Sunday, 24 May 2015

Pentecost Sunday


Whitsun, the feast of Pentecost, is one of the greatest feasts in the Liturgical Year ranking next only to Pascha and, like the Queen of Feasts, is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the first order. The liturgical colour of the feast and its Octave is red.

After the beautiful and splendid ceremonies of the Vigil of Pentecost yesterday morning First Vespers were sung in the afternoon. On this great feast the rubrics require the most solemn celebration of Vespers with the Hebdomadarius assisted by six pluvialistae in pariti. The solemn tone of Deus, in adjutorium is sung at Vespers, Mattins and at Lauds. The antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc are proper and were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. During the singing of the hymn, Veni, Creator Spiritus, all knelt during the first verse. All hymns of the feast and Octave have the Doxology Deo Patri sit gloria, Et Filio, qui a mortuis, Surrexit ac Paraclito, In saeculorum saecula. Veni Creator is sung in tone 8, the other hymns of the Office in tone 1. At Vespers there were no commemorations. At Compline Te lucis was sung as described above and the Dominical preces are omitted for the Octave.

Mattins for the feast, and Octave, is like Pascha in only having a single nocturn of three psalms and three lessons. The invitatory is Alleluia, Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, Venite adoremus Alleluia. The Office hymn is Jam Christus astra ascenderat. The antiphons Factus est etc are sung with psalms 47, 67 & 103. The lessons are from a homily of St. Gregory the Great on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc, are the same as at Vespers and are sung with the Dominical psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The Office hymn is Beata nobis gaudia. There are no commemorations.

At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii)under the antiphon Cum complerentur. In the short responsory the versicle Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, alleluia, alleluia is sung. The short lesson is Judaei quoque. At Terce instead of the usual hymn Nunc Sancte nobis the hymn Veni Creator is sung as it was at the third hour the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles, as a Vespers the first verse is sung kneeling.

At Mass the Vidi aquam is sung for the last time this year and the aspersion takes place with Baptismal water taken after the blessing of the font yesterday (but before the infusion with Chrism!) The Gloria is sung and there is only one collect. After the Alleluia the beautiful sequence Veni, Sancte Spiritus is sung. The Credo is sung. The preface, Communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper to the feast and used throughout the Octave. According to the rubrics of the Gradulae four cantors lead the singing during Mass. In some places, particularly France, the practice found in so many medieval uses is followed where on great feasts the cantors wear copes and the Crucifer and acolytes tunicles.

At Second Vespers the antiphons Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. The versicle and response and antiphon on the Magnificat are proper to Second Vespers. There are no commemorations.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the hymns of Compline, Prime, Sext and None are sung to the solemn tone but do not have the Pentecost Doxology. The antiphons at the Little Hours are doubled.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension


Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The theme of the great feast of the Ascension continues with most of the texts coming from the feast. However, unlike on the feast itself, the antiphons at the Greater Hours are not doubled. The Gospel pericopes from St. John contain the beautiful words of the LORD promising the gift of the Paraclete.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons for the feast, Viri Galilaei etc, were sung (not doubled) along with the psalms sung on the feast (Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116). The chapter was of the Sunday, the hymn was of the Ascension, Salutis humane Sator, and the antiphon on the Magnificat and collect proper to the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Ubald, St. Paschal Baylon and of the Octave. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross was omitted, being within an Octave. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Ascension Doxology, but the Dominical preces were omitted because of the Octave.

At Mattins the invitatory, hymn and antiphons, Elevata est etc., are as on the feast, but the antiphons are not doubled. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the First Epistle of St. John, the responsories are of the feast. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon on the Ascension by St. Augustine and the same Father provides the third nocturn lessons reflecting on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds all is from the feast except the chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus and collect. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of St. Paschal Baylon and of the Octave.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung to the melody for the Ascension Doxology (Tone 4) and with the Doxology of the Ascension. At Prime the festal psalms (Pss. 53, 118i, 118ii) are sung rather than the Dominical ones (117, 118i, 118ii) the short lesson is Si quis loquitur. The Dominical preces are omitted due to the Octave.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Paschal Baylon, the third collect is of the Octave. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Octave.

