Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Vigil of Pentecost

Today, the Vigil of Penetecost, is one of the most sublime of all days in the Liturgical Year. The Vigil is a semidouble of the first class.

The ceremonies before Mass, very similar to Holy Saturday, are very beautiful but will, sadly, only be celebrated in a handful of places around the world. At the time of blogging I know of one to be held at St. Gertrude the Great in Ohio (from which the images come), one in the Philippines and one in London.

At Mattins the invitatory, hymn, psalms and antiphons are from the feast of the Ascension. The lessons in the first nocturn are the Incipit of the Apostle Jude, in the second nocturn the lessons are from a discourse of St. Augustine to catechumens on the Creed and St. Augustine sermon s 74 & 75 on St. John's Gospel from the third nocturn. At Lauds the Sunday psalms are sung as on the previous Sunday but without commemoration of the Octave. A commemortion of St. Felix is sung but the Commemoration of the Cross is omitted.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung with the Doxology of Ascensiontime to Tone4. A white antependium etc. is on the choir altar covering a violet one which in turn covers a red one. The candles are not lit. At Prime the first entry in the Martyrology is that of the great feast of Pentecost. After None the white antependium is removed. The altar has no flowers or ornaments decorating it and the candles remain unlighted until Mass.

The celebrant in violet chasuble, assisted where possible by deacon and subdeacon in violet folded chasubles comes to the altar preceded by acolytes without candles. The celebrant kisses the altar at the centre and goes to the epistle corner. The celebrant begins reading, in a low voice, the first of six prophecies at the missal. Meanwhile a lector comes to a lectern in the middle of choir accompanied by the 2nd MC, reverences the altar and choir and then sings the first prophecy. The celebrant and ministers may sit after reading the prophecy returning to the altar as the lector finishes chanting the same. After the prophecy has been sung the celebrant sings Oremus, but unlike Holy Saturday without Flectamus genua and Levate, and sings the first collect Deus, qui in Abrahae.

(A lector is before the book medio chori having sung a prophecy. The bishop, at the faldstool, sings a collect. Note the deacon wearing a folded chausuble.)


Where resources permit the six prophecies are sung by lectors in ascending order of seniority but for most celebrations they will be sung by the same or by a couple of lectors. The prophecies and collects are:

Prophecy 1: Genesis XXII: 1- 19 (Holy Saturday 3rd prophecy) In diebus illis: Tentavit Deus Abraham… Collect 1: Deus, qui in Abrahae...; Prophecy 2: Exodus XIV: 24-31, XV: 1 (Holy Saturday 4th prophecy) In diebus illis: Factus est in vigilia matutina... This is followed immediately by the tract Cantemus Domino and then Collect 2: Deus, qui primis temporibus... Prophecy 3: Deuteronomy XXXI: 22 -30 (Holy Saturday 11th prophecy) In diebus illis: Scripsit Moyses canticum ... followed by the tract Attende, caelum then Collect 3: Deus, glorificatio fidelium...; Prophecy 4: Isaiah IV: 1 – 6 (Holy Saturday 8th prophecy) Apprehendent septem mulieres..., the tract Vinea facta est... and Collect 4: Omnipotens sempiterne Deus...; Prophecy 5: Baruch III: 9 – 38 (Holy Saturday 6th prophecy) Audi, Israel, mandata vitae... Collect 5: Deus, qui nobis...; and Prophecy 6: Ezechiel XXXVII: 1-14 (Holy Saturday 7th prophecy) In diebus illis: Facta est super me... and Collect 6: Domine, Deus virtutum...

During the sixth prophecy, if there is a font, the acolytes light their candles on the credence table. A server lights the Paschal Candle and holds it near the credence. The celebrant goes to the sedilia and removes the chasuble and maniple and puts on a violet cope. A procession is now made to the Baptistery. The Paschal Candle bearer leads followed by Crucifer between acolytes. The choir sings Sicut cervus.

At the entrance to the Baptistery the collect Concede, quaesumus is sung (as opposed to Omnipotens sempiterne Deus sung on Holy Saturday). Everything then is done to bless the font as on Holy Saturday with the solemn blessing of the water and infusion with Chrism. During the blessing of the font cushions are laid in the sanctuary for the celebrant and ministers to prostrate on.

After the blessing of the font the procession reforms and returns to the sanctuary the Paschal Candle bearer leading it. Two cantors begin the Litany as the procession leaves the Baptistery. The petitions are doubled i.e. the cantors sing the petition and response entire and then it is repeated by the choir and people e.g. C: Pater de caelis Deus, miserere nobis; P: Pater de caelis Deus, miserere nobis.

When the procession enters the sanctuary the candle bearer takes the Paschal Candle back to the sacristy and extinguishes it. The Crucifer and acolytes go to the credence. The cantors kneel in the middle of the choir. The celebrant and ministers go to the sedilia and removes their vestments. They then prostrate on the cushion before the altar, all others kneel. After the invocation Peccatores the celebrant and ministers rise and return to the sacristy where the celebrant vest in red. Meanwhile servers remove the violet antependium etc. and vest the altar for festal Mass. Where there is no font after the sixth prophecy the cushions are laid on the altar steps and the Litany follows.

