Thursday 31 December 2009

St. Sylvester of Rome


Today is the feast of St. Sylvester I Pope and Confessor. The feast is of double rite. Anciently the feast had a Stational Mass in Rome as explained in a fascinating article by Gregory DiPippo.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the Epistle to the Romans continues to be read. The second nocturn lessons are historical and in the third nocturn the homily is Sint lumbi from the Common of Confessor non-Pontiffs with the responsories of Confessor-Pontiffs. At Lauds the antiphons and psalms are taken from the Psalter for Thursdays. At Lauds a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is sung.

At the Little Hours the hymns have the Doxolgy and melody in honour of the Incarnation.

At Mass, Sacerdotes tui, the Gloria is sung, a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity made, the Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes in the Canon are of the Nativity.

Vespers are first Vespers of the Circumcision without any commemorations.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' today is a day within the Octave of the Nativity. At Mattins the antiphons and psalmody are festal but there is only one nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds a commemoration of St. Sylvester is made. At the Little Hours ferial antiphons and psalms are used, the hymns do not have the tone or Doxology in honour of the Incarnation. The Mass is Puer natus with a commemoration of St. Sylvester. Vespers are the same as the Old Rite.

In pre-1911 practice in addition to the Octave of the Nativity the Octaves of St. Thomas (in England), St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist and the Holy Innocents would have beem commemorated at Lauds and Mass.

The icon is from the All Merciful Saviour Mission's selection of icons of Western Saints.

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity


Today is the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity. It is of semi-double rite. The displaced Sunday's Mass and Office are transferred to today whenever the Nativity or the feasts of St. Stephen, St. John or the Holy Innocents fall on a Sunday.

At Mattins the incipit of the Epistle to the Romans was traditionally assigned to the 30th but was moved to the 29th in the 1911-13 reform, so today the first nocturn lessons are a continuation from Romans. In the second nocturn the lessons are from St. Leo on the Nativity. In the third nocturn the homily taken from St. Augustine's writings on the second chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons from the Nativity are sung with the Dominical psalms. The chapter and antiphon on the Benedictus are proper to the Sunday. A commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is sung.

At the Hours the antiphons are from the Nativity and the psalmody is festal. At Prime Pss. 53, 118(i), 118(ii) are sung and the short lesson is proper to the Sunday. The hymns of the Little Hours are of course sung to the melody of the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria etc.

The Mass, Dum medium, is proper, the Gloria is sung, a commemoration of the Octave is made, the Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes of the Nativity are sung.

Vespers of the Nativity are sung, from the chapter of the Sunday within the Octave with a commemoration of the following day's feast of St. Silvester and of the Octave of the Nativity.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' today is a day within the Octave of the Nativity. Mattins has the antiphons and psalmody of the Nativity (with the shortened Ps. 88 ) and one nocturn of three lessons from occuring scripture, the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. In the Old Rite when the sixth day within the Octave was celebrated there were second nocturn lessons again from St. Leo and third nocturn lessons from St. Ambrose, these of course just get excised. Festal Lauds are celebrated. At the Hours ferial antiphons and psalmody are used. There is no proper Doxology (or melody) at the hymns of the Little Hours in honour of the Incarnation and the short lesson at Prime is 'of the season'. Mass is celebrated of a day within the Octave, Puer natus with but one collect. Vespers are of the Nativity with no commemorations.

In pre-1911 practice there would have been commemorations of the Octaves of St. Thomas (in dioceses of England and Wales) St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist and the Holy Innocents in addition to the commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Saint Thomas of Canterbury



Today is the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, it is of double rite. St. Thomas of Canterbury, or St. Thomas Becket, fell foul of the political machinations of King Henry II and was slain by the King's soldiers in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29th, 1170. The liturgical celebration of his feast entered Western calendars almost immediately after his canonisation.

Mattins has, as usual, three nocturns and nine lessons. The antiphons and psalms are taken from the Psalter for Tuesday. In the first nocturn the incipit of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans is read. In the second nocturn the lessons are historical and in the third nocturn the lessons are from a homily of St. John Chrysostom on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is sung.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is made, the Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Octave of the Nativity.

Vespers are of the Octave of the Nativity but from the chapter of the follwing Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity with a commemoration of St. Thomas Becket and of the Octave of the Nativity.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Thomas is reduced to a commemoration in the fifth day within the Octave of the Nativity. Festal psalmody is used at mattins and lauds, as on the feast of the Nativity (this contrasts with the practice for third order octaves in the old rite). At the Hours the antiphons and psalmody are ferial. Mass is of a day within the Octave, with Gloria, commemoration of St. Thomas (at read Masses), Credo, preface and communicantes of the Nativity. Vespers are of the Nativity without any commemorations. In pre-1911 practice the Octaves of St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist and the Holy Innocents would have been commemorated in addition to that of the Nativity and the antiphons and psalms taken from the Office of Martyrs.

Monday 28 December 2009

The Holy Innocents


Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents, it is a Double of the Second Class with a simple Octave. Today the altars and ministers change their recent festive colours to the violet of mourning. In practice, in larger churches, the most decorated violet vestments used for the Vigil of the Nativity and for Gaudete and Laetare Sundays would be used this day.

The feast of the Holy Innocents is unique in the Roman rite in that it changes its liturgical colour depending on whether it falls on a weekday or a Sunday. This year as the feast falls on a weekday it is celebrated in violet. When it falls on a Sunday, as it did last year, the feast is celebrated in red. The origin of this practice is a compromise between the differences in Gallican and Roman praxis.

Mattins has nine lessons. In the first nocturn the lessons are from Jeremiah. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon of St. Augustine on the Saint and in the third nocturn the eigth antiphon, Isti sunt, is proper and the homily on the Gospel is from the writings of St. Jerome on St. Matthew's Gospel. The Te Deum is not sung but a ninth responsory in its place, Isti qui amicti sunt... At Lauds a comemmoration is made of the Octave of the Nativity. At the Little Hours the hymns have their Doxology changed in honour of the Incarnation, the festal psalms are sung and at Prime the short lesson is Hi empti sunt

At Mass, violet vestments are worn. The Gloria is not sung, the second collect is of the Octave of the Nativity. The Alleluia and its verse given in the Missal is not sung today but in its place the Tract Effuderunt sanguinem Sanctorum. The Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Octave of the Nativity. The beautiful solemn tone of Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal, heard only on the Vigil of Christmas, Holy Innocents' Day and Masses pro re gravi.

Vespers are of the Nativity, but from the chapter of the Holy Innocents with a commemoration of the following day's feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury and of the Octave of the Nativity.

Rubricarius must confess to never having seen the feast of the Holy Innocents celebrated in any colour until today. This afternoon, after writing the post, I watched the live 'webstream' from St. Gertrude the Great Church in Ohio. Bishop Dolan gave a very lovely sermon to the children and mentioned the use of the best violet vestment. (See below). I guess Ohio must have a plague of clothes moths looking at state of the surplices of the chaplains and the alb!



In the old Roman Breviary today also had commemorations of the Octaves of St. Stephen and St. John. Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Holy Innocents looses its penitential aspect and is celebrated in red. The Te Deum replaces the ninth responsory. At the Hours the hymn tones and conclusions are ordinary and ferial pslamody is sung. At Prime the short lesson is of 'the season'. At Mass the Gloria and Alleluia are sung. The Tract and magnificent Benedicamus Domino are never heard. At Vespers there is only a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity.

Sunday 27 December 2009

St. John the Evangelist

Today is the feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, it is a Double of the Second Class with a simple octave. The feast takes complete precedence over the 'vacant' Sunday which has no place in the liturgy.

The Office is again proper. As for all days until Epiphany hymns of Iambic metre have the special Doxology and tone in honour of the Incarnation. Mattins has three nocturns and the Nativity of the LORD is commemorated at Lauds, Mass and Vespers.

At Mass the Gloria and Credo are sung. The preface and communicantes are of the Nativity. The Octave of the Nativity is commemorated at Lauds, Mass and Vespers.

Vespers are of the Nativity but from the chapter of St. John. A commemoration of tomorrow's feast of the Holy Innocents is made and of the Octave of the Nativity.

In pre-1911 practice the day within the octave of St. Stephen's feast was also commemorated at Lauds, Mass and Vespers.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation is omitted in the hymns of the Little Hours. At the Little Hours the Sunday psalms are used, i.e. at Prime Ps. 117, 118(i), 118(b). Mattins has a cut down three lesson effort, at Lauds St. John is commemorated. Vespers is of the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity. No commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity, or anything else is made. What tosh!

Saturday 26 December 2009

St. Stephen the Protomartyr

Today is the feast of St. Stephen the Protomartyr, the feast is a Double of the Second class with a simple Octave.

Many saints, originally more than now, were celebrated after the Nativity of the LORD. These were described as the 'comites Christi' . e.g. St. James the Lesser and King David. In 'modern' calendars we are left with St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, and the Holy Innocents.

