Sunday, 30 May 2010

Trinity Sunday


Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. It is also the first Sunday after Pentecost. The feast is now a Double of the First Class having been raised to that rank in the reforms of 1911-13. Before that it was a Double of the Second Class and before that a double. Its origins appear to be as a local feast that originated in Liege in the tenth century and its celebration spreading in northern France and England. The Franciscan John Peckham revised the texts in the thirteenth century. In many local rites (and in the Dominican rite) Sundays were counted after Trinity rather than Pentecost.

The feast began yesterday with first Vespers on Saturday marking the beginning of the Summer (Aestiva) volume of the Breviarium Romanum. The Office is proper with the antiphons Gloria tibi Trinitas etc sung with Pss. 101, 110, 111, 112 and 116. The chapter, O altitudo, and hymn, Jam sol recedit, will be used at Vespers on Saturdays for all the Sundays after Pentecost. The antiphon on the Magnificat, Gratias tibi, Deus etc, and the collect are proper. A commemoration was sung of the first Sunday after Pentecost. After Vespers the antiphon Salve Regina is sung for the first time this year.

At Mattins there are three nocturns. The invitatory is proper, Deum verum, unum in Trinitate, et Trinitatm in Unitate, Venite adoremus. The antiphons and responsories are proper. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken from the sixth chapter of the Prophet Isaiah. In the second nocturn they are taken from the Book of Bishop Fulgentius on faith and in the third nocturn from a homily of St. Gregory Nazianzen The ninth lesson is of the first Sunday after Pentecost. At Lauds a commemoration of the Sunday is sung.

At Prime the festal psalms are sung (53, 118i & 118ii). The Creed of St. Athanasius, Quicumque, is sung after the last stanza of Ps. 118. Prior to Pius X Quicumque was sung on all Sundays throughout the year when the Office was Dominical. In many Uses, e.g. Sarum, it was sung on many more days in the year too.

Mass is sung after Terce. Before Mass at the sprinkling of lustral water the antiphon Asperges me returns. The Mass is proper, Benedicta sit. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday, the Credo is sung, the preface that of the Most Holy Trinity (used for all Sundays not having a proper preface after 1752), and the last Gospel of the Sunday.

In second Vespers a commemoration of the following feast of St. Angela Mericiae and of the first Sunday after Pentecost is sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there is no commemoration of the first Sunday after Pentecost at Vespers, Mattins or Lauds. The eighth lesson is split into two to make a ninth lesson for the feast. At Prime Quicumque is sung only on this Sunday in the 1962 rite. At Mass there is no commemoration of the Sunday, and no proper last Gospel.

Art: Rublev's Icon from Wikipedia. The Icon depicts the Hospitality of Abraham and which has been interpreted as representing the Trinity.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Ember Saturday in the Pentecost Octave

Ember Saturday in the Pentecost Octave is of semi-double rite and the last of the summer Quarter-Tense days. The liturgical colour is the red of the Octave.

The Office is as on the feast, except for those parts that are proper, but the antiphons at Mattins and Lauds are not doubled. At Mattins the invitatory, hymn, antiphons and psalms are those that were sung on the feast. The versicle and response are proper to the day. The lessons of the homily are taken from the writings of St. Ambrose on St. Luke's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper to the day. A commemoration is sung of St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi.

At the Hours all is celebrated as on Pentecost Sunday. At Terce the hymn is Veni Creator. The Pentecost Doxology is sung at the conclusion of hymns of the Hours.

Mass is sung after None, as on the Ember Days of the other seasons. The Mass is proper with the introit Caritas Dei etc. After the Kyrie there are a series of five structural units comprising of the invitation Oremus, followed by a collect, O.T. reading and Alleluia. The readings are from Joel, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus again and Daniel. After the pericope from Daniel the Alleluia is a fragment of the hymn of the Three Men in the fiery furnace, Alleluia, Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum et laudabilis in saecula. The the Gloria is sung followed by the collect Deus, qui tribus pueris. After this collect St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi is commemorated. The sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus is sung but without Alleluia at its conclusion, the Creed is sung, the preface, Hanc igitur and communicantes are of Pentecost.

The Mass of Ember Saturday in Pentecost was the favourite liturigical day of a late friend by the name of Paddy. Paddy was a somewhat eccentric character who enjoyed the friendship of numerous cardinals, bishops, canons and other clergy. Paddy, generally, liked the Little Hours and ferial Office in choir and when such were generally available avoided festal Office when copes were worn. He did moderate his taste when the availablity of Office functions diminished. However, he would not attend a Sunday Mass that lacked Gloria and Creed so went to the Byzantine rite in Advent and Lent (despite that not having a Gloria, except at Mattins, either). Paddy loved the Ember Saturday in Pentecost as "it has everything! Extra readings, Gloria Sequence and Creed". May Paddy (Patrick Hasset) enjoy the Heavenly Liturgy which hopefully meets with his satisfaction.