At Vespers again the antiphons and psalms are as on the feast. The chapter, antiphon on the Magnificat and collect are of the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of the following feast of St. Venantius, of St. Paschal Baylon and of the Octave.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave had been stripped from the feast in 1956 so today becomes the Sunday after the Ascension. At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms were sung under a single antiphon as in the rest of Paschaltide. There were no commemorations. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn, the invitatory and hymn of the Ascension are sung but the psalms are those for Sunday under a single antiphon. At Lauds the psalms are sung under a single antiphon and there are no commemorations. At Prime the Dominical psalms are sung (117, 118i & 118ii) and the short lesson is, perhaps surprisingly, Viri Galilaei for Ascensiontide. The hymns of the Hours do not have the Ascension Doxology. In Mass there is only one collect. The preface of the Ascension is sung but not the communicantes in the Canon. Vespers are of the Sunday, the psalms sung under one antiphon - as on other Sundays after Pascha - there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Fifth Sunday after Pascha


The fifth Sunday after Pascha is of semi-double rite. The Gospel pericopes from St. John describe how the LORD tells His disciples to ask for anything in His name after He has ascended to the Father. That Ascension will, of course, be celebrated on Thursday of this week after the three Rogation Days of the Lesser Litanies on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms of Saturday were sung under the single antiphon Alleluia. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding feast of St. Gregory Nazianzen and then of St. Antoninus followed by SS Gordion and Epimachus. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross was omitted due to commemorated double feasts. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Paschal Doxology. The Dominical preces were omitted due to the occurring double feasts.

At Mattins in the invitatory and hymn are as on the other Sundays of Paschaltide. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the first Epistle of St. Peter. In the second nocturn the lessons are from the writing of St. Ambrose on faith in the Resurrection and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Augustine on St. John's Gospel on the LORD's words "Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you." The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds, after the collect of the Sunday, commemorations are sung of St. Antoninus and of SS Gordion and Epimachus. The Commemoration of the Cross is omitted.

At the Hours the hymns are sung with the Paschal Doxology. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted due to the occurring double feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Antoninus, the third collect is of SS Gordion and Epimachus. The Creed is sung and the preface is of Paschaltide.

At Vespers the Sunday psalms are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia. The Office hymn is Ad regias Agni dapes. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. Antoninus. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted due to the double feast. At Compline Te lucis is sung with the Paschal Doxology and the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers. The Commemoration of the Cross has been abolished. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn. At Lauds there are no commemorations. Hymns at the Little Hours do not have the Paschal Doxology. At Mass there is a single collect

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Invention of the Holy Cross


The feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross is a Double of the Second Class and its liturgical colour is red. The feast celebrates the discovery of the Holy Cross by the Empress Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine. This year the feast fall on the fourth Sunday after Pascha and takes precedence over the Sunday.


At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons O magnum pietatis opus etc were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 and 116. The Office hymn was the magnificent Vexilla regis, last heard towards the end of the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified on Good Friday morning, but the verse O Crux ave differed by one line, Paschale quae fers gaudium. After the collect of the feast commemorations were sung of the preceding feast of St. Athanasius and of the Sunday. At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung, Te lucis was sung with the Paschal Doxology and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem crucifixum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. In the first nocturn the antiphons Inventae Crucis etc are sung with proper psalms, the first lesson is from St. Paul to the Galatians with the poignant words: 'Christ has redeemed us from the curse law, being made a curse for us: for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.' The second lesson is from the Epistle to the Philippians with the passage so familiar from the Triduum and the third lesson from the Epistle to the Colossians. In the second nocturn the antiphon Felix ille triumphus etc is sung, the lessons relate the work of St. Helena in fourth century Jerusalem finding three crosses buried in a cistern. Not knowing which cross the LORD had died on each was placed on a woman with a sickness by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. When touched by the True Cross the sick woman was instantly restored to health. In the third nocturn the psalms are sung under the antiphon Adoramus te Christe etc, the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. The ninth lesson is of the Sunday.

