Sunday, 10 January 2021

December 28th - The Holy Innocents


The feast of the Holy Innocents is a double feast with an Octave. The liturgical colour of the day is red as the feast falls upon a Sunday this year. However, no commemoration of the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity is made. Much of the Office comes from the Common of Several Martyrs.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons for the Nativity of the LORD, Tecum principium etc., were sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 129 and 131, from the chapter of St. John, the Office hymn was Exultet caelum laudibus. After the collect of the feast, of St. John, commemorations were sung of the following feast of the Holy Innocents, of the Octave of the Nativity and the Octave of St. Stephen.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Martyrum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn Audit tyrannus anxius (sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation). In the first nocturn the antiphons Secus decursus aquarum etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 1, 2 and 3. The lessons are from the Prophet Jeremiah. The first lesson begins Audite verbum Domini, Cap.1:10 and continues to the end of the fourteenth verse before the text from the lesson found in the modern books begins Haec dicit Dominus: Vox in excelso audita etc,. but ends with the fifteenth verse. The second lesson begins Haec dicit Dominus: Quiescat vox etc (v. 16), the second part of the modern first lesson, and continues with the text found in the modern second lesson with the addition of a final clause from v. 20. The third lesson is sligthly longer than that found in the post-Clementine editions having verses 24 & 25. The responsories are proper to the feast. In the second nocturn the antiphons Dabo Sanctis meis etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 14, 15 & 23. The lessons are from a sermon of St. Augustine on the Saints. The lessons are longer than those found in the post-Clementine editions. In the third nocturn the antiphons Justi autem etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 32, 33 & 45. However, the eighth antiphon, Isti sunt, is proper to the feast. The homily on St. Matthew's Gospel is from the writings of St. Jerome. Again these are longer than those found in the post-Clementine editions. The ninth responsory is omitted and in its place the Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Herodes iratus etc are sung, doubled, with Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite and 148-149-150. The Office hymn is Salvete, flores Martyrum (again, sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation). After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Octave of the Nativity, the Octave of St. Stephen and the Octave of St. John.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons of Lauds are sung. The hymns have their Doxology changed in honour of the Incarnation. At Prime the short lesson is of the feast, Hi empti sunt.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave of the Nativity, the third collect of the Octave of St. Stephen and the fourth collect of the Octave of St. John. The Alleluia and its verse given in the Missal are sung in place of the Tract. 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 commemorations of the following feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, the Octave of the Nativity, the Octave of St. Stephen and the Octave of St. John.

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