After Mass has been sung the Office of the Octave of Pentecost and Paschaltide come to an end. At the noon bell the last Regina Caeli is sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the distinction between the rank of the feast and Monday and Tuesday with the rest of the Octave has been lost with all days being first class and excluding all commemorations. The antiphons are doubled at both the Greater and Little Hours. The Pentecost Doxology is not sung at the Little Hours. A 'mini-Mass' Ember Day is permitted whereby only one OT reading, that from Joel, is read.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Ember Friday in the Pentecost Octave

Ember Friday in the Octave of Pentecost is the second of the summer Quarter-Tense days. It is of semi-double rite. The liturgical colour is the red of the Octave.

The Office is as on the feast, except for those parts that are proper, but the antiphons at Mattins, Lauds and Vespers are not doubled. At Mattins the invitatory, hymn, antiphons and psalms are those that were sung on the feast. The versicle and response are proper to the day. The lessons of the homily are taken from the writings of St. Ambrose on St. Luke's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper to the day. A commemoration is sung of St. Augustine of Canterbury.

At the Hours all is celebrated as on Pentecost Sunday. At Terce the hymn is Veni Creator. The Pentecost Doxology is sung at the conclusion of hymns of Iambic metre.

Mass is sung after None, as on the Ember Days of the other seasons. Unlike the other Ember Days the deacon and subdeacon do not wear folded chasubles as the colour of the Octave is used. The Mass is proper with the introit Repleatur os meum etc. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Augustine. The sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus is sung, the Creed is sung, the preface, Hanc igitur and communicantes are of Pentecost.

Vespers are as on the feast, except the antiphons are not doubled. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect are proper. Commemorations are sung of St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi and St. Augustine.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Thursday within the Octave of Pentecost

Thursday within the Octave of Pentecost is of semi-double rite.

At the nocturn of Mattins the antiphons, of the feast, are not doubled. The versicle and response before the lessons are proper to the day. The Gospel pericope is from the ninth chapter of St. Luke's Gospel and the homily is from St. Augustine's sixth book on that chapter. At Lauds the antiphons and psalms as sung on the feast are used, but the antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper. Commemorations are sung of the Venerable Bede and St. John I.

At the Hours all is as on the feast. The Pentecost Doxology is sung at the conclusion of the hymns, at Terce the hymn is Veni, Creator.

Mass is sung after Terce. Note the difference between the Ember Days. The formulary is proper, Spiritus Domini. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Venerable Bede, the third of St. John. The Sequence is sung, the Creed is sung, the preface, Hanc igitur and communicantes are of Pentecost.

Vespers are as on the feast, but the antiphons are not doubled. The antiphon on the Magnificat is proper. Commemorations are sung of St. Augustine (of Canterbury) and the Venerable Bede.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Ember Wednesday in the Pentecost Octave

Today is Ember Wednesday in the Octave of Pentecost, one of the summer Quarter-Tense days. It is of semi-double rite. The liturgical colour is the red of the Octave.

The Office is as on the feast, except for those parts that are proper, but the antiphons at Mattins, Lauds and Vespers are not doubled. At Mattins the invitatory, hymn, antiphons and psalms are those that were sung on the feast and the past two days. The versicle and response are proper to the day. The lessons of the homily are taken from the writings of St. Augustine on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper to the day. Commemorations are sung of St. Philip Neri and St. Eleutherius.

At the Hours all is celebrated as on Pentecost Sunday. At Terce the hymn is Veni Creator. The Pentecost Doxology is sung at the conclusion of hymns of Iambic metre.

Mass is sung after None, as on the Ember Days of the other seasons. Unlike the other Ember Days the deacon and subdeacon do not wear folded chasubles as the colour of the Octave is used. The Mass is proper. After the Kyrie Oremus is sung but without Flectamus genua. A collect follows, Mentes nostras, followed by lesson from the Acts of the Apostles. After the lesson an Alleluia is sung followed by the Gloria in excelsis then the collect Praesta, quaesumus. The collects are sung of St. Philip Neri and St. Eleutherius. The sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus is sung, the Creed is sung, the preface, Hanc igitur and communicantes are of Pentecost.

Vespers are as on the feast, except the antiphons are not doubled. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect are proper. Commemorations are sung of St. Bede, St. Philip Neri and St. John I.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Monday within the Octave of Pentecost

Monday and Tuesday within the Octave of Pentecost are both Doubles of the First Class, from Wednesday to Saturday the days are ranked as semi-double rite.

On Monday everything is sung as on the feast. There is only one nocturn at Mattins (c.f. the Octave of Pascha). The versicle and response before the lessons are proper to the day. The Gospel pericope is from the tenth chapter of St. John and the homily is from St. Augustine. At Lauds the antiphons and psalms as sung on the feast are used, the antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper.

At the Hours all is as on the feast. The Pentecost Doxology is sung at the conclusion of the hymns, at Terce the hymn is Veni, Creator.

Mass is sung after Terce. The formulary is proper for each day within the Octave. The Gloria is sung, there is one collect, the Sequence is sung, the Creed is sung, the preface, Hanc igitur and communicantes are of Pentecost.

