Saturday, 30 August 2008

XVI Sunday after Pentecost and 1st of September

Today, at Vespers, is the start of the Pars Autumnalis volume of the Breviary.

In the traditional rite the first Sunday of August, September, October and November is the one that falls closest to the first day of the month. So the first Sunday of September is celebrated this year on the last day of August.

At Vespers on Saturday the ferial psalms are sung and the antiphon at the Magnificat is Cum audisset Job (for the Saturday before the 1st Sunday of September). A commemoration is made of St. Rose of Lima and of St. Raymond Nonnatus.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the beginning of the Book of Job is read and as usual there are three nocturns. St Raymond is commemorated at both Lauds and at Mass.

The Lessons for the fifth week of August given in the Breviary are not read this year.

Of course in the 1962 books the antiphon at the Magnificat will be different and in its much truncated Mattins of just one nocturn the first and second lesson are from the Book of Ecclesiasticus.

Friday, 29 August 2008

The Beheading of St. John the Baptist



The feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist is of greater - double rank (also referred to as double major). The feast began with first Vespers yesterday, which we have 'dissected' in a post below. At Mattins there are nine lessons, the ninth lesson is of the commemorated office of St. Sabina.
At Lauds and the Hours the festal psalms are sung. At Lauds there is a commemoration of St. Sabina.
At Mass the Gloria is sung and a commemoration made of St. Sabina. In second Vespers a commemoration is made of the following day's feast, St. Rose of Lima and Sts Felix and Adauctus. Festal Compline completes the day.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Practicalities - Another 'dissection' of Vespers

This afternoon Vespers are first Vespers of the following day's feast, the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, with a commemoration of the preceding office of St. Augustine and with a commemoration of St. Sabina.

In contrast to yesterday 'proper' psalms are sung (this is indicated in the Breviary). The reason for this is that the Commission responsible for the 1911-13 reform 'excepted' certain feasts from the general rule of using the ferial psalter. Feasts whose antiphons were not taken from the Common but specific to the feast were generally treated this way. (The higher ranking feasts also did not have the ferial psalter).

Vespers has the following elements:

1) The prayer Aperi, Domine is said followed by Pater and Ave. These prayers are said in a low voice.

2) Deus in adjutorium... and its response Domine ad adjuvandum.... are sung followed by the Doxology.

3) The antiphons are proper (given under the texts for 29th August) and the psalms are taken from the Common of Apostles. The first antiphon is Herodes enim tenuit et ligavit Joannem et posuit in carcerem propter Herodiadem. This is sung in full and is then followed by Ps. 109. At the end of the psalm the Doxology is sung and the antiphon Herodes enim... repeated.

4) The pattern of antiphon, psalm, Doxlogy, antiphon is repeated for the other four psalms of the Hour: Domine mi rex..., Ps 110, Gloria Patri..., Domine mi rex ..., etc., until the last antiphon after the fifth psalm, Da mihi in disco....

5) The chapter is taken from the Feast: Beatus vir, qui in suffert... The hymn Deus, tuorum militum follows (actually from the Common of Martyrs but printed for convenience with the texts for the feast). The versicle Gloria et honore... and its response Et constituisti...

6) Then antiphon for the Magnificat, Misso Herodes... is sung in full followed by the Magnificat, Doxology and then the antiphon Misso Herodes... is repeated.

7) The greeting Dominus vobiscum is sung by the celebrant and after its response Oremus is sung followed by the prayer for the feast Sancti Joannis...

8) A commemoration of the preceding feast, St. Augustine, is now made. The antiphon for the Magnificat, O Doctor....is sung (but not the Magnificat again) and then the versicle Justum deduxit..., the response Et ostendit..., and then Oremus and the collect Adesto supplicationibus...

9) The above commemoration structure is repeated for St. Sabina whose feast is also August 29th: the antiphon Simile est regnum..., versicle Specie tua..., response Intende..., Oremus and the collect Deus, qui inter cetera...

10) Now the normal ending of Vespers: Dominus vobiscum and its response, Benedicamus Domino and the response Deo gratias. Fidelium animae... is said in a lower voice followed by Amen and a Pater said inaudibly.

11) The antiphon of the BVM follows: the versicle Dominus det nobis suam pacem with response Et vitam aeternam. Amen.; then Salve, Regina... its versicle Ora pro nobis... and response Ut digni... followed by Oremus and the collect Omnipotens sempiterne Deus..., the versicle Divinum auxilium... and response Amen. 12) At the end of the Office the prayer Sacrosanctae, the versicle Beata viscera... with response Et beata ubera... followed by a final Pater and Ave and the Choir departs.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Practicalities - Looking at how parts of the Office fit together

At first glance the Office can appear rather complex and, indeed, even discouraging. A recent comment prompted the thought of 'dissecting' an Hour to illustrate how things fit together. Comments as to whether this is useful or otherwise would be much appreciated.