St. Stephen's Day was commemorated at Second Vespers of the Nativity. (Special rules apply to Vespers for the Octave of the Nativity). The Office is proper and mattins has three nocturns of nine lessons. The Nativity of the LORD is commemorated at Lauds, Mass and Vespers. Hymns of Iambic metre have the special tone and Doxology in honour of the Incarnation.

At Mass, sung after Terce, the Gloria and Credo are sung. The preface and communicantes are of the Nativity.

Vespers are Second Vespers of the Nativity, but from the chapter they are of St. Stephen with a commemoration of St. John the Evangelist and, as mentioned earlier of the Octave of the Nativity of the LORD.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation is omitted at the hymns of the Little Hours. The Little Hours also have ferial antiphons and psalms and at Prime the short lesson is of the 'Christmas season' rather than of the feast. At Vespers there is a commemoration of the Sunday within the Octave but not of St. John. In the traditional rite St. John's feast takes the place of the Sunday

Friday 25 December 2009

The Nativity of the LORD



The feast of the Nativity of the LORD is a double of the first class with a privileged octave of the third order.

Mattins is sung late in the evening, so that the Mass which immediately follows can begin at midnight. The Caeremoniale gives special instructions, Lib.II, Cap. XIV, 3, for Pontifical Mattins, but may be reasonably applied to other celebrations or arranging adequate candles to supply light for the service and talks of candelabris ferreis magnis to help provide this. One can easily see the modern practice of candlelit nine lessons and carols comes from - how unfortunate that the same effort is not made to celebrate solemn Mattins.

The invitatory is proper, Christus natus es nobis: Venite adoremus. When intoning the hymn, Jesu, Redemptor omnium, the Hebdomadarius turns and bows to the altar. Mattins has three nocturns and the usual nine lessons. In the first nocturn the lessons are from Isaiah but, interestingly, are sung without a title. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a homily on the Nativity by St. Leo. In the third nocturn three Gospel pericopes are sung, two from St. Luke and the third from St. John. After the Te Deum the collect is sung followed by Benedicamus Domino. Then first of the three Masses for the Nativity is then sung. The Gloria is sung (one theory of its origin in the Mass rite is from the song of the Angels on Christmas night to the shepherds) as is the Creed. The preface and communicantes are of the Nativity. Lauds, with different antiphons to those used at first vespers, immediately follows this Mass.
Later in the morning Prime is sung. All hymns of Iambic metre have the tone and Doxology in honour of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria etc. The first antiphon from Lauds is sung with the festal psalms. In the short responsory the versicle Qui natus es de Maria Virgine is sung . Prime is followed by the second Mass, the Missa in aurora, that has a second collect to commemorate St. Anastasia. The Gloria and Creed are sung, the preface and communicantes are of the Nativity.
After Terce the third Mass is sung. This Mass too has the Gloria and Creed along with the preface and communicantes of the Nativity. As the Gospel pericope for this Mass is In principio the Gospel of the Epiphany is read as a proper last Gospel.

Second Vespers has yet a third set of proper antiphons for the feast and will be used through the Octave. The following feast of St. Stephen is commemorated.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at Mattins, and for the Octave, psalm 88, Misericordias Domini is cut from 51 to 36 verses. The verses from Tu vero repulisti et despexisti to the end are omitted. The tone and Doxology in honour of the Nativity is not sung at the hymns of the Little Hours. In the third Mass the last Gospel is omitted and at Vespers no commemoration of St. Stephen is made.
May all readers have a very blessed and Holy Christmas

Thursday 24 December 2009

The Vigil of the Nativity

Uniquely in the Liturgical Year the Vigil of the Nativity changes rank after Mattins and from being a simple then becomes a double for Lauds onwards.

Mattins has one nocturn of three lessons. The invitatorium is Hodie scietis and the hymn Verbum supernum, the antiphons and psalms are from the ferial psalter for Thursday but the vericles, lessons and responsories are proper. The homily is taken from St. Jerome's commentary on the first chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. At Lauds proper antiphons, Judaea et Jerusalem nolite timere etc, are sung with the psalms of Sunday. The chapter and antiphon on the Benedictus are proper too..

Prime is festal with the first antiphon from Lauds, as usual, and psalms 53, 118(i) and 118(ii). The Martyrology is sung with extra soleminity today. The Hebdomadarius dons a violet cope and preceded by acolytes bearing candles and a thurifer with incense enters the choir. After reverencing the choir and altar the Martyrology is censed, as a Gospel book, three times. The the choir rise and the Hebdomadarius chants 'Octavo Kalendas Januarii. Luna octava. Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit coelum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimonono: A diluvio etc. listing the years since the birth of Abraham, the Exodus from Egypt, the anointing of David, the time since Daniel the Prophet, since the founding of Rome and the conception of the LORD by the Holy Ghost '...novemque post conceptionem decursis mensibus', then raising the pitch of the chant, whilst the choir kneel, he continues, 'in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus Homo'. Then in the tone of the Passion: 'Nativitas Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundem carnem.' The choir then rise and sit whilst in the normal tone the Hebdomadarius continues with the entries for the day: 'Eodem die natalis santae Anastasiae etc. The lectio brevis is proper to the Vigil. The antiphons from Lauds are used in sequence at the rest of the Hours.

After None Mass is sung. Today the ministers do not wear folded chasubles but dalmatic and tunicle. There is just one collect. The dismissal, Benedicamus Domino, is sung by the deacon to a most beautiful and ornate tone reserved for today, the feast of the Holy Innocents and pro re gravi Masses.

First Vespers of the Nativity are sung in the afternoon. All hymns of Iambic metre have the Doxology Jesu, tibi sit glori, qui natus es de Virgine. for the Octave and up until the feast of the Epiphany.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there is no change of rank between Mattins and the rest of the day. The antiphons at Mattins and the Hours are doubled. At Prime the special short lesson is omitted and the one used for all of Advent sung. Not having folded chasubles the distinction of the lightening of the penitential tone is lost at Mass and the beautiful chant of the Benedicamus Domino is replaced by Ite, missa est. The hymns at the Little Hours through the Octave etc do not have the special tone and Doxology in honour of the Incarnation.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

O Virgo Virginum

The title of this post, largely repeated from last year, has nothing to do, directly, with the liturgy of the post-Tridentine Breviary. However, for many years I have been struck by the beauty of some of what might be termed the 'Lesser O Antiphons'. The most widespread of these by far was O Virgo Virginum and was sung in many Western rites, including the illustrious Sarum rite, as the last of the 'O' antiphons on December 23rd. The meant that 'O Sapientia' instead of being sung on December 17th was sung on December 16th. A vestige of this practice can even be found in the 1662 Anglican Book of Common Prayer which, although not providing texts, indicates 'O Sapientia' in the Kalendar on the 16th December but wiped out in 'Common Worship'.

I recommend the interesting website The Hymns and Carols of Christmas for a visit at this particular season of the Liturgical year and from that site take the texts given below:


O Virgo virginum, quomodo fiet istud? quia noc primam similem visa es, nec habere sequentem. Filæ Jerusalem, quid me admiramini? Divinum est mysterium hoc quod cernitis.


O Virgin of virgins! how shall this be? for never was there one like thee, nor will there ever be. Ye daughters of Jerusalem, why look ye wondering at me? What ye behold, is a divine mystery.



Dom Guéranger notes that this antiphon was used in the post-Tridentine Roman rite in Spain and some of her Dominions for the pro aliquibus locis feast of the Expectation of the BVM on 18th December. The old practice of having the antiphon on the 23rd seems to me at least an excellent one emphasising the inseparable link between the Mother of God and the mystery of the Incarnation. A beautiful acrostic was created (very common in the Sarum breviary) by taking the first letter of each antiphon in reverse order. So for the seven in the Roman Breviary this creates 'Ero Cras' that translates as 'Tomorrow, I will come'. With O Virgo virginum this becomes 'Vero Cras', 'Truly, tomorrow'.

There were also other 'Lesser O's' (again texts from the excellent site of Doug Anderson):


O Hierusalem, civitas Dei summi: leva in circuitu oculos tuos, et vide Dominum tuum, quia jam veniet solvere te a vinculis.


O Jerusalem, city of the great God: lift up thine eyes round about, and see thy Lord, for he is coming to loose thee from thy chains.


O Rex pacifice, Tu ante saecula nate: per auream egrede portam, redemptos tuos visita, et eso illuc revoca unde ruerunt per culpam.

O King of peace, that was born before all ages: come by the golden gate, visit them whom thou hast redeemed, and lead them back to the place whence they fell by sin.

O Gabriel, nuntius caelorum, qui clausis ianuis ad me introisti, et verbum annuntiasti: concipies et paries Emmanuel vocabitur.

O Gabriel! the messenger of heaven, who camest unto me through the closed doors, and didst announce the Word unto me : Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son, and he shall be called Emmanuel.



