PROCEDURE FOR CUTTING THE PASSOVER BREAD AT HOME
The head of the family is the celebrant of the service who cuts the Passover bread made of rice and urad on the Holy Thursday after supper. He leads the prayer while all the participants stand up with reverence. After that, while standing, he removes the palm leave pieces from the top of the bread and cuts it in cross shape with a knife. Then he cuts the bread into small pieces as needed, depending upon the number of the household.
The head of the family hands over the pieces of bread according to the age, starting with the eldest first. While giving the bread with his right hand, he holds his left hand below the knee of the right hand as a sign of respect. The recipients accept them with both hands outstretched. All participants take the Passover milk in cups and consume by dipping the bread in it.
This cross-imposed bread is not given to non-believers. Instead, similar breads are made by folding in banana leaves without having a cross with palm leave pieces. The bread given to the children before the cutting of the bread is also not marked with a cross.
PRAYER SERVICE FOR CUTTING THE PASSOVER BREAD AT HOME
CEL: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
CEL: Glory to God in the highest.
CEL: Peace and hope to people on earth now, always and forever.
CEL: Our Father in heaven
ALL: Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done / on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread we need / and forgive us our debts and sins / as we have forgiven those who offended us. Do not let us fall into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Our Father in heaven, heaven and earth are full of Your glory, angels and people sing out Your glory, Holy, Holy, Holy are You.
SER: Let us pray. Peace be with us.
(The female head of the family places a candle or traditional nilavilakku on the table and lights it).
CEL: Blessed are You, Lord God, king of the universe and giver of light. For you have chosen us as a holy people. Out of mercy, You raised us as a family. We are gathered in this house for this Passover meal to remember all the miracles you have done. Help us make this a blessing. The Almighty Lord forever.
CEL: Praise God who is good.
ALL: Because His mercy is endless. (Repeats for each).
CEL: Praise God the Most High.
CEL: Praise the Lord, the miracle worker.
CEL: Praise the one who freed the people of Israel from Egypt.
CEL: Praise Him who parted the Red Sea and led Israel through its midst.
CEL: Praise Him who led all his people through the desert.
CEL: Praise the One who remembered us in our times of sorrow.
CEL: Praise be to Him who saved us from all our enemies.
CEL: Praise the one who gives food to all living beings in the world.
CEL: Praise the heavenly God with gratitude.
CEL: Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
ALL: As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, forever. Amen.
CEL: Merciful Lord, take care of us as you took care of Israel wonderfully. Help us, the chosen people of the new covenant, to experience your protection and to eat the heavenly manna that the Lord Jesus Christ has provided for us. Thereby, let us become strong and reach the promised land, which is the kingdom of heaven. Eternal Lord forever.
ALL: Lord of all, we bow and praise you.
Jesus Christ, we glorify You.
For You give man / glorious resurrection
And You are the one / who saves his soul.
SER: Let us pray. Peace be with us.
(Exodus 12:21-31 – 41-42)
READER: A reading from the Book of Exodus.
Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and procure lambs for your families, and slaughter the Passover victims. Then take a bunch of hyssop, and dipping it in the blood that is in the basin, apply some of this blood to the lintel and the two doorposts. And none of you shall go outdoors until morning. For when the LORD goes by to strike down the Egyptians, seeing the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over that door and not let the destroyer come into your houses to strike you down. “You will keep this practice forever as a statute for yourselves and your descendants. Thus, when you have entered the land which the LORD will give you as he promised, you must observe this rite. When your children ask you, ‘What does this rite of yours mean?’ you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice for the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt; when he struck down the Egyptians, he delivered our houses.’” Then the people knelt and bowed down, and the Israelites went and did exactly as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. And so at midnight the LORD struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as all the firstborn of the animals. Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was loud wailing throughout Egypt, for there was not a house without its dead. During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Leave my people at once, you and the Israelites! Go and serve the LORD as you said.
At the end of four hundred and thirty years, on this very date, all the armies of the LORD left the land of Egypt. This was a night of vigil for the LORD, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt; so on this night all Israelites must keep a vigil for the LORD throughout their generations.
ALL: Praise be to the Lord, our God.
CEL: This is the night that commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and their passage into the Promised Land, for which God showed his mighty presence. While we remember these things in the Old Testament, we remember on this night how humanity passed from death to life through the New Testament Passover, and from the slavery of sin to the freedom of God’s children. This service reminds us that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, gave the commandment to love, and prayed with the sweat becoming blood in Gethsemane. Each of these prompts us to thank God.
SER: Let us all recite with joy and love, “We thank you Lord.”
ALL: We thank you Lord. (Repeat).
SER: O Lord, who gave us the commandment of love, saying: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
SER: O Lord, who promised peace to us and our families, saying: “My peace I give unto you.”
SER: O Lord, who completed the sacrifice of the Old Testament and gave us the sacrifice of love in the New Testament.
SER: O Lord, who gave us our Holy Father Pope Mar ……, the head of the universal Church, our Major Archbishop Mar …… , our Archbishop Mar …., the head and father of our diocese.
SER: O Lord, who has allowed us to take part once again in this family Passover feast to strengthen and show the unity of our family.
SER: Let us pray. Peace be with us.
CEL: Let us pray for God’s blessing on this Passover meal that we are about to share.
(The female head of the house places bread and milk on the table).
CEL: Loving God, in the fullness of time, your Son came and renewed the Passover of the Old Testament. Bless us as we remember the Passover of the Old Testament and the new Passover that Jesus gave for us. Help all these family members who eat this bread and drink this milk to live and share, serve and live as a family, in love and togetherness. Eternal Lord forever.
(The celebrant cuts the Passover bread in the shape of a cross and then into small pieces. The elders take the bread from him with both hands. All sit on seats, consume the bread after dipping in the Passover milk that is poured into the cups).
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