(The bishop, without cope, and wearing the golden mitre kneels at the faldstool during the Litany of the Saints)


As the choir sing Agnus Dei the procession returns to the sanctuary. Mass follows as usual except, like Holy Saturday, it has no introit. During the Gloria the bells are rung. There is only one collect. At the Gospel the acolytes do not carry candles. The Creed is not sung. The preface, communicantes and Hanc igitur are of Pentecost.

(The bishop is incensed by the deacon. Note the Pontifical Canon in the centre of the altar.)

(The Epistle. The train from the bishop's choir cassock may be seen)

(In principio erat Verbum...)

In the afternoon solemn first Vespers of Pentecost are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Vigil of Pentecost has been excoriated. At Mattins the ferial psalms are used, there is but one nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds and the Hours the ferial psalms are sung, there is no commemoration of St. Felix. The prophecies and blessing of the font are all gone. The Vigil ceremonies were supressed in churches where the, optional, 1952 form of the Easter Vigil was introduced and universally in 1956 with the New Order of Holy Week. As no one has argued that the times of the Pentecost Vigil were putatively wrong its reason for suppression was lest it reminded the faithful of the traditional Ordo. Mass has the introit added (previously this was only used in private Masses, all else has been cast aside.

Rubricarius has an old Newsletter of the SSPX in Britain, with a prefatory letter from the then District Superior, Fr. Edward Black, dated 5th May 1981. It is an interesting read, the Calender for June clearly shows pre-1962 praxis with the Octaves of the Ascension, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart all being celebrated. However, most interesting and poignant for today, on the rear cover the timetable for the Vigil of Pentecost, Saturday 6th June 1981 at St. Michael’s House, Highclere, Berkshire:

10.00 am Prophecies followed by Sung Mass
3.00 pm Vespers
5.00 pm Mattins and Lauds

I doubt if it would be worth visiting Highclere today.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

St. Bede the Venerable

Today is the feast of St. Bede the Venerable within the Octave of the Ascension. It is interesting to see how a double feast 'fits in' with a third order privileged Octave.

At Mattins the antiphons and psalms are from the feria (in contrast to the Office of the Octave), in the first nocturn the lessons are from occuring scripture and in the third nocturn the ninth lesson is for St. John I pope and martyr. At Lauds again the antiphons and psalms are ferial but a commemoration of the Octave and St. John is sung.

At the Little Hours the ferial psalter is used, hymns of Iambic metre have the Ascension Doxology and tone. At Prime in the Martryology the first place is the announcement of tomorrow's Octave Day of the Ascension.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave, the third of St. John. The Credo is sung, the preface and communicantes in the Canon are of the Ascension. (If we were not in the Octave the Creed would still be sung as St. Bede is a Doctor of the Church.)

Vespers are first Vespers of the Octave Day of the Ascension with a commemoration of St. Bede and St. Augustine of Canterbury.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension



Today is Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension. The Sunday is of semi-double rite. The theme of the great feast of the Ascension continues with most of the texts coming from the feast. However, the antiphons are of course not doubled. The Gospel pericope from St. John has the beautiful words of the LORD promising the gift of the Paraclete:
When the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me: and you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.

At first Vespers yesterday the antiphons for the feast, Viri Galilaei etc, were sung along with the festal psalms. The chapter was of the Sunday, the hymn for the Ascension and the antiphon on the Magnificat and collect of the Sunday. A commemoration of the Octave was then sung. The Commemoration of the Cross was not sung, because of the Octave and at Compline the Dominical preces were omitted for the same reason.

At Mattins again the antiphons and psalms are as on the feast. However, 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 writings of the same provide 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. A commemoration of the Octave is sung.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung to the melody for the Ascension Dolology (Tone 4). 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.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is that of the Octave. However, a third collect is not sung as Sundays within Octaves only have two collects unless there is an occuring commemoration. The Credo 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. A commemoration is sung of the following Office of St. Gregory, of the Octave and St. Urban.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave has been stripped from the feast as already noted. At Vespers on Saturday the psalms of Saturday were sung under a single antiphon Alleluia, no commemorations would have been made. At Mattins, reduced of course to one 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 the single antiphon and there is no commemoration of the Octave.

At Prime the Dominical psalms are sung and the short lesson is, surprisingly, Viri Galilaei for Ascensiontime. The hymns do not have the Ascension Doxology and are sung to the ordinary melody for Sundays.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 and are sung without any commemorations.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Within the Octave

Today is the second day within the Octave of the Ascension.

The days within the Octave are celebrated as on the feast with the following exceptions. The rank of days within the Octave is semi-double so the antiphons are not doubled at Mattins, Lauds or Vespers.

The psalms are used as on the feast. Mattins has three nocturns: in the first nocturn the lessons are from occuring scripture. The Ascension Doxology is sung at all hymns of Iambic metre. Because of the Octave the Commemoration of the Cross is not sung at Lauds and at Prime and Compline there are no preces.

Mass follows Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect Concede nos, the third collect Ecclesiae. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes are proper to the Ascension.

Vespers are of the Octave, the antiphons on the psalms and Magnificat are not, of course, doubled.

