Sunday 25 February 2024

Second Sunday in Lent


The second Sunday in Lent is a semi-double Sunday of the first class and its liturgical colour, until Vespers this year, is violet. The Gospel pericopes from St. Matthew's Gospel give the account of the Transfiguration of the LORD. The feast of St. Matthias is transferred to Monday.

At Vespers yesterday morning the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The chapter was proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn was Audi, benigne Conditor. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrage of the Saints was sung as were the Dominical preces at Compline.

At Mattins the invitatory is Non sit vobis and the Office hymn is Ex more. The antiphons and psalms given for Sunday are sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the twenty-seventh chapter of Genesis and the story of Jacob and Esau. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the book of St. Augustine against lying and explain the mystery of Jacob's actions. In the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Leo the Great on the Transfiguration of the LORD. A ninth responsory, Cum audisset Jacob, is sung in place of the Te Deum.

At Lauds the antiphons Domine labia mea aperies etc are proper to the Sunday and are sung with the second scheme of Psalms (50, 117, 62, Benedictus es and 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and hymn is O sol salutis. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrage of the Saints is sung.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons are proper to the Sunday. At Prime the psalms are 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the first two divisions of Ps. 118. The Dominical preces are sung and the short lesson is Quaerite Dominum.

Mass is sung after Terce. The deacon and subdeacon wear violet folded chasubles. There is no Gloria. The second collect is A cunctis, the third collect is Omnipotens. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Creed is sung, the preface is of Lent and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the altar.

After None there is a colour change to red and first Vespers of the transferred feast of St. Matthias are sung. The antiphons Hoc est praeceptum meum etc are sung, doubled, with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116) from the Common of Apostles. The Office hymn is Exsultet orbis gaudiis. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Sunday is sung. The Suffrage is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Vespers on Saturday are sung at the same time as any on other day of the year. The Suffrage of the Saints and the Dominical preces have been abolished. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Prime the psalms are the festal arrangement of Ps. 53, 118(i) & 118(ii). At Mass the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle, as in Septuagesima, there is only a single collect and the dismissal is Ite, missa est. Vespers are of the Sunday without commemorations. The feast of St. Matthias the Apostle is omitted entirely this year.

Sunday 18 February 2024

First Sunday in Lent


The first Sunday in Lent is a semi-double Sunday of the first class. No feast can take precedence, in occurence, over it or any such Sunday. The liturgical colour of the Sunday is violet. At Mass, unlike in Septuagesima, the ministers wear the ancient vesture of folded chasubles rather than dalmatic and tunicle and the organ is silent (as has been the practice too since Ash Wednesday). The Gospel pericope at Mattins and Mass is St. Matthew's account of the LORD's temptation by Satan in the desert. Vespers yesterday morning marked the ancient beginning of Lent before the addition of Ash Wednesday and the intervening days. On these added days although certain penitential practices have entered the Liturgy such as the use folded chasubles and the ferial preces at the Hours the Office hymns etc were still those used in previous weeks. Vespers of the first Sunday in Lent mark the beginning of the Pars Verna, the Spring volume of the Breviary.

At Vespers yesterday morning the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The chapter was proper to the Sunday, Fratres: Hortamur vos, and the Office hymn was Audi, benigne Conditor. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. Simeon was sung followed by the Suffrage of the Saints. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Non sit vobis and the hymn is Ex more. These are both used throughout the first four weeks of Lent. The antiphons and psalms given in the Psalter for Sundays are sung, as on previous Sundays. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon on Lent by St. Leo the Great and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Gregory the Great on St. Matthew's account of the temptation of the LORD. As in Septuagesima there is no Te Deum but a ninth responsory, Angelis suis Deus mandavit de te.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to the Sunday, Cor mundum etc., and the second scheme of Psalms is sung (50, 117, 62, Benedictus es, 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn is O sol salutis. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. Simeon was sung followed by the Suffrage of the Saints.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons are proper to the Sunday, Jesus autem etc. At Prime the psalms are 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and 118(i) & 118(ii). The Dominical preces are sung and the short lesson is Quaerite Dominum.

Mass is sung after Terce. As folded chasubles are worn by the ministers the organ is silent. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of St. Simeon, the third collect is A cunctis. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Creed is sung, the preface is of Lent and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar.