Vespers are as on the feast, the antiphon on the Magnificat is proper.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are few differences than usual (except of course for the standard ones in the Office and Mass e.g. bows to the altar Cross, repititon of texts, the Confiteor before Communion etc). The Pentecost Doxology is omitted at the Hours and at the Hours the antiphons are doubled.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Pentecost Sunday


The feast of Pentecost is one of the greatest feasts in the Liturgical Year ranking with Pascha in being a Double of the first class with a privileged Octave of the first order.

After the beautiful ceremonies of the Vigil yesterday morning (my count of those celebrated in Southern England has now risen to five) the feast began with First Vespers in the afternoon. On this great feast the rubrics require the most solemn celebration of Vespers with the Hebdomadarius assisted by six pluvialistae in pariti. The solemn tone of Deus, in adjutorium is sung, the antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc are proper. During the singing of the hymn, Veni, Creator Spiritus, all kneel during the first verse. All hymns have the Doxology Deo Patri sit gloria, Et Filio, qui a mortuis, Surrexit ac Paraclito, In saeculorum saecula. Veni Creator is sung in tone 8, the other hymns of the Office in tone 1.

Mattins for the feast, and Octave, is like Pascha in only having one nocturn of three psalms and three lessons. The invitatory is Alleluia, Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, Venite adoremus Alleluia. The antiphons Factus est etc are sung with Pss. 47, 67 & 103. The lessons are from a homily of St. Gregory the Great on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc, are the same as at Vespers and the Dominical psalms are sung.

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

At Mass the Gloria is sung and there is only one collect. After the Alleluia the beautiful sequence Veni, Sancte Spiritus is sung. The Credo is sung. The preface, Communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper to the feast and used throughout the Octave. According to the rubrics of the Gradulae four cantors lead the singing during Mass. In some places, particularly France, the practice found in so many medieval uses is followed where on great feasts the cantors wear copes and the Crucifer and acolytes tunicles.

Second Vespers are the same as for First Vespers except for the versicle and response and antiphon on the Magnificat. There are no commemorations.

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

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Vigil of Pentecost

The Vigil of Penetecost is a semidouble of the first class. The ceremonies before Mass, very similar to Holy Saturday, are linked historically to the practice of baptisms at Pentecost.

The liturgical colour of the Office is white. 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. 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 altar candles are lit. At Prime the first entry in the Martyrology is that of the great feast of Pentecost. After None the altar candles are extinguished and the white antependium is removed.

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 Epistle corner. 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.

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 remove 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 they 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.

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 communicantes and Hanc igitur are of Pentecost.

In the afternoon solemn first Vespers of Pentecost are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Vigil of Pentecost has been excoriated from the liturgical books. 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. The prophecies and blessing of the font are all gone. The Vigil ceremonies were supressed in churches where the, then 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 clearly lest it reminded the faithful of the traditional Ordo. Mass has the introit added (previously this was only used in private Masses).

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Octave Day of the Ascension

Today is the Octave Day of the Ascension of the LORD. The Octave Day is of greater double rite. The semi-double feast of St. Bernardine of Siena is simplified and is commemorated at both Vespers, Lauds and Mass.

The Office began with first Vespers yesterday afternoon. The antiphons Viri Galilaei etc are sung with the psalms, chapter and hymn that were used at first Vespers on the feast. A commemoration is sung of St. Bernardine and of the preceding Office of St. Peter Caelestine.

At Mattins all is sung as on the feast except the lessons. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the fourth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon of St. Augustine on the Ascension and St. Gregory provides the homily on St. Mark's Gospel in the third nocturn. At Lauds the antiphons Viri Galilaei etc are sung with the Dominical psalms, a commemoration is sung of St. Bernardine.

At the Hours the Doxology of the Ascension is sung at the conclusion of the hymns. At Prime the festals psalms are sung.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Bernardine. The Creed is sung, the preface and communicantes are of the Ascension.

At second Vespers a commemoration is sung of St. Bernardine.

Tomorrow is rather a curiosity, from a liturigcal perspective. Friday after the Octave Day of the Ascension is of semi-double rite and in some ways is treated like another day within the Octave. The Office is that of the previous Sunday. The psalms and antiphons at Mattins are those used on the Ascension. Mattins has three nocturns. At Lauds the antiphons Viri Galilaei are sung with the Dominical psalms. Although of semi-double rite the Commemoration of the Cross is not sung.

At Prime the festal psalms are sung, the Dominical preces are omitted. At the other Hours the Sunday psalms are sung. Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass is Exaudi, Domine as sung on the previous Sunday. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is Concede nos, the third collect Ecclesiae or for the pope. The preface is of the Ascension. At Vespers the Commemoration of the Cross is omitted and at Compline the preces are not sung. When a feast of nine lessons occurs the Friday after the Ascension is commorated in the Office and at Mass.

In 'the liturgical books of 1962' the Octave has of course been abolished. St. Bernardine of Siena becomes a third class feast of one nocturn. The Friday is a fourth class ferial day, the Mass is of the Ascension without the communicantes and with only one collect.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension


Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension 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 not doubled. The Gospel pericope from St. John contains the beautiful words of the LORD promising the gift of the Paraclete.