Saturday is the third day within the Octave and the same structure is followed except for Vespers which are of the following Sunday within the Octave with a commemoration of the Octave.

According to the 'liturgical books of 1962' today is a fourth class feria of Ascension time. Mattins has but one nocturn of three lessons, the ferial psalter is used. At Mass there is one collect, no Creed and no proper communicantes. Saturday is kept as the Office of the BVM on Saturday.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Ascension of the LORD



The feast of the Ascension of the LORD is a double of the first class with a privileged octave of the third order.

The Office began with first Vespers yesterday afternoon. The antiphons were proper. Four pluvialistae in pariti assist the Hebdomadarius at Vespers and Lauds. At Mattins the invitatory is proper: Alleluia, Christum Dominum ascendentem in caelum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. The hymn Aeterne Rex altissime is sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken from the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, in the second nocturn they are from a sermon of St. Leo and in the third nocturn a homily from St. Gregory. At Lauds the antiphons are those sung at Vespers and the hymn is Salutis humane Sator.

At the Hours Sunday psalms are sung, Prime is as on feasts (Pss. 53, 118(i) & 118(ii). At Prime the verse Qui scandis super sidera is sung in the short responsory today and until the Vigil of Pentecost. Hymns (with the exception of Salutis humane Sator) have the Ascension Doxology and are sung in tone 4.

At Mass the Gloria is sung. After the Gospel the Paschal Candle is exinguished. The Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are proper to the feast. After Mass the Paschal Candle is removed from the sanctuary, it makes a brief re-appearance on the Vigil of Pentecost.

Second Vespers are the same as first except for the versicle and response and antiphon on the Magnificat.

In 'the liturgical books of 1962' the antiphons at the Little Hours are doubled and the Ascension Doxology is sung at the hymn of Mattins only. The hymns at the Little Hours are sung to the general feastal tone. The feast's octave was stripped from it in 1956.

The icon is by the great Russian iconographer Andrei Rublev and featured on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

St. Bernardine of Sienna - Vigil of the Ascension


Today is the feast of St. Bernardine of Sienna a Franciscan who died on the Vigil of the Ascension in 1444. The feast is of semi-double rite. Today is also the Vigil of the Ascension and Rogation Wednesday.

At Mattins the lessons in the first nocturn are taken from the Common, Beatus vir. In the third nocturn the ninth lesson is a homily for the Vigil from St. Augustine. At Lauds a commemoration of the Vigil is sung as is the Commemoration of the Cross in Paschaltide.

At the Little Hours the Paschaltide Doxology and tone is sung at the hymns (for the last time this year). At Prime the Dominical preces are sung and the short lesson is for a Confessor, Justum deduxit.

Mass follows Terce. The Gloria is sung the second collect is of the Vigil, the third of the Rogations, the Paschaltide preface is sung (for the last time this year) and the last Gospel is of the Vigil. Private Masses may be of the Vigil, the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Bernardine and the third collect that of the Rogations, the preface is of Paschaltide and, unusually for a Vigil, the vestments are white.

Where the Rogation Procession takes place and there is only one Mass it is sung after None. The Rogation Procession takes place as described in the post for Rogation Monday. At Mass (Exaudivit) the second collect is of St. Bernardine, the third collect of the Vigil, the Paschaltide preface (sung in the ferial tone like the orations), Benedicamus Domino as the dismissal and the last Gospel that of the Vigil.

First Vespers of the great feast of the Ascension are Sung. At Compline and the other Hours hymns of Iambic metre have the Ascensiontide Doxology: Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui victor in caelum redis, Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula. Amen.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Vigil has been raised in rank to II class and takes precedence over St. Bernardine's feast. St. Bernardine is commemorated at Lauds, the Commemoration of the Cross is not sung. At the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology and tone are not sung for the hymns, at Prime the Dominical preces are omitted, the festal chapter Regi saeculorum is sung even though the Office is classed as ferial, the short lesson is of the season. In said Masses of the Vigil St. Bernardine is commemorated.

Where a Procession takes place the Litany is not duplicated and may be in the vernacular. At the votive Mass following the 'preparatory prayers' are chopped the Vigil is commemorated but not St. Bernardine, Ite missa est is sung as the dismissal. The Ascensiontide Doxology is not sung at the Little Hours.

The picture is a 'screen dump' of the start of the Rogation Procession held today at St. Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, USA. Bishop Dolan is kneeling before the choir altar at the start of the Litany. How refreshing that a least one Catholic church on the planet is bothering to celebrated the liturgy well. St. Gertrude's have had a Procession for each of the Rogation Days and have sung Liturgy every day. The school children sing beautifully and may Almighty God bless their splendid efforts for the Liturgy abundantly. Their excellent web-broadcast programme has first Vespers of the Ascension scheduled for 19:30 BST this evening. The picture below is of Bishop Dolan singing the nine collects after the Litany.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

St. Peter Celestine - Rogation Tuesday


Today is the double rite feast of St. Peter Celestine. It is also Rogation Tuesday but the feria is not commemorated in the Office today. St. Peter Celestine was born in 1221 and became a Benedictine. Attracting many followers these later became known as Celestines from the name St. Peter took after being elected Bishop of Rome only holding that office for a few months before resigning. He died May 19th 1296.

