Feast of St Joseph the Worker (May 1)



Today's feast, of St Joseph the Worker, is one that has perhaps been looking rather dated in recent years, but can perhaps gain a new lease of life in the light of the current Pope's emphasis on the social teaching of the Church.

The feast was introduced by Pope Pius XII in 1955, to counter Communist May Day celebrations.

With the collapse of communism, the rationale for it has looked rather less obvious.

However, the recent recognition of the adverse social consequences of increasing income inequality, and the association of wealth with the accumulation of capital rather than the rewards of hard work, particularly in countries such as America where wages have failed to keep pace with productivity and income growth, perhaps the feast can gain a new lease of life...

You can find the Gospel and the Matins readings for the feast here.

You might want to note, however, that the Monastic Breviary does provide the option of using the texts for the slightly older, non-workerized version of the feast - the Diurnal has them at MD [130].

Low Sunday and the first week of Eastertide



Low Sunday has many other names - Quasimodo Sunday for the opening words of the Introit; St Thomas  Sunday for the Gospel (the doubting Thomas story); Octave Day of Easter; and of course in the new calendar, Divine Mercy Sunday.

Whatever you call it though, it marks formal end of Easter, and start of the season of Eastertide, so do take the time to read up on the instructions for saying the Office during Eastertide.

This week in the 1962 Benedictine Office in summary

Sunday April 27 - Low Sunday, Class I  
Monday April 28 – Class IV [EF: St Paul of the Cross]
Tuesday April 29 – SS Odo, Majolus, Odilo and Hugh, Class III [EF: St Peter of Verona]
Wednesday April 30 – Class IV; St Catherine of Siena, Memorial
Thursday May 1 –  St Joseph the Worker, Class I
Friday May 2 – St Athanasius, Class III
Saturday May 3 – Saturday of Our Lady (Sat 1 of May); SS Alexander, Eventius And Theodolus, memorial

You can find more detailed notes on the Office for each day for April here and May here.

Easter Sunday and the Easter Octave


Happy Easter!

This week is one long joyous Sunday so far as the Office goes.

In essence, the psalms and antiphons of Sunday are said throughout the Octave, the only changes being, so far as the day hours go, to the Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons and the collects.

Note, though, that at Mass, there is a Gospel set for each day this week, and at Matins there are patristic readings on it.

This week in the Benedictine Office in summary

Sunday April 20  – Easter Sunday, Class I with a Class I Octave
Monday April 21 - Monday in the Octave of Easter, Class I 
Tuesday April 22 – Tuesday in Octave of Easter, Class I
Wednesday April 23 - Wednesday in the Octave of Easter, Class I 
Thursday April 24 – Thursday in the Octave of Easter, Class I
Friday April 25 – Friday in the Octave of Easter, Class I 
Saturday April 26 – White Saturday in the Octave of Easter, Class I 

You can find the more detailed instructions for the Office this week here.

Holy Saturday

Eastern Rite Matins for Holy Saturday

The instructions for the Office of Holy Saturday are set out at MD 318* ff.  Note that:
There are no opening prayers
The Gloria Patri is not said at the end of each psalm
The psalms and antiphons to be used are set out at MD 279* ff
‘Propter quod…’ is added to the antiphon Christus factus est, MD 282*

Vespers is as on Maundy Thursday, except for the first antiphon and Magnificat antiphon, MD 325*.  It can be said any time after noon.

Compline can be found in the Diurnal on at 325*, and should be said before the Easter Vigil.  Note that those attending the vigil don't need to say Sunday Matins or Lauds.



Good Friday


The Monastic Diurnal sets out the Office as it is said today at 309*ff.  Note that:
There are no opening prayers
The Gloria Patri is not said at the end of each psalm
The psalms etc for Prime to None are set out at MD 279* ff
‘Mortem autem crucis’ is added to the antiphon Christus factus est, MD 282*; and
Compline as for Maundy Thursday, MD 305*

Remember, too, that if you attend the Good Friday afternoon liturgy, you do not need to say Vespers.

Note that outside of monasteries, Tenebrae of Holy Saturday is often anticipated, said after Compline rather than early in the morning.

Maundy Thursday


The Benedictine Office becomes Roman for the next few days, so ignore all the parts of the Diurnal except what is set out at  out at MD 265* ff.   Note that there are no opening prayers, and the Gloria Patri is not said at the end of each psalm.

If you attend the evening Mass, you don't need to say Vespers, as it is included in the ceremonies.  Compline is said according to the rubrics at MD 305* after the denudation of the altar, with extinguished candles and no chant.