At Lauds the antiphons O magnam pietatis opus etc are sung with the Dominical psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Sunday and of SS Alexander & Others.

At the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology is sung with all the Office hymns and the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the Dominical psalms in the usual order. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Ps. 53, 118i & 118ii), the Dominical preces are omitted and the short lesson is Humiliavit semetipsum.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday (in private Masses the third collect is of SS Alexander etc), the Creed is sung, the preface is of the Holy Cross and the last Gospel is of the Sunday.

At second Vespers all is sung as at first Vespers except the antiphon on the Magnificat which is proper to second Vespers. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the following Office of St. Monica and of the Sunday. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the in 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross has been abolished as its observance in the West only dated to the seventh century (it appears on May 3rd in Martyrologium Hieronymianum. At Vespers yesterday there were no commemorations. Mattins (of the Sunday) is cut down to a single nocturn. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is a single collect. The Paschaltide Doxology (and tone) is not sung at the Horae Minores.

Art: A ninth century MS illustration of the Invention of the Holy Cross by St. Helena from Wikipedia.

Friday, 1 May 2015

SS Philip and James Apostles


The feast of the Holy Apostles SS Philip and James is a Double of the Second Class and its liturgical colour is red.

In Western rites SS Philip and James have been honoured together as the relics of both Apostles were placed together in the confessio of the Church of the Apostles in Rome at its consecration in the sixth century. The anniversary of this, the church's dedication in 560, is May 1st and so the feast of two Apostles has graced this day in Western Kalendars for nearly 1500 years. St. Philip, tradition tells us, was from Bethsaida. He was crucified at Hierapolis in Phrygia. St. James the Less was from Cana and was the first bishop of Jerusalem. St. Paul says (Galatians 1:19) 'I did not see any apostle except James the brother of the Lord'. St. James was cast from the pediment of the Temple on the orders of the Jewish High Priest and then clubbed to death.

The feast began with first Vespers yesterday afternoon. The antiphons were proper to the feast, Domine, ostende nobis Patrem etc, sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter was Stabant justi and the Office hymn Tristes erant Apostoli. The the antiphon on the Magnificat, Non turbetur etc., and collect are are proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast a commemoration was sung of the preceding Office of St. Catherine of Siena. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Paschaltide Doxology and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins there are the usual three nocturns. The invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum Venite adoremus, the antiphons Stabunt justi etc and the Psalms are from the Common of Apostles. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of letter of St. James from the fourth Sunday after Easter. (Readers of the Ordo please forgive the compiler's gross error today!) These lessons are followed by the responsories from the Common, Beatus vir, qui metuit Dominum, alleluia etc. In the second nocturn the lessons are proper to the feast. The Gospel in the third nocturn is from St. John and the pericope contains the passage where the LORD tells St. Philip that if he wishes to see the Father to see Him and that in the Father's house there are many mansions. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Domine ostende nobis Patrem etc are sung with psalms 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148. The Office hymn is Paschale mundo gaudium and is sung with the Paschal Doxology. At the Hours the same antiphons are sung in the usual sequence. The Office hymns have the Paschal Doxology and the feastal psalms are sung at the Hours. At Prime the lectio brevis is Scimus quoniam.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass is proper, Exclamaverunt etc. The Gloria is sung, the Credo is sung and the preface is of the Apostles.

At second Vespers the antiphons Domine ostende nobis Patrem are sung again this time with psalms 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. The Office hymn is Tristes erant Apostoli. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the following Office of St. Athanasius.

