Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Ash Wednesday


Ash Wednesday is a privileged greater feria although only of simple rite. No feast can be celebrated on this day of whatever rank. The liturgical colour of the day is violet. In earlier times the rite which gives the day its name, the sprinkling of ash on the heads of penitents, was reserved to those public penitents who underwent a public and dramatic expulsion from the church building. Although no longer generally practiced echoes of the above can be found in today's Liturgy which contains a general imposition of Ashes on all of those who wish to receive them. The Liturgy is interesting too in that much remains of the Office of the Septuagesima season as originally Lent began with the Office of the first Sunday.

The third part of the Pontificale Romanum still contains the rite for the Expulsion of Public Penitents - De Expulsione Publice Poenitentium ab Ecclesia in feria Quarta Cinerum. In that rite, after Sext, when the bishop was to celebrate Mass this day, the bishop vested in pontificals as far as the dalmatic and then donned a violet cope. Public penitents assembled in sack-cloth in their bare feet and were given a penance for Lent and then were given ashes, which the bishop had blessed. Then followed a ceremony that included the Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany. It culminated in the penitents being led, physically, from the church and expelled. The Caermoniale Episcoporum alludes to the Expulsion of Penitents in churches where it is the custom, C.E. Lib II, Cap.18, 2.

The Expulsion of Penitents from a 1611 edition of the Pontificale Romanum from Google Books.

The Office of Ash Wednesday begins with Mattins. The invitatory is Deum magnum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn is Rerum Creator optime both from the ferial Office per annum. The antiphons Speciosus forma etc are sung with the nine psalms/psalm divisi of a single nocturn from the ferial Office for Wednesdays. The second scheme of Mattins for Wednesday is used, wherein Psalm 49 is split into three divisi rather than the usual two. The lessons in the nocturn are from a homily of St. Augustine reflecting on the LORD's Sermon on the Mount from St. Matthew's Gospel. The responsories are taken from the third nocturn of Quinquagesima Sunday. At Lauds the second scheme of psalmody is used (Pss. 50, 64, 100, Canticle of Anna & 145. The antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are both proper to the day. After the antiphon on the Benedictus has been sung in full after the canticle the choir kneels and the ferial preces are sung. After the collect of the day a commemoration of St. Scholastica is sung. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted due to the occurring double feast.

At the Hours again the ferial antiphons and psalter are used. Prime has a fourth psalm displaced from Lauds by the Miserere, so the psalmody at Prime is Pss. 25, 51, 52 & 96. At Prime both the Dominical and ferial preces are sung kneeling, the chapter is the ferial Pacem et veritatem. At the other Hours the short set of ferial preces are chanted with the choir again kneeling.

The blessing of Ashes and Mass follows None. The celebrant vests in a violet cope while the deacon and subdeacon wear violet folded chasubles. The organ is silent following the general rule when folded chasubles are worn. The Ashes, made from burning of the preceding year's Palms, are blessed with four collects of blessing. The short conclusion of these prayers may indicate the blessing was separated by the Expusion of Penitents from the Mass which follows. The Ashes are imposed whilst two antiphons are chanted Immutemur habitu and Inter vestibulum. These are followed by the poignant responsory Emendemus in melius. The Mass that now immediately follows is proper. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of St. Scholastica. There is no third collect today. The preface of Lent is sung for the first time this year. The ferial tones are used for the orations, preface and Pater noster. The choir kneels for the Orations and from the Sanctus until Pax Domini. After the last collect the deacon sings Humiliate capita vestra Deo and the celebrant sings the Oratio super populum. The dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar.

Vespers see a colour change to white with first Vespers of the feast of the Apparition of the BVM at Lourdes. The antiphons Candor est etc are sung, doubled, with Pss. 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147. The Office hymn is Ave maris stella. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the feria and of St. Scholastica. At Compline Te lucis is sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi,..Qui natus etc and the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the ferial preces are sung at Lauds and Vespers only. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Prime there are three psalms 25, 51 & 52 and the chapter is the festal Regi saeculorum - bizzare! At Prime and the Hours the preces are omitted. Mass is sung after Terce. At the blessing of Ashes and Mass the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. Judica me Deus etc is omitted from the beginning of Mass. There is only one collect. The extended kneeling is omitted with the choir rising at the conclusion of the Canon. The dismissal is Ite missa est. Vespers are of the feria without any commemorations.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Quinquagesima Sunday


Quinquagesima Sunday is a semi-double of the second class and its liturgical colour is violet. The Gospel pericopes are taken from St. Luke and give the account of the giving of sight to the man born blind.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms were of Saturday, the chapter, antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were proper to Quinquagesima Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Titus and then of St. Romuald. The Suffrage of the Saints was omitted as were the Dominical preces at Compline.

