Saturday, 29 May 2010

Ember Saturday in the Pentecost Octave

Ember Saturday in the Pentecost Octave is of semi-double rite and the last of the summer Quarter-Tense days. The liturgical colour is the red of the Octave.

The Office is as on the feast, except for those parts that are proper, but the antiphons at Mattins and Lauds are not doubled. At Mattins the invitatory, hymn, antiphons and psalms are those that were sung on the feast. The versicle and response are proper to the day. The lessons of the homily are taken from the writings of St. Ambrose on St. Luke's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper to the day. A commemoration is sung of St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi.

At the Hours all is celebrated as on Pentecost Sunday. At Terce the hymn is Veni Creator. The Pentecost Doxology is sung at the conclusion of hymns of the Hours.

Mass is sung after None, as on the Ember Days of the other seasons. The Mass is proper with the introit Caritas Dei etc. After the Kyrie there are a series of five structural units comprising of the invitation Oremus, followed by a collect, O.T. reading and Alleluia. The readings are from Joel, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus again and Daniel. After the pericope from Daniel the Alleluia is a fragment of the hymn of the Three Men in the fiery furnace, Alleluia, Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum et laudabilis in saecula. The the Gloria is sung followed by the collect Deus, qui tribus pueris. After this collect St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi is commemorated. The sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus is sung but without Alleluia at its conclusion, the Creed is sung, the preface, Hanc igitur and communicantes are of Pentecost.

The Mass of Ember Saturday in Pentecost was the favourite liturigical day of a late friend by the name of Paddy. Paddy was a somewhat eccentric character who enjoyed the friendship of numerous cardinals, bishops, canons and other clergy. Paddy, generally, liked the Little Hours and ferial Office in choir and when such were generally available avoided festal Office when copes were worn. He did moderate his taste when the availablity of Office functions diminished. However, he would not attend a Sunday Mass that lacked Gloria and Creed so went to the Byzantine rite in Advent and Lent (despite that not having a Gloria, except at Mattins, either). Paddy loved the Ember Saturday in Pentecost as "it has everything! Extra readings, Gloria Sequence and Creed". May Paddy (Patrick Hasset) enjoy the Heavenly Liturgy which hopefully meets with his satisfaction.

After Mass has been sung the Office of the Octave of Pentecost and Paschaltide come to an end. At the noon bell the last Regina Caeli is sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the distinction between the rank of the feast and Monday and Tuesday with the rest of the Octave has been lost with all days being first class and excluding all commemorations. The antiphons are doubled at both the Greater and Little Hours. The Pentecost Doxology is not sung at the Little Hours. A 'mini-Mass' Ember Day is permitted whereby only one OT reading, that from Joel, is read.


Capreolus said...

I never realized how devastating so many of the innovations of 1962 actually are: I celebrated Ember Saturday this morning with all its beautiful Lessons and Alleluias and then attended a Solemn High Mass with a congregations adhering to the 1962 books (although in practically every other way following the immemorial customs of the Roman rite--which shows a good spirit). The truncated "mini-Mass" was indeed used. I had no idea! It was very jarring and strange. I should have read your post, dear Rubricarius, more closely. Many thanks, as always, for your enlightening and helpful posts.

Peter said...

Traditionally, of course, the Pentecost ember days, like the other ember days of the year, are days of fast. However, does this not contradict the Roman custom of not fasting during Paschaltide - or does that principle apply only to the 40 days of Easter in the strict sense?

Rubricarius said...


Interesting point. I was discussing this with an Orthodox friend earlier in the week. In the Byzantine rite there is no fasting whatsoever in the Pentecost afterfeast (of course no Ember Days either).

No doubt the Ember Days in the West are older than the Pentecost Octave. I suspect one has to distinguish between a 'strict' Paschaltide that last up until the Ascension and then an extended period until the Saturday of the Pentecost Octave.