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. Commemoration were then sung of the preceding Office of St. John Baptist de la Salle, St. Ubald and the Octave. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Ascension Doxology, the Dominical preces were omitted because of the occuring double feasts and Octave.

At Mattins the invitatory, hymn and antiphons, Elevata est etc., are as on the feast, the antiphons not being doubled. In the first nocturn the lessons are the incipit of the First Epistle of St. John, the responsories are of the feast. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon on the Ascension by St. Augustine and the 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 St. Ubald and the Octave is sung.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung to the melody for the Ascension Doxology (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 of St. Ubald, the third of the Octave. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Octave.

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

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave had been stripped from the feast in 1956so today becomes the Sunday after the Ascension. At Vespers on Saturday the psalms of Saturday were sung under a single antiphon Alleluia, no commemorations were sung. 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 are no commemorations.

At Prime the Dominical psalms are sung (117, 118i & 118ii) and the short lesson is, surprisingly, Viri Galilaei for Ascensiontide. The hymns of the Hours do not have the Ascension Doxology. In Mass there is only one collect. The preface of the Ascension is sung but not the communicantes in the Canon. Vespers are of the Sunday, the psalms sung under one antiphon, there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Within the Octave of the Ascension

Today is the second day within the Octave of the Ascension. Days within the Octave are of semi-double rite. The Office is celebrated as on the feast yesterday but the antiphons at Mattins, Lauds and Vespers are not doubled. Proper lessons are given for each day within the Octave.

The psalms sung are those used on the feast. Mattins has three nocturns: in the first nocturn the lessons are from occurring scripture. Today the ninth lesson is of St. Boniface and a commemoration of his feast is sung at Lauds and Mass. 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 is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect of St. Boniface, the third collect Concede nos. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes are proper to the Ascension.

Vespers are of the following feast of St. John Baptist de la Salle (the ferial psalms are sung) with a commemoration of the Octave.

Within the Octave feasts of nine lessons are celebrated in preference to the Office of the Octave, in which case the Octave is commemorated at Vespers, Lauds and Mass. The Ascension Doxology is sung at all hymns of Iambic metre regardless of feast. Unless has feast has a proper preface the preface and communicantes of the Ascension are said. When, for example, a double feast is celebrated the ferial psalms are sung in the Office whilst when the lower ranking day within the Octave is celebrated they are proper, a feature of the post 1911-13 Breviary.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave has been abolished from 1956. Today becomes a fourth class ferial day with St. Boniface reduced to a commemoration. Vespers today are ferial without a commemoration of the following feast and without the Commemoration of the Cross. Double feasts have been cut down to third class feasts of one nocturn. Although 'Ascensiontide' the Ascension Doxology is not sung at the Hours. At Mass the preface of the Ascension is sung but the communicantes for the Ascension is not said.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

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 Viri Galilaei etc were sung. The conclusion of the hymn, Salutis humanae Sator, is never changed. At Compline Te lucis is sung to the tone of the Ascension Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui victor in caelum redis, Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper: Alleluia, Christum Dominum ascendentem in caelum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. The Office 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 extinguished. 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 antiphon on the Magnificat, Pater manifestavi at first Vespers, O Rex gloriae at second.

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 festal tone. The feast's octave was stripped away in 1956.

Icon: Bulgarian 16th century from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

SS Nereus and Companions - Vigil of the Ascension - Lesser Litanies

The feast of SS. Nereus and Companions is of semi-double rite. Today is also the Vigil of the Ascension and the last day, the Wednesday, of the Rogations or Lesser Litanies.

At Mattins the lessons in the first nocturn are Fratres: Debitores, taken from the Common of Martrys in Paschaltide. In the third nocturn the ninth lesson is a homily for the Vigil (its three lessons may be read as one)from St. Augustine. At Lauds a commemoration of the Vigil is sung (the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper, the prayer from the preceding Sunday) and the Commemoration of the Cross is sung.

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. The first entry in the Martyrology is the announcement of the feast of the Ascension tomorrow.

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 SS Nereus and Companions 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 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 is of SS Nereus, the third of the Vigil, Benedicamus Domino as the dismissal and last Gospel of the Vigil.

In Cathedral and Collegiate Churches three Masses are celebrated: one of the Vigil, one of the feast and the Rogation Mass after the Procession. In the Rogation Mass the second collect is Concede nos, the third collect Ecclesiae.

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 SS Nereus and Companions. St. Nereus is commemorated at Lauds, the Commemoration of the Cross is suppressed. At the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology and tone are not sung for the hymns, at Prime the Dominical preces are omitted. St. Nereus is commemorated in Low Mass.

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 suppressed, the Vigil is commemorated but not St. Nereus, Ite missa est is sung as the dismissal. The Doxology of the Ascension is not sung at Compline or the other Little Hours.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Getting the colour right


A personal musing after my comment about not wishing to see too much red from non-liturgical events on the feast of St. John before the Latin Gate.

The Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, is perhaps the most beautiful of all birds found in the United Kingdom. Rubricarius is fortunate to see many within a few hundred yards of his London flat. Its scintillating, wondrous, blue and dash of orange seem the colouration that reflects political issues today in the United Kingdom.

A liturgical post on the colour blue to follow - some time!

Rogation Tuesday

Tuesday of the Rogations, this year, falls on a ferial day of Paschaltide. The Office is of simple rite.

At the nocturn of Mattins the lessons are from the fourth chapter of the first Epistle of St. Peter that was begun on Sunday. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper, Oportebat pati Christum etc. The Commemoration of the Cross is sung.

At Prime and the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology is sung at the conclusion of the hymns. At Prime the Dominical preces are sung.

A Procession takes place, where possible, before Mass. During the Procession the petitions are sung entire by the cantors and then repeated by the choir and people. Mass is of the Rogations celebrated in violet vestments. There is no Gloria, the second collect Concede nos, the third collect Ecclesiae etc. There is no Creed, the ferial tones are used and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino.

Vespers are of the following feast of SS Nereus and Companions, with the Commemoration of the Cross and the Dominical preces are sung at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' today become the feast of SS Philip and James, shamefully ejected from May 1st by Pius XII in 1956. Mass is of the Rogations with a commemoration of SS Philip and James when the Procession takes place, Ite missa est is sung as the dismissal. When the Procession takes place the vernacular made be used when the people are present, the petitions are not duplicated. The prayers at the foot of the altar are suppressed. Those not present for the Procession are not obliged to say the Litany.

Monday, 10 May 2010

St Antoninus - Rogation Monday - Lesser Litanies

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

At Mattins, in the first nocturn, as there is no occurring Scripture for Rogation Monday the lessons are taken from the Common of Confessors, Fidelis sermo etc. The ninth lesson is of the commemorated Rogation Monday rather than SS Gordian and Epipmachus. At Lauds commemorations are sung of both the feria and SS Gordian and Epimachus.

The Little Hours of course have the Paschaltide Doxology sung at their hymns. The Domincal preces are omitted at Prime due to the occurring double feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, a commemoration of the feria is sung, followed by a third collect of SS Gordian and Epimachus. The preface is 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 only one Mass is sung and there is the Procession the Mass Exaudivit is sung with commemorations of St. Antoninus and SS Gordian and Epimachus with Benedicamus Domino as the dismissal. Those with an obligation to the Office are bound to say the Litanies if they do not attend the Procession.

Vespers are of the feast without any commemorations.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' St Antoninus is cut down to a third class feast of three lessons. 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. SS Gordian and Epimachus are commemorated at Lauds and Low Mass. At the Little Hours the Paschaltide Doxology and its tone are not sung. Vespers are without any commemorations.

If the Procession takes place the Litany may be sung in the vernacular if the faithful are present. The petitions 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.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Fifth Sunday after Pascha


Tthe fifth Sunday after Pascha is of semi-double rite. The Gospel pericopes from St. John describe how the LORD tells His disciples to ask for anything in His name after He has ascended to the Father.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms of Saturday were sung under the single antiphon Alleluia. Commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of the Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel and of St. Gregory Nazianzen. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted due to the occurring double feasts.

At Mattins in the invitatory and hymn are as on the other Sundays of Paschaltide. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the first Epistle of St. Peter. In the second nocturn the lessons are from the writing of St. Ambrose on faith in the Resurrection and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Augustine on St. John's Gospel on the LORD's words "Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you." At Lauds a commemoration is sung of St. Gregory Nazianzen.

At the Hours hymns of Iambic metre are sung with the Paschal Doxology and tone. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted because of the occuring double feast.

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

At Vespers commemorations are sung of the following Office of St. Antoninus, St. Gregory Nazianzen and SS Gordian and Epimachus.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers. The feast of the Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel has been abolished. Mattins is cut down to one nocturn. At Lauds there are no commemorations. Hymns at the Little Hours do not have the Paschal Doxology. At Mass there is one collect.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel


Today is the feast of The Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel. It is greater-double rite.

The feast began with first Vespers on Friday afternoon. The antiphons and psalms were proper to the feast, the fifth psalms being Ps. 137 as second Vespers cannot be sung this year. The hymn was proper to St. Michael and its conclusion was not changed to the Paschaltide Doxology. A commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Stanislaus was sung.

Mattins has three nocturns. The invitatory and 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, the festal psalms are sung at Prime.

Mass follows Terce. The Gloria and Credo are both sung. Vespers are of the Sunday with a commemoration of the St. Michael and St. Gregory Nazianzen.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Michael's feast has been abolished. The Office is the Saturday Office of the BVM. Vespers are without any commemoration.

Friday, 7 May 2010

'Bringing the Mass to the People' Competition

Recently a comment was made regarding another post which sparked a few neural synapses in Rubricarius' old brain.

'The 1962 rite on the other hand mocks the traditional liturgy. If I recall correctly the turning point [for the commenter] was reading Fr McManus' Handbook for the new rubrics (1961), where in the introductory chapter he suggests future changes, effectively giving a perfect description of the 1970 rite. It somehow seemed dishonest to accept the 1950-62 changes, but not the 1963-70 changes to which they were clearly leading.'