At Mattins the first nocturn lesson are from occuring scripture. The ninth lesson is of St. Pudentiana. A commemoration of St. Pudentiana is also sung at Lauds.

At the Little Hours the Paschaltide Doxology and tone is used for the hymns. At Prime in the Martyrology the first entry is for the Vigil of the Ascension, the short lesson is Fungi sacerdotio for a Confessor-Bishop.

Mass follows Terce. The Gloria is sung the second collect is of the Rogations (from the Mass Exaudivit), the third collect for S. Pudentiana.

Where the Rogation Procession takes place and there is only one Mass this takes place after None as described in yesterday's post. The Mass Exaudivit is sung with ferial tones for the prayers and preface. The second collect is of St. Peter Celestine, the third of St. Pudentiana and Benedicamus Domino sung as the dismissal.

At Vespers a commemoration is made of the following feast of St. Bernardine of Sienna.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Peter Celestine is reduced to a third class feast of three lessons. There is no commemorated lesson at Mattins of St. Pudentiana. At the Little Hours the Paschaltide Doxology and tone are not sung at the hymns, the short lesson at Prime is of the season. At Mass (without a Procession) there is no commemoration of the Rogations but of St. Pudentiana in said Masses only. Where the Procession takes place the same rules as yesterday apply so the Litany may be sung in the vernacular (the petitions not duplicated) and the 'preparatory prayers' chopped from the beginning of the votive Mass etc and Ite, missa est as the dismissal. Vespers are without a commemoration. There is no longer any obligtion for clergy to pray the Litany if they do not take part in a Procession.

The photograph is from a series of a Rogation Procession at St. Clement's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia. A Google image search showed many Anglican Rogation Processions (but not using the Roman Rite!) but where are the Catholic ones?

Sunday, 17 May 2009

St. Venantius - Rogation Monday

Today is the double rite feast of St. Venantius a third century martyr. It is also Rogation Monday, a non-privileged greater feria, the first of the three days of the 'Lesser Litanies' sung on the days preceding the feast of the Ascension.

In the Office of St. Venantius the hymns are proper. As the first Vespers were not sung due to the Sunday Office the hymn from Vespers, Martyr Dei Venantius, is joined to the hymn of Mattins, Athleta Christi nobilis. The Rogation Day does not have ocurring scripture so for the first nocturn lessons are taken from the Common of Martyrs. In the third nocturn the ninth lesson is a homily for the Rogation Day.

At Lauds a commemoration of the feria is sung. The Little Hours of course have the Paschaltide Doxology sung at their hymns. The Domincal preces are not sung due to the feast being of double rite and at Prime the short lesson is that appointed for a martyr.

Mass follows Terce. The Gloria is sung, a commemoration of the feria is sung, the preface that of Paschaltide and the last Gospel that of the feria.



Where the venerable practice of the Rogation Procession takes place the procession takes place after None. The antiphon Exsurge Domine is sung by the cantors and then the Litany of the Saints is sung: each invocation and its response being sung by the cantors and then repated by the choir. The celebrant wears a violet cope, the deacon and subdeacon violet dalmatic and tunicle respectively. When Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis has been sung all rise and the Cross-bearer leads the Procession accompanied by acolytes carrying candles followed by the cantors, choir and the ministers. The people follow. The Procession should, in theory, go around the parish with the Litany being repeated if necessary or the Penitential and Gradual Psalms added if the distance requires them. After the Procession re-enters the church the psalm Deus in adjutorium is sung and all kneel, the celebrant rises to sing the following ten collects. The Mass Exaudivit follows sung in ferial tones with violet vestments. The Gloria is not sung, the second collect Concede nos, the third Ecclesiae and Benedicamus Domino sung as the dismissal. Where one Mass is sung and there is the procession the Mass Exaudivit is sung with a commemoration of St. Venantius and Benedicamus Domino as the dismissal.

Vespers are 'from the chapter' of the following Office of St. Peter Celestine with a commemoration sung of the preceding Office of St. Venantius and of St. Pudentiana.

Those who have the misfortune to be using the 'liturgical books of 1962' have St. Venantius cut down to a third class feast of three lessons. The hymns are not joined at Mattins. Scriptural lessons have been inserted from the second chapter of St. Peter's Epistle. There is no third (or ninth obviously) lesson of the feria. The feria is not commemorated at Lauds or in Mass. At the Little Hours the Paschaltide Doxology and its tone are not used, at Prime the short lesson is of the season and not for a martyr. Vespers are without any commemorations

If the Procession takes place the Litany may be sung in the vernacular if the faithful are present. The petitiions are not duplicated. In the votive Mass that follows all the 'preparatory prayers' i.e. In nomine Patris..., Introibo ad altare Dei..., Judica me Deus..., Confiteor Deo..., the versicles, Aufer a nobis... and Oramus te, Domine are all cut out. The dismissal is Ite, missa est.

