Sunday, 29 June 2014

The feast of the Apostles SS Peter and Paul

The feast of the Apostles SS Peter and Paul is a Double of the First Class with an Octave. The liturgical colour of the feast is red. Today is also Sunday within the Octave of the Sacred Heart and within the Octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Petrus et Joannes etc were sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 and 116. The Office hymn was Decora lux aeternitatis. After the collect of the feast commemorations were sung of the Octave of the Sacred Heart and of the Sunday. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the melody and Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui Corde fundis gratiam etc. and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the texts come from the Common of Apostles except the lessons and responsories. The invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn is Aeterna Christe munera, sung with the Doxlogy of the Octave of the Sacred Heart. In the first nocturn the antiphons In omnem terram etc are sung with psalms 18, 33 and 44. The lessons are taken from the Acts of the Apostles. In the second nocturn the antiphons Principes populorum etc are sung with psalms 46, 60 and 63 and the lessons are from a sermon of St. Leo. In the third nocturn the antiphons Exaltabuntur etc are sung with psalms 74, 96 & 98. The homily is from St. Jerome on St. Matthew's Gospel. The ninth lesson is the homily appointed for the Sunday within the Octave of the Sacred Heart, a homily from St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons Petrus et Joannes etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. The Office hymn is Beate Pastor. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Sunday and of the Octave.

At Prime and the Hours the hymns are sung with the melody and Doxology of the Octave. At Prime the versicle Qui corde etc is sung in the short responsory. The lectio brevis is proper to the feast, Et Petrus etc.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday, the third collect is of the Octave of the Sacred Heart. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the Apostles and the last Gospel is of the Sunday.

At second Vespers the antiphons Petrus et Joannes etc are sung with psalms 109, 112, 115, 125 and 138. The Office hymn is Decora lux aeternitatis. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Sunday and of the Octave of the Sacred Heart. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the melody and Doxology of the Octave and the Dominical preces are omitted.

In those 'ancient' use 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octaves of SS Peter and Paul, the Sacred Heart and St. John the Baptist have, inter alia, been abolished. At Vespers yesterday afternoon there was just a commemoration of the Sunday. At Compline and the Hours the hymns are sung with the ordinary Doxology. At Mattins there is no ninth lesson of the Sunday. At Lauds there is a commemoration just of the Sunday. At Prime the versicle in the short responsory is Qui sedes and the lectio brevis is of the season. At Mass the second collect is of the Sunday but the last Gospel is In principio. At Vespers there is only a commemoration of the Sunday..

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist


The feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is a double of the first class with an Octave. The liturgical colour of the feast and Octave is white. The celebration of the feast on June 24th is ancient and was mentioned by the Council of Agde in 506 and is in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons, Ipse praeibit etc, proper to the feast, were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn was Ut queant laxis resonare fibris. The hymn famously rises through a scale in its verses: Ut (Doh), Resonare, Mira, Famuli, Solve, Labii. After the collect of the feast a commemoration was sung of the Octave of Corpus Christi . At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung, Te lucis was sung with the Doxology (and melody) of the Incarnation and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper Regem Praecursoris Dominum, Venite adoremus. The Office hymn is Antra deserti teneris sub annis. The antiphons, psalms and responsories are proper for all three nocturns. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken from the Incipit of the Prophet Jeremiah. In the second nocturn the lessons are from a sermon by St. Augustine on the saints and in the third nocturn the homily is from the writings of St. Ambrose on the first chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. The ninth lesson is of the Sunday. The eighth and ninth lessons of the feast may be read as one and the three lessons of the homily read together as the ninth lesson but it suffices to omit the ninth lesson of the feast and read, in its place, the first lesson of the Sunday homily. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons Elisabeth Zachariae etc are sung with the Sunday psalms. The rest of Lauds is proper to the feast with the Office hymn O nimis felix. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the Octave of Corpus Christi.

