Sunday, 23 May 2010
The feast of Pentecost is one of the greatest feasts in the Liturgical Year ranking with Pascha in being a Double of the first class with a privileged Octave of the first order.
After the beautiful ceremonies of the Vigil yesterday morning (my count of those celebrated in Southern England has now risen to five) the feast began with First Vespers in the afternoon. On this great feast the rubrics require the most solemn celebration of Vespers with the Hebdomadarius assisted by six pluvialistae in pariti. The solemn tone of Deus, in adjutorium is sung, the antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc are proper. During the singing of the hymn, Veni, Creator Spiritus, all kneel during the first verse. All hymns have the Doxology Deo Patri sit gloria, Et Filio, qui a mortuis, Surrexit ac Paraclito, In saeculorum saecula. Veni Creator is sung in tone 8, the other hymns of the Office in tone 1.
Mattins for the feast, and Octave, is like Pascha in only having one nocturn of three psalms and three lessons. The invitatory is Alleluia, Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, Venite adoremus Alleluia. The antiphons Factus est etc are sung with Pss. 47, 67 & 103. The lessons are from a homily of St. Gregory the Great on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc, are the same as at Vespers and the Dominical psalms are sung.
At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii). In the short responsory the versicle Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, alleluia, alleluia is sung. The short lesson is Judaei quoque. At Terce instead of the usual hymn Nunc Sancte nobis the hymn Veni Creator is sung as it was at the third hour the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles.
At Mass the Gloria is sung and there is only one collect. After the Alleluia the beautiful sequence Veni, Sancte Spiritus is sung. The Credo is sung. The preface, Communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper to the feast and used throughout the Octave. According to the rubrics of the Gradulae four cantors lead the singing during Mass. In some places, particularly France, the practice found in so many medieval uses is followed where on great feasts the cantors wear copes and the Crucifer and acolytes tunicles.
Second Vespers are the same as for First Vespers except for the versicle and response and antiphon on the Magnificat. There are no commemorations.
Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the hymns of Compline, Prime, Sext and None are sung to the solemn tone but do not have the Pentecost Doxology. The antiphons at the Little Hours are doubled.