The Bishop may transfer the Rogation Days to some other season as he sees fit (c.f. rubric pro loco 1962 Missale Romanum and c.f. Caeremoniale Episcoporum editio typica 1985 Cap. XIV, ## 381-384 for these directions in the completed, ordinary, form of the 1962 rite). The Bishop may also, following the 1962 books order prayers and/or supplications in place of the Litany where he sees fit to do so. Clergy must sing the Litanies in Latin but, as noted above, where the Procession takes place and the faithful are present singing the Litany in the vernacular is permitted. There is no longer any obligation to say the Litany in private if one does not take part in a Procession.

The photograph is taken from a series on St. Clements Episcopal Church website. Canon Reid and his team might perhaps offer training courses, for an appropriate fee of course, to help the vast majority of Roman rite Catholics rediscover their own liturgical Tradition...

The Fifth Sunday after Easter



Today is the Fifth Sunday after Easter, it is of semi-double rite. The Gospel from St. John has the pericope where the LORD tells His disciples to ask for anything in His name after He has ascended to the Father.

The Sunday Office began with Vespers yesterday afternoon. At Vespers a commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Ubald is sung followed by a commemoration of St. Paschal Baylon. As the latter is a double feast the Commemoration of the Cross is not sung at Vespers and the Dominical preces omitted at Compline.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the Incipit of the first Epistle of St. Peter is read. 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."

At Lauds a commemoration is sung of St. Paschal Baylon. Hymns of Iambic metre have the Paschal Doxology and tone. At Prime the Dominical preces are not sung because of the occuring double feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Paschal Baylon, the Credo is sung and the preface is that of Paschaltide.

At Vespers a commemoration of the following Office of St. Venantius is sung and then a commemoration of St. Paschal Baylon.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the usual cuts are made: no commemorations at Vespers, Mattins down to one nocturn of three lessons; no commemorations at Lauds; no Paschaltide Doxology at the Little Hours; no commemorations at Mass etc.

Tomorrow sees the first day of the 'Lesser Litanies' before the feast of the Ascension of the LORD. After next Sunday, the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascesnion the splendid, if rarer than hens' teeth, Vigil of Pentecost comes into sight.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Friday, 15 May 2009

More recommended reading

The excellent series by Gregory DiPippo on the Pius XII reforms of the liturgy for Holy Week that was recommended here has had two further chapters added.

Signor DiPippo writes here about the times of the services. Criticism of the Traditional forms usually focuses on the ceremonies being celebrated at putatively incorrect times. Signor DiPippo demonstrates that whatever the 'correct' times were the 1956 novelties are certainly celebrated at times with even greater variance than the Traditional rites.

A further article here describes how some of the 1956 changes were dropped in the 1970-2002 editiones typicae and some of the ancient and traditonal praxis restored rather mirroring my post on 'New, New Holy Week.'

Not recommended, but of interest, is a series of photographs of the 1956 Holy Week novelties being celebrated a month ago can be found for the "Solemn Afternoon Liturgical Action" here and singing to the Paschal Candle here. They really do look very strange indeed.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Ferial Office in Paschaltide


The ferial Office in Paschaltide differs from the ferial Office per annum in a number of ways. The joyful character of the season is reflected in the Office.

At Mattins the nine psalms of the nocturn are sung under one antiphon, Alleluia. Three lessons from the Epistle of St. James are read (the first with one of my favourite texts Omne datum optimum, et omne donum perfectum desursum est, descendens a Patre luminum etc.) After the third lesson the Te Deum is sung. At Lauds again the psalms are sung under one antiphon. After the collect of the preceding Sunday the Commemoration of the Cross is sung:

Ant. Crucifixus surrexit a mortuis, et redemit nos, alleluia, alleluia.

V. Dicite in nationibus, alleluia. R. Quia Dominus regnavit a ligno, alleluia.

Oremus. Deus, qui pro nobis Filium tuum Crucis patibulum subire voluisti, ut inimici a nobis expelleres potestatem: concede nobis, famulis tuis; ut resurrectionis gratiam consequamur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum etc.


At Prime and the Hours the psalms are again sung with Alleluia as the antiphon. The brief responsory has additional Alleluia added, the Dominical preces are sung (standing of course). The Paschaltide Doxology (and tones) are sung at the Hours.

Mass follows Sext. The Mass of the preceding Sunday, Cantate Domino, is sung without the Credo. However, the Gloria is sung on ferial days in Paschaltide. The collects de tempore are Concede nos (in honour of the Blessed Virgin) and Ecclesiae (for the Church). In private Masses additional collects may be added ensuring the total number is always uneven and does not exceed seven.

Vespers (if tomorrow were also a ferial day) would have the five psalms sung under one antiphon and the Commemoration of the Cross. As tomorrow is the feast of SS Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancras first Vespers of their feast is sung with the Commemoration of the Cross.

Before the 1911-13 reform the festal character of Paschaltide was even more pronounced with Prime having the festal psalms (53 and the first two stanzas of 118) for all Paschaltide feriae.

A complimentary copy of Ordo Recitandi will be sent to the poster of the first comment to identify the picture above. I wish it were my private chapel...

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Fourth Sunday after Easter


Today is the Fourth Sunday after Easter, it is of semi-double rite.

