Monday, December 7, 2009

The Office in Advent ***updated

This post deals with some of the peculiarities of the Office in Advent.

The role of Advent

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the liturgical season of Advent is a time for the faithful to:
  • prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
  • thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
  • thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.
The start date for Advent varies every year, so you need to consult either an Ordo or the table of moveable feasts at the beginning of the Monastic Diurnal.  The end date, however, is always fixed: Advent officially ends at None on the December 24.

The Office in Advent

You can find detailed notes on how the Office operates during Advent compared to throughout the year via the following links:



Ribbons

The Office in Advent is quite complex, and a time when ribbons need to be deployed, no matter how familiar you might be with the Office.

My suggestion would be to place your ribbons as follows:
  • to the relevant parts of the 'Ordinary of Advent', MD 9*ff;
  • on the day of the week in Advent;
  • as well as the relevant hour of the psalter.
And then from December 17 onwards you'll need a few extras...but on that see below.

Sundays

Sundays in Advent are all first class, with their own proper antiphons and proper texts (chapter, hymn etc).  In general, the Lauds antiphons are used for all of the hours (ie from I Vespers on Saturday until II Vespers), using the normal principles (that is, the fourth antiphon is omitted at Vespers; the first antiphon is used at Prime, the second at Terce, etc, skipping the fourth as usual). These antiphons are then used for the minor hours throughout that week (MD 13*ff puts them together to make it easier to find the right antiphon for the relevant hour).

Weekdays up to 17 December/fourth week of Advent

The ordinary days of Advent are of the third class. As usual, the collects are from the previous Sunday (with the exception of the Ember days in week three of Advent, which have their own particular collects).

A few key things to particularly take note of:
  • at Lauds and Vespers: use the correct chapter, hymn, responsory etc from the Ordinary of Advent (MD9*;15*) NOT from the psalter for the day;
  • at Lauds and Vespers use the Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons prescribed for the day and week;
  • at the minor hours, use the antiphon set for that hour for the relevant week (MD 13*ff) and from Terce to None, the chapter and versicle for Advent (set out in the psalter).
Feast days

The other key point to note is that on days when a feast is celebrated (such as the Immaculate Conception) a commemoration of Advent is always made at both Lauds and Vespers.

The Monastic Diurnal is rather unhelpful on this, as, presumably in the interests of space, it doesn't include the versicles and collect on the same pages as the relevant canticle antiphons, but the principle is to use the Benedictus or Magnficat antiphon that would otherwise have been said on that day, followed by the versicle from the relevant Advent Office, followed by the collect of the week or day), all said immediately after the collect of the feast.

From 17 December....

In the last part of of Advent the liturgy intensifies, adding a little complexity.

First, at Vespers, the beautiful 'O Antiphons' (MD 35*), one for each day, are sung with the Magnificat. These displace the Magnificat antiphon that would otherwise be said on these days (in the third week of Advent). There are numerous recordings of these wonderful pieces of chant available online, do listen.

Secondly, whereas previously Lauds and Vespers used the 'throughout the year' antiphons, there is now a set used at these hours (and the rest as per the normal rules) for the psalms for each day of the week (MD 37*ff).

Thirdly, a couple of the Benedictus antiphons are said on specific dates (see MD 41*).

In all cases, following the Ordo provided here should be of assistance!

Compline

Throughout this season, the Marian antiphon at the end of Compline is Alma Redemptoris Mater, MD 265, with the accompanying prayers that immediately follow (labelled for use up until 24 December).

A cheat sheet for the hours

Here is a summary of the effects of the Ordinary of Advent on each hour (Monday to Saturday, no feasts or memorials), up until 16 December.

Matins

Opening as usual (Domine labia mea aperies…)
Psalm 3
Invitatory antiphon for Advent (MB 14), Regem venturum Dominum with Ps 94
Hymn for Advent: Verbum supernum prodiens
Nocturn I: psalms and antiphons of the day
Versicles for Advent, MB 14
3 readings and responsories (for the particular day and week of Advent)
Nocturn II: psalms and antiphons of the day
Chapter and versicle for Advent
Closing prayers

Lauds

Opening prayers and invitatory psalms as usual
Psalms and antiphons of the day (up until 17 December)
Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*
Canticle antiphon for the day and week of Advent
Collect of the previous Sunday, MD 11*

Prime

Opening prayers
Antiphon for week of Advent: Week I (Iucundare/Be glad), MD 13*
Psalms of day
Chapter, versicle and closing prayers as usual

Terce

Opening prayer and hymn as usual;
Antiphons for the week of Advent (Week I, Urbs/Sion), MD 13*;
Psalms for day;
Chapter and versicle for Advent, MD 14* or psalter;
Closing prayers as usual;
Collect of the week, MD 11*