At the Hours the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the Sunday psalms. The hymns have the Doxology and melody of the Incarnation. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) the verse Qui natus is sung and the lectio brevis is Reges videbunt. The Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass is proper, De ventre. The Gloria is sung, after the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the Octave. The Creed is sung as the feast falls within the Octave of Corpus Christi and the preface is of the Nativity.

At Second Vespers the antiphons sung at Lauds are sung again with the psalms from Vespers for the Common of Apostles. The hymn Ut queant laxis is again sung, the rest of the Office is proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Octave of Corpus Christi and of St. William. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave has been abolished as has the Octave of Corpus Christi. Hence the Doxology at the hymns of the Hours is in the ordinary form. At Prime Qui natus is not sung and the lectio brevis is of the season. At Mass there are no commemorations. The Creed is sung as is the common preface. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Icon: A Russian icon of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist from Wikipedia.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi


Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi, the Second Sunday after Pentecost, is of semi-double rite. The liturgical colour is white.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms were as on the feast of Corpus Christi. The antiphons Sacerdos in aeternum etc, not doubled, were sung with psalms 109, 110, 115, 127 & 147. The chapter was of the Sunday, the hymn and the following versicle & response were of the feast. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were of the Sunday followed by commemorations of the Octave, of St. Paulinus and of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the melody and Doxology of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui natus es de Virgine, Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula.

At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem adoremus dominantem Gentibus: Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem. The Office hymn is Sacris solemnis. The antiphons and psalms are as on the feast of Corpus Christi. The lessons are proper to the Sunday. In the first nocturn they are taken from the First Book of Kings. In the second nocturn they are taken from a sermon of St. Chrysostom to the people of Antioch and the homily in the third nocturn is from St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons are those sung on the feast of Corpus Christi, Sapientia etc. The chapter is of the Sunday, the hymn as on the feast. The antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are of the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the Octave of Corpus Christi and of St. Paulinus.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung to the same tone as on the feast of the Nativity of the LORD (there of course being a deep link between the Incarnation and Corpus Christi) with the Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria etc. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), the versicle in the short responsory is Qui natus es for the feast and Octave, the short lesson is Filioli mei, of the Sunday.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave, the third collect of St. Paulinus. The Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Nativity.

In Collegiate and Cathedral Churches a Mass of the feast is sung after None with Gloria, second collect of the Sunday, the Sequence Lauda Sion, Creed, preface of the Nativity and last Gospel of the Sunday. After this a Procession is made as on the feast.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms are as at Second Vespers of the feast. The chapter is of the Sunday, the hymn, versicle & response of the feast and the antiphon on the Magnificat and collect of the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the Octave of Corpus Christi and of St. Paulinus.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi has been abolished. The Second Sunday after Pentecost is celebrated as a 'green' Sunday. Mattins is stripped down to one nocturn of three lessons with the invitatory and antiphons of the Sunday. There are no commemorations at either Vespers, Lauds or Mass. The hymn tones are not those of the Nativity, the Doxology has gone, the versicle at Prime is Qui sedes. The Octave of Corpus Christi has been abolished.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Corpus Christi

The feast of Corpus Christi is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the Second Order. The liturgical colour of the feast, and its Octave, is white.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Sacerdos in aeternum etc were sung with psalms 109, 110, 115, 127 & 147. The chapter, hymn, versicle and response, antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were all proper to the feast. There were no commemorations. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the melody and Doxology of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui natus es de Virgine, Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula.

At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem adoremus dominantem Gentibus: Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem and the Office hymn is Sacris solemnis. The antiphons and psalms are proper at each of the nocturns. In the first nocturn the antiphons Fructum salutiferum etc are sung with psalms 1, 4 & 15. The lessons are taken from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. In the second nocturn the antiphons Memor sit Dominus etc are sung with psalms 19, 22 & 41, the lessons are taken from the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the third nocturn Introibo ad altare Dei etc are sung with psalms 42, 80 & 83. The homily is from St. Augustine on St. John's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons, Sapientia etc., are a different set to those sung at Vespers. These are sung with the Dominical psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148. The Office hymn is Verbum supernum. There are no commemorations.