Vespers are of the Sunday, sung at the normal time (as Sundays are not fast days). The antiphons and psalms are those used on Sundays, the chapter is proper and the Office hymn is Audi, benigne Conditor. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrage of the Saints is sung. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Vespers on the weekdays of Lent are sung at the same time as during the rest of the Liturgical year. There are no commemorations at Vespers. The Suffrage of the Saints and Dominical preces have been abolished. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Prime the psalms are Ps. 53, 118(i) & 118(ii) as on feasts. At Mass the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle, as in Septuagesima. There is but a single collect. The dismissal is Ite, missa est.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday 11 February 2024

Quinquagesima Sunday


Quinquagesima Sunday is a semi-double of the second class and its liturgical colour is violet. The Gospel pericopes are taken from St. Luke and give the account of the giving of sight to the man born blind.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The chapter was proper to Quinqugesima Sunday, Fratres: Si linguis hominum, and the Office hymn was Jam sol recedit igneus. The hymn was sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation Jesu, tibi...qui natus etc. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were proper to Quinquagesima Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of St. Scholastica and of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Suffrage of the Saints was omitted as were the Dominical preces at Compline.

At Mattins, as on the previous two Sundays, the antiphons and psalms are those used on Sundays throughout the year and the Office hymn is Primo die. In the first nocturn the lessons are again from Genesis and this Sunday concern the story of Abraham. In the second nocturn the lessons are from St. Ambrose on the Book on the Patriarch Abraham and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily from St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel of the man blind from birth whose sight was restored by the LORD. The blind man is a figure of the human race according to St. Gregory. A ninth responsory, Caecus sedebat secus viam etc, is sung in place of the Te Deum.

At Lauds the 'second scheme' of psalms is sung: Pss. 50, 117, 62, Benedictus es and 148. The antiphons at Lauds are proper for Quinquagesima Sunday, Secundum multitudinem etc. The Office hymn is Aeterne. The antiphon at the Benedictus and the collect are proper to Quinquagesima. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes is sung. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted.

At all the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper to Quinquagesima Sunday, the hymns are sung with the meloday and Doxology of the Incarnation. At Prime the order of psalmody is that used when the second scheme of Lauds is sung, i.e. Pss. 92, 99 (displaced at Lauds) and Ps. 118i & 118ii. The versicle in the short responsory at Prime is Qui natus es. The Dominical preces are omitted.

At Mass the Gloria is omitted, the second collect is of Our Lady of Lourdes. Today there is no third collect. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Creed is sung and the preface is of the Blessed Trinity. Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the altar and the last Gospel is of the BVM.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday are sung, the chapter is proper to the Sunday. The Office hymn is Lucis creator sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order and of OUr Lady of Lourdes. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted as are the Domincal preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the ordinary Doxlogy is sung at all the hymns. There are no commemorations at either Vespers. At Mattins there is only a single nocturn. At Prime Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii are sung, as on festal days, the versicle in the short responsory is Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris. At Mass there is a single collect and Benedicamus Domino is suppressed in favour of Ite, Missa est and the last Gospel is In principio.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday 4 February 2024

Sexagesima Sunday


Sexagesima Sunday is a semi-double Sunday of the second class and its liturgical colour is violet. The Sunday is characterised by a very lengthy Epistle from St. Paul's Latter Epistle to the Corinthians. The Gospel pericopes are from St. Luke and contain the parable of the sower with his seed landing on rock, amongst weeds and on the good ground.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The chapter was proper to the Sunday, Fratres: Libenter suffertis, and the Office hymn was Jam sol recedit igneus. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. Andrew Corsini was sung. The Suffrage of the Saints was omitted as were the Dominical preces at Compline.

At Mattins the antiphons and psalms are from the Psalter for Sundays. In the first nocturn the lessons continue to be read from Genesis (Ch. 5 & 6), the beginning of the story of Noah. In the second nocturn the lessons are from St. Ambrose on Noah and the Ark and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily from St. Gregory on the Gospel of the seed falling on good and poor ground. A ninth responsory, Cum turba plurima, is sung in place of the Te Deum.

At Lauds the 'second scheme' of psalms is sung: Pss 50, 117, 62, Canticle of the Three Children (Benedictus es) and 148. The antiphons at Lauds are proper for Sexagesima Sunday, Secundum magnam misericordiam etc as are the chapter and antiphon on the Benedictus. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. Andrew Corsini. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted.

At Prime the order of psalmody is Pss. 92, 99 (displaced at Lauds) 118i & 118ii. The Dominical preces are omitted. At the Hours the antiphons, Semen cecidit etc, and chapters are proper to Sexagesima Sunday.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is omitted, the second collect is of St. Andrew Corsini. Today there is no third collect. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Creed is sung, the Preface is of the Trinity and Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the altar.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday (109, 110, 111, 112 & 113) are sung. The Office hymn is Lucis creator. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. Agatha and of St. Andrew Corsini. The Suffrage is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn. At Prime the arrangement of psalmody is festive, Pss. 53, 118i, 118ii. At Mass there is single collect and Benedicamus Domino is suppressed in favour of Ite, missa est.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Friday 2 February 2024

The Purification of the BVM - Candlemass

The Feast of the Purification of the BVM is a Double of the Second Class. The feast is generally known in English-speaking countries as Candlemass as before Mass candles for use throughout the year ahead are solemnly blessed. The liturgical colour of the day is white but violet is used for the blessing of candles and procession. Traditionally Candlemass was the time Christmas decorations were removed.

