, as yours my heart to be in turmoil in loving Christ the Lord in order that I will please Him.

Sancta Mater, istud agas, crucifixi fige plagas cordi meo valide.

Holy Mother, that ordeal, of the crucifix, establishes power for my heart.

Tui Nati vulnerati, tam dignati pro me pati, poenas mecum divide.

The wounds of your Child, nevertheless, have been deigned by me to endure, breaks up the punishments attached to me.

Fac me tecum pie flere, crucifixo condolere, donec ego vixero.

Make me with you tenderly to weep for, for the crucifix to empathize, whilst I live.

Iuxta Crucem tecum stare, et me tibi sociare in planctu desidero.

By the Cross with you to stand, and I desire me for you to share in mourning.

Virgo virginum praeclara, mihi iam non sis amara, fac me tecum plangere.

Virgin, virgin illustrious, to my writing by no means be bitter, make me with you to bewail.

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem, passionis fac consortem, et plagas recolere.

Make, to carry the death of Christ, of the passion make a co-heir, and to cultivate afresh the stripes.

Fac me plagis vulnerari, fac me Cruce inebriari, et cruore Filii.

Make me by means of the stripes to be distressed, make me by means of the Cross to be intoxicated, and by means of the blood of the Son.

Flammis ne urar succensus, per te, Virgo, sim defensus in die iudicii.

By ardor set on fire, through you, Virgin, I am defended in the Day of Judgment.

Christe, cum sit hinc exire, da per Matrem me venire ad palmam victoriae.

Christ, with Her from here to go, give through your Mother to come for me towards the branch of victory.

Quando corpus morietur, fac, ut animae donetur paradisi gloria. Amen.

When my body dies, make, safe the soul by the glory of Paradise. Amen.



Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter weekend. And if you are actually a learned scholar of Latin, take pity on me…I will master this language eventually. Perhaps I will make this a yearly translation challenge to myself to see how I improve as my studies advance.

~Nihil Sine Deo~




Filed under: Black Vestments, Church Embroidery and Church Vestments, Ecclesiastical Vestments Tagged: Black Vestments, Dossal Curtains, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Good Friday Vestments, Stabat Mater Dolorosa


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