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Catholic Activity: Good Friday Reproaches (Improperia)


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Since this is a day of mourning, remembering Christ's death, Good Friday is not typically a day of songs and hymns. During the Veneration of the Cross, the following Antiphon and verses known as "The Reproaches" (Improperia) are sung. Individual parts are indicated by no. 1 (first choir) and no. 2 (second choir); parts sung by both choirs together are indicated by nos. 1 and 2.


The Reproaches (Improperia)

Antiphon 1 and 2:
We worship you, Lord,
we venerate your cross,
we praise your resurrection.
1: Through the cross
you brought joy to the world.

1: (Psalm 66:2)
May God be gracious and bless us;
and let his face shed its light upon us.

Repeat Antiphon by 1 and 2:

The Reproaches:


1 and 2: My people, what have I done to you
How have I offended you? Answer me!

1: I led you out of Egypt,
from slavery to freedom,
but you led your Savior to the cross.

2: My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

1: Holy is God!
2: Holy and strong!
1: Holy immortal One, have mercy on us!

1 and 2: For forty years I led you
safely through the desert.
I fed you with manna from heaven,
and brought you to a land of plenty; but you led your Savior to the cross.

Repeat "Holy is God..."

1 and 2: What more could I have done for you.
I planted you as my fairest vine,
but you yielded only bitterness:
when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink,
and you pierced your Savior with a lance.

Repeat "Holy is God..."


1: For your sake I scourged your captors
and their firstborn sons,
but you brought your scourges down on me.

(Repeated throughout by Choir 2)
2: My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

1: I led you from slavery to freedom
and drowned your captors in the sea,
but you handed me over to your high priests.
2: "My people...."

1: I opened the sea before you,
but you opened my side with a spear.
2: "My people...."

1: I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud,
but you led me to Pilate's court.
2: "My people...."

1: I bore you up with manna in the desert,
but you struck me down and scourged me.
2: "My people...."

1: I gave you saving water from the rock,
but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink.
2: "My people...."

1: For you I struck down the kings of Canaan.
but you struck my head with a reed.
2: "My people...."

1: I gave you a royal scepter,
but you gave me a crown of thorns.
2: "My people...."

1: I raised you to the height of majesty,
but you have raised me high on a cross.
2: "My people...."

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