In the Byzantine East the feast is known as the Hypapante, the Meeting of the Lord, and was often so name in early Western liturgical books (e.g. several examples can be found in the comparison of Calendars given in 'Saints in English Calendars before 1100', Henry Bradshaw Society, Vol.CXVII). In the diverse Medieval uses an even more elaborate blessing than the form found in the Roman Missal outlined below can be seen with a preface of blessing, e.g. Sarum, which compares with the blessing of Palms and the Waters at Epiphany.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons used on the feast of the Circumcision were sung again, O admirabile commercium etc., doubled, with the psalms of feasts for the Blessed Virgin (Pss. 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147). The chapter was proper to the feast and the Office hymn Ave, maris stella. The antiphon on the Magnificat was proper to the feast Senex Puerum portabat etc. After the collect of the feast a commemoration was sung of the preceding feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch. At Compline the tone of Te lucis was that for feast of the Virgin with the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation Jesu, tibi sit gloria etc.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper, Ecce venit as templum sanctum suum Dominator Dominus: Gaude et laetare, Sion occurrens Deo tuo and the Office hymn is Quem terra. The antiphons and psalms for each nocturn come from the Common of the Blessed Virgin as does the Office hymn Quem terra, pontus, sidera. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the Book of Exodus and from Leviticus. The responsories are proper to feast and particularly beautiful. In the second nocturn the lessons come from a sermon of St. Augustine and in the third nocturn the homily if from St. Ambrose. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons are proper to the feast, Simeon justus etc., and are sung with the Dominical psalms. The antiphon on the Benedictus is again proper to the feast, Cum inducerent etc.

At the Hours the hymns have the melody of the BVM and the Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria etc. The antiphons from Lauds, Simeon justus etc., are sung with the festal psalms. At Prime the psalms are Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii, in the short responsory the versicle Qui natus es de Virgine is sung and the lectio brevis is proper to the feast, Et placebit.

After Terce the blessing of candles takes place. The celebrant vests in a violet cope and the ministers wear violet folded chasubles. The altar is vested in white but a violet antependium placed over the festal one etc. The organ is silent (as is always the case when folded chasubles are used). The celebrant and ministers go to the Epistle corner there the celebrant sings five prayers of blessing in the ferial tone. Incense is then blessed, lustral water sprinkled over the candles whilst the celebrant says Asperges me and then the candles are then incensed. At the centre of the altar the celebrant receives a candle from the senior canon present, kissing the candle before taking it. In no canon or senior cleric is present the celebrant kneels before the altar and takes his own candle. Candles are then distributed while the antiphon Lumen ad revelationem is sung interpolated into the canticle Nunc dimittis. Those receiving the candles kiss them, first, then the celebrant's hand. At the conclusion of the distribution the antiphon Exsurge, Domine is sung with a Doxology and the candles lighted. After the distribution the celebrant returns with the ministers to the Epistle corner and chants Oremus.  Then, as the feast falls in Septuagesima, after the verse Exsurge the deacon sings Flectamus genua and then the subdeacon Levate. The celebrant then sings the collect Exaudi. The procession then takes place. The subdeacon of the Mass takes the processional cross. The procession goes around the church with lighted candles during the singing of three antiphons Adorna thalamum, Responsum accepit Simeon and Obtulerunt. These text are clearly ancient and found, almost verbatim, in the Menaion of the Byzantine rite.
Image: Candlemass in Rome, Liturgical Arts Journal

After the Procession the ministers change from violet vestments to white and Mass is celebrated. The Gloria is sung. The Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Nativity, the feast being a 'satellite' of Christmas. Lighted candles are held by all during the chanting of the Gospel, including the celebrant, and from the beginning of the Canon until after the distribution of Communion.