I recall reading the same passage in McManus' book twenty or so years ago. (Incidentally, Mgr. Frederick R. 'Fred' McManus, R.I.P., was a delightful man to correspond with and kindly gave me his own copy of his book 'Pontifical Rite of the Restored Order of Holy Week' for strict reference purposes, not use, of course!) In his 1961 work 'Handbook for the New Rubrics' McManus indicated a number of likely revisions as the liturgical reform progressed as alluded to above. McManus lists what he regards as likely 'future developments':

'...an improvement ofthe selection of scriptural lessons, preferably in a cycle of several years; the celebration of the fore-Mass in choro..., the use of the vernacular languages for lessons, chants, the fore-Mass or even more of the liturgical rite; the chant or loud recitation of certain parts..., the elimination of preparatory prayers and of any rites after the blessing, the reduction of the offertory prayers of the celebrant etc, the introduction of a rite of true concelebration, the addition of some form of the oratio fidelium at the conclusion of the liturgy of the Word, provision of prefaces directly related to the paschal mystery, and, perhaps above all, rubrical and textual concern for the participation of the body of the faithful.' ('Handbook for the New Rubrics', Geoffrey Chapman, London, 1961 p.13)

McManus references a book by a fellow member of the American Liturgical Movement, H.A. Reinhold titled 'Bringing the Mass to the People' first published by Helicon in the USA in 1960. It was finding a copy of this in 1991 that confirmed my thinking on the history of twentieth century liturgical reform. By chance I opened the book at 'Appendix A'.


"A resume of the liturgical resolutions of the liturgical congresses at Maria-Laach (1951), Ste Odile (1952) and Lugano (1953).
This resume is taken from the official report on the Third Liturgical Congress, held from September 15 to 18 in 1953, that was prepared by Luigi Agustoni and Johannes Wagner (published at Lugano by the Centro di Liturgia Pastorale) which sums up the two preceding congresses, incorporating the main resolutions taken at these meetings.
The first seventeen of these proposals had already been mentioned at the Maria Laach meeting two years previously.

1. Aboliton of the present duplication of readings.
2. Omission of the Judica, etc.
3. The second part of the Mass should be called: the Liturgy of the Word. It should be carried out in choro, not at the altar.
4. Never more than one Collect (with rare exceptions).
5. A three- or four-year cycle of Lessons and Gospels for Sundays.
6. Less frequent recitation of the Credo.
7. The Prex fidelium (Bidding Prayers) - should be reintroduced as the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Word. Omit the Dominus vobiscum at the beginning of the Offertory.
8. The sacred vessels should not be on the altar before the Offertory.
9. More Prefaces, but only those which refer to the Memoria Passionis.
10. The priest should wait for the end of the Sanctus to continue the Mass. The different Amens during the Canon should be eliminated.
11. No Confiteor, etc., at Communion time.
12. No Last Gospel. The Last Blessing ends the Mass.
13. Rename the Secreta: "Oratio super oblata", and make it the audible conclusion of the Offertory.
14. Sing the Great Doxology at the end of the Canon; eliminate its five signs of the cross and elevate the two Sacred Species during the Doxology. No genuflection before this elevation and perhaps no genuflection at all.
15. After the Pater noster: regroup the prayers and ceremonies and find a way to have the congregation participate in the Pax.
16. Develop the interval between Communion and Post-communion (prayers and singing, consult other liturgies).
17. Regulate the use of Ite, missa est and Benedicamus Domino (see the new regulation on Holy Thursday).

Proposals 18-26 had already been mentioned at the Conference at Ste Odile.
18. The revised Easter Vigil is the model of the principles which should govern future reforms.
19. Sing or recite aloud the Per ipsum (Great Doxology); no signs of the cross; elevate the two Species until the Amen of the people; no genuflection here, or only after the Amen [repeating no. 14].
20. No Amen after the Pater noster; sing or recite aloud the Libera nos; no sign of the cross with the empty paten, no kiss [anticipating the projects at Lugano].
21. Place the first Domine Jesu Christe immediately after the Libera (or suppress it entirely); follow the Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum with no ceremony of the Host; no response of the people; give Pax afterward (this is spelled out in detail on pp. 242-3 of the report).
22. Breaking of the Host takes place after the Pax, with no accompanying ceremony, while the congregation sings the Agnus Dei; at low Mass the priest says it after the Fractio. The two Communion prayers should then follow or be suppressed (see pp.242-4 of the report).
23. The celebrant receives half the Host, the other half is either given to those who serve at the altar or distributed with the ciborium.
24. No Confiteor, etc., at Communion time; shortening of the "Corpus" prayer during the distribution (p. 239 of the report elaborates the 1951 Maria Laach resolution).
25. Have the Communio sung solemnly during the distribution, even in the vernacular.
26. At the end of the Mass: Ite missa est (only), Deo gratias, kiss of the altar (no Placeat), blessing, and people's Amen. No Last Gospel or Leonine prayers.