Vespers is perhaps the most familiar Hour so seems a good place to start.

Today's feast is that of St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor. The rite is double. However, as tomorrow's feast, St. Augustine of Hippo, is also of the same rank Vespers are 'from the Chapter of the following' . In practice (with the 1911-13 reforms) this really is the same as saying first Vespers of St. Augustine with a commemoration of the previous feast of St. Joseph Calasanctius.

In the Sanctoral section of the Breviary (or Antiphonale etc) the respective Common is indicated - for St. Augustine this is the Common of Confessor-Bishops, this is found after the Sanctoral section towards the end of the Breviary.

Vespers has the following elements:

1) The prayer Aperi, Domine is said followed by Pater and Ave. These prayers are said in a low voice.

2) Deus in adjutorium... and its response Domine ad adjuvandum.... are sung followed by the Doxology.

3) The antiphons and psalms are taken from the occuring feria, Wednesday. (This is a characteristic of the 1911-13 reform - prior to this a double feast would take its antiphons and psalms from the Common - this meant that 'from the Chapter of the following' made more sense). The first antiphon Beati omnes, qui timent Dominum is sung in full and is then followed by Ps. 127. A slight complication: as the words of the antiphon are the same opening words of the psalm they are not repeated and so the psalm continues with the words: qui ambulant in viis ejus. At the end of the psalm the Doxology is sung followed by the antiphon Beati omnes, qui timent Dominum.

4) The pattern of antiphon, psalm, Doxlogy, antiphon is repeated for the other four psalms of the Hour: Confundantur omnes, qui oderunt Sion, Ps 128 Saepe expugnaverunt..., Gloria Patri..., Confundantur omnes, qui oderunt Sion. etc., until the last antiphon after the fifth psalm , Elegit Dominus Sion in habitationem sibi.

5) The chapter is taken from the Common: Ecce sacerdos magnus qui in diebus suis placuit Deo... The hymn from the Common follows: Iste Confessor Domini... followed by the versicle Amavit eum Dominus... and its response Stolam gloriae...

6) Then antiphon for the Magnificat, O Doctor optime...beate Augustine... is sung in full (conveniently printed in the Breviary under the texts for St. Augustine), followed by the Magnificat, Doxology and then the antiphon O Doctor... is repeated.

7) The greeting Dominus vobiscum is sung by the celebrant and after its response Oremus is sung followed by the prayer for the feast Adesto supplicationibus...

8) A commemoration of the 'before the chapter' office, St. Joseph Calasanctius, is now made. The antiphon for the Magnificat, Hic vir despiciens....is sung (but not the Magnificat again) and then the versicle Justum deduxit..., then Oremus and the collect Deus, qui per sanctum Josephum...

9) The above commemoration structure is repeated for St. Hermes whose feast is also August 28th: antiphon Iste sanctus..., versicle Gloria et honore..., response Et constituisti..., Oremus and the collect Deus, qui beatum Hermetum...

10) Now the normal ending of Vespers: Dominus vobiscum and its response, Benedicamus Domino and the response Deo gratias. Fidelium animae is said in a lower voice followed by Amen and a Pater said inaudibly.

11) The antiphon of the BVM follows: the versicle Dominus det nobis suam pacem with response Et vitam aeternam. Amen.; then Salve, Regina... its versicle Ora pro nobis... and response Ut digni... followed by Oremus and the collect Omnipotens sempiterne Deus..., the versicle Divinum auxilium... and response Amen.

12) At the end of the Office the prayer Sacrosanctae, the versicle Beata viscera... with response Et beata ubera.. followed by a final Pater and Ave.

The above took much longer to type than it would to actually sing or say! If this was helpful please remember in prayer the soul of the late Bernard Ford who first taught Rubricarius how to use the Breviary.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

St. Zephyrinus Pope & Martyr

The feast is of simple rite and has one nocturn at Mattins of three lessons. At Lauds the Suffrage of the Saints is sung and at Prime the Dominical preces are sung.

However, the Mass is that of the preceding Sunday. As the feast of St. Bartholomew fell on a Sunday its Mass is 'resumed'. The Mass of Pentecost XV is sung in green vestments, without Gloria, with a commemoration of St. Zephyrinus and third collect A cunctis nos. As the Gloria is not sung instead of the dismissal Ite, missa est the deacon chants Benedicamus Domino (facing the altar) at the end of Mass.

'Private' Masses may be of St. Zephyrinus (in red, of course) with Gloria, the second collect of Pentecost XV and third collect A cunctis nos.

