Liturgy by TLW



Saints' Days

by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



It's good to have opportunities within the Church Year to talk about witnesses of faith from ages past, especially when they fall on Sundays in the green season. Some of the lives of saints are the stuff real human drama is made of, and their stories can be quite inspiring.   For saint's days, I have developed the following dialog of praise to replace the Kyrie. It has a variable central versicle and response specific to the saint:


Dialog of the Saints:

A. Praise the Lord, all you saints!

C. Praise him, all you heavenly hosts!


A. So great a cloud of witnesses surrounds us.

C. They witness to God's mighty acts.


A. They witness to God's steadfast love.

C. Their witness guides us in our faith.


A. Give thanks to God for St. Matthew:

C. Apostle and evangelist of our Lord Jesus Christ.


A. Sing praise to God, sing praise to him.

C. Sing praise and thanks for all his saints.


The dialog would then lead into a Hymn of Praise: "This is the Feast" or "For All the Saints" or other praise hymn. Specific variations in the central versicle and response for other saints would mean simply inserting the saint's name in the versicle, and describing his or her chief attribute or lectionary title in the response.  Thus the versicle and response for Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29) would be:


A. Give thanks to God for Saints Peter and Paul:

C. Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.


St. Bartholomew would be the same, in the singular. In other years, for those without lectionary title:


The Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24):

A. Give thanks to God for St. John the Baptist:

C. Forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ.


St. Mary Magdalene (July 22):

A. Give thanks to God for St. Mary Magdalene:

C. First witness to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.


I have previously given a full dialog specific to Mary, Mother of Our Lord (Aug. 15). But a simpler form could make use of this same Dialog of Saints with:

A. Give thanks to God for Mary, Mother of Our Lord:

C. Obedient disciple and bearer of the eternal Word.


Commemorations can be handled creatively in much the same way. I think you get the idea and can find your own way with the variable.


Prayers of the Church on a saint's day or commemoration might include petitions from among those listed in the propers section of the hymnal, such as for "Spread of the Gospel" (#190), "Missions" (#191), "The Mission of the Church" (#192), "The Saints" (#193), or petitions associated with the particular role of the saint or commemoration: "Deaconesses and Deacons" (#196), "Church Musicians and Artists" (#197), "Teachers" (#198).


The creed for festivals would be used (Nicene).  Proper Preface for either Apostles or All Saints.  ELW Eucharistic Prayer IV as well as Prayer B or D in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer provide a place to insert the name of the saint.  Eucharistic Prayer #31 from the LBW with its closing reference to joining prayers with "servants of every time and place"  may also be used.