Sunday, 10 January 2010
December 28th - The Holy Innocents
Today, the Sunday after the Nativity, is the feast of the Holy Innocents, it is a double feast with octave. It is also a 'vacant' Sunday as both the Office and Mass of the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity are transferred this year to the 30th December with no commemoration of the Sunday in today's liturgy.
The feast of the Holy Innocents is unique in the Roman rite in that it changes its liturgical colour when it falls on a Sunday, as this year, to when it falls on a feria. This year as the feast falls on a Sunday it is celebrated in red. When it falls on a feria the feast is celebrated in violet. The origin of this practice is a compromise between the differences in Gallican and Roman practice.
Vespers yesterday were of the Nativity with the antiphons and psalms from Second Vespers of Christmas. From the chapter the Vespers were of St. John the Evangelist with the hymn Exultet caelum laudibus. A commemoration of the Holy Innocents was made. All hymns of Iambic metre have the Doxology Gloria tibi Domine in honour of the Incarnation.
At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Martyrum Domininum, Venite adoremus and the hymn Audit tyrranus anxius, the antiphons and psalms are from the Common of Several Martyrs. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the Prophet Jeremiah (L.I. Audite verbum Domini...) The lessons are slightly longer than in 'modern' ediions (1890) of the Breviary. In the second nocturn the lessons are a sermon of St. Augustine. In the third nocturn the homily on the Gospel is from St. Jerome. The Te Deum is sung in place of the ninth responsory. At Lauds the antiphons Herodes iratus etc are sung with the festal psalms (92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150), comemmorations are sung of the Octave of the Nativity, the Octave of St. Stephen and the Octave of St. John.
At the Little Hours the antiphons from Lauds are used. Prime is festal. All hymns have their Doxology changed in honour of the Incarnation.
Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave of the Nativity, the third collect is of the Octave of St. Stephen, the fourth collect is of the Octave of St. John. The Alleluia sung as on other feasts, the Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Octave of the Nativity.
Vespers are of the Nativity, but from the chapter of the Holy Innocents with a commemoration of the following day's feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury and with commemorations of the Octave of the Nativity, the Octave of St. Stephen and the Octave of St. John.