Monday, 3 November 2014

All Souls' Day

All Souls' Day is of Double rank. Since 1917 it has a standing almost like that of a primary Double of the First Class of the Universal Church. Only when November 2nd is a Sunday, as yesterday, it transferred to Monday. The day gained an independent Office after the 1911-13 reform. Prior to then Vespers, Mattins and Lauds of the Dead was sung in addition to the Office of the second day within the Octave of All Saints (as indeed was the Office of the Dead sung on the Mondays of Lent and Advent and certain other days). The reforms of Pius X gave the day its own Office with the creation of Little Hours of the Dead and some adjustments to the lessons of Mattins. The day excludes the occurrence of any other Office.

At Mattins the invitatory and psalms are those used for Mattins of the Dead. The invitatory is Regem cui omnia vivunt, * Venite adoremus. In the first nocturn the antiphons Dirige etc (hence the English term Dirge) are sung with psalms 5, 6 & 7. As at Vespers yesterday Requiem aeternam is sung in place of Gloria Patri at the end of each psalm. The lessons are taken from the Book of Job. The first lesson, Parce mihi, is the first lesson from the Office of the Dead but the second and third lessons are now proper to the day in their current arrangement. Homo natus de muliere etc, the second lesson (the fifth lesson before 1911), is highly poignant being familiar as a Funeral Sentence in the Book of Common Prayer, its source being the Sarum Office. In the second nocturn the antiphons In loco pascuae etc are sung with psalms 22, 24 & 26. The lessons in the second nocturn are new and taken form the book of St. Augustine on the care for the Dead. In the third nocturn the antiphons Complaceat etc are sung with psalms 39, 40 and 41. The lessons are from the First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (pre-1911 these too were taken from the Book of Job). At Lauds the antiphons Exsultabunt etc are sung with psalms 50, 64, 62, Ego dixi and 150. After the antiphon on the Benedictus has been sung at the end of the canticle the choir kneels, as at Vespers yesterday, and a Pater noster is said followed by a series of versicles and their responses and the collect Fidelium.

The Hours have a special form, introduced in the 1911-13 reform. At Prime the Office begins after the silent recitation of the Pater, Ave and Credo with psalms 87, 27 & 31 without antiphons. Although the Miserere is sung at Lauds the displaced psalm is not transferred to Prime as on other days. At the reading of the Martyrology a special preamble is read, Hac die Commemoratio Omnium Fidelium Defunctorum..., before the announcement of the next day Tertio Nonas Novembris.etc. The psalms are sung either to the tone in directum or to a tone introduced with the Office of All Souls Day. Terce follows a similar, simplified, form and has psalms 37i, 37ii & 55. Sext has psalms 69, 84 & 85 and None psalm 101 divided into three sections. The Office of the day ends, as always, with None.

In the Universal Church three Masses may be celebrated by every priest on this day. This practice was first observed in Spain with an indult from Benedict XIV and extended to the Universal Church by Benedict XV in 1915 after the carnage of the First World War. The accepted practice of Collegiate churches is for the first Mass to be celebrated after Lauds, the second after Prime and the third after None. In all three Masses the sequence Dies irae is sung and the preface of the Dead is sung. Common practice is to have the Absolution of the Dead at a catafalque after the principal Mass. The Office of the day ends with the Mass after None.

Vespers see a colour change to white and Vespers of the following feast of St. Charles Borromeo are sung with a commemoration of the Octave of All Saints.

In 'the liturgical books of 1962' the sequence Dies irae may be omitted in the second and third Masses when they are not sung. The last Gospel is omitted when the Absolution takes place. Vespers of the Dead are sung this afternoon followed by Compline of the Dead. The Octave of All Saints has been abolished..


Zephyrinus said...

Thank you, Rubricarius, for this invaluable contribution, in addition to all your other Postings.

Without your Articles, one wonders where one could/would be informed.

in Domino

Anonymous said...

Can you clear up a problem,following the All Saints' Octave ; or maybe do a post on it ? Is there any guide for when,during an Ocatve, the entire Office is repeated each day (Prop.Ants.& Festal psalms) or when the ferial psalmody is said followed by the remainder being the Proper of the Feast.There seem to be two ways of keeping the Octaves,could you please explain ? Thank you so much.

Rubricarius said...


During the Octave of All Saints the antiphons and psalms are those of the respective day, not those of the feast. The Ordo does indicate this with letters to indicate whether psalmody is festal, Dominical or ferial.

+DM said...

While the (fff)is the obvious reminder: Anonymous, the breviary always gives us the answer to which psalms, etc. are to be used, at the end of Second Vespers of the feast itself: "Infra octavam et in die octava antiphonae et psalmi...."

Patrick Sheridan said...

Zephyrinus, like me you could consult the primary sources yourself? I'm sure you must own an altar missal, or even an edition of O'Connell. The answers are all right there and not in the pious texts which introduce the Sundays and feast days in your Saint Andrew's Daily Missal.