As the rank of the day, and that of the resumed Sunday Mass, are both of simple rite then the chant reflects this with the ferial tones being used for the orations, preface and Pater noster. The Graduale directs that one cantor leads the choir and the altar has two candlesticks only following the direction of the Caeremoniale. It would seem appropriate too to use the simpler chants for the pericopes.

An office of simple rite ends after the singing of None. Vespers are of the following feast.

Monday, 25 August 2008

St. Louis King of France

The feast of St. Louis King of France is of semi-double rite.

As yesterday's Sunday liturgy was displaced by the feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle at Mattins the 'Incipit' or beginning of the Book of Ecclesiasticus is read in the first nocturn of today's feast along with the preceding Sunday's responsories. The feast has nine lessons.

At Lauds the Suffrage of the Saints is sung and at Prime the Dominical preces are sung. At Mass the second collect is for the intercession of the Saints, A cunctis nos, and the third collect is of the celebrants choice. It is not a choice to omit the third collect but one may be chosen ad libitum. Many celebrants in the past chose Omnipotens, basing their choice on that mandated for certain days in Lent.

Vespers are of the feast with a commemoration of the following day's office, St. Zephyrinus. The Suffrage of the Saints is again sung and at Compline the Dominical preces are sung.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

St. Bartholomew the Apostle 24th August


This Sunday the traditional Roman rite celebrates the feast of St. Bartholomew as a Double of the Second Class which outranks the semi-double Sunday liturgy.

Some words of John Eppstein, written some thirty-seven years ago, seem pertinent:

"The process of reducing the number of saints' days, and in particular of the festivals which could replace Sundays, had started before the Council [notably by the reforms of Pius X and John XXIII] and now the Catholic Church has swung from one extreme - the excess of feast days - to the other which, for the ordinary Sunday churchgoer means their virtual exclusion. To take a striking example; until a few years ago, during the summer holidays one often came upon a Sunday Mass celebrated with red vestments because it was the feast of an apostle, such as St. James, or St. Matthew or St. Bartholomew, instead of the invariable green. Nowadays, except for the tiny minority attending weekday Masses, no practising Catholic ever assists at the Mass of any apostle throughout the year, with the solitary exception of SS Peter and Paul, where their feast is a holyday of obligation."


Eppstein, J., Has the Catholic Church Gone Mad?, Tom Stacey Ltd, 1971, pp 56-7


At Mattins there are nine lessons, the ninth is of the occurring XV Sunday after Pentecost. In best practice this ninth lesson is made of the seventh, eighth and ninth of the Sunday but, the minimum requirement is that just the seventh lesson of the Sunday be used as the ninth of the day.

At Lauds there is a commemoration of the Sunday. At the Hours the solemn tone for the hymns is used, there are no preces at Prime. At Mass, in red vestments, the Gloria and Creed are sung and the preface of Apostles, the Sunday is also commemorated and its Gospel read in place of In principio as a 'proper last Gospel'.

Vespers are of the feast with a commemoration of the following day's feast, St. Louis of France, and a commemoration of the Sunday. There are no preces at Compline.

In the denuded 1962 rite St. Bartholmew is reduced to a mere commemoration and Eppstein's 'invariable green' used for yet another Sunday.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sunday within the Octave of the Assumption

Sunday within the Octave of the Assumption, the XIV Sunday after Pentecost and the 3rd Sunday of August, semi-double rite.

The texts are of the Sunday but all hymns of Iambic metre are sung to the BVM tone due to the Octave. At Lauds a commemoration of St. Hyacinth, the Octave of the Assumption and the Octave Day of St. Lawrence.

Ordinarily on Sundays within Octaves only the Octave is commemorated and there are no 'prayers for the season' as there would normally be on a Sunday. However, all occurring feasts are commemorated. In Mass the Gloria, the same commemorations as at Lauds, Creed, Preface of the Trinity.

Prior to the 1911-13 reform today was kept as the feast of St. Joachim, Father of the BVM. Provision was made by that reform for one Solemn Votive Mass of St. Joachim to be sung today with a commemoration of the Sunday and last Gospel of the Sunday, celebrated in white vestments.

At Vespers a commemoration of the Octave is made, St. Hyacinth and St. Agapitus.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin


The feast is a Double of the First Class with Octave.

At Mattins the lessons in the first nocturn, taken from the Canticle of Canticles, are particularly rich with vibrant imagery:

"Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth: for thy breasts are better than wine, smelling sweet of the best ointments." (1st lesson)

"Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, and comely. Our bed is flourishing. The beams of our houses are of cedar, our rafters of cypress trees." (3rd lesson)


As St. John Damascene eloquently preaches in the second nocturn: "This day the holy and animated ark of the living God, she who conceived in her womb her Creatorm rests in the temple of the Lord, which was not made with hands. And her ancestor David leaps, and with him the Angels lead the dance, the Archangels make celebration, the Virtues ascribe glory, the Principalities exult, the Powers rejoice together, the Dominations are joyful, the Thrones keep holiday, the Cherubim utter praise, the Seraphim proclaim her glory. This day the Eden of the new Adam receives the living Paradise, wherein the condemnation was made void, wherein the tree of life was planted, wherein our nakedness was covered." (4th lesson)

"Mary truly hath chosen the better part, which shall not be taken away from her." (8th lesson)

The quoted texts are from the translation of the Breviarium Romanum by the nuns of Stanbrooke Abbey.

At Lauds and both Vespers six pluvialistae in pariti assist the Hebdomadarius. At Prime and the Hours the hymns are sung to the tone for feasts of the Blessed Virgin and at Prime in the Short Responsory the verse Qui natus es de Virgine is sung. This is followed for the whole octave.

Festal Mass is celebrated after Terce. The Rituale gives a Blessing of Herbs for this day which takes place immediately before Mass with Psalm 64, a series of versicles and responses, three collects, whose florid style, reminiscent of those for the Blessing of Palms, suggests a Gallican origin. The Caeremoniale prescribes six candles on the altar and the Graduale four cantors, if this is possbile.

In the afternoon Second Vespers are sung with a commemoration of the BVM's father, St. Joachim. Compline is again festal.



Gaudeamus omnes in Domino!

The Vigil of the Assumption

Another interesting day from a liturgical perspective.

The rite is simple and at Mattins there are three lessons. At Lauds the Second Scheme of psalms is used (the original ferial psalms before the 1911-13 reform), ferial preces are said, a commemoration of St. Eusebius M made and the special Suffrage of the Saints is sung for feasts of the BVM. At Prime and the Hours ferial preces are said. These are said whilst kneeling.

The Mass is in violet vestments the second collect is of St. Eusebius and the third collect is of the Holy Ghost, Deus, qui corda. As is the rule when the Gloria is not sung Benedicamus Domino is chanted by the deacon facing the altar rather than Ite, missa est. As it is a 'kneeling day' all in choir kneel for the orations and from the Sanctus to the response after Pax Domini.

First Vespers of the feast are sung with the dulcid and stunningly beautiful hymn Ave, Maris stella. Compline is sung as on feasts with the special tone for Te lucis used on feasts of the Blessed Virgin.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

SS Hippolytus & Cassian Martyrs

Today's feast is of simple rite and has three lessons at Mattins. At Lauds the Suffrage of the Saints is sung. At Prime the Dominical preces are said. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is A cunctis, the third collect is chosen by the celebrant and the vestments are red.

As the feast is of simple rite Vespers are of the feria with the collect of the preceding Sunday, a commemoration is made of St. Eusebius and the Suffrage of the Saints is Sung. At Compline the Dominical preces are said.

Monday, 11 August 2008

SS Tiburtius and Susanna Martyrs

An interesting day liturgically. Because of yesterday's feast of St. Lawrence occuring on a Sunday there are several changes in the liturgy all absent from the 1962 rite.

At Mattins the first and second lesson are taken from yesterday, the beginning of the Book of Ecclesiastes, with the Sunday's responsories, the third lesson is the historical lesson proper to SS Tiburtius and Susanna.

At Lauds the Suffrage of the Saints is added and at Prime the 'Dominical Preces' are said. The Mass however is of the Sunday, an example of a 'resumed' Sunday. The rite is simple, there is no Gloria, the second collect is of the feast, the third A cunctis and Benedicamus Domino is sung instead of Ite, missa est. The Mass is celebrated in green vestments. Private Masses, in red vestments, are allowed of the feast with Gloria, second collect of the resumed Sunday, third collect A cunctis. At it is a 'resumed' Sunday private Votive Masses and Requiem Masses are not allowed.

As SS Tiburtius and Susanna' feast is of simple rank vespers is of the following day, St. Clare, which is of double rite. At Compline there are no 'Dominical Preces'.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Feast of St. Lawrence Deacon & Martyr

The feast day of St. Lawrence Deacon & Martyr is today. One wonders how many liturgical celebrations of the Roman liturgy will bear witness to this.

Prior to the reform of John XXIII, Rubricarum instructum, St. Lawrence's feast, as a Double of the Second Class, took precedence over the 'green' semi-double XIII Sunday after Pentecost (and Second Sunday of August).

The Office of the day is festal. At Mattins the ninth lesson is read of the commemorated Sunday and the Sunday is commemorated at Lauds, Mass (with both orations and 'proper' last Gospel of the Sunday) and Vespers. As the feast does not have a proper preface that of Sunday (the Holy Trinity) is sung. Needless to say the feast is celebrated in red vestments.

St. Lawrence pray for us.