At Mattins, as on the previous two Sundays, the antiphons and psalms are those used on Sundays throughout the year. In the first nocturn the lessons are again from Genesis and this Sunday concern the story of Abraham. In the second nocturn the lessons are from St. Ambrose on the Book on the Patriarch Abraham and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily from St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel of the man blind from birth whose sight was restored by the LORD. The blind man is a figure of the human race according to St. Gregory. A ninth responsory, Caecus sedebat secus viam etc, is sung in place of the Te Deum.

At Lauds the 'second scheme' of psalms is sung: Pss. 50, 117, 62, Benedictus es and 148. The antiphons at Lauds are proper for Quinquagesima Sunday, Secundum multitudinem etc, as are the antiphon at the Benedictus and the collect. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. Romuald is sung. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted.

At all the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper to Quinquagesima Sunday. At Prime the order of psalmody is that used when the second schema of Lauds is sung, i.e. Pss. 92, 99 (displaced at Lauds) and Ps. 118i & 118ii. The Dominical preces are sung.

In Mass the Gloria is omitted, the second collect is of St. Romuald. Today there is no third collect. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Credo is sung, the Preface is of the Blessed Trinity and Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the altar. The ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms are those used on Sundays, the chapter is proper to the Sunday as is the antiphon at the Magnificat. The Office hymn is Lucis creator. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of St. John of Matha and of St. Romuald. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted as are the Domincal preces at Compline.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' at Vespers there are no commemorations and the Suffrage has been abolished. At Compline the preces have been abolished. At Mattins there is but a single nocturn. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Prime Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii are sung, as on major feasts. At Mass there is a single collect and Benedicamus Domino is supressed in favour of Ite, missa est. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sexagesima Sunday


Sexagesima Sunday is a semi-double of the second class and its liturgical colour is violet. The Sunday is characterised by a very lengthy Epistle from St. Paul's Latter Epistle to the Corinthians. The Gospel pericopes are from St. Luke and contain the parable of the sower with his seed landing on rock, amongst weeds and on the good ground.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms were of Saturday. The chapter was proper to the Sunday, Fratres: Libenter suffertis, and the Office hymn was Jam sol recedit igneus. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Martina and of St. John Bosco. The Suffrage was omitted due to the concurring double feast and the Dominical preces were omitted at Compline.

At Mattins the antiphons and psalms are from the Psalter for Sundays. In the first nocturn the lessons continue to be read from Genesis (Ch. 5 & 6), the beginning of the story of Noah. In the second nocturn the lessons are from St. Ambrose on Noah and the Ark and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily from St. Gregory on the Gospel of the seed falling on good and poor ground. A ninth responsory, Cum turba plurima, is sung in place of the Te Deum.

At Lauds the 'second scheme' of psalms is sung: Pss 50, 117, 62, Canticle of the Three Children (Benedictus es) and 148. The antiphons at Lauds are proper for Sexagesima Sunday, Secundum magnam misericordiam as are the chapter and antiphon on the Benedictus. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. John Bosco. The Suffrage of All Saints is omitted.

At Prime the order of psalmody is Pss. 92, 99 (displaced at Lauds) 118i & 118ii. At the Hours the antiphons, Semen cecidit etc, and chapters are proper to Sexagesima Sunday. The Dominical preces are omtted at Prime.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is omitted, the second collect is of St. John Bosco. Today there is no third collect. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Creed is sung , the Preface is of Trinity and Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the altar.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday are sung. The Office hymn is Lucis creator. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. Ignatius and of St. John Bosco. The Suffrage is omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Prime the arrangement of psalmody is festive, Pss. 53, 118i, 118ii. At Mass there is only one collect and Benedicamus Domino is suppressed in favour of Ite, missa est.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Septuagesima Sunday


Septuagesima Sunday is a semi-double Sunday of the second class. Yesterday afternoon the liturgical mood became more sombre with Vespers of Septuagesima as penitential violet became the liturgical colour of the season. Although more sombre than the season after the Epiphany the short season of Septuagesima is not as penitential as Lent. Although the colour violet is used at Mass the ministers do not wear folded chasubles but dalmatic and tunicle for these three Sundays and for ferial days. The organ is still played until Ash Wednesday. However, from Septuagesima until Holy Saturday the dress of some prelates changes. Cardinals of the Court of Rome no longer wear scarlet choir dress but that of violet. Correspondingly bishops do not wear violet choir dress but their black, or mourning dress. In the case of the latter this is not to be confused with their habitus pianus, or house dress. The black choir cassock has a train, like the violet one, and the mozzeta or mantelletum are faced with violet. However, Protonotaries Apostolic and Domestic Prelates do not change their choir dress (except sede vacante). Yesterday the third Sunday after the Epiphany was anticipated.

