Sunday 30 April 2023

The first week of May

Third Sunday after Pascha - Sunday within the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph


The third Sunday after Pascha is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour, until Vespers this year, is white. The Gospel pericopes from St. John's Gospel have the LORD telling the Disciples that in a little while He will be going to the Father. It is also the Sunday within the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Prior to the reform of 1911-13 this feast was celebrated on the third Sunday after Pascha but was subsequently moved to the third Wednesday after Easter. Privileged Votive Masses of the Solemnity of St. Joseph may be celebrated as noted below.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms of Saturday were sung under the single antiphon, Alleluia. The chapter, Carissimi: Obsecro vos etc, was proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn was Ad regias Agni dapes. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Peter of Verona, of St. Catherine of Siena and of the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph. The Paschal Suffrage of the Cross was omitted due to the Octave and double feasts. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Paschal Doxology and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is the great proclamation of the Resurrection, Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia. The Office hymn is Rex sempiterne Caelitum. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the book of the Apocalypse of St. John. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon of St. Augustine and in the third nocturn St. Augustine also provides the homily on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the Office hymn is Aurora caelum purpurat. After the collect of the Sunday, commemorations are sung of St. Catherine and of the Octave of St. Joseph. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted.

At Prime and the Hours the hymns have the Paschal Doxology. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted due to the Octave and double feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Catherine, the third collect is of the Octave of St. Joseph. The Creed and the Paschaltide preface are sung.

Masses other than Conventual Masses may all be of the Solemnity of St. Joseph. The Mass Adjutor is sung, as on the feast. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday, the Creed is sung. The preface is of St. Joseph and the last Gospel is of the Sunday. The liturgical colour is white.

After None there is a colour change to red and first Vespers of SS Philip and James Apostles are sung. The antiphons proper to the feast, Domine, ostende nobis Patrem etc, are sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter is Stabant justi and the Office hymn is Tristes erant Apostoli. The antiphon on the Magnificat, Non turbetur etc., and collect are both proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Sunday and of St. Catherine of Siena. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted due to the double feasts and Octave. At Compline the Domincal preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph and its Octave have been abolished with the execrable 'Joe the Worker' day replacing it on May 1st. There were no commemorations at Vespers. At Compline and at the Hours Te lucis is sung with the ordinary Doxology. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is a single collect. At Vespers there are no commemorations. Vesper are of 'Jerz the Werz' with a commemoration of the Sunday.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday 23 April 2023

Second week after the Paschal Octave

Second Sunday after Pascha


The second Sunday after Pascha is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is white. It is sometimes referred to as 'Good Shepherd Sunday' from the words of the Epistle from I Peter "For you were as sheep gone astray: but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls" and from the Gospel where the LORD proclaims "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep." The Sunday is also referred to as Misericordia after the opening words of the introit.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms of Vespers for Saturday were sung under the single antiphon, Alleluia. The chapter, Carissimi: Christus passus est pro nobis etc, was proper to the Sunday, the Office hymn was Ad regias Agni dapes. The antiphon on the Magnificat reinforced the theme of the Sunday, Ego sum pastor ovium. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of SS Soter & Cajus and of St. George followed by the Paschal Commemoration of the Cross. At Compline Te lucis was sung to the Paschal tone with the Doxology Deo Patri sit gloria etc and the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins the invitatory, Surrexit Dominus, and Office hymn, Rex sempiterne, are sung as last Sunday. Again, at the nocturns the psalms are sung under one antiphon. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the Acts of the Apostles. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the first sermon on the Ascension of the Lord by St. Leo. In the third nocturn the homily is from St. Gregory. At Lauds the Sunday psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148) are sung under a single antiphon. The Office hymn is Aurora caelum purpurat. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. George is sung followed by the Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is sung.

At the Hours the hymns are sung with the Paschal Doxology and the psalms are sung under a single antiphon consisting of a triple Alleluia. At Prime the Dominical psalms are sung (Pss. 117, 118(i) & 118(ii). The Dominical preces are sung.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. George, the third collect is Concede nos. The Creed is sung and the preface is of Paschaltide.