These resolutions were proposed to the Sacred Congregation of Rites, and are the basis of most of the suggestions made in this book. We ask the readers to keep in mind, especially when this book seems to be bold or radical, that the company we are keeping consists of the cream of liturgical scholars." (Capitals and italics as in original)


Bearing in mind the above was published in 1960 (and detailed accounts of the Congreses had appeared in Ephemerides Liturgicae and 'Worship' years earlier) before even the 1962 edition of the MR appeared I am offering a prize of either a copy of Ordo 2010 or a copy of Ordo 2011 (when printed) to the first reader who can indicate when the various proposals Reinhold describes were first adopted in the official liturgical books. Obviously some were adopted partially e.g. in the new Holy Week and then extended for general use.

The English writer Archdale A. King referred to the plans discussed at Lugano in his own book 'Liturgy of the Roman Church' (1957): ‘A revision of the solemn Mass, little short of revolutionary[my emphasis], was discussed at an international liturgical congress held at Lugano in September 1953, with the intention of simplifying the rite, removing what is redundant or superfluous, and giving the faithful a more active part in the liturgy.’ It does seem a rather classic example of the current revisionism that what King described as 'revolutionary' is now described as 'organic development' of the liturgy in some quarters. What is odd is how 'organic development' ceases when the same people who sat on a committee before the Council sat on a committee after the Council!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

St John before the Latin Gate


The feast of St. John before the Latin Gate is of greater-double rite. The feast appears in the Gregorian Sacramentaries on May 6th and and is the dedication festival for the fifth century church in Rome named after the feast. The feast commemorates the 'martyrdom' of St. John the Evangelist as described by Tertullian in the year AD 92. On the orders of Domitian St. John was cast into a cauldron of hot oil yet emerged unscathed and was exiled to the island of Patmos. Because of this 'martyrdom' of St. John the liturgical colour for the feast is red - hopefully that colour will not be matched by the winning party in the United Kingdom's General Election today!

The feast began with first Vespers on Wednesday. The antiphons Sancti tui Domine etc were sung along with the psalms found in the Common of Apostles in Paschaltide. The chapter, Stabunt justi, and the Office hymn, Tristes erant Apostoli, were again from the Common. The antiphon on the Magnificat, In ferventis olei dolium, and collect were proper to the feast. A commemoration was sung of St. Pius V. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Paschaltide Doxology and the Domincial preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum, Venite adoremus. The Office hymn is again Tristes erant Apostoli and in the first nocturn the antiphon Stabunt justi is sung along with the psalms from the Common. The lessons for the first nocturn are the Incipit of the first Epistle of St. John, Quod fuit, found on Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, which are sung with the responsories from the Common. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the writings of St. Jerome against Jovinian, in the fifth lesson St. Jerome relates Tertullian's account of St. John's 'martyrdom' . In the third nocturn the homily on St. Matthew's Gospel is again from St. Jerome. At Lauds the antiphons Sancti tui etc are again sung, this time with the Sunday psalms. The chapter and Office hymn, Paschale mundo gaudium, and the antiphon on the Benedictus, Filiae Jerusalem, are from the Common.

At the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology is sung at the conclusion of the Office hymns. The antiphons Sancti tui etc are sung at the Hours. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), the short lesson is Scimus quoniam. The Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass Protexisti is sung. The Gloria is sung, there is one collect, the Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Apostles.

In second Vespers a commeration is sung of the following Office of St. Stanislaus.


The church, in Rome, above, of San Giovanni a Porta Latina was dedicated in honour of this feast and used to be a liturgical station on Saturday in Passion Week.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of St. John before the Latin Gate has been abolished despite its appearance in seventh century liturgical texts and a fifth century church being dedicated to the event. Today becomes another fourth class ferial day. Again, as on SS Philip and James day and Holy Cross day even the Book of Common Prayer retained the feast in its Kalendar although it is absent from CW.

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Invention of the Holy Cross


Today's feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross is a Double of the Second Class. The feast celebrates the discovery of the Holy Cross by the Empress Helena.

The Office of the feast began with first Vespers yesterday, described in the post below. The Office is proper. At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem crucifixum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. In the first nocturn the antiphon Inventae Crucis etc is sung, 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. In the second nocturn the antiphon Felix ille triumphus etc is sung, the lessons relate the work of St. Helena in fourth century Jerusalem finding three crosses buried in a cistern. Not knowing which cross the LORD had died on each was placed on a woman with a sickness by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. When touched by the True Cross the sick woman was instantly restored to health. In the third nocturn the psalms are sung under the antiphon Adoramus te Christe etc, the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. The ninth lesson is of the commemorated feast of SS Alexander, Eventius, Theodulus & Juvenal.

At Lauds the antiphons O magnam pietatis opus etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. A commemoration is sung of SS Alexander etc.

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

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria and Creed are sung. In private Masses the second collect is of SS Alexander etc. The Creed is sung, the preface of the Cross is sung.