At Vespers on Saturday afternoon the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The chapter was proper to Septuagesima Sunday and the Office hymn was Jam sol recedit igneus. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of St. Timothy and of St. Raymund de Pennafort (but not of the anticipated third Sunday after the Epiphany). The Suffrage was omitted. At the end of Vespers Alleluia was added, twice, to both Benedicamus Domino and to its response. After that Alleluia will not be heard again until the Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday. At Compline after the Lesser Doxology, and at all Hours until Compline on Holy Saturday, Laus tibi Domine Rex aeterne gloriae is sung in place of Alleluia. The Dominical preces were sung at Compline.

At Mattins the invitatory is Praeoccupemus as on preceding Sundays and the hymn Primo die. The antiphons and psalms are as on previous 'green' Sundays. In the first nocturn the Incipit of the Book of Genesis is read. In the second nocturn the lessons are from the Enchiridion of St. Augustine, in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily from St. Gregory on the Gospel of the labourers in the vineyard. The Te Deum is not sung but in its place is sung a ninth responsory, Ubi est Abel frater tuus?.

At Lauds the 'second scheme' of psalms is sung: Pss 50, 117, 62, Canticle of the Three Children (Benedictus es) and 148. The antiphons at Lauds are proper to the Sunday as are the versicle after the hymn Aeterne, chapter, antiphon at the Benedictus and collect. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. Timothy is sung. The Suffrage is omitted.

At all the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper. At Prime the order of psalmody is changed and four psalms are sung, Pss. 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the usual first two stanzas of Ps. 118. Both Quicumque and the Dominical preces are omitted.

At Mass the Gloria is omitted. The ministers wear violet dalmatic and tunicle. The second collect is of St. Timothy. Today there is no third collect. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the Preface is of the Blessed Trinity. Benedicamus Domino is sung, by the deacon facing the altar, as the dismissal.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday are sung. The Office hymn is Lucis creator. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, of St. Peter the Apostle and of St. Timothy. The Suffrage is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no anticipated Sundays. At Vespers there were no commemorations. Mattins is reduced to a single nocturn. At Prime the arrangement of psalms is truly bizarre with the festal arrangment of Pss. 53, 118i, 118ii (!) At Mass there is only one collect and Benedicamus Domino is suppressed in favour of Ite, missa est. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Second Sunday after the Epiphany


The second Sunday after the Epiphany is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is green. The Gospel pericopes at Mattins and Mass are from St. John's account of the Marriage Feast at Cana.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The Office hymn was Jam sol recedit igneus. The antiphon on the Magnificat was Suscepit Deus. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Marcellus amd of St. Anthony the Abbot. The Suffrage was omitted as were the Dominical preces at Compline.

At Mattins the invitatory is Adoremus Dominum and this will be sung until Septuagesima. The Office hymn is Primo die and this is sung at Sunday Mattins until the first Sunday in Lent. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. In the second nocturn a sermon of St. Chrysostom provides the lessons and, in the third nocturn, the homily is from St. Augustine. At Lauds the Office hymn is Aeterne and that too is sung at Sunday Lauds until the first Sunday of Lent. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. Anthony. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted. At Prime both Quicumque iand the Dominical preces. are omitted.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Anthony. Today there is no third collect. The Creed is sung and the preface is of the Blessed Trinity.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday are sung. The Office hymn is Lucis creator. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of the following feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome, of St. Paul of St. Anthony and of St. Prisca. The Suffrage is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline due to the occurring double feasts.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at Vespers. Mattins is reduced to one nocturn of three lessons. There are no commemorations at Lauds. At Mass there is a single collect. At Vespers there are no commemorations. The feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome has been abolished.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany - The Holy Family

