Sunday, 28 April 2019

April 15th - Dominica Resurrectionis - Pascha - Easter Sunday


The Sunday of the Resurrection is the Queen of Feasts and the most important of all liturgical celebrations and is of double rite with Octave.

During the evening of Holy Saturday Compline was sung, at the normal time. On Holy Saturday the Office of Compline has some interesting variations. Compline begins with the usual Jube, domne, blessing, short lesson and confession. Converte nos, Deus, salutaris noster and its response are sung followed by Deus in adjutorium etc with Alleluia for the first time since Septuagesima. The psalms are sung, without an antiphon, to the usual Tone 8. 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.

The church is decorated for the greatest of feasts. Before Mattins the images that have been veiled from Passiontide (or from the beginning of Lent where Array was used) are removed. Six candlesticks are on the altar. 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 a single 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 followed 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. The lessons are identical to those found in the later editions. During the second responsory the cantors and the celebrant don copes and the principal cantor 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 Domini, Et ecce terraemotus, Erat autem, Prae timore autem ejus and Respondens autem Angelus all taking up the theme of the Angels, earthquake and empty tomb. Psalms 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150 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 censed 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.

At Prime and the Hours the usual festal psalms are sung but without antiphons. Haec dies replaces the chapter, responsories etc. At Prime the Martyrology is read again, having not been read for the days of the Triduum. Before the announcement of the following day and moon "Hac die quam fecit Dominus, Solemnitas solemnitatum, et Pascha nostrum Resurrectio Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi secundum carnem" is sung to the tone of the Passion.

Mass is sung after Terce. Vidi aquam replaces the Asperges during Paschaltide. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the Creed is sung, the preface, communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper. Ite, missa est with a double Alleluia is the dismissal.

At Vespers the anitphons Angelus autem Domini etc are sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 and 113. Again Haec dies replaces the chapter and hymn. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Et respicientes etc. At Compline the usual psalms are sung with a triple Alleluia after them. The the Nunc dimittis is sung followed by Haec dies and the collect Visita quaesumus.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

April 8th - Dominica in Palmis - Palm Sunday


Palm Sunday is a privileged semi-double Sunday. It is the sixth and last Sunday in Lent and the beginning of Great or Holy Week. The liturgical colour is violet. The magnificent ceremonies for the solemn blessing of the Palms, which follows a similar structure to the Blessing of the Waters at Epiphany, make it, arguably, the finest jewel in the crown of the liturgical year.

At Vespers yesterday morning the antiphons and psalms of Saturday (Pss. 143, 144, 145, 146 & 147) were sung. The chapter, Hoc enim in sentite vobis, was proper to the Sunday. The Office hymn was Vexilla regis. The Suffrages were not sung, as it is Passiontide. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins, as last week and daily until the Triduum, 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 Office hymn is Pange, lingua. The antiphons given in the Psalter for Sundays are used. As usual Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. The lessons in the first nocturn are from the book of Jeremiah. These are the same, as are their responsories, as those found in the post-Clement editions of the Breviary. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 and 17 are sung and the lessons are from a sermon on the Passion by St. Leo. The fifth lesson begins with the words Qui ut humanum genus and incorportates what is now the sixth lesson from Fefellit ergo illum.. until famulatae sunt Redemptori. The sixth lesson, Quod ergo...justitiae esse propositum is not found in the later editions of the Breviary. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung and the lessons are a homily of St. Ambrose, their arrangement is slightly different to that found in the modern books. The Te Deum is omitted as on other Lenten Sundays and a ninth responsory, Circumderunt me viri mendaces..., sung in its place.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to Palm Sunday, Dominus Deusetc, and sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite, 148-149-150. The hymn is Lustra sex. The versicle after the hymn Eripe me, chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper to the Sunday.

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 Asperges takes place as usual (the Lesser Doxology being omitted) and is followed by the magnificent Blessing and Procession of Palms. The ministers wear violet folded chasubles. 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 give a direction that the Palms to be blessed at the Epistle side.  The blessing begins with the celebrant reading the 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, having returned to the missal, he sings the collect Omnipotens sempiterne.

Whilst the celebrant's hands are washed after the distribution of Palms the Processional Cross is decorated with 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. Often circumstances 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 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.

Mass then follows the usual manner. The celebrant removes his cope and dons his chasuble. The preparatory prayers are said but the psalm Judica me is omitted in Passiontide. The introit is Domine, ne longe etc. There is no Gloria. No commemoration is made of an occuring Office on Palm Sunday so there is only one collect. 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).  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.

Vespers are of the Sunday and the Office hymn is Vexilla regis. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung. The additional Offices of the Little Office of the BVM, the Office of the Dead, the Gradual Psalms and the Penitential Psalms and Litany are omitted in Great Week.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

April 1st - Passion Sunday


Passion Sunday is the fifth and penultimate Sunday in Lent. It is a semi-double Sunday and its liturgical colour is violet. After Mass on Saturday morning all images and crosses are veiled in violet, according to the Roman praxis. The veils on the crosses are removed during the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday morning, those on the images of the saints remain until after the Office of Holy Saturday is ended.