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

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 (it appears on May 3rd in Martyrologium Hieronymianum. Today becomes a ferial day with a commemoration of SS Alexander etc at Lauds and low Mass. The Paschaltide Doxology (and tone) is not sung at the Horae Minorae. In sung Mass there is one collect. Vespers are of the ferial day without a commemoration of St. Monica. In contrast even Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer preserved the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross in the Kalendar.

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

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Fourth Sunday after Pascha


The fourth Sunday after Pascha is of semidouble rite. The Gospel pericopes are from the sixteenth chapter of St. John where the LORD talks of His ascending to Heaven the coming of the Paraclete. The Epistle at Mass and the first nocturn lessons, this year, are from the Epistle of St. James containing the beautiful passage "Omne datum optimum, et omne donum perfectum desursum est, descendens a Patre luminum, apud quem non est transmutatio, nec vicissitudinis obumbratio." Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Vespers yesterday afternoon were second Vespers of the feast of SS Philip and James. Commemorations were sung of the Sunday and of St. Athanasius. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory and hymn are sung as previous Sundays of Paschaltide. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the Epistle of St. James appointed for Monday. As yesterday was the feast of SS Philip and James, when the Incipit of the Epistle of St. James was read, those appointed for Monday are read today with the responsories of the Sunday. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the Treatise of St. Cyprian on the boon of patience. In the third nocturn the homily is from St. Augustine. At Lauds the Sunday psalms are sung under a single antiphon, Alleluia. A commemoration of St. Athanasius is sung.

At the Hours the hymns have the Paschaltide Doxology, the psalms are sung under an antiphon consisting of a triple Alleluia. At Prime the Dominical psalms are sung (Pss. 117, 118i & 118ii), the Dominical preces are omitted due to the occurring double feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Athanasius, the third collect is omitted. The Credo is sung, the preface is of Paschaltide.

Vespers are first Vespers of the following feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross. The antiphons O magnum pietatis opus etc are sung with the psalms of Apostles in Paschaltide. The Office hymn is the wonderful Vexilla Regis prodeunt with the Paschal verse O Crux ave spes unica, Paschale quae fers gaudium, Piis adauge gratiam, Resique dele crimina. Commemorations are sung of the Sunday and of St. Athanasius. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Mattins is cut down to one nocturn. The lessons of the Sunday are read as SS Philip and James have been moved to May 11th because of Joe the Worker Day. At Lauds no commemoration is made. The hymns at the Little Hours do not have the Paschaltide Doxology. At Mass there is one collect only. Vespers are of the Sunday, as the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross has been abolished too.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Saturday, 1 May 2010

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 anniversary of this, the church's dedication in 560, 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.)

The feast began with first Vespers yesterday afternoon. The antiphons were proper to the feast, Domine, ostende nobis Patrem etc, the rest of the Office from the Common of Apostles in Paschaltide except the antiphon on the Magnificat and collect which are proper to the feast. A commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Catharine of Siena was sung.

At Mattins there are the usual three nocturns. The invitatory Regem Apostolorum Dominum Venite adoremus, the antiphons Stabunt justi etc and the Psalms are from the Common. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of letter of St. James from the fourth Sunday after Easter, i.e. those found in the Breviary for tomorrow. These lessons are followed by the responsories from the Common, Beatus vir, qui metuit Dominum, alleluia etc. In the second nocturn the lessons are proper to the feast. The Gospel in the third nocturn is from St. John and the pericope 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 sung with the Dominical psalms.

At the Hours the festal psalms are sung. The Paschal Doxology is sung at the hymns of the Little Hours. At Prime the lectio brevis is Scimus quoniam.

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


(An illuminated capital 'E' from the introit of today's Mass showing SS Philip and James.)

In second Vespers the antiphons Domine, ostende nobis Patrem etc are sung with the Psalms of Second Vespers of Apostles in Paschaltide. Commemorations are sung of the Sunday and of St. Athanasius.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the ancient feast of SS Philip and James has been shoved aside until May 11th, the first 'free' liturgical day, and May 1st became 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 - but neither was much else - so from 1956 the beautiful feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph and its Octave were abolished and today's venerable and ancient feast of the Holy Apostles cast aside to May 11th. On May 1st was placed perhaps the nadir of two thousand years of Christian liturgy (although Pius XII's reign resulted in much competition for that dishonour) with a modern liturgical compostion that instead of honouring St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church made him some type of shop steward ostensibly out of pastoral need. The Office is truly appalling with lessons about multitudes of working men gathering in St. Peter's Square: '...cum occasionem nactus opificum conventus Kalendis maiis...Romae celebrati, ingentum multitudinem in foro ad sancti Petri Basilicam...' It really is atrocious. In an excellent article on the highly inorganic Pian changes Fr. Francesco Ricossa quotes a Jean Crete:

"The Sacred Congregation of Rites was not favorable toward this decree [Cum nostra], 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 [It was hardly the first - R.] liturgical reforms of Pius XII".


Liturgically minded Romans refer to this parody of St. Joseph as 'San Giuseppe Comunista'.

Art: Melkite Church in Australia