The feast of the Holy Family is of greater-double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The feast was granted by Leo XIII in 1893 in response to numerous petitions from Ordinaries and placed on the third Sunday after the Epiphany. Following the reforms of 1911-13 - which aimed to remove the celebration of feasts assigned to Sundays - Benedict XV assigned it to the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany and extended the feast to the Universal Kalendar. Although of only greater-double rite it is classed as a feast of the LORD and so takes precedence over the semi-double Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Jacob autem etc were sung with psalms 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147. The Office hymn was O lux beata caelitum sung with a Doxology proper to the feast: Jesu, tuis obediens etc. After the collect of the feast commemorations were sung of the day within the Octave of the Epiphany (the antiphon on the Magnificat was proper to the 9th January, Interogabat etc) and of the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany. The Dominical psalms were sung at Compline and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper to the feast, Christum Dei Filium etc and the Office hymn is Sacra jam splendent. In the first nocturn the antiphons Cum inducerent etc are sung with psalms 8, 18 & 23 and the lessons are from St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians. In the second nocturn the antiphons Consurgens Joseph etc are sung with psalms 44, 45 & 86 and the lessons are taken from a brief of Leo XIII. In the third nocturn the antiphons Ibant parentes Jesu etc are sung with psalms 95, 96 & 97. The homily is from St. Bernard on St. Luke's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons Post triduum etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. The Office hymn is O gente felix hospita. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany and of the Octave of the Epiphany (with the antiphon on the Omnes nationes etc proper to the 10th of January).

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons from Lauds are sung in the usual order. The hymns of the Hours have the Doxology proper to the feast. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) the versicle Qui Mariae et Joseph subditus fuisti is sung in the short responsory and the lectio brevis is Semetipsum exinanivit.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany and the third collect is of the Octave of the Epiphany. The Creed is sung, the preface and communicantes are of the Epiphany.

At Vespers the antiphons Post triduum etc are sung with psalms 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147. The Office hymn is O lux beata caelitum. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the following day within the Octave of the Epiphany (the antiphon on the Magnificat being proper to the 10th January, Omnes de Saba etc), of the Sunday within the Octave and of St. Hyginus. At Compline Te lucis has the Doxology of the feast.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Holy Family has been raised to II Class (in order for it to precedence over the Sunday). At Vespers (the feast gains I Vespers as it is a feast of the LORD) there were no commemorations - the Octave, of course, has been abolished. At Compline and the Hours the hymns do not have the Doxology of the feast. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Prime and the Hours the antiphons and psalmody are of the Sunday, at Prime the lectio brevis is of 'Epiphanytide'. At Mass there is a single collect. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Epiphany of the LORD


The feast of the Epiphany is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the Second Order. The liturgical colour of the feast and its Octave is white. The Epiphany was kept in the East from the third century, or earlier, and spread to the West a century later. Originally, it seems, in the East at least, that this 'manifestation' of the LORD was the same celebration as the Nativity and so to this day the Armenians celebrate the single feast of Theophany on January 6th.

The antiquity of the feast can be clearly seen in the structure of the Office of Mattins, unique to this day. The (historically later) Domine labia me, invitatory and hymn are omitted and the Office begins with the first antiphon Afferte Domino. Psalms 28, 45 & 46 are sung. The lessons in the first nocturn are from Isaiah. In the second nocturn the antiphons Omnis terra adoret te etc are sung with psalms 65, 71 & 85 and the lessons are from a sermon on the Epiphany by St. Leo. In the third nocturn the antiphon Venite adoremus eum etc is sung with Ps. 94, Venite , the usual invitatory psalm, in a responsorial manner. Psalms 95 and 96 are also sung in the third nocturn. The homily on St. Matthew's Gospel if from St. Gregory. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons sung at Vespers yesterday, Ante luciferum genitus etc., are sung with the Dominical psalms. The chapter is Surge, illuminare from Isaiah and the Office hymn is O sola magnarum urbium.

At the Little Hours the antiphons from Lauds are sung with the festal psalms. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), in the short responsory, a versicle Qui apparuisti hodie is sung today and during the Octave, the short lesson is Omnes de Saba. The Doxology Jesu, tibi sit gloria, Qui apparuisti gentibus etc is sung at the hymns of the Little Hours.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass, Ecce advenit, is proper. The Gloria is sung and, traditionally after the Gospel the Announcement of Moveable Feasts is sung. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes in the Canon are proper to the feast.

At Vespers the antiphons Ante luciferum genitus etc are sung with psalms 109, 110, 11, 112 & 113. The Office hymn is Crudelis Herodes Deum. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Tribus miraculis.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the only textual changes today are the abolition of the Doxology in honour of the Epiphany at the hymns of the Little Hours and the duplication of antiphons at the same. The feast has been stripped of its Vigil and Octave.