Sext

Opening prayer and hymn as usual;
Antiphons for the week of Advent (Week I, Ecce/Behold), MD 14*;
Psalms for day;
Chapter and versicle for Advent, MD 14* or psalter;
Closing prayers as usual;
Collect of the week, MD 11*

None

Opening prayer and hymn as usual;
Antiphons for the week of Advent (Week I, Ecce/Behold), MD 15*;
Psalms for day;
Chapter and versicle for Advent, MD 15* or psalter;
Closing prayers as usual;
Collect of the week, MD 11*

Vespers

Opening praysers as usual
Psalms and antiphons of the psalter
Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*- 17*
Magnificat antiphon for the day and week of Advent/Magnficat

Compline

Starts MD 256
Marian Antiphon: Alma Redemptoris Mater, MD 265

A cheat sheet for the Ordo

The instructions below provide page references to the Monastic Diurnal for the days of Advent (but don't take account of any feasts that may occur during December).

Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent

Vespers: I Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, MD 1*
Compline: Marian antiphon Alma Redemptoris Mater, MD 265 henceforward

– First Sunday of Advent, Class I

Matins: Invitatory antiphon, hymn, antiphons and readings of Sunday I in Advent
Lauds: Proper antiphons, chapter, responsory, hymn etc, MD 4* ff with Psalm schema 1 (50, 117, 62)
Prime to None: Antiphons and proper texts, MD 6* ff
Vespers: Proper texts as for I Vespers, MD 1* except for Magnificat antiphon, MD 8*; with psalms of Sunday

 – Monday in the first week of Advent, Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of Monday; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 9* ff; Benedictus antiphon, MD 17*; collect, MD 11*;
Prime: Antiphon for week I, MD 13*
Terce to None: Antiphon for Advent wk I, MD 13* ff; chapter and versicle for Advent; collect, MD 11*
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of Monday; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for Advent, MD 15* ff; Magnificat antiphon, MD 17*; collect, MD 11*

– Tuesday in the first week of Advent, Class III

Psalms of Tuesday with Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk I, MD 13* ff); collect (Sunday I), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 18*

– Wednesday in the first week of Advent, Class III

Psalms of Wednesday with Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk I, MD 13* ff); collect (Sunday I), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 18*

Thursday in the first week of Advent, Class III

Psalms of Thursday with Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk I); collect (Sunday I), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 18*

– Friday in the first week of Advent, Class III

Psalms of Friday with Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk I); collect (Sunday I), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 19*

- Saturday in the first week of Advent

Psalms of Saturday with Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk I); collect (Sunday I), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds, MD 19*

I Vespers of the Second Sunday of Advent, MD 19* ff

– Second Sunday of Advent, Class I

Lauds to Vespers: Antiphons and proper texts, MD 22* ff; psalms of Sunday 

At Lauds, schema 1: Ps 50, 117, 62

– Monday in the second week of Advent, Class III

Psalms of Monday with Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk II, MD 13* ff); collect (Sunday II), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 26-7*

– Tuesday in the second week of Advent, Class III

Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk II, MD 13* ff); collect (Sunday II), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 27*

– Wednesday in the second week of Advent, Class III

Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk II); collect (Sunday II), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 27*

– Thursday in the second week of Advent, Class III

Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk II); collect (Sunday II), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 27-8*

- Friday in the second week of Advent, Class III

Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk II); collect (Sunday II), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 28*

- Saturday in the second week of Advent, Class III

Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk II); collect (Sunday II), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 28*

I Vespers of Third Sunday in Advent, MD 28* ff

– Third Sunday of Advent, Class I (Gaudete Sunday)

Lauds to None: Antiphons and proper texts, MD 31*ff; psalms of Sunday (at Lauds, schema 1: Ps 50, 117, 62); collect (except at Prime)
Vespers: Antiphons and proper texts of I Vespers, MD 28* except for canticle antiphon, MD 35* (unless one of the O antiphons is said) with Sunday psalms

– Monday in the third week of Advent, Class III

If Class III: Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk III); collect (Sunday III), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 41-2*

If Class II: Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers); collect (Sunday III), MD 11*; Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 41-2*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*

-– Tuesday in the third week of Advent, Class III


If Class III: Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk III); collect (Sunday III), MD 11*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 42*

If Class II: Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers); collect (Sunday III), MD 11*; Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 41-2*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*

– Ember Wednesday of Advent, Class II

If before December 17: Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk  III); collect of the Ember Day, MD 42-3*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 42-3*

If December 17-23: Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers); collect of the Ember Day, MD 42-3*; Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 42*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*