The readings at Mass contain references to both the approaching Ascension and the coming of the Holy Ghost. The epistle from St. James has the beautiful text:
"Every good gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration."
These sublime words being instantly recognised by those familiar with Byzantine liturgy with those found in the prayer said by the junior priest before the tribune at the end of the liturgy of St. Chrysostom. In the Gospel of St. John the LORD tells the Apostles that he must leave and go "to Him that sent me" and that without His leaving there can be no sending of the Holy Ghost upon the world.

The Office began with first Vespers sung yesterday afternoon. Commemorations were made of the preceding Office of St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Antoninus and SS. Gordian and Epimachus. At Compline the Dominical preces were not sung because of the occuring double feast.

Mattins has the usual three nocturns. In the first nocturn the lessons from the beginning of the Epistle of St James are read (again, in fact, as they were used nine days ago for the feast of SS. Philip and James). In the second nocturn the lessons are from the Treatise of St. Cyprian on the boon of patience and in the third nocturn a homily of St. Augustine, the beginning of the 94th treatise on St. John's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung after the ninth lesson.

At Lauds commemorations of St. Antoninus and SS Gordian and Epimachus are sung. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted because of the occurring double feast. The Paschaltide Doxology is sung in all hymns of Iambic metre in either Tone 8 or Tone 1 (Tone 8 is the tone for the Lauds hymn Aurora caelum purpurat).

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

Vespers are of the Sunday and a commemoration of St. Antoninus is sung. At Compline, because of the occuring double feast, the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' a familiar pattern is seen. At first Vespers there are no commemorations. St. Antoninus and SS Gordian and Epimachus simply get ignored. Mattins is stripped down to one nocturn of three lessons, no commemorations are made at Lauds. Mass has only one collect. Vespers has no commemorations and the hymns at the Little Hours are sung to the per annum tone and Doxology.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel


Today is the feast of The Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel. It is greater-double rite. For more information about the cave at Mount Gargano where St. Michael appeared follow this link to Sacred Destinations.

The feast began with first Vespers on Thursday afternoon. The antiphons and pslams were proper to the feast. The Office is proper. The hymn is proper to St. Michael and its conclusion is not changed to the Paschaltide Doxolgy. A commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Stanislaus is sung.

Mattins has three nocturns. The antiphons are proper to the feast. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the Prophet Daniel. The second nocturn relates the apparition of St. Michael at Gargano at the time of Gelasius I and in the third nocturn the lessons are from a homily of St. Hillary on St. Matthew's Gospel.

At Lauds the antiphons from Vespers are used. At Prime and the Horae Minorae the Paschaltide Doxology is sung.

Mass follows Terce. The Gloria and Credo are both sung. In Vespers there is a commemoration of the following Office of St. Gregory Nazianzen.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Michael's feast had been eradicated. The day is a IV class feria. However, perusing the web it appears many '62ist sites ignore its non existence and keep the feast anyway - the 'make it up as you go' principle at work no doubt.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Octave Day of the Solemnity of St. Joseph


Today is the Octave Day of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church. It is of greater double rite. The feast of St. John before the Latin Gate celebrated on May 6th is this year simplified to a commemoration by the occurring Octave Day.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the lessons are from Scripture, in the second nocturn the lessons are a sermon from St. Augustine on marriage and concupiscence and the writings of St. Augustine again provide lessons on the Gospel of St. Luke for the third nocturn. The ninth lesson is of St. John before the Latin Gate.

At Lauds a commemoration of St. John before the Latin Gate is sung. Hymns of Iambic metre of course have the Paschaltide Doxology.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. John before the Latin Gate, the Credo is sung, the preface of St. Joseph and the last Gospel of St. John before the Latin Gate.

At Vespers a commemoration is made of the following Office of St. Stanislaus and St. John before the Latin Gate.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there is of course no Octave Day, no Octave and no Solemnity of St. Joseph. St. John before the Latin Gate has been done away with too so a Paschaltide feria is all that remains. This of course does not have the preces in the Office or the collects of the season at Mass. There is no commemoration of the following Office at Vespers either and the Paschaltide Doxology is omitted at the Horae Minorae.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

St. Pius V

Today is the fast of St. Pius V the energetic sixteenth century pope perhaps most famous for the Missal and Breviary he promulgated. Today is also the seventh day in the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church.

The feast is of double rite. As noted in yesterday's post Vespers was 'from the chapter of the following' i.e. of St. Pius V. If one was using the Breviary Pius V had promulgated in 1568 with the bull Quod a nobis this would have meant (applying the rules to the current Kalendar) that the antiphons and psalms at Vespers would have been from the Common of Non-Virgins, i.e. St. Monica's Office, with the first antiphon Dum esset Rex etc and the first psalm 109 sung to tone 3a. The other antiphons and psalms would have been from the common. The chapter would have been Ecce sacerdos magnus and the rest from the Common of a Confessor Bishop. However, using the breviary promulgated after the 1911-13 reform whilst the 'from the chapter' rule for concurrence is maintained it loses its meaning somewhat as instead of the antiphons and psalms coming from the common they are taken from the ferial psalter hence the antiphons and psalms of Monday were used; i.e. the antiphon Alleluia and psalm 114 sung to tone 1g2. Now the point I am trying to make is that under the new arrangement the 'from the chapter of the following' is rather meaningless as first Vespers of St. Pius V would use exactly the same psalmody with the post 1913 rules. In 'Ordo speak' V a cap seq, com praec now equates to V seq, com praec.

