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

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