At Vespers the Dominical psalms (109, 110, 111, 112 & 113) are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia. The Office hymn is Ad regias Agni dapes. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringa and of St. George. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross in omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Paschal Commemoration of the Cross has been abolished. There are no commemorations at either Vespers. At Compline and the Little Hours the hymns are sung with the ordinary Doxology. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Mass there is but a single collect.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday 16 April 2023

First week after the Paschal Octave

Dominica in Albis - Low Sunday


Dominica in Albis, Low Sunday, is a greater-double of the first class. The Sunday is also often referred to as Quasimodo from the first words of its introit. Anciently on this day, or on Saturday, those who had been baptised on Holy Saturday took off their white robes which had been worn since the Oil of Catechumens and Chrism had been lavished upon them on Holy Saturday. The Gospel at Mattins and Mass is the account of the LORD appearing in to His disciples behind the shut doors of the room and the doubting of St. Thomas. The Office of the Octave of Pascha ended with the Office of None yesterday. Octaves for other feasts are resumed from today.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms of Saturday were sung under the single antiphon, Alleluia. Chapters and hymns return to the Office from this Vespers. The Paschaltide hymn Ad regias Agni dapes was sung. Its Doxology,Deo Patri sit gloria, Et Filio qui a mortuis, Surrexit ac Paraclito, In sempiterna saecula, is sung at all hymns of Iambic metre until the Ascension. From this Office the dismissal, Benedicamus Domino, is sung without the double Alleluia that marked the Paschal Octave. The Suffrage is not sung. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory Surrexit Dominus vere Alleluia continues to be sung. The Office hymn is Rex Sempiterne Caelitum. The psalms of each nocturn are sung under a single antiphon. In the first nocturn the antiphon is Alleluia, * lapis revolutus est, alleluia: ab ostio monumenti, alleluia, alleluia and the lessons are from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians. In the second nocturn the antiphon is Alleluia, * quem quaeris mulier? alleluia, alleluia, viventem cum mortuis, alleluia, alleluia and the lessons are taken from a sermon of St. Augustine on the Octave of Easter. In the third nocturn the antiphon is Alleluia, * noli flere Maria, alleluia: resurrexit Dominus, alleluia, alleluia and the homily is from the writings of St. Gregory on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the Sunday psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148) are sung under a single antiphon, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. The Office hymn is Aurora caelum purpurat. The Suffrage is omitted.

At Prime (Pss. 117, 118i & 118ii) and the Hours the psalms are again sung under a single antiphon at each Hour, Alleluia, * alleluia, alleluia - which is not doubled of course, even today.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung. The Creed is sung, the preface is of Paschaltide (In hoc potissimum).

At Vespers the Dominical psalms are sung under a single antiphon Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. The Office hymn is Ad regias Agni dapes. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. Anicetus is sung. The Suffrage is omitted. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Mattins is reduced to a single nocturn of three lessons with the single antiphon Alleluia, lapis revolutus etc. At the Little Hours the Paschaltide Doxology is not sung with the hymns. At Mass there is a change to one word in the introit as 'rationabile' replaced 'rationabiles' in the 1953 edition of the Roman Missal and subsequent editions. At Compline the ordinary Doxology and tone are sung with Te lucis.

Image: Jerome Nadal.

Sunday 9 April 2023

Dominica in Resurrectionis - Easter Sunday - Pascha


Hac die quam fecit Dominus, Solemnitas solemnitatum, et Pascha nostrum Resurrectio Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi secundum carnem.

These glorious words are sung, to the tone of the Passion, at Prime today at the reading of the Martyrology before the announcement of the day and moon for tomorrow.  Holy Pascha is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the First Order.

At the final stages of the Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday yesterday morning an antiphon consisting of a triple Alleluia was sung, doubled, with psalm 116. The antiphon on the Magnificat was Vespere autem sabbati etc. After the Vesperal Liturgy the traditional blessing of houses takes place and, in some countries, the Paschal food.  Compline was sung, at the normal time. On Holy Saturday the Office of Compline has some interesting variations. It began with the usual Jube, domne, blessing, short lesson and confession. Converte nos, Deus, salutaris noster and its response were then sung followed by Deus in adjutorium etc with Alleluia for the first time since Septuagesima. The psalms were sung, without an antiphon, to a solemn form of tone 2. The hymn, chapter and responsory are omitted and Vespere autem sabbati sung as a fragment antiphon to the Nunc dimittis. After the Canticle the antiphon is sung in full. After the usual collect, Visita quaesumus, the antiphon Regina Caeli is sung with its versicle and collect.

Mattins begin with the solemn tone for Deus in adjutorium etc. The invitatory is Surrexit Dominus vere Alleluia and psalm 94 is sung to a lovely tone 6 setting. Mattins consists of one nocturn of three psalms. There is no Office Hymn throughout the Octave (c.f. Monastic praxis). The first antiphon is Ego sum qui sum etc and sung with psalm 1. The second antiphon, Postulavi Patrem meum etc, is sung with psalm 2. The third antiphon, Ego dormivi etc, is sung with psalm 3. A versicle and its response are sung follwed by the absolution Exaudi etc. The first lesson has the Gospel fragment Mark 16: 1-7 and is followed by a homily of St. Gregory the Great. The two responsories Angelus Domini descendit and Cum transisset sabbatum are famous and intimately connected with the Quem quaeritis ceremonies. The second lesson, Notandum vero nobis est is sung followed by the second responsory. During the second responsory the cantors and the celebrant don copes the principal one pre-intones the Te Deum. Six pluvialistae assist the Hebdomadarius where possible. The Te Deum is then sung and, where it is the custom the bells ring throughout.

Lauds follow immediately and have a series of beautiful antiphons: Angelus autem DominiEt ecce terraemotusErat autemPrae timore autem ejus and Respondens autem Angelus all taking up the theme of the Angels, earthquake and empty tomb. Psalms 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148 are sung with these antiphons. The chapter, hymn, versicle and response are replaced by the Haec dies. After Haec dies the antiphon Et valde mane is sung and then the Benedictus sung to a solemn tone 8. During the Benedictus the altar, the choir and people are incensed in the normal manner. The antiphon is repeated and the collect of Easter, Deus, qui hodierna die sung. Benedicamus Domino, Alleluia, Alleluia and its response are followed by the solemn Regina Caeli, its versicle and collect.

The morning Office begins with Prime. There are no hymns at the Hours during the entire Paschal Octave in the Roman rite. At Prime psalms 53 and the first two divisi of Ps. 118 are sung to a solemn form of Tone 2. Haec Dies is sung after the psalmody and then everything else is omitted up to the collect Domine Deus omnipotens. The Martyrology is then sung, starting with the verse indicated above. Then Sancta Maria etc is sung, the collect Dirigere et sanctificare etc and the short lesson Si consurrexistis. Terce, and the other Little Hours, are even more simple in their structure. At Terce the usual stanzas of Ps. 118 are sung to the special form of Tone 2 followed by Haec dies and the collect of the day.

Mass is sung after Terce. Instead of Asperges me the Paschaltide Vidi aquam is sung today and all other Sundays in Paschaltide. In the great Mass of Easter, Resurrexi, the Gloria is sung, one collect is sung. Haec dies is sung as the Gradual. The sequence Victimae paschali laudes is sung after the Alleluia. The Creed is sung and Ite missa est alleluia, alleluia is sung as the dismissal.

Sext and None have exactly the same structure as Terce. At Vespers the antiphons sung at Lauds, Angelus autem Domini etc, are are sung with the usual Sunday psalms. Haec dies is sung in place of the chapter, hymn and versicle & response. The solemn tone is used for Benedicamus Domino, alleluia, alleluia.

At Compline the usual psalms are sung to Tone 8G without any preceding antiphon, followed by an antiphon consisting of Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. This is followed by the Nunc dimittis sung to the Paschal Tone 2. Haec dies is then sung followed by the collect Visita quaesumus etc and then, as yesterday the antiphon Regina coeli etc.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' yesterday afternoon a novel Vespers, created in 1956, in said, not sung, with unlit candles. It follows the form used on Mandy Thursday and Good Friday but substituting the first antiphon Calicem salutaris with Hodie aflictus.  The antiphon on the Magnificat is newly crafted from Mt. 27: 62, 66 Principes sacerdotum (c.f. IX responsory Mattins of Holy Saturday) and the new collect used at Mattins & Lauds and the Hours of Holy Saturday is used again at Vespers. Compline is said by those who do not take part in the nocturnal shenanigans of the Easter Vigil. Compline has the same structure as on Mandy Thursday and Good Friday but the collect Visita, quaesumus replaces Respice. There is no Regina Caeli and the Offices are in the same penitential spirit as those of Mandy Thursday and Good Friday. Those, fortunate enough, not to take part in the Easter Vigil say Mattins & Lauds. For those who do attend it the novel Easter Vigil replaces Compline, Mattins & Lauds so the Queen of Feasts, as Gregory DiPippo has pointed out, becomes the only feast of the Liturgical Year - and the greatest feast of all - not to have first Vespers, Mattins, proper Lauds or the Te Deum.  The rest of the day is, thankfully, free from further significant changes.

Sunday 2 April 2023

Dominica in Palmis - Palm Sunday

Assisi-frescoes-entry-into-jerusalem-pietro lorenzetti
Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, Pietro Lorenzetti, Wikipedia

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 traditional 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. The liturgy of the day, particularly the ceremonies of the Palms and Mass symbolically prefigure the events of the week ahead.

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 MagnificatPater juste, and the collect were both proper to Palm Sunday.  After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of St. Francis of Paula 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 proper antiphons, Dominus Deus etc., are sung with the second scheme of Psalms  (50, 117, 62, Benedictus es, 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn is Lustra sex. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. Francis of Paula.

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 omitted and the short lesson is Faciem meam. At Terce the antiphon is Pueri Hebraeorum vestimenta .  Both Pueri antiphons will be heard again shortly afterwards, in slightly different textual form, at the distribution of the Palms.

The Asperges ceremony takes place after Terce and before the principal Mass as usual. 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.


As the choir sing the antiphon Hosanna Filio David  the celebrant reads it in a low voice and then chant the collect Deus, quim diligere which is then followed by the reading of an Epistle and Gospel of the blessing. 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 blessing of Holy Oils etc). 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 sprinkled 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.

Distribution of the Palms at a Pontifical Mass from the Caeremoniale Episcoporum

As the celebrant's hands are washed after the distribution of the Palms, 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.


Before re-entering the church, Fribourg - New Liturgical Movement

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 the end of the Procession the 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. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. Francis of Paula. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Palm Sunday has been given a radical 'makeover' to the extent that the official title of the day has even been changed to 'Second Sunday of the Passion or Palm Sunday'. Mattins is cut down to the usual single nocturn of three lessons and there are no commemorations at Lauds and Vespers. At Prime the psalmody is Ps. 53, 118(i) & 118(ii) as on feasts. At the massively truncated blessing of Palms the ministers wear red dalmatic and tunicle instead of folded chasubles, the prayers at the foot of the altar are omitted, the Passion is shortened, the dismissal is Ite, missa est and the last Gospel is omitted. (In Masses without the blessing of Palms the Gospel for the blessing Cum appropinquasset Jesus is read as a proper last Gospel, the only surviving proper last Gospel in the 'liturgical books of 1962').  For those interested in the depressing catalogue of destruction of what turned a splendid day into a miserable event an earlier post here gives the grim details.  The image below shows a typical blessing of Palms in the reformed rite, actually following its rubrics, with the palms on a table versus populum etc.