The 'liturgical books of 1962' plummet to a nadir today as the ancient feast of SS Philip and James has been cast aside until May 11th, the first 'free' liturgical day, and May 1st becomes the repugnant 'Joe the Worker' day. Pius XII's Commission for General Liturgical Reform had discussed making May 1st a Marian feast but settled on S. Giuseppe Artigiano (c.f. minutes of meeting 45; 19 Oct 1954 and 59; 17 Jan 1956 in Giampietro, N., 'Il Card. Ferdinado Antonelli e gli sviluppi della riforma liturgica dal 1948 al 1970', Studia Anselmiana, Rome, 1998). Clearly feasts of antiquity were not considered particularly sacred - but then neither was anything else - so from 1956 the beautiful, albeit relatively modern, feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph and its Octave were abolished and today's venerable and ancient feast of the Holy Apostles swept aside to May 11th. The Office of 'Joe the Worker' is truly appalling with lessons about multitudes of working men gathering in St. Peter's Square: '...cum occasionem nactus opificum conventus Kalendis maiis...Romae celebrati, ingentum multitudinem in foro ad sancti Petri Basilicam...'

Art: Melkite Church in Australia

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Third Sunday after Pascha


The Third Sunday after Pascha is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour, from Mattins, is white. It is also the Sunday within the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph. The Gospel pericopes from St. John's Gospel have the LORD telling the Disciples that in a little while He will be going to the Father.

Vespers yesterday afternoon were second Vespers of the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. The antiphons Sancti tui etc were sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. The Office hymn was Tristes erant Apostoli. After the collect of the feast commemorations were sung of the Sunday and of SS Cletus and Marcellinus. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Paschal Doxology and the Dominical preces were omitted due to the concurring double feast and Octave.

At Mattins the invitatory is the great proclamation of the Resurrection, Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia. The Office hymn is Rex sempiterne Caelitum. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the book of the Apocalypse of St. John. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon of St. Augustine and in the third nocturn St. Augustine also provides the homily on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds, after the collect of the Sunday, commemorations are sung of SS Cletus and Marcellinus and of the Octave of St. Joseph. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted.

At Prime and the Hours the hymns have the Paschal Doxology. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted due to the Octave.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of SS Cletus and Marcellinus, the third collect is of the Octave of St. Joseph. The Creed is sung and the Paschaltide preface is sung.

Masses other than Conventual Masses may all be of the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Before the reform of 1911-13 this feast was celebrated on the Third Sunday after Pascha. The Mass Adjutor is sung, as on the feast. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday, the Creed is sung. The preface is of St. Joseph and the last Gospel is of the Sunday. The liturgical colour is white.

At Vespers the Dominical psalms sung under a single antiphon, Alleluia. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of St. Peter Canisius, of SS Cletus and Marcellinus and of the Octave. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted due to the Octave. At Compline the Domincal preces are also omitted due to the Octave.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at Vespers yesterday there was no commemoration of SS Cletus and Marcellinus. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the ordinary Doxology. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At the Hours, and at Compline, the hymns are sung without the Paschal Doxology. The feast and Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph have been abolished. At Mass there is a single collect. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Saturday, 25 April 2015

St. Mark the Evangelist - Greater Litanies

The feast of St. Mark the Evangelist is a Double of the Second Class. The liturgical colour of the feast is red. Today is also the celebration of the Greater Litanies: the Litanies more ancient than those sung on the Rogation days and the ones, traditionally, sung with greater solemnity. St. Mark was particularly close to St. Peter. He is one of the Four Evangelists and is traditionally represented by a lion (as can be seen in the icon above) as it is one of the four beasts in the Prophecy of Ezechiel. St. Mark preached in Egypt and was martyred in Alexandria.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Sancti tui etc were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter was Stabunt justi. After the collect of the feast commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringa.