In the Roman liturgy today is and Advent feria of simple rite. The antiphons Prophetae praedicaverunt etc are sung at the second scheme of Lauds and at the Little Hours. At the Benedictus an antiphon special to this day is sung: Ecce completa sunt... Behold all things are accomplished... Ferial preces are sung, kneeling at Lauds and at the Little Hours.

At Mass, sung after None, the ministers wear folded chasubles and four candles are on the altar. The chants are ferial. The Mass is of the fourth Sunday of Advent but without the Alleluia and versicle after the Gradual. The second collect is of the BVM, Deus, qui de beate, and the third collect is for the Church, Ecclesiae. As always when violet vestments are worn Benedicamus Domino is the dismissal. As normal on 'kneeling days' the choir kneels for the orations and from the Sanctus to the Fraction.
At Vespers the antiphon O Emmanuel is sung, doubled, and with the choir standing. After the Magnificat and the repetition of the antiphon the ferial preces are sung, kneeling. Again at Compline preces are sung with the choir kneeling.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no ferial preces. Antiphons are of course 'doubled' regardless of the rank of day, at Prime the festal Regi saeculorum is sung rather than the ferial Pacem. At Mass, sung after Terce, the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle, there is no collect of the BVM or for the Church and Ite, missa est is the dismissal. At Vespers the significance of the doubled 'Great 'O' antiphon is lost and there are no preces at either Vespers or Compline.

Monday 21 December 2009

St. Thomas the Apostle


Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, the feast has a rank of Double of the Second Class. According to tradition St. Thomas preached the Gospel in Asia and the Indian sub-continent. He is believed to have founded, inter alia, the St. Thomas Christians on the West coast of India, one of several groups using the East-Syrian family of liturgies.

The liturgy of the day is festal and began with first Vespers of the feast yesterday on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Four pluvialistae in pariti assist the Hebdomadarius at Vespers and Lauds. At Mattins there are the usual nine lessons. At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper Quia vidisti me, Thoma, credidisti: beati, qui non viderunt, et crediderunt, alleluia referring to the incident recorded in the Gospel of St. John about St. Thomas' doubt in the Risen LORD. A commemoration is then made of the Advent feria, the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper too for the feria Nolite timere.

Festal hymn tones and psalmody are used at the Horae Minorae. At Mass, which is sung after Terce the Gloria and Creed are both sung and there is a commemoration of the Advent feria, the preface is that of the Apostles. At second Vespers there is a commemoration of the Advent feria with the 'O' antiphon O Oriens.

According to the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Thomas' feast suffers the usual 'cuts' for a second class feast. There is no first Vespers, the ferial psalter is used at the Little Hours, the short lesson at Prime is of the season rather than of the feast.

Art: Wikipedia: a Russian Icon of St. Thomas, 18th century.

Sunday 20 December 2009

The Fourth Sunday of Advent


Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, it is a semi-double Sunday of the second class. The Gospel pericopes are from St. Luke with St. John the Baptist's famous words "Prepare ye the way of the LORD: make straight his paths: every valley shall be filled; and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons from Lauds were sung with the psalms of Saturday. The antiphon on the Magnificat was O radix Jesse that was sung in its entirety before and after the canticle with all standing.

At Mattins the first nocturn lessons are from the prophet Isaiah. In the secondnocturn the lessons are from a sermon of St. Leo and in the third nocturn homily on the Gospel from St. Gregory provides the lessons. At Lauds the antiphons on the psalms are proper. At Prime the Dominical preces are sung.

At Mass the second collect is of the BVM, Deus, qui de beate, the third for the Church, Ecclesiae, the Creed is sung and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino. The ministers, of course, wear folded chasubles.

Vespers are of St. Thomas the Apostle, the antiphon on the Magnificat is proper and the Sunday is commemorated with the Great O antiphon O clavis David.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Mattins is reduced to one nocturn of three lessons. No preces are sung at Prime. At Mass there is only one collect. The dismissal is Ite, missa est. The ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. Vespers is of the Sunday without even a commemoration of St. Thomas.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Saturday 19 December 2009

Ember Saturday in Advent

Today is Ember Saturday in Advent and also the anticipated Vigil of St. Thomas the Apostle. It ranks as a greater, non-privileged ferial day, of simple rite.

Mattins has one nocturn and three lessons. The lessons are from a homily of St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel. After the third responsory the second scheme of Lauds is sung with the set of special antiphons Intuemini etc (this set of antiphons for the Saturday before Christmas Eve is quite modern in its introduction ot the Roman liturgy. Prior to 1911-13 on the Saturday before Christmas Eve the set that fell on the day of the week St. Thomas' feast were either anticipated or transferred to the Saturday). The ferial preces are sung whilst kneeling after the Benedictus and before the collect. The Vigil is not commemorated in the Office. At the Hours again the special set of antiphons are used in sequence and the ferial preces are sung, kneeling, at each Hour.

The Mass, sung after None, has the usual, ancient form, for Ember Saturdays. The ministers wear folded chasubles. Four candles are on the altar. After the Kyrie there are a series of five structural units comprising of the invitation Oremus, followed by Flectamus genua, Levate, a collect, O.T. reading and gradual. Four of these readings are from Isaiah and the last from Daniel. After the pericope from Daniel instead of a gradual the hymn of the Three Men in fiery furnace is sung, Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum and its collect Deus, qui tribus pueris. After this collect the Vigil is commemorated and the third collect is of the BVM, Deus, qui de Beate. Mass then continues as usual (with of course kneeling for the orations and from the Canon through to the Fraction as usual on penitential days) with Benedicamus Domino as the dismissal and the last Gospel of the Vigil.

A private Mass may be of the Vigil with the second collect of the Ember Saturday, the third collect of the BVM, Deus, qui de Beate. The same praxis about kneeling is followed and Benedicamus Domino sung and the last Gospel of the Ember Saturday.

Vespers of the fourth Sunday in Advent are sung. The Great 'O' Antiphon today is O radix Jesse which is both 'doubled' and sung entire both before and after the canticle. At compline the preces are sung, standing.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Canticle of Moses at Lauds shortened from 65 to 27 verses. The Vigil of St. Thomas has been abolished. At Prime the fourth psalm is not added and the ferial chapter Pacem et veritatem is replaced by the festal (!) Regi saeculorum. The ferial preces are omitted at Prime and the Hours. The Mass has the option of the 'mini-Ember Day' consisting of just one additional unit of collect, pericope and gradual. There is no commemoration of the Vigil or prayer to the BMV, the dismissal is Ite, missa est and the ministers wear dalmatic (the garment of joy!) and tunicle.

One strange feature of 1962 Ember Wednesdays and Fridays is that whilst traditionally the Ember Day liturgy ended with Mass sung after None in the 1962 books Vespers becomes formally part of the Ember Day. Hitherto, if Vespers were ferial, the collect from the preceding Sunday was sung. In 1962 use the collect from the Ember Day is used at Vespers. (In Lent of course the collects are proper to each feria).

Earlier in the week the learned Dr. Michael Brown of the Forest Murmurs blog raised an interesting question of whether the precedence given to the Ember Days in the 1962 rite was preferable. It is a good question and I only replied briefly in the comments whilst in Ireland. Considering the Office, the Ember Day's lessons can all be read as the ninth lesson in the Office of an occurring feast and so are not lost. Their responsories are not said but are used in the ferial Office of Advent anyway. The characteristic preces of penitential days are not sung at the Little Hours in the 1962 rite and Prime loses a psalm, chapter and preces. The Rorate Mass for Ember Wednesday (see the excellent article by Gregory DiPippo here) was actually used in many places on other days in Advent. It was even used on Sundays (!) by a decision of the SCR of 1713 for a special novena in Catania, and given a Credo for the Friars Minor in 1718. In Poland by the middle of the eighteenth century there was a solemn daily celebration of the Rorate Mass often sung before dawn. According to general liturgical law the Rorate Mass is the Votive Mass of the BVM to be used in Advent and can be celebrated in preference to the ferial Mass most days of Advent anyway. On the Ember Wednesday itself in parish churches either the Mass of the Ember Day or the feast could be sung. 'Private' Mass in this context does not necessarily mean a read Mass. With the 1962 Ember Wednesday Mass there are of course all the usual changes associated with the 1962 Ordo Missae: no bows to the Cross whilst at the sides of the altar, the vestments of the ministers on penitential days, the reduced period of kneeling on penitential days, the celebrant not reading the Epistle and Gospel but reading the Gradual etc (which is highly inconsistent), the new rules for the level of the celebrant's voice, the loss of Benedicamus Domino etc. With the not insignificant changes to the Office and Mass found in the 1962 books and the flexibility allowed by the more traditional praxis I still maintain the older use both preferable and, in the Collegiate use, ideal.

Friday 18 December 2009

Ember Friday of Advent

Today is Ember Friday in Advent. It ranks as a greater, non-privileged ferial day.

At Mattins the lessons are a homily from St. Ambrose of Milan on St. Luke's account of the Visitation. From the 17th December, yesterday, there are sets of proper antiphons to be sung at Lauds and the Hours.