Mattins, of course, has three nocturns. In the first nocturn lessons are from the book of the Apocalypse that was began yesterday. The second nocturn has the usual historical lessons and the third nocturn a homily of St. Gregory the Great on St. Matthew's Gospel. At Lauds a commemoration of the Octave is made. At Prime the first announcement in the Martyrology is of tomorrow's Octave Day of the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Hymns of Iambic metre of course have the Paschaltide Doxology.

Mass follows Terce. The Mass formulary is Statuit ei Dominus and the Gospel of the talents. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave, the Credo is sung and the preface that of St. Joseph.

Vespers is first Vespers of the following Octave Day of St. Joseph with a commemoration of St. Pius V and St. John before the Latin Gate.

In the 'liturgical books' of 1962 St. Pius V has had the usual treatment and cut down to a third class feast with just one nocturn of three lessons and has no Gospel. No commemoration is made at Lauds. The hymns of the Little Hours do not have the Paschaltide Doxology. The Mass texts are all different except the collect. This is not actually a 1962 change but reflects a decree of the SRC in 1942 that made sweeping changes to about twenty-five days in the liturgical year. Popes were given their own proper with the effect that many ancient texts, e.g. such as Juravit unique to the feast of St. Gregory on March 12th, were simply swept aside. Change for the sake of change does appear to be very much a characteristic of that period. In the 1962 mass then the texts will be different, there is no Octave to commemorate, no Creed and the preface is the common one. Vespers will be of the feast without any commemorations.

One does rather wonder what St. Pius V would make of the many changes made to the Missal and Breviary he promulgated?

Monday, 4 May 2009

St. Monica


Today is the feast of St. Monica, Widow. The feast is of double rite. Today is also the sixth day in the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church. (Not, of course, to be confused with the modernist San Giuseppe Comunista).

Saint Monica was born in Roman Africa about 331 and brought up a Christian. She later married a pagan whom she converted to Christ by her virtues. She gave birth to three children including St. Augustine of Hippo. She died in the port of Ostia in 387. Her relics repose in the Church of Sant'Agostino in Rome.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the lessons appointed for yesterday, the third Sunday after Easter are read: Incipit liber Apocalypsis beati Joannis Apostli with the responsories of the Sunday. The lessons in the second and third nocturns are from the feast. At Lauds a commemoration of the Octave of St. Joseph is made. Hymns of Iambic metre of course have the Paschaltide Doxology.

Mass follows Terce. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave of St. Joseph, the Credo is sung and the preface is that of St. Joseph.

Vespers are from the chapter of the following feast of St. Pius V with a commemoration of St. Monica and of the Octave of St. Joseph.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Monica is stripped down to a third class feast of just one nocturn of three lessons. The Octave has been abolished. The Paschaltide Doxology is not sung. At Mass there is one collect, no Creed and the common preface is used. Vespers are of the feast without any commemoration of the following Office.

Art: An icon of St. Monica from Bridge Building Images.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Invention of the Holy Cross


Today, this year, the third Sunday after Easter, is the Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross. celebrated on May 3rd. The feast is a double of the second class. Today is also Sunday within the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church.

Again the church dons red vestments, as two days ago for the Apostles SS Philip and James. The Office of the feast began with first Vespers on Saturday afternoon. The Office is proper. At Vespers the magnificent hymn Vexilla regis is sung, last heard on Good Friday morning. However one stroph is changed so in the verse beginning O Crux ave spes unica instead of Hoc Passionis tempore there is sung Paschale quae fers gaudium. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Athanasius is sung and of the Sunday. As the feast is a double of the second class the Octave is not commemorated.

At Mattins the Office is proper. In the first nocturn the first lesson is from St. Paul to the Galatians with the poignant words:
"Christ have 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. The second nocturn 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. The image below, illustrating this event, is from the Church of the Holy Cross in Florence by Gaddi found on this interesting site.


In the third nocturn the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. As the feast occurs on a Sunday the ninth lesson is the homily of the Sunday also from St. Augustine. If the feast had fallen on a weekday the ninth lesson would have been of SS Alexander, Eventius, Theodulus & Juvenal.

At Lauds and the Hours the antiphons from Vespers are sung. At Lauds a commemoration is sung of the Sunday and of SS Alexander etc. Prime is festal. At the Little Hours, of course, the paschaltide doxology is sung in the hymns.

Mass follows Terce. The Gloria and Creed are sung. The Sunday is commemorated in all Masses but SS Alexander etc only in private ones. The preface of the Cross is sung and the last Gospel is that of the Sunday.


The picture above shows Fr. Anthony Cekada reading the proper last Gospel for the third Sunday after Easter (note the missal has been moved to the Gospel side) captured from this afternoon's live (14:00 BST) webcast from St. Gertrude the Great Church. A rather pleasant polyphonic Vidi aquam was sung. Weekday sung liturgy from St. Gertude's can be watched 16:25 BST.

