Thursday, 28 August 2008

Practicalities - Another 'dissection' of Vespers

This afternoon Vespers are first Vespers of the following day's feast, the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, with a commemoration of the preceding office of St. Augustine and with a commemoration of St. Sabina.

In contrast to yesterday 'proper' psalms are sung (this is indicated in the Breviary). The reason for this is that the Commission responsible for the 1911-13 reform 'excepted' certain feasts from the general rule of using the ferial psalter. Feasts whose antiphons were not taken from the Common but specific to the feast were generally treated this way. (The higher ranking feasts also did not have the ferial psalter).

Vespers has the following elements:

1) The prayer Aperi, Domine is said followed by Pater and Ave. These prayers are said in a low voice.

2) Deus in adjutorium... and its response Domine ad adjuvandum.... are sung followed by the Doxology.

3) The antiphons are proper (given under the texts for 29th August) and the psalms are taken from the Common of Apostles. The first antiphon is Herodes enim tenuit et ligavit Joannem et posuit in carcerem propter Herodiadem. This is sung in full and is then followed by Ps. 109. At the end of the psalm the Doxology is sung and the antiphon Herodes enim... repeated.

4) The pattern of antiphon, psalm, Doxlogy, antiphon is repeated for the other four psalms of the Hour: Domine mi rex..., Ps 110, Gloria Patri..., Domine mi rex ..., etc., until the last antiphon after the fifth psalm, Da mihi in disco....

5) The chapter is taken from the Feast: Beatus vir, qui in suffert... The hymn Deus, tuorum militum follows (actually from the Common of Martyrs but printed for convenience with the texts for the feast). The versicle Gloria et honore... and its response Et constituisti...

6) Then antiphon for the Magnificat, Misso Herodes... is sung in full followed by the Magnificat, Doxology and then the antiphon Misso Herodes... is repeated.

7) The greeting Dominus vobiscum is sung by the celebrant and after its response Oremus is sung followed by the prayer for the feast Sancti Joannis...

8) A commemoration of the preceding feast, St. Augustine, is now made. The antiphon for the Magnificat, O sung (but not the Magnificat again) and then the versicle Justum deduxit..., the response Et ostendit..., and then Oremus and the collect Adesto supplicationibus...

9) The above commemoration structure is repeated for St. Sabina whose feast is also August 29th: the antiphon Simile est regnum..., versicle Specie tua..., response Intende..., Oremus and the collect Deus, qui inter cetera...

10) Now the normal ending of Vespers: Dominus vobiscum and its response, Benedicamus Domino and the response Deo gratias. Fidelium animae... is said in a lower voice followed by Amen and a Pater said inaudibly.

11) The antiphon of the BVM follows: the versicle Dominus det nobis suam pacem with response Et vitam aeternam. Amen.; then Salve, Regina... its versicle Ora pro nobis... and response Ut digni... followed by Oremus and the collect Omnipotens sempiterne Deus..., the versicle Divinum auxilium... and response Amen. 12) At the end of the Office the prayer Sacrosanctae, the versicle Beata viscera... with response Et beata ubera... followed by a final Pater and Ave and the Choir departs.

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