These six sets of antiphons, five in the old Roman Breviary, are used on the weekdays before Christmas Eve. Yesterday, being Thursday, had the set De Sion etc. Today the set Constantes estote are sung. The second scheme of Lauds is sung (the traditional ferial Lauds in the old Breviary) and the 'kneeling prayers', the preces feriales are sung before the collect of the Ember Friday. The antiphon on the Benedictus is proper.

At the Hours these special antiphons are sung in sequence. The short set of preces feriales are sung at each hour (a longer set at Prime) with those in choir kneeling.

Mass is sung after None. The ministers wear folded chasubles. The Mass texts are proper, the collect is another of the Excita series. The second collect is of the BVM, Deus, qui de beate and the third for the Church, Ecclesiae. The dismissal is Benedicamus Domino.

At Vespers the antiphon on the Magnificat is O Adonai. (In England, traditionally, O radix Jesse). The Great 'O' Antiphons are unique in the ferial Office in that they are doubled. i.e. sung in their entirety both before and after the Canticle, and sung with the choir standing. Again the preces feriales are sung, kneeling, at Vespers too. The collect is from the Sunday, the Ember Friday liturgy ending with the Mass after None. At Compline the preces are also sung whilst kneeling.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Ember Wednesday of Advent - St. Eusebius

Today, Friday and Saturday are the Advent Ember days or Quarter Tense days.

Today is also the feast of St. Eusebius which takes precedence over the ferial Office. At Mattins in the first nocturn as there is no occurring Scripture the lessons are taken from the Common, A Mileto, with their responsories. In the third nocturn the ninth lesson is the homily of the Ember Wednesday (all three lessons may be read as one, but the first of the three suffices for those with under an obligation for the Office). At Lauds the Ember Day is commemorated.

At Prime the Dominical preces are said as the feast of St. Eusebius is a semi-double.

Mass is sung after Terce and has the Gloria, second collect of the Ember Day (the first one given after the Kyrie in the Missal), the third collect of the BVM Deus, qui de beate and the last Gospel is of the Ember Day. Private Masses may be of the Ember Wednesday with its proper collect after the Kyrie Praesta, quaesumus and extra OT lesson. After Dominus vobiscum the collect Festina quaesumus is followed by a commemoration of St. Eusebius and then the collect Deus, qui de beate. As there is no Gloria the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino. The ministers of course wear violet folded chasubles.

In Collegiate and Cathedral churches two Masses are celebrated. The first is the Mass of St. Eusebius following Terce with the second collect Deus, qui de beate and third collect Ecclesiae etc., and the last Gospel In principio. After None the Mass of Ember Wednesday follows with second collect Deus, qui de beate and third Ecclesiae etc. with Benedicamus Domino as the dismissal. The ministers wear violet folded chasubles.

At Vespers there is a commemoration of Advent (using the collect of the preceding Sunday as the liturgy of feria ends with None). At Compline the Domincal preces are sung.

Traditionally, in England, today marked the start of the Great 'O' Antiphons with O Sapientia beginning a day earlier than the Roman Kalendar. As Rubricarius is in Limerick today that presents an interesting dilemma...

[Update: I rather doubt (with 99.99% certainty) that O Sapientia will be sung either today or tomorrow here in Limerick!]

Sunday 13 December 2009

The Third Sunday of Advent


The third Sunday of Advent is often referred to as Gaudete Sunday from the words of its introit, Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete. 'Rejoice in the LORD always; again I say rejoice.' The same words begin the Epistle from Philippians (4:4). The Sunday's rank is a semi-double of the second class. The Gospel pericopes from St. John contain 'The Record of John', so beautifully set to music by Orlando Gibbons, and the Baptist's famous words "I am the voice of on crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the LORD."

For this Sunday, mirroring Laetare Sunday in Lent, the penitential mood is lightened with the deacon and sub-deacon wearing violet dalmatic and tunicle rather than their folded chasubles or, with the use of rose vestments. The absence of folded chasubles means that the organ may be played.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons were proper to the Sunday, sung with the psalms of Saturday. The concluding verse of Creater alme siderum was in the ordinary form as the Marian Doxology is not sung on the Sunday within the Octave. Commemorations were sung of the Octave and St. Lucy of Syracuse.

At Mattins the invitatory is Prope est jam Dominus: Venite adoremus. This invitatory is now used until the Vigil of Christmas. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken as usual in Advent from Isaias. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from St. Leo's sermon on the fast of the tenth month. The homily in the third nocturn is from the writings of St. Gregory.

At Lauds the antiphons that were used at Vespers are again sung. Commemorations are sung of St. Lucy and the Octave. At the Hours the antiphons from Lauds are used in sequence. At Prime the versicle in the responsory is Qui venturus es in mundum and the Dominical preces are omitted due to the occurring double feast and Octave.


(A 'rose' chasuble of Adrian Fortescue DD. Purplish-rose ground with a large gold pattern woven into the fabric, velvet silk orfreys with gold edging)


Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of St. Lucy, the third of the Octave. The Creed is sung and the preface that of the Trinity. As the Gloria is not sung the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino.

At Vespers commemorations are sung of the following day within the Octave and of St. Lucy.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at both Vespers there are no commemorations. Mattins is stripped down to one nocturn of three lessons, at Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is no commemoration of St. Lucy who is omitted this year, and no commemoration of the Octave which has been abolished. The dismissal is Ite, missa est.

Art (top): Jerome Nadal depicts today's Gospel where the Jews sent priests and Levites to interrogate St. John the Baptist.

Friday 11 December 2009

Advent Competition


A complimentary copy of Ordo Recitandi MMX (or of MMXI if the winner has already purchased a copy of next year's Ordo) to the first person to identify from the photograph above (a) what is this frontal and when would it be used and, (b) who designed it for his own church?

UPDATE: Congratulations to Mr. Scott Neukam for answering correctly. I will post tomorrow a photograph of more of this stunning antependium and detail of it. It is actually quite long and not very deep, suggesting that Adrian Fortescue was not particularly tall (and the high altar of St. Hugh was rather long). It is truly a beautiful item of vesture and it was a pleasure and privilege to handle it this afternoon. The extant vestments designed by Dr. Fortescue are stunningly beautiful in both the intrinsic simplicity of their design and beauty. Alas, no blue remains but I hope it was originally there!

Thursday 10 December 2009

Folded chasubles - planetis plicatis

(From a celebration at the Pantheon in Rome reported by Orbis Catholicus )


Whilst in the current Octave, during which of course white vestments are worn (and, in some diverse places, blue ones - but more on that in another post) it seems perhaps an opportunity to devote a post not to the liturgy of the day but to the interesting and ancient use of folded chasubles.

(A set of folded chasubles with matching celebrant's chasuble (and cope) commissioned in 2009 for the Anglo-Catholic church of St. Magnus the Martyr, London. Photographs from the Ex Fide blog. )


The use of folded chasubles, in the liturgical books planetis plicatis, is an ancient characteristic of the Roman liturgy even if the 'modern' style of vestment seen has evolved somewhat from the ancient form. It seems probable that in the early Church secular dress, or something quite close to it was worn by the clergy or rather the development of distinct clerical attire came later. A famous image of St. Gregory with his parents, Gordianus and Silvia, was reproduced in Cyril Pocknee's 'Liturgical Vesture', Mowbrays, 1960 with the image taken from Rocca, 'S Gregorii, ejusdem parentum imagines', Rome, 1597. This image, photographed below, shows St. Gregory with his parents. All three are wearing the paenula (or chasuble) over a dalmatic underneath which is an alb. The only difference is that St. Gregory wears a pallium over his paenula and his mother's alb is decorated at its hem.



Liturgical historians believe that these very full chasubles were worn by all the clergy (and laity alike) during the early centuries. With the development of distinct liturgical vesture for the clergy and the later introduction of the dalmatic (which was regarded as a sign of joy) in penitential seasons such as Advent the older practice of all the clergy wearing chasubles was retained. As can be seen from the image arm movement for St. Gregory and his parents is somewhat restricted by the flowing folds of the chasubles. The generally accepted theory is that the sub-deacon and particularly the deacon found the full, beautiful, chasubles so restrictive when holding books to sing the pericopes and carry out other functions that they initially folded them up at the sides to allow easier movement or simply removed them. Then for convenience the deacon folded his chasuble up lengthways and threw it over his shoulder.

Over time, particularly since the seventeenth century, the chasuble has generally become a much reduced and cut-down vestment in its dimensions. As this style of chasuble doesn't restrict arm movement at all they became symbolically folded at the front - planetis plicatus ante pectus - as the liturgical books put it. With full vestments it is probably likely that the folding was at the sides but with the 'Roman' style the folding up became symbolic at the front but with many folded chasubles, like the St. Magnus set pictured, not really being folded at all but made with short fronts. [Update: I have been corrected - the St. Magnus set have been folded up and stiched!]

