Sunday 15 February 2015

February 2nd - Sexagesima Sunday

Sexagesima Sunday is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is violet. The Gospel pericopes are from St. Luke and the parable of the sower with his seed landing on rock, amongst weeds and the good ground. In the Kalendar of the Byzantine rite Sexagesima corresponds to the Sunday of the Last Judgement or Meatfare Sunday, the last day on which meat is eaten until Pascha. The feast of the Purification is transferred to Monday although the blessing of Candles and Procession take place today.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Qui me confessus fuerit etc were sung, not doubled, with Pss. 109, 110, 1111, 112 & 115. The chapter was proper to Sexagesima, Fratres: Libenter suffertis and the Office hymn was O lux beata Trinitas. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of the preceding semi-double Office of St. Ignatius of Antioch was sung followed by the Suffrages of the BVM Sancta Maria succurre etc, the Apostles Petrus Apostolus etc, of the Patron and lastly for peace Da pacem Domine. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins, as for Septuagesima Sunday, the invitatory is Praeoccupemus and the Office hymn is Primo dierum. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. The lessons continue to be taken from Genesis are read concerning the story of Noah. The lessons are longer than those found in the post-Clementine editions of the Breviary. The first continues Videns autem Deus fecisse eos, i.e with most of the text of the modern second lesson. The second lesson begins Noe vero invenit ... and continues with all of the modern third lesson and the addition of verse 16: Fenestram in arca facies ... tristega facies in ea. The third lesson, the text of which is entirely absent from the modern books, begins Ecce ego ... and continues until Fecit igitur omnia quae praeceperat illi Deus, Gen. 6:17 - 22. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 & 17 are sung, the lessons are from St. Ambrose on Noah and the Ark. These are identical to those found in the modern edtions. In the third nocturn (Pss. 18, 19 & 20 the lessons are taken from a homily of St. Gregory. The eighth and ninth lessons are slightly longer than in the modern editions. A ninth responsory, Cum turba plurima, is sung in place of the Te Deum.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to the Sunday, Secundum magnam misericordiam etc., and are sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite, 148-149-150. The versicle after the hymn Aeterne, chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are all proper to the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrages of the BVM Sancta Maria succurre etc, the Apostles Gloriosi principes etc, of the Patron and lastly for peace Da pacem Domine etc are sung.

At Prime the order of psalmody is Pss. 53, 92, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque. The Dominical preces are sung. At all the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper.

After Terce the celebrant vests in a violet cope and the ministers put on violet folded chasubles. The organ is silent (as is always the case when folded chasubles are used). After the Asperges ceremony the blessing of Candles takes place. At the Epistle corner the celebrant sings five prayers of blessing in the ferial tone. Incense is then blessed, lustral water sprinkled over the candles whilst the celebrant says Asperges me and then the candles are incensed. At the centre of the altar the celebrant receives a candle from the senior canon present, kissing the candle before taking it. If no canon or senior cleric is present the celebrant kneels before the altar and takes his own candle. Candles are then distributed while the antiphon Lumen ad revelationem is sung interpolated into the canticle Nunc dimittis. Those receiving the candles kiss them, first, then the celebrant's hand. At the conclusion of the distribution the antiphon Exsurge, Domine is sung with a Doxology and the candles lighted. After the distribution the celebrant returns with the ministers to the Epistle corner and chants Oremus. As the feast falls after Septuagesima the deacon sings Flectamus genua and the sub-deacon Levate. The celebrant sings the collect Exaudi. Then the procession then takes place. The subdeacon of the Mass takes the processional cross. The procession goes around the church with lighted candles during the singing of three antiphons Adorna thalamum, Responsum accepit Simeon and Obtulerunt. These text are clearly ancient and found, almost verbatim, in the Menaion of the Byzantine rite.

Caeremoniale Episcoporum, 1651, Google Books - note the assistant-deacons in planetis plicatis

After the Procession the celebrant removes the cope and vests in chasuble and the ministers exchange there folded chasubles for dalmatic and tunicle. As the Mass is not of the feast candles are not held at the Gospel or during the Canon. In the Mass there is no Gloria, the second collect is A cunctis, the third collect is chosen by the Dean or Rector. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the Common Preface is sung. Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the altar.

In the afternoon there is a colour change to white and first Vespers of the Purification are sung. The antiphons used on the feast of the Circumcision, O admirabile commercium etc., are sung, doubled, with the psalms of feasts for the Blessed Virgin (Pss. 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147). The chapter is proper to the feast and the Office hymn is Ave, maris stella. The antiphon on the Magnificat is proper to the feast Senex Puerum portabat etc. After the collect of the feast a commemorations of the Sunday and of St. Blaise are sung. The Suffrages are omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline. At Compline the melody of Te lucis is that of the Incarnation with the Doxology Gloria tibi Domineetc.

Art: Jerome Nadal

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