At Mattins the invitatory, hymn, antiphon on the psalms of each nocturn are from the Common of Apostles. In the first nocturn the lesson are the Incipit of the Book of the Prophet Ezechiel, Et factum est trigesimo anno etc., from the Common of Evangelists in Paschaltide. The responsories are also from this Common. In the second nocturn lessons four and five are from St. Jerome on ecclesiastic writers, the sixth lesson is from St. Gregory's writing on Ezechiel. In the third nocturn the homily is from the Common of Evangelists along with its responsories. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Sancti tui etc., from the Common of Apostles, are sung with the Dominical psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148).

At the Hours the hymns have the Doxology of Paschaltide. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) and the lectio brevis is Scimus quoniam etc.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Greater Litanies. The Creed is sung and the preface is of the Apostles.

In Cathedral and Collegiate Churches two High Masses are sung.  The first, after Terce, is of St. Mark but without any commemoration of the Greater Litanies.  After None the Paschal Candle is extinguished and the antependia changed to violet.  The celebrant, vested in violet cope, assisted by deacon and subdeacon in violet dalmatic and tunicle reverence the altar then kneel and pray for a short while. They rise and the cantors begin the antiphon Exsurge Domine. The choir continue....adjuva nos, et libera nos, propter nomen tuam. Ps. Deus auribus nostris audivimus patres nostri annuntiaverunt nobis. Gloria Patri etc, Sicut erat etc and then Exsurge Domine is repeated. All all kneel (except the crucifer and acolytes who go and stand at the entrance of the choir) and the cantors then begin the Litany of the Saints. This is sung in the full form, and not the shorter form used on Holy Saturday. Each invocation is doubled, i.e. the cantors sing e.g. Pater de caelis, Deus, miserere nobis and this is repeated in its entirety by everyone else. When Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis has been repeated all rise and the Procession sets off.

The Procession goes outside of the Church and may visit other Churches on its route. In this case the celebrant is offered lustral water at the entrance to the church and processes to the High Altar. After a moment for silent prayer the choir signs the antiphon of the patron of the church, its versicle and response (with Alleluia added as it is Paschaltide) and the celebrant sings the collect of the Patron. The Litany is then resumed and the Procession continues. If the Procession has a long route the Litany, from Sancta Maria etc may be repeated or the Seven Penitential Psalms sung to the tonus in directum. When the Procession enters the church where Mass will be celebrated, lustral water is received on entering and the Procession goes to the sanctuary. All kneel as the Litany ends. The celebrant intones Pater noster etc and then the cantors sing psalm 69. After the versicles that follow the celebrant stands to sing the ten collects. He then kneels again as Exaudiat nos etc is sung. The ministers then rise and the celebrant changes from a cope to chasuble and all put on their maniples. The Mass Exaudivit is then sung without any commemoration of St. Mark. The chants are those used for ferial Masses. The Gloria is not sung, there are the additional prayers of the season. There is no Creed. The preface of Paschaltide is sung to the ferial tone, the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino

Where the Procession takes place and there is only one Mass then that Mass is of the Greater Litanies (except in churches whose titular is St. Mark) with a commemoration of St. Mark.

In the afternoon second Vespers of the feast of St. Mark are sung. After the collect of the feast a commemorations are sung of the following third Sunday after Pascha and of SS Cletus and Marcellinus.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Mark's feast loses first Vespers and Vespers yesterday were of St. Fielis of Sigmaringa without any commemoration of St. Mark. At the Hours the hymns do not have the Paschaltide Doxology or tone and the antiphons and psalms are from the ferial Psalter. At Prime the lectio brevis is of the season. At Masses other than those following the Procession a commemoration of the Greater Litanies is made under one conclusion with the collect of St. Mark. The Rogation Procession may be replaced by another suitable service at the discretion of the Ordinary. During the Procession the petitions of the Litany are not doubled and the collects at the end of the Litany have the short conclusion. Where the Litany or another service takes place in the vernacular those with an obigation to the Office are not bound to say the Litany in Latin. At the Mass following the Procession the preparatory prayers, Judica me Deus etc, are omitted. The dismissal is Ite, missa est. At Vespers there is a commemoration of the Sunday only.

Art: Seventeenth century Icon of St. Mark from Wikipedia.