The rules for their use are these. On the ferial days and Sundays of Advent and Lent (except for Gaudete and Laetare Sundays), Ember tide (excepting the Pentecost Ember Days), the Vigils of Easter and Pentecost, and at Candlemass the deacon and sub-deacon wear folded violet chasubles. On Good Friday, uniquely, black folded chausubles are worn for the Mass of the Pre-Sanctifed. (At Pontifical functions on the same days the assistant deacons and canon deacons etc wear the same.) During the last collect the sub-deacon goes to the bench and removes his folded chasuble. He sings the Epistle and then, after receiving the celebrants blessing he resumes his chasuble and moves the missal as he usually does. When the celebrant begins to read the Gospel the deacon goes to the credence table and takes off his folded chasuble. Depending on the style of the vestment he may then either fold it lengthways and put it over his shoulder or, and much more likely with Roman style vestments, he puts over his diaconal stole a broad band of silk called the 'broad stole' which represents the folded chasuble. He then takes the Gospel book and serves the rest of Mass as he usually does but only wearing the broad stole. After Communion when he has moved the missal back to the Epistle side he takes off the broad stole (or unhitches his folded chausble) and put his folded chasuble back on.



( In the picture above from St. Magnus the Martyr the deacon can be seen to the celebrant's right wearing his broad stole. The sub-deacon wears the humeral veil as he usually does.)
,


(The photograph above is again from Orbis Catholicus report on Mass at the Pantheon. The ministers are leaving the altar. Note that although a penitential season the protonotary celebrant still wears his violet choir cassock (unlike a bishop outsise of Rome) as protonotaries and domestic prelates only wear black choir dress sedevacante.)


Recently Shawn Tribe at The New Liturgical Movement discovered some photographs showing folded chasubles that looked rather different and perhaps how they may have looked in the period before vestments were radically cut back. The photographs were taken at the Belgian Abbey of St. Andrew. (Origin of the popular and excellent Daily Missal). The article is well worth reading.



(The subdeacon. Note the effect of folding the semi-full chasuble at the front has on its sides)


(The deacon. Note how the chasuble has been folded up lengthways and compare with the photograph of the deacon in broad stole at St. Magnus.)


Folded chausubles became a casualty of new order of Holy Week published in 1955 (although were still used in the experimental Easter Vigil services in both its 1951 and 1952 forms) and then were thrown out of the rest of the liturgical year in 1961. One can only hope that much more is seen of folded chasubles in many more places in the future.

Sunday 6 December 2009

The Second Sunday of Advent

The second Sunday of Advent, and the third and fourth, are semi-doubles of the second class in rank. The Gospel pericopes, from St. Matthew, concern St. John the Baptist in prison sending two of his followers to meet the LORD. St. Nicholas of Myra is commemorated at Vespers, Lauds and Mass. He is of course one of the antecedants of 'Santa Claus'.

At Vespers on Saturday the proper antiphons from Lauds are used, Ecce in nubibus caeli etc, with the psalms of Saturday. A commemoration is sung of St. Nicholas. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted because of the occurring double feast.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the lessons are a continuation of Isaiah and today contain the beautiful symbolism of the Rod of Jesse. In the second nocturn this them is continued as the lessons are taken from Expositon on Isaias the Prophet by St. Jerome. Like so much of the Advent liturgy these readings are exquisite:
Therefore upon this flower, which shall suddenly come forth from the stock and root of Jesse through the Virgin Mary, the Spirit of the LORD shall rest: for truly in him all the fulness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell corporeally: the spirit was not poured out upon him by measure, as it was upon the other Saints: but as we read in the Hebrew Gospel used by the Zazarenes: The whole fountain of the Holy Ghost shall be poured forth upon him. For the LORD is a Spirit; and where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty.

(Lesson VI, Stanbrooke Abbey translation.) In the third nocturn the homily is from St. Gregory.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper. A commemoration is sung of St. Nicholas. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted because of the occurring double feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is not sung in the seasonal liturgy of Advent. A commemoration of St. Nicholas is sung, the Creed is sung and the preface that of the Trinity. The dismissal is Benedicamus Domino. The deacon and subdeacon wear folded chasubles.

At Vespers the antiphons from Lauds are used. Commemorations are sung of tomorrow's feast of St. Ambrose and St. Nicholas.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers, Lauds or Mass. Mattins is cut down to one nocturn of three lessons. At Mass the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle and the dismissal is Ite, missa est.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Saturday 5 December 2009

How to...Mattins (2)

Today is Saturday in the first week of Advent. The day is of simple rite and as such its Mattins consist of one nocturn and three lessons.

The Breviary needs to be marked in two or three places for Mattins: Sabbato ad Matutinum, Saturday of the first week in Advent for the lessons and the Ordinarium depending on the layout of the particular edition being used.

Mattins begins with the prayer Aperi Domine followed by the inaudible recitation of Pater noster, Ave Maria and Credo. Then the versicle Domine, labia mea aperies (with the Sign of the Cross made on the lips) and its response Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam. Turning now to the section Sabbato ad Matutinum the invitatories for Advent are given. For the first and second weeks this is Regem venturum Dominum * Venite adoremus. This is said in its entirety, then repeated and followed by the first part of Ps. 94 Venite, exsultemus Domino etc found in Ordinarium. The invitatory is then, again, repeated in its entirety. The next section of the psalm is then said Quoniam Deus magnus etc. After that the fragment of the invitatory, Venite adoremus, only. Then the next part of the psalm Quoniam ipse est mare etc followed by the entire invitatory. Next Hodie si vocem etc followed by the fragment, then Quadraginta annis followed by the entire invitatory. Then the Lesser Doxology, fragment of the invitatory and, finally, the entire invitatory is said again.

The hymn Verbum supernum prodiens is then said.

Now the nocturn is said. The first antiphon given for Sabbato ad Matutinum, Memor fuit, is said only as far as the asterisk, i.e. Memor fuit in saeculum. This is because today is not of double rank. Then the first psalm, Ps 104(i) Confitemini Domino is said. Then the lesser Doxology and the antiphon in its entirety is repeated, Memor fuit in saeculum testamenti sui Dominus, Deus noster. Then the second antiphon as far as the asterisk, the second psalm, Lesser Doxology and the antiphon in its entirety. This arrangement is repeated for the third psalms and its antiphon.

After the repitition of the third antiphon unlike in Mattins of nine lessons the versicle and response etc is NOT said here. Instead the antiphon fragment of the fourth psalm, Salvavit eos Dominus is said. Then follows the fifth antiphon and psalm followed by the sixth. After the repitition of the sixth psalm again the versicle and response etc are not said but the fragment of the seventh antiphon. Then the seventh psalm etc, the eighth and ninth. After the repitition of the ninth antiphon, Videbunt recti etc then an antiphon and versicle are said. The antiphon is that for the ferial office of Advent Egredietur Dominus and its response Veniet. Then is said the Pater noster, inaudibly, followed by the versicle Et ne nos inducas in tentationem and the response Sed libera nos a malo.

Then is said the absolution A vinculis etc followed by Jube, domne and the first blessing Ille nos benedicat. (The blessings vary according to whether Mattins has three or nine lessons, whether it is a feast of the BVM or Saint, and whether a Gospel fragment is read or not. Which blessing is said when is easily learnt with practice). Then turning to Saturday of the first week of Advent the first lesson is Et factum est in diebus Achaz etc followed by its responsory Ecce virgo concipiet. After the responsory again Jube, domne and the second blessing Divinum auxillium etc. Then the second lesson is said Et dices ad eum followed by its responsory Audite verbum. Then again Jube domne and the third blessing Ad societatem etc and the third lesson Et adjecit Dominus etc. Unlike on a feast, or in Paschaltide, at ferial Mattins the Te Deum is not said. In its place a third (or ninth) responsory follows. For today this is Ecce dies veniunt.

After the third responsory Lauds follow. (In private recitation, if Lauds are not said, the ending of Mattins is as given in the first example here with the collect of the first Sunday of Advent being used.)

Thursday 3 December 2009

How to...Mattins (I)

This post in the series of 'How to' will look at Mattins. Mattins is one of the three 'Great Hours' and the only Office in the Roman rite still to contain extensive passages of scripture and writings from the Fathers.

Mattins basically consists of units of psalmody and readings. The units were originally called vigils and later nocturns. Mattins can be either of three nocturns or a single nocturn depending on the liturgical day being celebrated. Each nocturn consists of three lessons so often, particularly when looking at pre-Trent liturgy, one sees references to feasts of three or nine lessons (in such times whether a feast had three or nine lessons was used in the classification system then in use, often with the additional qualification of whether the feast was 'ruled' or not). In the modern Roman rite doubles and semi-doubles have three nocturns at Mattins made up of nine psalms and nine lessons (with the exception of the feast of Easter and Pentecost and their Octaves) and simple feasts and ferial days have one nocturn consisting of nine psalms and three lessons.

The greater-double feast of St. Francis Xavier will be our first example. A Breviary will need to be marked in four or even five places: 'Feria quinta ad Matutinum', Thursday of the first week of Advent, the texts for St. Francis Xavier given on December 3rd and the 'Common of a Confessor non-bishop'. Depending on the layout of the Breviary one may need to also refer to the very beginning section Ordinarium divini Offici ad Matutinum (when more familiar with the texts the latter will not need to be referred to).

The prayer Aperi Domine etc is said followed by the inaudible recital of Pater noster, Ave Maria and Credo. Mattins then begins with the versicle Domine, labia mea aperies (with the Sign of the Cross made on the lips) and its response Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam. This is followed by the usual introductory rites of Deus in adjutorium, Lesser Doxology and Alleluia (all very familiar of course to those acquainted with Choral Evensong - Abp. Cranmer was very good at 'cut and paste'). Turning now to the Common the invitatory, Regem Confessorum Dominum, Venite adoremus, is said and then repeated. Then the first part of Ps. 94 Venite, exsultemus Domino etc found in the Ordinarium. The invitatory is then repeated. The next section of the psalm is then said Quoniam Deus magnus etc. After that the fragment of the invitatory from the * is said: Venite adoremus (only). Then the next part of the psalm Quoniam ipse est mare etc followed by the entire invitatory. Next Hodie si vocem etc followed by the fragment, then Quadraginta annis followed by the entire invitatory. Then the Lesser Doxology, fragment of the invitatory and, finally, the entire invitatory is said again.

Then the hymn, Iste Confessor, is said.

We now move into the first nocturn. The psalmody comes from the ferial psalter. So, turning to Feria quinta ad Matutinum, we begin with the entire (as it is a double feast) antiphon In Deo salutare meum, et gloria mea: et spes mea in Deo est. Then Ps. 61, Lesser Doxology and the antiphon is repeated. This arragement is repeated for the next psalm-fragment 65(i) and after that 65(ii). After the last antiphon, Audite, omnes...suam a me, is repeated as it is a feast of nine lessons the versicle Non amovit is said with its response Et misericordiam. Pater noster is then said inaudibly followed by Et ne nos inducas in tentationem and its response Sed libera nos a malo. Then is said the absolution Exaudi, Domine Jesu Christi etc. (The full texts of all the absolutions and blessings are found in Ordinarium section.) Then Jube, domne (or Domine in private recitation) benedicere and the blessing before the first Lesson, Benedictione perpetua etc. (When Breviaries were printed most included a separate sheet with the Venite, absolutions and blessings along with the Te Deum which could be moved around for convenience of the user).

The first nocturn, scriptural, lessons are taken from Thursday of the first week of Advent. The first lesson is Et apprehendent septem mulieres (from Isaiah). At the end of each lesson is said Tu autem Domine, miserere nobis and the response Deo gratias. This is followed by the first responsory Suscipe verbum. Then Jube domne, the next blessing Unigenitus, the second lesson Cantabo dilecto etc followed by the second responsory Aspicebam in visu noctis. Then Jube again and the third blessing Spiritus sancti. Then follows the third lesson Et nunc ostendam etc and then the third responsory Missus est Gabriel. That completes the first nocturn.

Now for the second nocturn. We turn back to 'Feria quinta ad Matutinum' and have another three antiphons and three psalm-fragments: Exsurgat Deus...inimici ejus followed by Ps 67(i), Lesser Doxology, Exsurgat Deus...inimici ejus, then Deus noster...exitus mortis followed by Ps 67(ii), Lesser Doxology, Deus noster...exitus mortis, then In ecclesiis...Domino Deus followed by Ps 67(iii), Lesser Doxology, In ecclesiis...Domino Deus. After the psalmody the versicle Mirabilis Deus and its response Deus Israel. Then, as in the first nocturn, a Pater noster inaudibly until Et ne nos etc. The absolution for the second nocturn is Ipsius pietas etc.

Then, turning to the texts for St. Francis Xavier on December 3rd, Jube domne and the blessing Deus Pater etc. The fourth lesson is Franciscus etc, then the responsory Honestum fecit. Then Jube domne and the blessing Christus etc and the fifth lesson Vitae austeritate etc and its responsory Amavit eum. After that Jube domne, the blessing Ignem etc and the sixth lesson Hunc dilatandi etc and its responsory Iste homo. That concludes the second nocturn.

Lastly, to the third nocturn. We turn back again to 'Feria quinta ad Matutinum' and have the last three antiphons and three psalm-fragments: Salvum me fac...animam meam, Ps 68(i), Lesser Doxology, Salvum me fac...animam meam, then Propter inimicos...Domine, Ps 68(ii), Lesser Doxology, Propter inimicos...Domine, and finally Quaerite...anima vestra, Ps 68(iii), Lesser Doxology, Quaerite...anima vestra. Then the versicle Laudabo and its response Et magnificabo. Then, as in the previous two nocturns, a Pater noster inaudibly until Et ne nos etc. The absolution for the third nocturn is A vinculis etc.

Turning back to the texts for St. Francis Xavier. Ignore the short lesson preceded by the rubric Si hoc Festum ad instar Simplicis redigatur etc. The seventh lesson is the Gospel fragment from St. Mark. Jube domne, the blessing Evangelica etc then the Gospel fragment and St. Gregory's homily Potest omnis creaturae etc. After the lesson the seventh responsory Iste est. Then Jube domne, the blessing Cujus festum colimus etc and the lesson Neque etenim etc and its responsory Sint lumbi. Then Jube domne and the final blessing Ad societatem etc followed by the ninth lesson Signa autem etc. After the ninth lesson, as today is a feast, the Te Deum is said instead of a ninth responsory.

In Choral Office Mattins is never separated from Lauds, except as noted above at Christmas. In private recitation, and to complete this example, the hour concludes Dominus vobiscum etc, Domine exaudi orationem meam etc, Oremus followed by the collect of the day, Dominus vobiscum etc, Benedicamus Domino and its response Deo gratias, the versicle Fidelium animae and an inaudible Pater noster.

So that is Mattins for a feast of nine lessons. It looks more complex than it really is and the above took longer to think and type than it would take to say Mattins. With practice the absolutions and blessings become part of liturgical consciousness and the Office less 'fiddlesome' than it at first appears. The next example will be a ferial Office of three lessons.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Typo alert

I trust users of the Ordo noted the 'typo' in yesterday's entry:

In M (de Dom praec sine Allel, v post Graduale et Cr) 2 or Deus, qui de beate, 3 or Fidelium, 4 or Eccl vel pro Papa.

If yesterday had been a Monday the entry would have been correct but Fidelium is not said on first free day of December when it falls in Advent.

Mea culpa.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

How to...Compline

The Office of Compline is the last Office of the liturgical day and one of the 'Little Hours' or Horae Minorae. Its structure differs from that of Vespers and Lauds and it has certain affinities with Prime. Both Prime and Compline historically having been monastic praxis that became imported into the secular Office.

Today is an Advent feria but Vespers are the first Vespers of St. Bibiana which is a semi-double feast. So for Compline today in the Breviary the texts are to be found at 'Feria tertia ad Completorium'.

The Office begins with Aperi Domine etc followed, not by the usual introductory rites as at the other Hours, by a request for a reader-blessing Jube, domne (or Domine in private recitation) benedicere then the blessing Noctem quietem et finem perfectum etc and Amen. After that the short lesson Fratres: Sobrii estote, et vigilate etc followed by Deo gratias and then the versicle Adjutorium nostrum and its response Qui fecit caelum. Then Pater noster is said inaudibly followed by the Confiteor, Misereatur and Indulgentiam. Then the versicle Converte nos, Deus, salutaris noster (during which a small Sign of the Cross is made on the chest) its response, Et averte and then the usual introductory rites of Deus, in adjutorium, Lesser Doxology and Alleluia.

Then comes the psalmody which since 1911 is variable (before being invariably Pss.4, 30 (vv 1-6), 90 and 133). For Tuesday's Compline this now consists of the antiphon fragment Tu, Domine followed by Psalm 11, Lesser Doxology, Psalm 12, Lesser Doxology and Psalm 15 followed by the Lesser Doxology and the antiphon Tu, Domine...custodies nos in aeternum in its entirety. The hymn Te lucis ante terminum then follows. The hymn is followed by the chapter Tu autem in nobis etc and its response Deo gratias.

Following the hymn and chapter comes the short responsory In manus tuas etc. This is followed by the versicle Custodi nos, Domine and its response Sub umbra. Then the antiphon fragment Salva nos and the NT canticle Nunc dimittis, Lesser Doxology and the antiphon Salva nos...requiescamus in pace in its entirety.

The Domincal preces are then said. Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie followed by the Pater noster and Credo and series of versicles and responses. After the last response Dominus vobiscum etc and the collect Visita, quaesumus. After that the final greeting and Benedicamus Domino, its response and the blessing Benedicat et custodiat etc. Following that the antiphon to the Blessed Virgin, Alma Redemptoris, its versicle & response and collect. Then the versicle Divinum auxillium and an inaudible Pater, Ave and Credo.

The most complex hour, Mattins, later in the week.

Monday 30 November 2009

How to...Prime

Today is the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. The feast is a double of the second class.

Continuing the 'revision' of how to say Canonical Hours originally 'dissected' last year today concludes with Prime before moving on later this week to look at Compline and Mattins. The Office of Prime was discussed previously here and here. Today's example will look at Prime for today's feast.

Prime basically has three forms: festal, Dominical and ferial. These differ mainly in their component psalms, chapters, short lessons and whether the preces, Dominical or ferial, are said. The festal form, as celebrated today, is perhaps the easiest form to start with.

Aperi, Domine etc followed by Pater noster, Ave Maria & Credo. Then Deus in adjutorium, Domine, ad adjuvandum, Lesser Doxology and Alleluia followed by the hymn Jam lucis orto sidere.

The fragment of the antiphon Salve, crux pretiosa (the first antiphon at Lauds is then used for Prime. The antiphons are proper for St. Andrew and found in the texts for November 30th) followed by Psalm 53. At the end of the psalm the Lesser Doxology then the first stanza of Psalm 118, Beati immaculati followed by Lesser Doxology and then the second stanza, Retribue servo tuo. After the Lesser Doxology after the last stanza the antiphon Salve, crux pretiosa is repeated in its entirety.

The chapter Regi saeculorum is then said followed by the short responsory Christe, Fili Dei vivi. In the responsory the versicle Qui venturus es in mundum is said as it is Advent. After a versicle and response the collect Domine, Deus omnipotens and the reading of the Martyrology although this is often omitted outside of Choir.

Then the versicle Pretiosa and its response, Mors Sanctorum ejus, followed (without the usual Oremus) by the collect Sancta Maria, Deus in adjutorium and its response is then sung three times. The Lesser Doxology is then sung followed by Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie.. a secret Pater noster and further short series of versicles and responses, again the Lesser Doxlogy and the collect Dirigere et sanctificare. Then Jube, Domine benedicere, the blessing Dies et actus and short lesson Isaias enim dicit (for St. Andrew) ending with Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis and Deo gratias. Concluding the Hour of Prime Adjutorium nostrum, its response then Benedicite followed by its response Deus and the blessing Dominus nos benedicat... Amen. Then, if Terce does not follow, a final secret Pater noster.

Sunday 29 November 2009

Advent Sunday

The Season of Advent begins with Vespers on the Saturday before Advent Sunday. The liturgy of Advent is perhaps the most beautiful of the entire liturgical year with 'layers' of meaning for both the First and Second Comings of the LORD. Advent Sunday is a semi-double Sunday of the first class. The eschatalogical theme of last Sunday's Gospel continue with St. Luke today and the Coming of the Divine Judge.

At Vespers the antiphons are proper. The Office hymn is Creator alme siderum. A commemoration of St. Saturninus is sung. However, the Suffrage is omitted for all of Advent. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem venturum and this is sung in the Dominical and ferial Offices until the third Sunday. The hymn is Verbum supernum and the antiphons are proper for Advent. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the prophet Isaiah. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the writing of St. Leo on the fast of the tenth month, the theme of which is preparing for the Coming and, in the third nocturn the homily is from St. Gregory continuing the theme with his commentary on St. Luke's Gospel about the end times. A ninth responsory is sung and the Te Deum omitted in the Office of Advent. At Lauds the antiphons sung at Vespers are again used, the hymn is En clara vox. A commemoration of St. Saturninus is sung but, as noted above, the Suffrage is omitted.

At Prime the first antiphon from Lauds is used with the usual Dominical psalms (117, 118(i), 118(ii)). In the short responsory the versicle Qui venturus es in mundum replaces Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris for all of Advent except when an occuring feast has a proper versicle. The Dominical preces are sung. At the other Hours the antiphons of Lauds are sung.

Mass is sung after Terce. For Advent the deacon and sub-deacaon do not wear dalmatic and tunicle but violet folded chasubles, an ancient feature of the Roman liturgy. The Gloria in not sung, the second collect is of St. Saturninus and the third collect of the BVM in Advent, Deus, qui de beate. The Creed is sung, the preface that of the Trinity and, as the Gloria was not sung, the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino.

At Vespers the liturgical colour and mood change as First Vespers of St. Andrew the Apostle are sung with a commemoration of the Sunday.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' no commemoration is made at Vespers on Saturday (and, of course, the antiphons are doubled etc). There are no preces at Compline. Mattins is cut down to just one nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there is no commemoration of St. Saturninus who is omitted this year. At Prime there are no preces. At Mass the deacon wears the 'garment of joy' the dalamtic, and the sub-deacon the tunicle. There is only one collect and the dismissal is Ite, missa est. Vespers are of the Sunday, St. Andrew 'the first called' doesn't even get a mention.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Saturday 28 November 2009

How to...Terce, Sext and None

The hours of Terce, Sext and None are know, along with Prime and Compline, as the 'Little Hours' or Horae Minorae. They contrast with the 'greater hours' of Mattins, Lauds and Vespers. A previous post here looked at the structure of Terce, Sext and None.

Terce, Sext and None all have the same structure comprising of introductory rites, the hymn, an antiphon fragment, three psalms (or sub-divisions of a psalm), antiphon, chapter, responsory, versicle and collect.

As today is the anticipated Vigil of St. Andrew the Apostle a set of prayers called the ferial preces are said at Lauds and the Horae Minorae. In Choir these prayers are said whilst kneeleing and, because also at Mass there are extended periods of kneeling such days are often referred to as 'kneeling days'. In Cathedral and Collegiate practice the Horae Minorae would normally be sung together as one service preceding the singing of Mass, which today is sung after None. For this post Prime will be omitted from the description and we will begin with Terce.

At Terce: The texts are found in the Breviary at 'Sabbato ad Tertiam'. Pater & Ave, Deus in adjutorium, Domine ad adjuvandum, Lesser Doxology, Alleluia. The hymn Nunc Sancte nobis Spiritus, the antiphon fragment (only) Clamor meus, followed by psalm divisions 101(i), 101(ii) and 101(iii). The Lesser Doxology is said after each of the three psalm divisions but the antiphon is only repeated after the last and then said in its entirety, Clamor meus...faciem tuam a me.

The chapter Sana me is then said followed by the responsory Sana animam meam etc. Following that the versicle and response, Adjutor meus esto & Neque despicias me. Then, because today is a Vigil the ferial preces are said. These are (now) a short series of Kyrie eleison etc, Pater noster and four versicles and their responses. Then follows the collect of the Vigil, Quaesumus, then Benedicamus Domino etc and Fidelium animae.

At Sext: Pater & Ave, Deus in adjutorium, Domine ad adjuvandum, Lesser Doxology, Alleluia. The hymn Rector potens verax Deus, the antiphon fragment (only) Domine, Deus meus, followed by psalm divisions 103(i), 103(ii) and 103(iii). The Lesser Doxology is said after each of the three psalm divisions but the antiphon is only repeated after the last and then said in its entirety, Domine, Deus meus, magnificatus es vehementer.

The chapter Nemini quidquam is then said followed by the responsory Benedicam Dominum etc. Following that the versicle and response, Dominus regit & In loco pascuae. Then, again, the ferial preces are said Kyrie eleison etc, Pater noster and four versicles and their responses. Then follows the collect of the Vigil, Quaesumus, then Benedicamus Domino etc and Fidelium animae.

At None: Pater & Ave, Deus in adjutorium, Domine ad adjuvandum, Lesser Doxology, Alleluia. The hymn Rerum Deus tenax vigor, the antiphon fragment (only) Ne tacueris Deus, followed by psalm divisions 108(i), 108(ii) and 108(iii). The Lesser Doxology is said after each of the three psalm divisions but the antiphon is only repeated after the last and then said in its entirety, Ne tacueris Deus, quia sermonibus odii circumdederunt me.

The chapter In timore is then said followed by the responsory Redime me, Domine etc. Following that the versicle and response, Ab occultis & Et ab alienis. Then, again, the ferial preces are said Kyrie eleison etc, Pater noster and four versicles and their responses. Then follows the collect of the Vigil, Quaesumus, then Benedicamus Domino etc and Fidelium animae.

Mass of the Vigil is then sung with the second collect Concede nos and third Ecclesiae. However after Mass in the afternoon Vespers remain in the liturgical colour violet for Advent Sunday, the subject of the next post.

Friday 27 November 2009

How to...Lauds

The structure of Lauds in the post-1911 Office is the same as that of Vespers: introductory rites, five antiphons and psalms (or to be precise, four psalms and an OT canticle), chapter, hymn, versicle and response, antiphon on the Benedictus, collect, commemorations and Suffrage.