As today used to be the feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph before the 1913 changes a decree of the Sacred Congregation for Rites (4308) allows all Masses except the Conventual Mass to be Votive Masses of St. Joseph. The Mass Adjutor of the feast is sung in white vestments. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Invention of the Holy Cross, the third collect of the Sunday. The Credo is sung, the preface is of St. Joseph and the last Gospel is that of the Invention of the Holy Cross.

Vespers are of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross with a commemoration of the following Office of St. Monica and of the Sunday.

In the '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. Even if it had not been abolished it would not have been kept on the Sunday but merely commemorated. So the Sunday cut-down liturgy is celebrated: no commemortions at Vespers, Mattins reduced to one nocturn etc., essentialy the same as the 'ordinary form' of the 1962 rite. The Paschaltide Doxology (and tone) is not sung at the Horae Minorae. As for the feast and octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph most 1962ists are oblivious or ignorant of its existence and history.

Art(Top): The Exaltation of the Cross from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry from Christus Rex.

Friday, 1 May 2009

SS Philip and James Apostles


Today is the feast of the Holy Apostles SS Philip and James. The feast is a double of the second class.

In the Western rites SS Philip and James have been honoured together as their relics were placed together in the confessio of the Church of the Apostles in Rome at its consecration in the sixth century. The anniversay of this, the church's dedication, is May 1st. 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 above photograph shows the tomb of the Holy Apostles Saints Philip and James in the confessio of the Church and was taken by Rubricarius in the early 1990s when he had been invited to examine some archive material of the former Sacred Congregation for Rites in Rome.)

The feast began with first Vespers yesterday afternoon. The antiphons were proper to the feast, the rest of the Office from the Common of Apostles in Paschaltide. A commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Catharine of Siena was made but, as the feast is a double of the second class, without commemoration of the Octave of St. Joseph.

At Mattins there are the usual three nocturns. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of letter of St. James from the fourth Sunday after Easter. The Gospel in the third nocturn is from St. John and the pericope 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. At Lauds and at the Hours the antiphons from Vespers are used. There are no commemorations at Lauds. Prime is festal.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria, Credo and preface of the Apostles are sung. In second Vespers a commemoration is made of the following Office of St. Athanasius.

The 'liturgical books of 1962' contain the execrable '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). Clearly feasts of antiquity were not considered particularly sacred - well neither was much else! So from 1956 the beautiful feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph and its Octave were scrapped and today's venerable and ancient feast of the Holy Apostles cast aside to the first free day, May 11th. On May 1st was placed perhaps the nadir of two thousand years of Christian liturgy with a modern liturgical compostion that instead of honouring St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church made him some type of shop steward. The Office is truly appalling with lessons about multitudes of working men gathering in St. Peter's Square. It really is atrocious rubbish. In an excellent article on the highly inorganic Pian changes Fr. Francesco Ricossa quotes a Jean Crete:

"Fr. Bonneterre recognizes that this decree [Cum nostra] signaled the beginning of the subversion of the liturgy, and yet seeks to excuse Pius XII on the grounds that at the time no one, except those who were party to the subversion, was able to realize what was going on. I can, on the contrary, give a categorical testimony on this point. I realized very well that this decree was just the beginning of a total subversion of the liturgy, and I was not the only one. All the true liturgists, all the priests who were attached to tradition, were dismayed.

"The Sacred Congregation of Rites was not favorable toward this decree, the work of a special commission. When, five weeks later, Pius XII announced the feast of St. Joseph the Worker (which caused the ancient feast of Ss. Philip and James to be transferred, and which replaced the Solemnity of St Joseph, Patron of the Church), there was open opposition to it.

“For more than a year the Sacred Congregation of Rites refused to compose the office and Mass for the new feast. Many interventions of the pope were necessary before the Congregation of Rites agreed, against their will, to publish the office in 1956 — an office so badly composed that one might suspect it had been deliberately sabotaged. And it was only in 1960 that the melodies of the Mass and office were composed melodies based on models of the worst taste.

"We relate this little-known episode to give an idea of the violence of the reaction to the first [? hardly] liturgical reforms of Pius XII".

If any reader knows who Jean Crete was/is I would be most grateful if they could kindly inform me.

I understand, on good authority, that liturgically minded Romans refer to this parody of St. Joseph as 'San Giuseppe Comunista'.

One of my happiest memories of the late Mgr. Alfred Gilbey is of his early morning Mass on May 1st. Mgr. Gilbey would come into St. Wilfrid's Chapel at the Brompton Oratory, radiant in red vestments, and approach the small, loyal, congregation and say "Today is the feast of the Holy Apostles Saints Philip and James. For some curious reason some of you may find Jerz the Werz [I think to pronounce a title such as Joseph the Worker would have been offensive to the good Monsignor's refined lips] on this day but that has been abolished and Saints Philip and James restored to their rightful date." Alas, not quite true although in the 1970-2002 calendar Joe the Worker has been reduced to an 'optional memoria' and SS Philip and James place on May 3rd. Certainly there is a lot of restoration to do...

Pray for us Holy Apostles! Pray for us Holy Patron of the Universal Church! Pray that we may be rid of the stain and stench of the 1962 books.

Art: Melkite Church in Australia