Today, this year, the third Sunday after Easter, is the Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross. celebrated on May 3rd. The feast is a double of the second class. Today is also Sunday within the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church.
Again the church dons red vestments, as two days ago for the Apostles SS Philip and James. The Office of the feast began with first Vespers on Saturday afternoon. The Office is proper. At Vespers the magnificent hymn Vexilla regis is sung, last heard on Good Friday morning. However one stroph is changed so in the verse beginning O Crux ave spes unica instead of Hoc Passionis tempore there is sung Paschale quae fers gaudium. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Athanasius is sung and of the Sunday. As the feast is a double of the second class the Octave is not commemorated.
At Mattins the Office is proper. In the first nocturn the first lesson is from St. Paul to the Galatians with the poignant words:
"Christ have redeemed us from the curse law, being made a curse for us: for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith."
The second lesson is from the Epistle to the Philippians with the passage so familiar from the Triduum and the third lesson from the Epistle to the Colossians. The second nocturn lessons relate the work of St. Helena in fourth century Jerusalem finding three crosses buried in a cistern. Not knowing which cross the LORD had died on each was placed on a woman with a sickness by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. When touched by the True Cross the sick woman was instantly restored to health. The image below, illustrating this event, is from the Church of the Holy Cross in Florence by Gaddi found on this interesting site.
In the third nocturn the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. As the feast occurs on a Sunday the ninth lesson is the homily of the Sunday also from St. Augustine. If the feast had fallen on a weekday the ninth lesson would have been of SS Alexander, Eventius, Theodulus & Juvenal.
At Lauds and the Hours the antiphons from Vespers are sung. At Lauds a commemoration is sung of the Sunday and of SS Alexander etc. Prime is festal. At the Little Hours, of course, the paschaltide doxology is sung in the hymns.
Mass follows Terce. The Gloria and Creed are sung. The Sunday is commemorated in all Masses but SS Alexander etc only in private ones. The preface of the Cross is sung and the last Gospel is that of the Sunday.
The picture above shows Fr. Anthony Cekada reading the proper last Gospel for the third Sunday after Easter (note the missal has been moved to the Gospel side) captured from this afternoon's live (14:00 BST) webcast from St. Gertrude the Great Church. A rather pleasant polyphonic Vidi aquam was sung. Weekday sung liturgy from St. Gertude's can be watched 16:25 BST.
As today used to be the feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph before the 1913 changes a decree of the Sacred Congregation for Rites (4308) allows all Masses except the Conventual Mass to be Votive Masses of St. Joseph. The Mass Adjutor of the feast is sung in white vestments. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Invention of the Holy Cross, the third collect of the Sunday. The Credo is sung, the preface is of St. Joseph and the last Gospel is that of the Invention of the Holy Cross.
Vespers are of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross with a commemoration of the following Office of St. Monica and of the Sunday.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross has been abolished as its observance in the West only dated to the seventh century. Even if it had not been abolished it would not have been kept on the Sunday but merely commemorated. So the Sunday cut-down liturgy is celebrated: no commemortions at Vespers, Mattins reduced to one nocturn etc., essentialy the same as the 'ordinary form' of the 1962 rite. The Paschaltide Doxology (and tone) is not sung at the Horae Minorae. As for the feast and octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph most 1962ists are oblivious or ignorant of its existence and history.
Art(Top): The Exaltation of the Cross from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry from Christus Rex.