At the Hours the antiphons from Lauds are sung with the festal psalms. The Office hymns are sung with the melody and Doxology of the Incarnation. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) the versicle Qui natus es is inserted into the short responsory and the lectio brevis is Quicumque manducaverit panem etc.

The Mass, Cibavit eos, is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the Sequence Lauda Sion is sung, the Creed is sung and the preface is of the Nativity. Two large altar breads are placed on the corporal and consecrated. After the consecration the rubrics for Mass coram Sanctissimo are followed, with the celebrant not turning his back on the altar. Ite, missa est, the blessing and last Gospel are said as normal. After Mass the celebrant exchanges his chausuble for a cope and a Procession takes place. The Caermoniale Episcoporum, Lib. II, Cap. XXXIII, gives detailed instructions for the Procession (indeed so detailed they forsee the bishop having to excommunicate persons who cannot agree their respective position in procession - c.f. #3!) It also sanctions the practice of Mass and Vespers coram Sanctissimo during the Octave.

At second Vespers all is at first Vespers except the antiphon on the Magnificat which is proper. There are no commemorations. At Compline Te lucis is sung with the melody and Doxology of the Incarnation and the Dominical preces are omitted throughout the Octave.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the hymns of the Hours do not have their Doxology changed in honour of the Incarnation. At Prime the versicle is of the season, not of the Incarnation, and the lectio brevis is of the season too. At Mass the common preface is sung. When a Procession takes place Benedicamus Domino is sung instead of Ite, missa est, the blessing and last Gospel are omitted. The Octave has been abolished.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Trinity Sunday

Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity and 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 with its celebration spreading in northern France and England. The Franciscan John Peckham revised the texts in the thirteenth century. In many local rites (and e.g., in the Dominican rite) Sundays were counted after Trinity rather than Pentecost, as indeed they still are in the BCP.

The feast began yesterday with first Vespers on Saturday marking the beginning of the Summer (Pars Aestiva) volume of the Breviarium Romanum. The Office is proper. The antiphons Gloria tibi Trinitas etc sung with Pss. 109, 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. In the first nocturn he antiphons, Adesto, unus Deus etc., are sung with psalms 8, 18 & 23. The lessons are taken from the sixth chapter of the Prophet Isaiah. In the second nocturn the antiphons, Te invocamus etc., are sung with psalms 46, 47 & 71, the lessons are taken from the Book of Bishop Fulgentius on faith. In the third nocturn the antiphons Caritas Pater est etc are sung with psalms 95, 96 & 97. The homily is from St. Gregory Nazianzen. The ninth lesson is of the first Sunday after Pentecost. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons, Gloria tibi, Trinitas etc., are sung with the Dominical psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The Office hymn is Tu, Trinitatis Unitas. Aa commemoration is sung of the Sunday.

At Prime the festal psalms are sung (53, 118i & 118ii) under the antiphon Gloria tibi Trinitas. The Creed of St. Athanasius, Quicumque, is sung after the last stanza of Ps. 118. The lectio brevis is Tres sunt.

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 is of the Sunday.

In second Vespers the antiphons Gloria tibi, Trinitas etc are sung with the Sunday psalms. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the following feast of the Venerable Bede and of the first Sunday after Pentecost.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' so much has been excised from the Breviary that four volumes are no longer needed. The 'Pars Altera' of the two volumes begins today. 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 on this Sunday alone in the 1962 rite, the lectio brevis is Dominus autem dirigat. At Mass there is no commemoration of the Sunday, and no proper last Gospel. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Pentecost Sunday


Whitsun, the feast of Pentecost, is one of the greatest feasts in the Liturgical Year ranking next only to Pascha and, like the Queen of Feasts, is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the first order.

After the beautiful ceremonies of the Vigil yesterday morning First Vespers were sung 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 at Vespers, Mattins and at Lauds. The antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc are proper and sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. 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. At Vespers there are no commemorations. At Compline Te lucis is sung as described above and the Dominical preces are omitted for the Octave.

