Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi

Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi, the Second Sunday after Pentecost, is of semi-double rite. Today the altars and vestments of the traditional Roman rite are of the finest white in honour of the Octave of the feast of the Sacrament of the LORD's Passion, Death and Resurrection.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons and psalms were as on the feast of Corpus Christi. The antiphons Sacerdos in aeternum etc, not doubled, were sung with psalms 109, 110, 115, 127 & 147. The chapter was of the Sunday, the hymn and the following versicle & response were of the feast. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were of the Sunday followed by commemorations of the Octave, St. Norbert and St. Boniface. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the melody and Doxology of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui natus es de Virgine, Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula.

At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem adoremus dominantem Gentibus: Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem. The Office hymn is Sacris solemnis. The antiphons and psalms are as on the feast of Corpus Christi. The lessons are proper to the Sunday. In the first nocturn they are taken from the First Book of Kings. In the second nocturn they are taken from a sermon of St. Chrysostom to the people of Antioch and the homily in the third nocturn is from St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons are those sung on the feast of Corpus Christi, Sapientia etc. The chapter is of the Sunday, the hymn as on the feast. The antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are of the Sunday. Commemorations are sung of the Octave and of St. Norbert.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung to the same tone as on the feast of the Nativity of the LORD (there of course being a deep link between the Incarnation and Corpus Christi) with the Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria etc. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), the versicle in the short responsory is Qui natus es for the feast and Octave, the short lesson is Filioli mei, of the Sunday.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave, the third collect of St Norbert. The Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Nativity.

In Collegiate and Cathedral Churches a Mass of the feast is sung after None with Gloria, second collect of the Sunday, the Sequence Lauda Sion, Creed, preface of the Nativity and last Gospel of the Sunday. After this a Procession is made as on the feast.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms are as at Second Vespers of the feast. The chapter is of the Sunday, the hymn, versicle & response of the feast and the antiphon on the Magnificat and collect of the Sunday. Commemorations are sung of the Octave and St. Norbert.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi has been abolished. The Second Sunday after Pentecost is celebrated as a 'green' Sunday. Mattins is stripped down to one nocturn of three lessons. There are no commemorations at either Vespers, Lauds or Mass. The hymn tones are not those of the Nativity, the Doxology has gone, the versicle at Prime has gone as has the preface of the Nativity to be replaced by the common preface. A rubric in the 1962 missal does allow two 'votive Masses II class' where a procession takes place in the 'seven days following the feast'.

Ironically, in the 1970-2002 rite in many countries some of the former character of the Sunday within the Octave has been restored where the External Solemnity or the feast itself is observed on this Sunday and white vestments are again used. Few people realise that in the 1911 changes Pius X actually moved Corpus Christi from the Thursday after Trinity Sunday to the Second Sunday after Pentecost in his Motu proprio De diebus festis of 2 July 1911, AAS III (1911) p.305. Someone in the SRC obviously managed to reason with Pius X and the Motu proprio was substantially reversed (a ray of hope for the current time?) by a decree of the SRC twenty-two days later, Evulgato Moto proprio Sanctissimi of 24 July 1911, AAS III (1911) p. 350, where the feast of Corpus Christi was restored to the Thursday after Trinity but not as a Holyday of Obligation. Corpus Christi was renamed Commemoratio Solemnis Sanctissimi Corporis Domini Nostri Iesu Christi in the process and arrangements made for the External Solemnity to be observed on the following Sunday, with particular rules, as outlined above, in Cathedral and Collegiate Churches. Benedict XV eventually restored Corpus Christi as a holyday etc along with reversing several other liturgical innovations of Pius X.

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