Sunday, 8 February 2009

Septuagesima Sunday

Today is Septuagesima Sunday, its rank is semi-double of the second class. The liturgical mood becomes more sombre with first Vespers of Septuagesima. After the festivities of Christmas and Epiphany the mood becomes more sober but not yet as penitential as Lent itself. Although the colour of the season is violet the ministers at Mass do not wear folded chasubles but unusually violet dalmatic and tunicle for these three Sundays. The organ is still played until Ash Wednesday. From Septuagesima until Holy Saturday the dress of some prelates changes. Cardinals no longer wear scarlet choir dress but that of violet. Correspondingly bishops do not wear violet choir dress but their black, or mourning dress. In the case of the latter this is not to be confused with their habitus piano. The black choir cassock has a train, like the violet one, and the mozzeta or mantelleta is faced in violet.

In the Office some elements are the same as for the 'green' Sundays. A notable exception is that after Deus in adjutorium etc Alleluia is replaced by Laus tibi Domine Rex aeterne gloriae. At Mattins the invitatorium is Praeoccupemus as on preceding Sundays and the hymn Primo die. The antiphons and psalms are as on previous 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 a ninth responsory.

At Lauds the 'second scheme' of psalms is sung: Pss 50, 117, 62, Canticle of the Three Children (Benedictus es) and 148. (In the Tridentine Breviary the arrangement was Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite, 148-149-150.) The antiphons at Lauds are proper to the Sunday as are the versicle after the hymn Aeterne, chapter, antiphon at the Benedictus and collect. A commemoration is made of St. John of Matha.

At Prime the order of psalmody is again changed. The Pss. are 92, 99 (displaced at Lauds) and the usual first two stanzas of 118. (In the Tridentine Breviary the arrangement would have been 53, 92, 118(1), 118(ii) and Quicumque.) The Dominical preces are not sung because of the occuring double feast. At all the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper.

In Mass there is no Gloria, the second collect is of St. John of Matha, a Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the Preface is of Sunday. Following the general rule as the Gloria is not sung Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal. As noted about the ministers wear violet dalmatic and tunicle.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms are those used on Sundays, the chapter is proper as in the antiphon at the Magnificat. A commemoration is made of the following Office of St. Cyril of Alexandria, of St. John of Matha and St. Apollonia. At Compline the Dominical preces are not sung.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' mattins is reduced to one nocturn. At Lauds no commemoration is made of St. John of Matha. At Prime the arrangement of psalms is Pss. 53, 118(i), 118(ii). At Mass there are no commemorations and Benedicamus Domino is supressed in favour of Ite, missa est. At Vespers no commemorations are made.

Art: Jerome Nadal

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