Mattins for the feast, and Octave, is like Pascha in only having a single nocturn of three psalms and three lessons. The invitatory is Alleluia, Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, Venite adoremus Alleluia. The Office hymn is Jam Christus astra ascenderat. The antiphons Factus est etc are sung with psalms 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 are sung with the Dominical psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The Office hymn is Beata nobis gaudia. There are no commemorations.

At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii)under the antiphon Cum complerentur. 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, as a Vespers the first verse is sung kneeling.

At Mass the Vidi aquam is sung for the last time this year and the aspersion takes place with Baptismal water taken after the blessing of the font yesterday (but before the infusion with Chrism!) 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.

At Second Vespers the antiphons Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. The versicle and response and antiphon on the Magnificat are proper to Second Vespers. 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, 7 June 2014

The Vigil of Pentecost

The Vigil of Pentecost is a semi-double Vigil of the first class. No feast may be celebrated on this day. The ancient ceremonies that take place before Mass are similar to those of Holy Saturday and are closely linked to the historical praxis of also conferring baptism at Pentecost. It is interesting this year that blogs such as Rorate are even advertising the celebration of the services associated with the day. They even have a link to a very useful Latin-English PDF of the rites of the day. Within the introductory text to the rite is a sentence referring to the aboltion of the Vigil: "In 1962 it was cut dramatically, yet the use of the full form was encouraged in 2009 by the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship." The first part of the sentence is not correct. As we note below the ceremonies of the Vigil were suppressed in 1952 in those churches where the new 1952-1955 version of the Easter Vigil was celebrated. The ceremonies of the Vigil were suppressed entirely from 1956.

The liturgical colour of the Office is white. At Mattins the invitatory, hymn, antiphons and psalms are all as on the feast of the Ascension except the antiphons are not doubled. The lessons in the first nocturn are the Incipit of the Epistle of the Apostle Jude. In the second nocturn the lessons are from a discourse of St. Augustine to catechumens on the Creed - note the baptismal connection. In the third nocturn the lessons are taken from St. Augustine's tracts 74 & 75 on St. John's Gospel. The eighth responsory is of the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, Si enim etc. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Viri Galilaei etc are sung with the Sunday psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The chapter, hymn antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are as on the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension but the Octave is not commemorated.

On Saturday morning, before the Horae Minores, the altar is vested in festal red, then covered with both a violet and then white antependia. The altar candles are lit - unlike on Holy Saturday. At the Little Hours the hymns are sung with the Doxology of the Ascension, Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui scandis super sidera etc, sung to Tone4. At Prime the antiphon Viri Galilaei is sung with psalms 53, 118i & 118ii. The first entry in the Martyrology is that of the great feast of Pentecost, Dies Pentecostes, quando Spiritus Sanctus Jerosolymis super discipulos igneis linguis advenit. At the other Hours the antiphons from Lauds are sung with the Dominical psalms. After None the 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 who do not bear 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, the ministers stand as at the introit of Mass. Meanwhile a lector comes to a lectern in the middle of choir accompanied by the 2nd MC, reverences the altar and choir and then chants 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 as it is Paschaltide, and sings the first collect Deus, qui in Abrahae. The collects are proper to the Vigil and, again, are rich with baptismal references.


(The photographs are from the website of Saint Gertrude the Great church in Ohio, USA shewing their 2010 Pentecost Vigil. They were, I believe, the first photographs of the ceremonies of the Vigil of Pentecost to appear on the Web.)

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 then holds it near the credence. The celebrant goes to the sedilia and removes the chasuble and maniple and puts on a violet cope. The ministers remove their maniples. A procession is now formed. The Paschal Candle bearer leads followed by Crucifer between acolytes. The choir sings Sicut cervus as the procession heads to the Baptistery.


