Wednesday, 29 December 2010
St. Thomas of Canterbury
Today is the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, it is of double rite. In England the feast is a Double of the Second Class. The liturgical colour of the day is red. St. Thomas of Canterbury, or St. Thomas Becket, fell foul of the political machinations of King Henry II and was slain by the King's soldiers in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29th, 1170. The liturgical celebration of his feast entered Western calendars almost immediately after his canonisation.
Mattins has, as usual, three nocturns and nine lessons. The antiphons and psalms are taken from the Psalter for Wednesday. In the first nocturn the Incipit of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans is read. In the second nocturn the lessons are historical and in the third nocturn the lessons are from a homily of St. John Chrysostom on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds again the psalmody is ferial. A commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is sung. At the Hours the psalmody is ferial, at Prime the lectio brevis is Justus cor suum.
At Mass the Gloria is sung, a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is made, the Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Octave of the Nativity.
Vespers are of the Octave of the Nativity but from the chapter of the following Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity with a commemoration of St. Thomas Becket and of the Octave of the Nativity.
Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Thomas is reduced to a commemoration in the fifth day within the Octave of the Nativity. The liturgical colour of the day is white. However, festal psalmody is used at Mattins and Lauds, as on the feast of the Nativity (this contrasts with the practice for third order Octaves in the old rite when a double feast falls within them). Mattins is reduced to one nocturn of three lessons. At the Hours the antiphons and psalmody are ferial, at Prime the lectio brevis is of the season. Mass is of a day within the Octave, with Gloria, commemoration of St. Thomas (at read Masses only), Credo, preface and communicantes of the Nativity. Vespers are of the Nativity without any commemorations.