At second Vespers the antiphons Simeon justus etc and chapter from Lauds are used again with the psalms of the Blessed Virgin, the antiphon on the Magnificat is proper. From Compline the Marian antiphon changes from Alma, Redemptoris to Ave, Regina caelorum etc.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast loses its first Vespers. Mattins and Lauds are the same as the usus antiquior. At the Little Hours the ordinary Doxology is sung and the antiphons and psalms are from the ferial Psalter.  The lectio brevis is of the season, not of the feast. At the blessing of candles white vestments are used rather than violet. The five collects of blessing have the usual 'long conclusion' omitted and in its place the 'short conclusion' - e.g. Per eundem Dominum nostrum. Amen. The verse Exsurge, Domine  and the command of Flectamus genua etc is always omitted even in Septuagesima and at Mass Judica me Deus etc is excised as on several other days in the 1962 missal.

Icon of the Hypapante from St. John's Parish of the Melkite Eparchy in Australia.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Septuagesima Sunday


Septuagesima is a semi-double Sunday of the second class and its liturgical colour is violet.

Yesterday afternoon the liturgical mood became more sombre as penitential violet became the liturgical colour of the season. Although more sombre than the season after the Epiphany the short season of Septuagesima is not as penitential as Lent. However, at Mass the ministers do not wear folded chasubles but dalmatic and tunicle for these three Sundays and for ferial days. The organ is still played until Ash Wednesday and the appearance of folded chasubles. However, from Septuagesima until Holy Saturday the dress of some prelates changed. Cardinals of the Court of Rome exchanged their scarlet choir dress for that of violet. Correspondingly bishops did not wear violet choir dress but their black, or mourning dress. Protonotaries Apostolic and Domestic Prelates do not change their choir dress (except sede vacante).

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The chapter was proper to Septuagesima Sunday and the Office hymn was Jam sol recedit igneus. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. John Chrysostom, St. Peter Nolasco and of St. Agnes' second feast. The Suffrage was omitted. At the end of Vespers Alleluia was added, twice, to both Benedicamus Domino and to its response. After that Alleluia will not be heard again until the Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday. At Compline after the Lesser Doxology, and at all Hours until Compline on Holy Saturday, Laus tibi Domine Rex aeterne gloriae is sung in place of Alleluia. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Praeoccupemus and the Office hymn Primo die. The antiphons and psalms are as on previous 'green' Sundays. In the first nocturn the Incipit of the Book of Genesis is read. In the second nocturn the lessons are from the Enchiridion of St. Augustine, in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily from St. Gregory on the Gospel of the labourers in the vineyard. The Te Deum is not sung but in its place is sung a ninth responsory, Ubi est Abel frater tuus?.

At Lauds the 'second scheme' of psalms is sung: Pss 50, 117, 62, Canticle of the Three Children (Benedictus es) and 148. The antiphons at Lauds are proper to the Sunday as are the versicle after the Office hymn Aeterne, chapter, antiphon at the Benedictus and collect. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of St. Peter Nolasco and of St. Agnes. The Suffrace is omitted.

At the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper. At Prime the order of psalmody is changed and four psalms are sung, Pss. 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the usual first two stanzas of Ps. 118. Quicumque is omitted as are the Dominical preces.

At Mass the Gloria is omitted. The ministers wear violet dalmatic and tunicle. The second collect is of St. Peter Nolasco, the third collect is of St. Agnes. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Creed is sung and the Preface is of the Blessed Trinity. Benedicamus Domino is sung, by the deacon facing the altar, as the dismissal.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday (109, 110, 111, 112 & 113) are sung. The Office hymn is Lucis creator. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. Francis de Sales and of St. Peter Nolasco. The Suffrage is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers. Mattins is reduced to a single nocturn. At Prime the arrangement of psalms is truly bizarre with the festal arrangment of Pss. 53, 118i, 118ii. At Mass there is only one collect and Benedicamus Domino is suppressed in favour of Ite, missa est.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday 21 January 2024

Third Sunday after the Epiphany


The third Sunday after the Epiphany is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is green. The Gospel pericopes from St. Matthew record the LORD healing the leper and the centurion's servant.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms appointed for Saturday were sung. The Office hymn was Jam sol recedit igneus. The antiphon on the Magnificat was Suscepit Deus. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of SS Fabian and Sebastian and of St. Agnes. The Suffrage of the Saints was omitted as were the Dominical preces at Compline.

At Mattins the invitatory is Adoremus Dominum and the Office hymn Primo die. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. In the second nocturn the lessons are from an exposition of this Epistle to the Galatians by St. Augustine and in the third nocturn the homily is from St. Jerome. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the Office hymn is Aterne rerum conditor. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. Agnes. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted.

At Prime both Quicumque and the Dominical preces are omitted.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Agnes. Today there is no third collect. The Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Blessed Trinity.

At Vespers the Dominical psalms are sung (109, 110, 111, 112 & 113) and the Office hymn is Lucis creator. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of SS Vincent & Anastasius and of St. Agnes. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is but a single collect.

Art: Jerome Nadal