Brush up your rubrics: Vespers for feasts and seasons

Image result for vespers

Yesterday in this refresher series on the rubrics I talked mainly about Vespers on ordinary days.  But I thought I'd finish up the series (unless anyone has any requests for particular topics I haven't yet covered) with the issue of variations of Vespers during particular seasons and for feasts.

Fixed and variable elements of Vespers


As I noted yesterday, pretty much all of the elements of Vespers can change on feasts, as the table below illustrates.


 VESPERS
 Fixed vs variable

Opening prayers
fixed (except for Alleluia, replaced during Septuagesima and Lent)

Antiphons
and psalms 

variable 
Chapter
variable

Short Responsory
variable

Hymn
variable

Versicle
variable

Antiphon for the Magnificat

variable
Magnificat
fixed

Antiphon for the Magnificat

variable
Closing prayers, including collect

 fixed
Collect
variable

Accordingly, you need to read the instructions in the Diurnal (or an Ordo) to know which texts to change.  This post provides some summary information on how the Office can change, so you have some idea what to expect.

Feasts 


On Class III, II or I feasts or days, the texts can come from the Proper of Seasons, Proper of Saints or the 'Commons of Saints'.

The basic principle is that depending on the level of the feast, the normal weekday texts will be pushed out by those for the feast.

If there isn't a special set of texts just for that feast, then you generally use some or all of the 'Commons' of the relevant type of saint (martyr, confessor, etc) instead.

The normal rule (though there are some exceptions) is that if a feast has its own antiphons, the psalms will be of the feast, not the day.

On feasts of saints, the Diurnal (and/or an Ordo) normally tells you where to find the texts you need.  The table below, though, summarises the main impacts.


LEVEL OF FEAST

EFFECT ON VESPERS
Memorial

none
Class III without
proper antiphons

Psalms and antiphons of the day; 

chapter, responsory, hymn etc from the Common
Class III with proper antiphons

Psalms of Sunday or the Common; antiphons of the feast; chapter etc for the feast (from the proper of the feast or the Common)
Class II
All for the feast (or from the Common of Saints or season), including psalms of feast, Sunday or Common

Class I
All for the feast (or from the Common of saints or season) with I Vespers the night before


Seasons


During some times of the year such as Advent and Lent, the psalms of the day of the week continue to be used, but all of the other elements have different texts, found in the Proper of Seasons.

The texts you have to use can come from several different places and the Office becomes quite complex to manage.

The key thing to keep in mind at these special times of the year is that the texts can be 'of the season' (for example the hymn, chapter, responsory and versicle), 'of the week(s) of the season' (antiphons during Advent for example), of the day of the season (canticle antiphons for example), and of the date.

Sundays in the major seasons are effectively like feasts of saints, with a complete set of texts for the particular Sunday.  Which texts are used on weekdays though, varies with the season, as the table below summarises for the first four seasons of the liturgical year:


 VESPERS
Advent
up to Dec 16
Advent
Dec 17-23
Nativitytide (Jan 2-5)

Epiphanytide
(Jan 7-12)
Opening prayers
Fixed
Fixed
Fixed

Fixed
Antiphons
Of the Advent week
Of the day (MD 39*)

As throughout the year in the psalter

As throughout the year in the psalter

Psalms
Fixed (ie of the day of the week in the psalter)

Fixed
Fixed
Fixed
Chapter, short responsory, hymn and versicle
Of Advent 
(MD  15*)

Of Advent
Of Nativitytide
( MD 123*)
Of Epiphanytide
 (MD 137*)

Antiphon for the Magnificat
Of the day
Of the date (O antiphons)
Of Nativitytide

Of the number of the day counting from Jan 6 (MD 139*)
Magnificat
Fixed
Fixed
Fixed

Fixed
Closing prayers
Fixed
Fixed

Fixed
Fixed
Collect
Of the (previous) Sunday
Of the Sunday
Of the Sunday
Before and after the Sunday collects

(PS: Do let me know if you find this table helpful, and would like to compile a similar one for the other seasons of the liturgical year).

Feasts of saints

On Class III, II or I feasts or days, the texts can come from the Proper of Seasons, Proper of Saints or the 'Commons of Saints'.

The basic principle is that depending on the level of the feast, the normal weekday texts will be pushed out by those for the feast.

If there isn't a special set of texts just for that feast, then you generally use some or all of the 'Commons' of the relevant type of saint (martyr, confessor, etc) instead.

The normal rule (though there are some exceptions) is that if a feast has its own antiphons, the psalms will be of the feast, not the day.

On feasts of saints, the Diurnal (and/or an Ordo) normally tells you where to find the texts you need.  The table below, though, summarises the main impacts.


LEVEL OF FEAST

EFFECT ON VESPERS
Memorial

none
Class III without
proper antiphons

Psalms and antiphons of the day; 
 chapter, responsory, hymn etc from the Common
Class III with proper antiphons

Psalms of Sunday or the Common; antiphons of the feast; chapter etc for the feast (from the proper of the feast or the Common)
Class II
All for the feast (or from the Common of Saints or season), including psalms of feast, Sunday or Common

Class I
All for the feast (or from the Common of saints or season) with I Vespers the night before



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