Last year examples of Lauds were given here and here. Today's ferial Office will be examined as another example. It should be noted that in Choir Mattins and Lauds are always celebrated as one service with the exception of Christmas when Mattins precedes the first Mass and Lauds follow it. However, the previous examples and today's ferial Office will treat Lauds as a separate service for the purpose of explanation.

The Office is found in the section of the Breviary 'Feria Sexta ad Laudes I'. Lauds begins with (Pater & Ave) the introductory Deus in adjutorium, the response Domine, ad adjuvandum, the Lesser Doxology and Alleluia. The antiphon fragment (only) Exalate is said and then Psalm 98, Dominus regnavit, the Lesser Doxology and then the entire antiphon Exaltate Dominum...in monte sancto ejus is recited. The same pattern, antiphon fragment, psalm, Lesser Doxology and repitition of the entire antiphon is repeated for the remaining three psalms and OT Canticle.

After the repitition of the last antiphon the chapter Nox praecessit, hymn Aeterna caeli gloria and then the versicle Repleti sumus mane and the response Exsultavimus. The fragment (only) of the antiphon on the Benedictus, Per viscera misericordiae is said followed by the Benedictus, Lesser Doxology and the entire antiphon.

The collect from last Sunday is then said Excita, quaesumus. After that the Suffrage of the Saints is said. This is printed in the section of the Breviary 'Ordinarium divini Officii ad Laudes'. It consists of the antiphon Beata Die Genitrix, versicle Mirificavit, response Et exaudivit and the collect A cunctis nos.

Benedicamus Domino and Deo gratias follow. Then Fidelium animae.., Dominus det nobis suam pacem and its response and then Salve Regina, its versicle and collect etc.

Tomorrow we will revisit the Little Hours of Terce, Sext and None which due to the anticipated Vigil of St. Andrew have the ferial preces.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

How to...Vespers

It is now well over a year since a series of posts about 'how to' say the Roman Office were written for this blog. It seems appropriate to revist the Hours that were discussed, namely Vespers, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext and None and then look at Compline and Mattins.

Anyone new to the Office is best advised to start with Vespers. The Office of Vespers is relatively straightforward and once familiar it is easy to move on to Lauds, the structure of which is essentially the same. Likewise the 'Little Hours' of Terce, Sext and None follow from Vespers and have the advantage of all sharing the same structure which is rather more simple than Vespers.

So to re-visit, Vespers was discussed here , here and here. Applying this to today the Ordo entry reads: V a cap seq, com praec et S Petri Alexandrini EM. This translates as 'Vespers is from the chapter of the following Office of St. Sylvester, with a commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Catharine and a commemoration of St Peter of Alexandria.'

(Note: Unless you have a Breviary or Antiphonale in front of you this post will be pretty much incomprehensible for what follows.)

Aperi Domine etc is said (if None doesn't immediately precede Vespers), then Pater & Ave followed by the usual introduction to the Hours of Vespers, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext and None: Deus in adjutorium, the response Domine, ad adjuvandum, Lesser Doxology and Alleluia.

The antiphons (doubled; i.e. the antiphon is said in its entirety both before and after the psalm) and psalms of 'Wednesday at Vespers' are then said. The chapter, Beatus vir, is from the Common of Confessor not Bishops (for St. Sylvester), the hymn Iste Confessor, the versicle Amavit eum and response Stolam gloriae. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Similabo eum (doubled) and the collect Clementissime Deus.

The commemorations are then made. (In most 'modern' editions of the Breviary this is made much easier as the relevant antiphons, versicles and collects are printed in the Sanctoral - it was not always thus and is indeed still more difficult to when trying to find the items in the Antiphonale or Vesperale.) So for St. Catharine we have Veni, Sponsa Christi, the versicle Diffusa est gratia, response Propterea benedixit and collect Deus, qui dedisti. For St. Peter the antiphon Iste Sanctus, the versicle Gloria et honore, response Constituisti and collect Infirmitatem nostram.

Then follows Benedicamus Domino etc and the closing of Vespers.

I will revisit Lauds and the Hours before Advent Sunday and look at Compline and Mattins next week.

Sunday 22 November 2009

XXV and Last Sunday after Pentecost


Today is the twenty-fifth and last Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the fifth Sunday of November, the last week of the liturgical year. It is of semi-double rite. The image above from Jerome Nadal depicts the coming of the Antichrist. The Gospel pericopes in the liturgy are from St. Matthew and concern the end times, the coming of Antichrist, concluding with the words of the LORD Caelum et terra transibunt, verba autem mea non praeteribunt. In the Breviary and Missal texts for today are actually taken today from the twenty-fourth Sunday. As was explained last week the number of sets of complete Mass formularies for Sundays after Pentecost is twenty-four but if there are more Sundays than that 'unused Sundays' after Epiphany are used in part.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the lesson are the Incipit of the Prophet Micheas and concern the coming of the LORD. In the second nocturn the lessons are from St. Basil's sermon on the thirty-third psalm on the Last Judgement. In the third nocturn (in the Breviary for the twenty-fourth and last Sunday after Pentecost) the homily is from the writings of St. Jerome on the abomination of desolation and the last times.

At Lauds a commemoration of St. Cecilia is sung. The Suffrage is omitted as St. Cecilia's feast is of double rite. At Prime Quicumque and the Dominical preces are omitted for the same reason.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, a commemoration of St. Cecilia is made. The Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Trinity.

At Vespers commemorations are sung of the following day's Office of St. Clement, of St. Cecilia and St. Felicity.

In 'the liturgical books of 1962' Mattins is cut down to one nocturn. No commemorations are made at Lauds or Vespers. St. Cecilia is omitted this year.

Saturday 21 November 2009

The Presentation of the BVM


Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Temple. In contrast to the Byzantine East where the feast is counted as one of the Twelve Great Feasts, in the West the feast has generally held a lower rank and in the Roman rite is a greater-double. The feast was actually supressed by the Commission responsible for the Tridentine Missal of 1570 and was re-introduced by Sixtus V in 1585. The feast, as the 'Obalation of the BVM in the Temple' appears inter alia in several English Calendars before 1100 e.g. London British Library: Cotton Titus D.XXVII., 3r-8v and London British Library: Cotton Vitellius E.XVIII, 2r - 7v (this information comes from the interesting 'Saints in English Calendars before 1100', HBS, Vol CXVII).

First Vespers was celebrated on Friday, the antiphons and psalms being taken from the Common of the Office of the BVM. The antiphon at the Magnificat and collect are proper to the feast. The Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria is sung at the conclusion of all hymns of Iambic metre in the Office.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the lessons are taken from the Common. (The Incipit of the Prophet Jonas was anticipated yesterday). In the second nocturn the lessons are from the writings of St. John of Damascus and St. Ambrose. In the third nocturn the homily is again taken from the Common with an adaptation made to the seventh responsory with the addition of tuam sanctam Praesentatione. At Lauds the antiphons are from the Common and the Sunday psalms are used. The antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper.

At Prime festal psalmody is used (53, 1181, 118ii) and the versicle Qui natus es sung in the short responsory. The short lesson is from the Common In plateis. Again at the Hours festal psalmody is sung.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria and Credo are sung and the preface is that of the BVM with the clause Et te in Praesentatione.

The feast yields in concurrence to the Sunday (as it is only greater-double). However the Office hymn, Jam sol recedit igneus, is sung to the Marian tone and has the Doxology noted above. The feast of the Presentation is commemorated and a commemoration of St. Cecilia VM is also sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast has been reduced to third class. There is but one nocturn the scriptural lessons being those of Saturday. Ferial psalmody is used throughout. There is no special tone for the hymns and no proper Doxology. The Creed is not sung at Mass. At Vespers there is neither commemoration of the Presentation or of St. Cecilia who is omitted this year.

The icon comes from an interesting website explaining the art and theology of icons.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Ordines away!


I have sent out two batches of Ordines this week and another batch will go tomorrow. There was a slight delay as I was feeling unwell at the beginning of the week.

It is very encouraging that there are a significant number of new customers this year. To those customers: Welcome and, hopefully, you will find the Ordo useful and of value to your spiritual life. Last year I started a series of 'How to' posts on the Hours which I will re-publish and extend in the next weeks which may be of some help if you are new to the traditional Office.

I trust customers who have received their Ordo are pleased with the improvements on last year's edition. The cover is more durable this year and almost back to the elegance of the design Gavin Stamp produced for Ordo 1986. An expert Latinist also kindly joined the proof-reading team and a number of amenments have been made perhaps most noticeably the replacement of the very new rite 'Praef Dom' with 'Praef Trin' as found in old ordines.

To existing customers thank you too for your repeat business. Some of the email reminders I sent out a month ago 'bounced'. Please check mail@ordorecitandi.org.uk is added to your safe senders list. I have had some problems too with my ISP and am looking to change provider for a more reliable service.

If you have not by now had an email, or the paper reminder, something has gone wrong. Please download the order form and send it as soon as you can so your order can be sent before the Christmas post.

It is possible that Royal Mail staff may take official, or otherwise, action nearer the peak time so please send your order now.