At the entrance to the Baptistery the collect Concede, quaesumus is sung (as opposed to Omnipotens sempiterne Deus that is 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. The Paschal Candle is plunged three times into the waters of the font. Before the infusion with Chrism everyone in the church is aspersed, as on Holy Saturday, and the blessed water is reserved for use at the Vidi aquam tomorrow. Where there are catechumens the baptisms now take place. During the blessing of the font cushions are laid in the sanctuary for the celebrant and ministers to prostrate on when they return.


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 cushions 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. The altar candles are now lit. 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. Unlike the Mass of Holy Saturday the Agnus Dei is sung, there is a communion verse and there is no interpolation of Vespers.


In the afternoon solemn first Vespers of Pentecost are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the sacred ceremonies of the ancient Vigil of Pentecost have been excoriated. At Mattins the ferial psalms are used, there is but one nocturn of three lessons, the former third nocturn homily. At Lauds and the Hours the ferial psalms are sung. The prophecies, blessing of the font and Litany are all completely gone. The Vigil ceremonies were suppressed in churches where the, then optional, 1952 form of the Easter Vigil was introduced and then universally in 1956 with the New Order of Holy Week. As no one could argue that the time of the Pentecost Vigil was, 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). A commenter and friend noted a couple of years' ago the irony of having a proper Hanc igitur which says "Wherefore we beseech Thee, O LORD, to graciously receive this oblation which we they servants... make to Thee... offering it up in a like manner with those also whom Thou hast been pleased to make to be born again of water and the Holy Ghost" when the ceremonies to which it refers have been annihilated in the 'ancient' Missal of the 1960s. In the 'Ordinary Form' of the 1962 rite the Pentecost Vigil has been restored (in part at least but still without the blessing of the font) in the 2002 edition of the Roman Missal.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The month of June - then and now


The above is a photograph of the Calendar page from the June 1981 newsletter of the $$PX British District. It is interesting to compare then and now. Below is a screen- capture from the current newsletter of the $$PX District of Great Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia showing the calendar for the month of June.



One sees the difference in the liturgical books in use. The newsletter from 1981 clearly shows the use of the pre-1962 books in the British district. The Octaves of the Ascension, Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart are all there. Notice too the traditional classification of the liturgical days as Doubles of the First Class, greater-doubles, doubles, semi-doubles and simples. One can also see three different grades of Octave.

It is interesting too to see that some of the Horae Minores, namely Prime, Sext and Compline, were publicly celebrated on week-days too back in those days.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension


Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The theme of the great feast of the Ascension continues with most of the texts coming from the feast. However, unlike on the feast itself, the antiphons at the Greater Hours are not doubled. The Gospel pericopes from St. John contain the beautiful words of the LORD promising the gift of the Paraclete.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons for the feast, Viri Galilaei etc, were sung (not doubled) along with the psalms sung on the feast (Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116). The chapter was of the Sunday, the hymn was of the Ascension, Salutis humane Sator, and the antiphon on the Magnificat and collect proper to the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Angela Merici and of the Octave. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross was omitted, being within an Octave. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Ascension Doxology, but the Dominical preces were omitted because of the Octave.

At Mattins the invitatory, hymn and antiphons, Elevata est etc., are as on the feast, but the antiphons are not 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 same Father provides 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. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of the Octave.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung to the melody for the Ascension Doxology (Tone 4) and with the Doxology of the Ascension. 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. The Dominical preces are omitted due to the Octave.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave. Being a Sunday within an Octave there is no third collect. 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. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of SS Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave had been stripped from the feast in 1956 so today becomes the Sunday after the Ascension. Vespers yesterday afternoon were second Vespers of the Queenship of the BVM with a commemoration of the Sunday. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn, the invitatory and hymn of the Ascension are sung but the psalms are those for Sunday under a single antiphon, as in the rest of Paschaltide. At Lauds the psalms are sung under a single antiphon and there are no commemorations. At Prime the Dominical psalms are sung (117, 118i & 118ii) and the short lesson is, perhaps 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 - as on other Sundays after Pascha - there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal.