Wednesday 17 April 2024

The Solemnity of St. Joseph

The feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Spouse of the Blessed Virgin and Patron of the Universal Church is a Double of the First Class with an Octave. It is the primary feast of St. Joseph (c.f. 19th March) although is now a feast that is largely forgotten or even sadly unknown after the liturgical changes of the last century. The feast was introduced into the Universal Kalendar by Pius IX in 1847 originally as the 'Patronage of St. Joseph' as a Double of the Second Class to be celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter. In 1911 the feast was renamed the Solemnity of St. Joseph and became a primary Double of the First Class and given an Octave. In October 1913 a decree moved the celebration for the following year to the Wednesday after the second Sunday after Easter. Although, relatively, modern the feast is a fine example of typology with the Patriarch Joseph being used as an OT type of the foster-father of the LORD. The feast of St. Anicetus is omitted this year.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Jacob autem etc were sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter was proper and the Office hymn was Te Joseph celebrent agmina Caelitum. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted throughout the Octave. At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung and Te lucis was sung with the Paschal Doxology. The Dominical preces are omitted for the Octave.

The Office is proper. At Mattins the invitatory is Laudemus Deum nostrum In veneratione beati Joseph, protectoris nostri, alleluia and the Office hymn is, again, Te Joseph. The antiphons of the nocturns are proper and, as at Vespers, rather beautiful:

I. Angelus Domini apparuit in somnis Joseph, dicens: Surge, et accipe Puerum et Matrem ejus, et fuge in Ægyptum; et esto ibi, usque dum dicam tibi, alleluia.

II. Angelus Domini apparuit in somnis Joseph, dicens: Surge, et accipe Puerum et Matrem ejus, et vade in terram Israel; defunct sunt enim qui quaerebant animam Pueri, alleluia.

III. Consurgens Joseph, accepit Puerum et Matrem ejus, et venit in terram Israel; et habitavit in civitate, quae vocatur Nazareth, alleluia.

In the first nocturn the lessons are from the book of Genesis and are extended in comparison to those for St. Joseph's 19th March feast. In the second nocturn the lessons are from a sermon on St. Joseph by St. Bernardine of Siena and in the third nocturn the homily is from St. Augustine on the Gospel fragment from St. Luke. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons from Vespers are sung with the Sunday psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The Office hymn is Caelitum Joseph decus.

At Prime and the Hours the hymns are sung with the Paschaltide Doxology. At Prime the festal psalms 53, 118(i) & 118(ii) are sung under the first antiphon of Lauds and the lectio brevis is Fílius accréscens Joseph.

Mass is sung after Terce and is proper, with the introit Adjutor. The Gloria is sung. The Creed is sung and the preface is that of St. Joseph with the clause Et te in Festivitate.

At second Vespers the antiphons, psalms and hymn are those that were sung at first Vespers. The versicle and its respond along with the antiphon on the Magnificat are proper to second Vespers. At Compline the Dominical psalms are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Solemnity of St. Joseph simply does not exist as this beautiful feast was suppressed in 1956 to be replaced by the appalling 'San Giuseppe Comunista'. The 19th March returned to being the primary feast of St. Joseph.  The vast majority of 'traditionalists', who vociferously support the 'liturgical books of 1962', are completely and blissfully ignorant of the existence of the Solemnity of St. Joseph yet alone its abolition. A few who are aware of it substitute the Office of the feast for the execrable Joe the Worker travesty of May 1st. Whilst the Benedictine Order had the choice of adopting either the Worker feast or keeping the former Solemnity of St. Joseph on May 1st on a congregation by congregation basis (as they did with the next texts of the Assumption) I am unaware of this exemption pertaining to anyone else.


Zephyrinus said...

Thank you, Rubricarius, for this outstanding Article.

The historical changes mentioned are much appreciated and most interesting.

The allusions and references to the “Modern” travesties and tinkering with the Liturgy are, indeed, very sobering.

Meanwhile, we continue with this most beautiful Feast.

Happy Feast !!!

Paul said...

It looks like some of the history needs to be rewritten. I found a PDF of the 1912 Breviarium Romanum, which has the Solemnity of St. Joseph still on Sunday as a Double of the 1st Class and also having an Octave!

Rubricarius said...

I have checked what Memoria, Supplemento III says and compared it with ASS & AAS. The Memoria states the Paschal feast was given an octave on 8 Dec 1870. That does not appear in ASS and is clearly incorrect. Both the Memoria and AAS agree the Paschal feast was given an Octave (AAS 03 (1911) .351) with the feast on the 3rd Sunday after Easter. That decree was 24th July so would apply to the following year, 1912, which your PDF confirms. A further decree of 28th October 2013 following Pius X's Motu proprio De Diebus Festis transfers the feast to the third Wednesday after Easter. (AAS 05 (1913) p. 458) So for 1912 and 1913 the feast would have been kept on the Sunday with an octave for those two years. I will amended the post.