Tenebrae of Good Friday (Matins and Lauds) is often said immediately after this.

Wednesday in Holy Week: Spy Wednesday


The Gospel today is the Passion according to St Luke (22:39-71; 23:1-53).  You can find the Matins readings (from Jeremiah) here.

There are specific antiphons for the psalms for the day (MD 263*ff) for Lauds to None, as well as the proper texts for passiontide.  The canticle antiphons and collects for the day can be found in the Monastic Diurnal at 264*ff.

Tenebrae of Maundy Thursday

Technically, under the 1962 rubrics Matins and Lauds of Maundy Thursday (viz Tenebrae) are not allowed to be anticipated.

However, this is one of the most widely ignored of the 1962 rule changes, ignored for entirely practical reasons.

If you happen to be able to attend Tenebrae, do make sure you have said Vespers and Compline of Wednesday first.

Tuesday in Holy Week


At Mass, today's Gospel is the Passion according to St Mark (14:32-72; 15:1-46).

The Office at Matins, however, reverts to Scriptural texts for the next two days, in the form of readings from Jeremiah, and then the special readings for the Triduum, which include the famous Lamentations.

From Lauds to None there are antiphons for the day (MD 262*ff), which are said with the psalms of Tuesday, and the proper texts for Passiontide (MD 240* ff).  The canticle antiphons and collects can be found at MD 263* (Farnborough edition).

Monday in Holy Week



At Mass for Monday in Holy Week, the Gospel is St John 12:1-9, St Mary Magdalene washes Jesus' feet with ointment.  You can find the text and the Matins readings on it over at my Lectio Divina blog.

From Lauds to None today note that there are specific antiphons for the day (you can find them in the Monastic Diurnal at 260-61*) - use them with the psalms of Monday, and the chapter, responsory and hymn of Passiontide (MD 240* ff).  The Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons, together with the collects, can be found at MD 261*.

Palm Sunday and Holy Week




Today's Gospel at Mass is the reading of the Passion according to St Matthew, Matthew 26:36-75 and Matthew 27:1-66 (if you prefer the Douay-Rheims to the Knox translation, you can find it starting here).  Note though that the Gospel at Matins on Sunday is the Gospel from the ceremony for the blessing of the palms (or as last Gospel if there is no psalm blessing ceremony), St Matthew 21:1-9.  You can the readings on it here.

Holy Week rubrics

This Sunday marks the start of Holy Week, and note that the rubrics for the Office, particularly from Thursday do not follow the normal pattern.

I've previously posted detailed notes on the rubrics for Holy Week which you can find here.

In summary though, the first three days of Holy Week are all first class days, and the hours from Lauds to None have proper antiphons for each day, which are said with the rest of the texts from the ordinary of Passiontide.

From Holy Thursday, the Benedictine Office is completely unlike the Office for the rest of the year (it follows the Roman Office instead), so do follow the text in the relevant pages of the Diurnal closely, and keep a close eye on the Ordo, or alternatively watch the daily blog guides I'll post here.

The other key point to note is that, as set out in the Ordo, some of the Holy Week ceremonies include parts of the Office - so those who attend them do not need to sing or say those particular hours separately.

The Office this week in summary

Sunday April 13 – Second Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday, Class I
Monday April 14 – Monday in Holy Week, Class I
Tuesday April 15 - Tuesday in Holy Week, Class I
Wednesday April 16 – Wednesday in Holy Week, Class I
Thursday April 17 – Maundy Thursday, Class I
Friday April 18 – Good Friday, Class I
Saturday April 19 – Holy Saturday, Class I

First Passion Sunday and the week ahead


This week's Gospel is St John 8:46-59.

This Sunday marks the start of Passiontide, which has its own special texts and rubrics, which you can read up on in my post on Passiontide. The Ordinary of the ferial Office, used from the Monday after First Passion Sunday, in Lent is set out in the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal at MD 240*ff.

Benedictine Office this week in summary

Sunday April 6 – First Passion Sunday, Class I
Monday April 7 – Monday in first Passion Week, Class III
Tuesday April 8 – Tuesday in first Passion Week, Class III
Wednesday April 9 – Wednesday in first Passion Week, Class III
Thursday April 10 - Thursday in First Passion week
Friday April 11 – Friday in first Passion Week, Class III; St Leo I, Memorial
Saturday April 12 – Saturday in First Passion Week, Class III

And you can find more detailed instructions on saying the Office on these days in the Ordo for April.