Saturday, 16 February 2013
Saturday before the First Sunday in Lent
Vespers this morning mark the ancient beginning of Lent in the Roman liturgy and also the beginning of the Pars Verna, or Spring, volume of the Breviarium Romanum. The Office for Ash Wednesday and the following days being the Office of Quinquagesima week with additional Lenten features, notably the ferial preces at the Hours and the use of folded chasubles at Mass. Today, and for the rest of Lent with the exception of Sundays, Vespers are not sung at the usual time in the afternoon but are sung before lunchtime.
Vespers have the antiphons, Benedictus Dominus, etc and psalms of Saturday from the Psalter. The chapter, Fratres: Hortamur vos, is proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn is Audi benigne Conditor. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrage of the Saints is sung. The ferial preces are not sung as the Office is of Sunday. The Marian antiphon after Vespers, Ave Regina caelorum, is said standing as is the noon Angelus. At Compline, sung at the normal time the Dominical preces are sung, the choir standing.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' so much has been cut out of the Office that the Breviary only has two volumes for the entire year, 'Pars Prior' and 'Pars Altera'. The ferial preces, a characteristic feature of the penitential Office are said only on Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent. Vespers are sung at the same time as any other day in the year. The Suffrage has been abolished. At Compline there are never Dominical preces.