Saturday, 18 September 2010

Ember Saturday - St Joseph of Cupertino

Today is Ember Saturday in September. It is also the double rite feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino. The liturgical colour is white.

At Vespers yesterday a commemoration was sung of the preceding Office of the Impression of the Stigmata of St. Francis. However, in the Traditional rite there is never a commemoration of an Ember Day at Vespers as the Office of an Ember Day ends with None.

At Mattins the lessons in the first nocturn are proper, taken from St. Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, with the responsories from the Common. In the second nocturn the lessons are historical. In the third nocturn the homily is from St. Gregory. The ninth lesson is the homily from the Ember Saturday which again comes from the writings of St. Gregory. The three lessons of the Ember Saturday may be read as one. At Lauds a commemoration of the Ember Saturday is sung after the collect of the feast.

Mass, of St Joseph of Cupertino, is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Ember Saturday (the first collect after the Kyrie and invitation to pray - Omnipotens...), the common preface is sung and the last Gospel that of the Ember Saturday.

Private Masses may be of the Ember Saturday celebrated in violet vestments with the deacon and subdeacon wearing folded chasubles rather than dalmatic and tunicle. The Mass, sung after None, has the usual, ancient form, for Ember Saturdays. After the Kyrie there are a series of structural units comprising of the invitation Oremus, followed by Flectamus genua, Levate, a collect, O.T. reading and gradual. The first and second OT readings are from the Book of Leviticus. The third lesson is from Micheas the Prophet, the fourth from the Prophet Zachararias. The fifth is from the Prophet Daniel describing the LORD protecting Azarias and his two companions in the Babylonian fiery furnace. After the reading from Daniel instead of a gradual the hymn of the Three Men in fiery furnace is sung, Beneditus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum and its collect Deus, qui tribus pueris. The feast of St. Jospeh of Cupertion is then commemorated with its collect being sung. A Tract is sung between the Epistle and Gospel. Mass then continues as usual (with of course kneeling for the orations and from the Canon through to the Fraction as usual on penitential days) with Benedicamus Domino as the dismissal.

In Cathedral and Collegiate Churches two Masses are celebrated. The Mass of the feast takes place after Terce without any commemorations. The Mass of the Ember Saturday is sung after None with the second collect (before the Epistle) of the Vigil and third collect A cunctis . The dismissal is Benedicamus Domino.

When orders are conferred the Tonsure is given after the Kyrie. After the first OT lesson Door-keepers are ordained; after the second, Readers; after the third, the Exorcists; after the fourth, the Acolytes; after the fifth, the Subdeacons; after the Epistle, the Deacons, and before the last verse of the Tract, the priests.

In the afternoon Vespers of the Sunday are sung, the antiphon on the Magnificat is Adonai, Domine of the Saturday before the fourth Sunday of September. A commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Joseph of Cupertino is sung after the collect of the Sunday followed by a commemoration of SS Januarius and Companions. The Suffrage is not sung because of the double feasts and likewise the Dominical preces are omitted at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Ember Saturday is postponed by a week and when it does arrive may be celebrated in a typical cut down mini-version. St. Joseph of Cupertino gets cut down to a third class feast of three lessons. Scripture is from last Saturday. Vespers has the antiphon that was sung last Saturday in the Traditional rite, Ne reminiscaris. No commemorations are sung.


Ioannes Andreades said...

Say, at what point in history did ember days get overshadowed by the feasts of saints? Since ember days are stational, they must at one point have been fairly important. Thanks in advance.

Rubricarius said...

Ioannes Andreades,

Ember Days are of simple rite. The problem is that the number of double feasts grew massively after Trent: e.g. the number of ordinary doubles increased by 177%.

The solution in the 1960 stage of the reform was to adjust the relative rank so the doubles became 'III class' and the Ember Days 'II class' so were generally celebrated - for almost a decade!

Ioannes Andreades said...

Thank you!