Sunday, 25 March 2018

Dominica in Palmis - Palm Sunday


Palm Sunday is a privileged semi-double Sunday of the first class and the sixth, and last, Sunday in Lent. No feast can take its place. In the Roman rite Palm Sunday, in its authentic form, is a truly magnificent day with the splendid solemn blessing of Palms and Procession before the principle Mass. The liturgical colour, throughout, is violet. This year the feast of the Annunciation is transferred to Monday, 9th April.

The Office began, as usual in Lent, with Vespers yesterday morning. Vespers were sung with the antiphons and psalms of Saturday. The chapter, from Philippians, Fratres: Hoc enim senite, was proper to the Sunday. The Office hymm was Vexilla regis. The antiphon on the Magnificat, Pater juste, and collect were proper to Palm Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Gabriel the Archangel was sung. At Compline, sung at the usual time, the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins there are the usual three nocturns. The antiphons and psalms at all the nocturns are those appointed for Sundays. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the book of Jeremiah the Prophet. In the second nocturn the lessons are a sermon of St. Leo the Great and in the third a homily of St. Ambrose. The Te Deum is not sung but a ninth responsory, Circumdederunt me viri mendaces etc., is sung in its place. At Lauds the antiphons are proper, Dominus Deus etc., to Palm Sunday and the second scheme of Psalms is sung (50, 117, 62, Benedictus es, 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn is Lustra sex.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons are proper to the Sunday, Pueri Hebraeorum etc. At Prime psalms 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the first two divisi of Ps. 118 are sung. The Dominical preces are sung and the short lesson is Faciem meam. At Terce the antiphon is Pueri Hebraeorum vestimenta which again will be heard shortly afterwards at the distribution of Palms.

After Terce, as usual, the Asperges ceremony takes place before the principal Mass. The deacon and subdeacon wear violet folded chasubles. Being in Passiontide the Lesser Doxology is omitted after the verse of the Miserere. After the Asperges the celebrant and ministers proceed to the Epistle corner and begin the solemn blessing of Palms whilst the choir sing the antiphon Hosanna fili David, O Rex Israel etc. The rubrics direct that the Palms are to be blessed at the Epistle side of the altar.

The blessing begins with the celebrant reading an antiphon Hosanna Filio David followed by a collect Deus, quim diligere and then the reading of an Epistle and Gospel. The normal ceremonies of High Mass are followed. The subdeacon removes his folded chasuble to sing the Epistle taken from the Book of Exodus. Following the Epistle two texts are given, Collegerunt pontifices and In monte Oliveti (the latter will appear again as a responsory during the Triduum) to be sung as a 'gradual', both may be sung.

Following the Gospel the deacon resumes his folded chasuble and the collect Auge fidem is sung followed by a preface, Sanctus and four further collects Deus, qui dispersa, Deus, qui miro, Deus, qui per olivae and Benedic quaesumus. The presence of a preface is indicative of the solemn blessing (c.f. the great blessing of waters at Epiphany). The collect Deus, qui miro is a didactic masterpiece. Readers will note the strong correlation between the text of the collect and of the second lesson of Mattins for the Saturday before Palm Sunday from St. Augustine:
O God, who, by the wonderful order of Thy disposition, hast been pleased to manifest the dispensation of our salvation even from things insensible: grant, we beseech Thee, that the devout hearts of Thy faithful may understand to their benefit what is mystically signified by the fact that on this day the multitude, taught by a heavenly illumination, went forth to meet their Redeemer, and strewed branches of palms and olive at His feet. The branches of palms, therefore, represent His triumphs over the prince of death; and the branches of olive proclaim, in a manner, the coming of a spiritual unction. For that pious multitude understood that these things were then prefigured; that our Redeemer, compassionating human miseries, was about to fight with the prince of death for the life of the whole world, and, by dying, to triumph. For which cause they dutifully ministered such things as signified in Him the triumphs of victory and the richness of mercy. And we also, with full faith, retaining this as done and signified, humbly beseech Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, that in Him and through Him, whose members Thou hast been pleased to make us, we may become victorious over the empire of death, and may deserve to be partakers of His glorious Resurrection.

The celebrant then puts on incense and blesses it. The Palms are then aspersed with lustral water, the celebrant saying in a low voice Asperges me etc, and then censed. Another collect, Deus, qui Filium is then sung. The celebrant then receives his Palm from the senior canon present. If no other priest is present the celebrant kneels and takes the Palm from the of the altar, kisses it then passes it to the subdeacon who places it again on the mensa. The celebrant then gives Palms to the deacon and subdeacon and other ministers and then the people. The Palm is kissed first and then the celebrant's hand. During the distribution the antiphons Pueri Hebraeorum and Pueri Hebraeorum vestimenta are sung. After the distribution the celebrant and ministers go back to the altar, bow to the Cross and then go to the Epistle corner where the celebrant's hands are washed. Then, at the missal, he sings the collect Omnipotens sempiterne.


The celebrant's hands are washed after the distribution of Palms whilst the, veiled, Processional Cross is decorated with some of the blessed Palms. A Procession is then formed, led by the thurifer, followed by the subdeacon (of the Mass, not this day an additional subdeacon) bearing the Processional Cross. The deacon sings Procedamus in pace and the following antiphons are sung during the Procession Cum appropinquaret, Cum audisset, Ante sex dies, Occurrunt turbae, Cum angelis et pueris and Turba multa.

Ideally the Procession goes outside and around the church but circumstances may dictate the Procession must simply go around the aisles of the church. Towards he end of the Procession cantors re-enter the church and the door is closed. The beautiful hymn of Theodolph Gloria, laus, et honor is then sung in alternation between the cantors inside the church and everyone else outside. At the end of the hymn the subdeacon, or Crucifer when there are no ministers, strikes the church door three times with the foot of the Processional Cross and the party re-enters the church to the singing of Ingrediente Domino.

The celebrant removes his cope and dons his chasuble. The preparatory prayers are said but the psalm Judica me is omitted being in Passiontide. The introit is Domine, ne longe etc. There is no Gloria. Psalm 21 is sung in its entirety as a Tract. The major difference from any other Sunday is singing of the Passion according to St. Matthew by three additional deacons of the Passion. The text of the Passion is Matthew 26: 1-75; 27: 1-66. After the singing of the Passion the last part, Altera autem die...lapidem cum custodibus, is sung with the ceremonies of a Gospel by the deacon of the Mass (having removed his folded chasuble etc) to a most haunting tone.

The choir and people hold their Palms during the singing of the Passion. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the Cross and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar.

Sext and None again have proper antiphons, Tibi revelavi etc and Invocabo etc respectively. At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday are sung. The chapter is Hoc enim senite and the Office hymn is Vexilla regis, both as at Vespers yesterday. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Palm Sunday has been radically given a 'makeover' to the extent that the official title of the day has even been changed to 'Second Sunday of the Passion or Palm Sunday'.  For those interested in the depressing catalogue of destruction an earlier post here gives the details.  The image below shows a typical blessing of Palms in the reformed rite, actually following its rubrics, with the palms on a table facing the people.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Passion Sunday


Passion Sunday is the fifth and penultimate Sunday in Lent. It is a semi-double Sunday of the first class and its liturgical colour, until Vespers this year, is violet.

The most apparent and visually striking feature of this Sunday is the Roman practice of veiling all crosses and images with violet cloth. The custom seems to have developed from the words in the day's Gospel 'Jesus autem abscondit se' - but Jesus hid himself. The veiling takes place after Mass on Saturday morning before Vespers are sung. The praxis should not be confused with that of Lenten Array where holy images were covered in off-white linen or cloth from the beginning of Lent. From Vespers along with the veiling, the liturgy took on certain more penitential aspects that belong to Passiontide. The Gloria Patri is omitted from the invitatory of Mattins, from the responsories of Mattins and from the short responsories of the Hours. It is also omitted from the Asperges ceremony before Mass on both Passion Sunday and on Palm Sunday. In Masses 'of the season' Gloria Patri is also omitted from the introit and Lavabo along with the psalm Judica me Deus. The Suffrage of the Saints is also omitted until after Trinity Sunday.

At Vespers, yesterday morning, the antiphons and psalms were those of Saturday, the chapter was proper to Passion Sunday. The Office hymn was Vexilla regis. This hymn is sung at Vespers throughout Passiontide and at the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified on Good Friday. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were proper to the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding feast of St. Patrick and of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. At Compline the Lesser Doxology was omitted from the short responsory. The Dominical preces were omitted due to the occurring double feasts.

At Mattins the invitatory is Hodie, si vocem Domini audieritis, Nolite obdurare corda vestra from Ps. 94 and a special rubric indicates the omission of that verse in the psalm. The hymn is Pange, lingua ...Lauream. The same invitatory and hymn are sung from today until the Sacred Triduum in the Office of the Season. The antiphons given in the Psalter for Sundays are sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the book of Jeremiah. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the ninth sermon on Lent by St. Leo the Great. In the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Gregory on St. John's Gospel. The Te Deum is omitted as on other Lenten Sundays and a ninth responsory, Quis dabit capiti, sung in its place. At Lauds the antiphons, Vide Dominum etc., are proper to the Sunday and the second scheme of Psalms sung (50, 117, 62, Benedictus es & 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and hymn is Lustra sex. After the collect of the day a commemoration is sung of St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons, Ego daemoninum etc., are proper to the Sunday. At Prime the psalms are 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the first two divisi of Ps. 118. At Prime the Dominical preces are sung.

Mass is sung after Terce. The ministers wear folded chasubles. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. There is no third collect in Passiontide. As usual in Lent a Tract is sung after the Gradual. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the Cross and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino sung by the deacon whilst facing the celebrant and altar.

At Vespers there is a colour change to white and first Vespers of St. Joseph are sung. The antiphons Jacob autem etc are sung, doubled with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 113. The Office hymn is Te Joseph celebrent agmina caelitum. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Sunday is sung. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Passion Sunday becomes re-branded as 'First Sunday of the Passion'. There are no commemorations at Vespers. Mattins is reduced down to usual single nocturn of three lessons. At Prime the psalmody is Ps. 53 and the first two divisi of Ps. 118. At Mass there is only a single collect and the dismissal is Ite, missa est. The ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle instead of folded chasubles. Vespers are of the Sunday with a commemoration of St. Joseph.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Monday, 12 March 2018

Resources for Holy Week


With interest in the Traditional rites of Holy Week continuing to grow it is good to see a new website, Pre1955HolyWeek, with some excellent resources for the celebration of the authentic ceremonies of the Roman rite. (H/T to Rorate Caeli).

The site contains resources for those attending the major services, including Tenebrae for the Triduum, in Latin and English with commentary for the days by Cardinal Schuster. There are also resources for those involved in celebrating and singing the major services, including the unabridged musical notation for the Passions. There are also extracts from ceremonial guides and links to articles that have appeared on the brutal and ill-conceived reform of 1955.

Abbot Cabrol’s splendid work on Holy Week has been reprinted for several years now. For readers in the USA the Daughters of Mary Press have it available at the excellent price of $17.00 – about half the price of what some USA websites offer it – and readers in the UK can buy it from Carmel Books in either hardback at £29.95 or in paperback at £16.95.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Fourth Sunday in Lent

The fourth Sunday in Lent is known as Laetare Sunday after the opening words of the Introit at its Mass Laetare, Jerusalem - Rejoice Jerusalem - and is also known as 'mid-Lent' Sunday and is also 'Mothering Sunday' in many countries including the United Kingdom. It is a semi-double Sunday of the first class. The distinguishing feature of this Sunday, in relatively modern times, is the permitted, though not by any measure of obligation, use of rose-coloured vestments. Rose is perceived as a lighter shade of violet and the use of rose vestments developed from the older praxis of a golden rose being given to female monarchs by the pope on this day. Cardinals of the Court of Rome wore rose watered-silk choir dress too on this Sunday along with the corresponding Gaudete Sunday in Advent. For the rest of Lent Cardinals wore their 'winter violet' merino cassock, mantelletum and mozzeta (not the violet watered silk of their 'summer' violet). This practice disappeared during the 1920s. There is no obligation to wear rose and the older praxis of violet vestments, with the deacon and subdeacon in dalmatic and tunicle respectively, not folded chasubles, may be maintained.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The Office hymn was Audi benigne conditor. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration was sung of the preceding Office of the SS Forty Martyrs followed by the Suffrage of the Saints. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung

At Mattins the invitatory is, as on the previous Sundays of Lent, Non sit vobis and the Office hymn is Ex more. The antiphons given in the Psalter for Sundays are used. In the first nocturn the lessons are from Exodus and the story of Moses and the Burning Bush. In the second nocturn the lessons are from the writings of St. Basil the Great on fasting and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Augustine on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons, Tunc acceptabis etc., are proper to the Sunday and the second scheme of Psalms sung (50, 117, 62, the canticle Benedictus es, 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and hymn is O sol salutis. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrage of the Saints is.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons, Accepit ergo etc., are proper to the Sunday. At Prime the psalms are 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the first two divisi of Ps. 118. The Dominical preces are sung and the short lesson is Quaerite Dominum.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is A cunctis, the third collect Omnipotens. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Credo is sung, the preface is of Lent and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar. As folded chasubles are not worn the organ may be played. As noted above violet vestments may be used in the absence of rose, or in preference to it, in which case the deacon and subdeacon wear the dalmatic and tunicle not folded chasubles.

Vespers are of the Sunday. Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 113 are sung. The Office hymn is Audi benigne Conditor. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. Gregory. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Vespers yesterday were sung at the same time as outside of Lent. There are no commemorations nor Suffrage at Vespers. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds the Suffrage is omitted. At Prime the psalms are 53 and the first two divisi of Ps. 118. The preces are omitted. At Mass there is only a single collect. The dismissal is Ite, missa est. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Third Sunday in Lent


The third Sunday in Lent is a semi-double Sunday of the first class and its liturgical colour is violet. The Gospel pericope from St. Luke at Mattins and Mass recounts the LORD casting out evil from a demoniac.

At Vespers yesterday morning the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The chapter was proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn was Audi, benigne conditor. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of St. Casimir and of St. Lucius followed by the Suffrage of the Saints. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Non sit vobis and the Office hymn is Ex more, as on the other Sundays in Lent. The antiphons and psalms of Sunday are sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are from Genesis and the story of Joseph, his coat of many colours and his brothers casting him into a pit. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the Book of St. Augustine on Joseph. In the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of the Venerable Bede on St. Luke's Gospel. A ninth responsory, Lamentabatur Jacob, is sung in place of the Te Deum.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to the Sunday, Fac benigne etc., and the second scheme of Psalms sung (50, 117, 62, Benedictus es, 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn is O sol salutis. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of St. Casimir and of St. Lucius followed by the Suffrage of the Saints.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons are proper to the Sunday, Et cum ejecisset Jesus etc. At Prime the psalms are Pss. 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the first two divisi of Ps. 118. The Dominical preces are sung.

Mass is sung after Terce. The deacon and subdeacon wear violet folded chasubles. There is no Gloria. The second collect is pf St. Casimir, the third collect is of St. Lucius. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Credo is sung, the preface is of Lent and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the altar and celebrant

Vespers are of the Sunday, sung at the normal time. The antiphons and psalms are those of Sunday, the chapter is proper and the Office hymn is Audi, benigne Conditor. After the collect of the Sunday commemoration is sung of St. Casimir followed by the Suffrage of the Saints. At Compline the Domincal preces are sung.

In 'liturgical books of 1962' there are neither commemorations nor Suffrage at Vespers which are sung in the afternoon as at any other time of the year. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there are no commemorations nor Suffrage. At Prime the psalms are Ps.53 and the first two divisi of Ps.118, the Domincial preces are neve sung. At Mass the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle, as in Septuagesima. There is but a single collect and the dismissal is Ite, missa est. At Vespers there are no commemorations nor Suffrage and the Dominical preces are omitted at Compline.

Art: Jerome Nadal