Saturday, 24 September 2011

Our Lady of Ransom - Ember Saturday

The feast of Our Lady of Ransom is of greater double rite and its liturgical colour is white. Today is also Ember Saturday in September. The Ember Day is commemorated at Mattins, Lauds and Mass.

At Mattins the lessons in the first nocturn are taken from the Common along with their responsories. In the second nocturn the lessons are proper to the feast. In the third nocturn the homily is from St. Bede on St. Luke's Gospel. The ninth lesson is the homily from the Ember Saturday which is taken the writings of St. Gregory. At Lauds a commemoration of the Ember Saturday is sung after the collect of the feast.

At the Hours the hymns are sung with the Doxology and proper melody of the Incarnation. At Prime in the short responsory Qui natus es de Maria Virgine is sung and the lectio brevis is In plateis.

Mass, of the feast, 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 Creed is sung, the preface is of the BVM and the last Gospel that of the Ember Saturday.

Private Masses may be of the Ember Saturday with a commemoration and last Gospel of the feast. In Cathedral and Collegiate Churches Mass of the feast is celebrated after Terce without any commemoration of the Ember Saturday. After None the Mass of the Ember Saturday is celebrated in violet vestments with the deacon and subdeacon wearing folded chasubles rather than dalmatic and tunicle. The Mass 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 additional collects are A cunctis and a collect chosen by the Dean. 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.

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 Sunday are sung. The hymn, Jam sol recedit igneus, is sung with the Doxology and tone of the Incarnation. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Adonai, Domine of the Saturday before the fourth Sunday of September. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of the preceding Office of Our Lady of Ransom. The Suffrage is not sung because of the double feast and the Dominical preces are omitted at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of Our Lady of Ransom has been slashed down from a feast of nine lessons to a mere commemoration in the ferial Office. In the Office of the Ember Saturday the ferial preces are sung at Lauds (but not at the Little Hours). A commemoration is sung of Our Lady of Ransom after the collect of the Ember Saturday. At the Hours the hymns do not have the Doxology or tone of the Incarnation. At Prime although the Office is ferial the chapter is Regi saeculorum. Mass of the Ember Saturday is sung after Terce, the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. A commemoration of the BVM is made only in said Masses. A cut down mini-version of the Ember Saturday Mass may be celebrated with one OT reading, epistle and Gospel. At Vespers no commemoration is sung.

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