At Vespers, yesterday morning, the antiphons of Saturday, Benedictus etc., were sung with psalms 143, 144, 145, 146 and 147. The chapter, Fratres: Christus assistens Pontifex, was proper to the Sunday, taken from Hebrews. The Office hymn was Vexilla regis. From this Vespers until Trinity the Suffrages are omitted. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung. The Lesser Doxology was omitted in the short responsory.

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 Lesser Doxology is omitted from Venite for Passiontide in Offices of the Season. The Office hymn is Pange, lingua. The same invitatory and hymn are sung until Spy Wednesday inclusive. The antiphons given in the Psalter for Sundays are sung. As usual Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. The psalms retain the Lesser Doxology (until the Triduum) but the third reponsories of each nocturn lose it for Passiontide. The lessons in the first nocturn are the the Incipit of the book of Jeremiah. These are substantially longer than in the modern editions of the Breviary. The first lesson runs from Verba Hieremiae until verse 10, ... et aedifices, et plantes. The second lesson runs from verse 11, Et factum est verbum Domini to verse 16, ...et adoraverunt opus manuum suarum. The third lesson begins with verse 17, Tu ergo accinge lumbos tuos.., and continues until verse 3 of the second chapter, ... mala venient super eos, dicit Dominus. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 and 17 are sung and the lessons are from a sermon by St. Leo. These again are longer than those found in the modern editions. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung and the lessons are a homily of St. Gregory, again slightly longer than in the modern books. The Te Deum is omitted as on other Lenten Sundays and a ninth responsory, Quis dabit capiti meo aquam etc, sung in its place.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to Passion Sunday, Vide Domine etc, and sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite, 148-149-150. The office hymn is Lustra sex. The versicle after the hymn Eripe me, chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper to the Sunday. The Suffrages are not sung in Passiontide.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons are proper, Ego daemonium etc. At Prime the order of psalmody is Pss. 53, 92, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque, the 'Athanasian' Creed. The Dominical preces are sung. At all the Hours the chapters are proper. The Lesser Doxology is omitted from the short responsory at Prime and at those of the other Horae Minores.

Mass is sung after Terce. The ministers wear folded chasubles. In Mass there is no Gloria, the second collect is Ecclesiae, for the Church. There is no third collect in Passiontide. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the preface of the Cross is sung. Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms (109, 110, 111, 112 & 113) of Sunday are sung. The Office hymn is Vexilla regis. The Suffrages are omitted. After Benedicamus Domino and its response Vespers of the Dead are sung. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted. After Mattins and Lauds of Monday Mattins and Lauds of the Dead are sung.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 7 April 2019

March 25th - Fourth Sunday of Lent

The fourth Sunday in Lent is of semi-double rite. The liturgical colour of the Sunday is, until Vespers this year, violet (no sign of rose). The Gospel pericopes from St. John describe the multiplication miracle of the five barley loaves and two fishes to feed the Five Thousand. The feast of the Annunciation is transferred to tomorrow.

At Vespers, yesterday morning, the antiphons and psalms (143, 144, 145, 146 & 147) of Saturday were sung, the chapter was proper to the Sunday. The Lenten hymn Audi benigne conditor was sung. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrages of the BVM Sancta Maria succurre etc, the Apostles Petrus Apostolus etc, of the Patron and lastly for peace Da pacem Domine etc were sung. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Non sit vobis and the hymn is Ex more. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the third chapter of the Book of Exdodus and the story of Moses and the Burning Bush. The second lesson includes part of what is now the third lesson in modern editions: Dixitque Moyses ad Deum...immolabis Deo super montem istum. The third lesson begins Ait Moyses ad Deum and continues with the addition of verses 16 through to 19. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 & 17 are sung, the lessons are from St. Basil and are longer than in modern editions. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung and the lessons are a homily of St. Augustine, again slightly longer than in the modern books. The Te Deum is omitted and in its place a ninth responsory, Attendite, popule meus etc., is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons, Tunc acceptabis etc., are proper to the Fourth Sunday and are sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150. The Office hymn is Jam Christe sol justitiae. 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 the 'Little Hours' the antiphons, Accepit ergo 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 Mass there is no Gloria, the second collect is A cunctis nos, the third collect is Omnipotens. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the preface of Lent is sung. Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the altar. Today the ministers wear violet dalmatic and tunicle rather than folded chasubles.

At Vespers there is a colour change to white and first Vespers of the Annunciation are sung. The antiphons Missus est Gabriel Angelus ad Mariam etc., proper to the feast, are sung, doubled, with the psalms from the Common of the BVM (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 and collect are also proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Sunday is sung. The Suffrages are omitted. At Compline Te lucis is sung with the melody and Doxology of the Incarnation Gloria tibi...Qui natus etc and the Dominical preces are omitted.

Art: Jerome Nadal