Friday, 31 October 2008

Vigil of All Saints

Today, for the second time this week, the Roman liturgy dons the violet of penance and has a Vigil, today is the Vigil of All Saints.

The Vigil begins with mattins. Matttins has one nocturn and the lessons Descendens Jesus from the Common of Several Martyrs are read with the responsories of Friday of the Fifth week of October. At Lauds, following the second scheme, the Suffrage of the Saints is omitted as it is considered the same subject as the Vigil.

Before the 1911-13 reform instead of the Suffrage of the Saints several different Suffrages were sung. These all had the same structure of antiphon, versicle and response, and collect. They were of the Cross (in the ferial Office only), of the Blessed Virgin, of St. Joseph (added in the late nineteenth century), of SS Peter and Paul, of the Patron or Titular and, lastly, for Peace. The Suffrage for Peace has the collect Deus, a quo sancta desideria... Ironically, that collect is still heard daily in the English form O God, from whom all holy desires... in Anglican cathedrals. The second collect from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer was taken from the former Suffrage for Peace by Cranmer when he conflated Vespers and Compline into the 'The Order for Evening Prayer' or Evensong. In the pre-1911 Roman liturgy these Suffrages would be sung today.

The ferial preces are sung at Lauds and the 'Little' Hours. These prayers are sung kneeling.

Mass is sung after None. The Gloria is not sung, the second collect is of the Holy Ghost, Deus, qui corda, and the third collect for the Church or for the pope. Following the usual rule Benedicamus Dominio is sung by the deacon, facing the altar, as the dismissal. The altar has four candlesticks and the chants are ferial.

After the Vigil Mass in the afternoon the mood changes completely as first Vespers of the great feast of All Saints is sung.

In 'the liturgical books of 1962' the Vigil of All Saints has been abolished. A 'green' feria is kept.

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