Monday, 29 December 2008
St. Thomas of Canterbury
Today is the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, it is of double rite. Today, again, the liturgical colour is red.
St. Thomas of Canterbury, or St. Thomas Becket, fell foul of the political machinations of King Henry II and was slain by the King's soldiers in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29th, 1170.
Mattins has, as usual, three nocturns and nine lessons. The antiphons and psalms are taken from the Psalter for Monday. In the first nocturn the beginning of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans is read. At Lauds a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is made.
At Mass the Gloria is sung, a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is made, the Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes in the Canon are of the Octave of the Nativity.
Vespers are of the Octave of the Nativity but from the chapter of the follwing Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity with a commemoration of St. Thomas Becket and of the Octave of the Nativity.
Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Thomas is reduced to a commemoration in the fifth day within the Octave of the Nativity. Unusually festal psalmody is used at mattins and lauds, as on the feast (this contrasts with the practice for third order octaves in the old rite). At the Hours the antiphons and psalmody are ferial. Mass is of a day within the Octave, with Gloria, commemoration of St. Thomas, Credo, preface and communicantes of the Nativity. Vespers are of the Nativity without any commemorations. In pre-1911 practice the Octaves of St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist and the Holy Innocents would have been commemorated in addition to that of the Nativity.