Monday, 28 December 2015
The Holy Innocents
The feast of the Holy Innocents is a Double of the Second Class with, since the reform of 1911-13, a simple Octave. The feast of the Holy Innocents is unique in the Roman rite in that it changes its liturgical colour depending on whether it falls on a weekday or a Sunday. As this year it is celebrated on a weekday the liturgical colour is violet. When it falls on a Sunday the feast is celebrated in red: the origin of this practice being a synthesis of the differences in Gallican and Roman praxis.
At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms from second Vespers of the Nativity were sung. From the chapter, Qui timet Deum, the Office was of St. John with commemorations of the Holy Innocents and of the Octave of the Nativity.
At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Martyrum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn Audit tyrannus anxius (sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation). In the first nocturn the antiphons Secus decursus aquarum etc are sung with psalms 1, 2 and 3. The lessons are from the Prophet Jeremiah. In the second nocturn the antiphons Dabo Sanctis meis etc are sung with psalms 14, 15 & 23. The lessons are from a sermon of St. Augustine on the Saints. In the third nocturn the antiphons Justi autem etc are sung with psalms 32, 33 & 45. However, the eighth antiphon, Isti sunt, is proper to the feast. The homily on St. Matthew's Gospel is from the writings of St. Jerome. The Te Deum is omitted and in its place a ninth responsory, Isti, qui amicti, is sung. At Lauds the antiphons Herodes iratus etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. The Office hymn is Salvete, flores Martyrum (again, sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation). After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the Octave of the Nativity.
At Prime and the Hours the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the festal psalms. The hymns have their Doxology changed in honour of the Incarnation. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i, 118ii) the short lesson is of the feast, Hi empti sunt.
At Mass the Gloria is not sung, the second collect is of the Octave of the Nativity. The Alleluia and its verse given in the Missal before the Gospel are omitted and in their place a tract, Effuderunt sanguinem Sanctorum, is sung. The Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Nativity. The dismissal, sung by the deacon facing the altar, is Benedicamus Domino sung to the glorious melody heard four days ago on the Vigil of the Nativity.
Vespers have the antiphons and psalms of the Nativity, but from the chapter are of the Holy Innocents. The Office hymn is Salvete, flores Martyrum. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury and of the Octave of the Nativity.
Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Holy Innocents is always celebrated in red. At Mattins the Te Deum is sung and the ninth responsory is never heard. At the Hours the antiphons and psalms are of the weekday and the hymns lose the Doxology of the Incarnation. At Prime the short lesson is of the season. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the Alleluia is sung and replaces the tract which is never heard. The dismissal is Ite missa est. At Vespers there is no commemoration of St. Thomas of Canterbury.