– Thursday in the third week of Advent, Class II

If before December 17: Ordinary of Advent (Prime to None antiphons of wk  III); MD 43*; canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers, MD 43*

If December 17-23: Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers); collect, MD 43*; Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 43*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*

– Ember Friday of Advent, Class II

If December 17-23, Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), otherwise as per the Ordinary of Advent; ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers); collect of the Ember Day, MD 44*; Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 44*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*

– Ember Saturday in Advent, Class II

If December 17-23, Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), otherwise as per the Ordinary of Advent; ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers); collect of the Ember Day, MD 45*; Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 44*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*

I Vespers for the fourth Sunday of Advent, MD 45*ff

– Fourth Sunday of Advent, Class I

Lauds to None: Antiphons and proper texts, MD 48* ff; psalms of Sunday (at Lauds, schema 1: Ps 50, 117, 62)
Vespers: Antiphons and proper texts of I Vespers, MD 45* ; O Antiphon, MD 35-6*

– Monday in the fourth week of Advent, Class II

Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers);  Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 52*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*; collect, MD 12*

- Tuesday in the fourth week of Advent, Class II

Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers); Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 52*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*; collect, MD 12*

- Wednesday in the fourth week of Advent, Class II

Antiphons for the day of the week (MD 37* ff), ordinary of Advent (chapter, hymn etc for Lauds and Vespers); Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, MD 53*; O antiphon of the date, for the Magnificat, MD 35-6*; collect, MD 12*

23 December - Class II

Lauds to Vespers: Antiphons for the psalms: MD 37 - 40*
Lauds: Benedictus antiphon, Ecce completa sunt, MD 45*
Vespers: Magnificat antiphon, O Emmanuel, MD 36*

24 December - Vigil of the Nativity, Class I
[Note: If the Vigil of the Nativity falls on a Sunday, I Vespers is as for the Fourth Sunday of Advent]

Matins: Invitatory antiphon, hymn and readings of the feast; antiphons and psalms of the day; readings of the feast
Lauds: Festal psalms (of Sunday), MD 44 with antiphons and proper texts, MD 54* ff
Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds, MD 54*

Terce to None: Antiphons and texts, MD 57* ff

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Office of the Dead

The Diurnal includes the texts for the Office of the Dead (starting from MD (135), and saying it on behalf of a particular soul, selected souls, or all souls in purgatory is a great spiritual work of mercy. For those with ambitions to say Matins but whose Latin (or stamina) is not yet up to the task, saying Matins of the Dead each day might be a good and worthy way to work up to the full thing. It is also a particularly beautiful and haunting Office.

What is the Office of the Dead?

The Office of the Dead consists of first Vespers (ie said the night before), Matins and Lauds, and is said for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed. It can be said for one person, or for many.

It is a very ancient Office, and probably took on its current form around the seventh century. It became very popular in the middle ages, with many monasteries earning considerable income by saying it on behalf of laypeople.

It can be said any day, but traditionally it was not said on the equivalent of second and first class feasts, but was said:
  • on the day of burial, and third and seventh day after the funeral;
  • on the anniversary of the death;
  • Pius V recommended it be said on the the first free day in the month, the Mondays of Advent and Lent, on some vigils, and ember days; and
  • All Soul's Day.
How to say it.

The Office can of course be said instead of the normal Office (unless you are a priest or religious bound to the recitation of the Office). But if you want to say it as well, say the normal Office of Vespers first, then Vespers for the Dead; Matins and Lauds of the day, then Matins and Lauds of the Dead. You might also choose just to say one of these hours, not all three.

The Office for the Dead has no introductory texts, you just launch into the antiphons and psalms as written. There are though two things you need to decide in advance:
  • if you are saying Matins, whether to say all three 'Nocturns" or choose the one appropriate for the day of the week (you will find Sunday, Monday and Thursday on MD (137); Tuesday and Friday on MD (145); and Wednesday and Saturday on MD (154);
  • which collect to use - there is a selection from MD (174) onwards, make your choice depending on who you are saying it for and when. Mark your selection with a ribbon.
The only other thing to remember is that instead of the normal Gloria (Glory be) at the end of each psalm, you say "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis" - have a look at MD (137).

Vespers of the Dead

Vespers of the Dead can be found on MD (181). It consists of:
  • five psalms each with an antiphon;
  • a versicle - MD (185);
  • Magnificat with antiphon, MD (185-6);
  • the Our Father, said kneeling, intercessory prayers and the selected collect - MD (187)
  • conclusion - MD (187).

Matins of the Dead

Can be found on MD (136)ff.

It consists of:

  • the invitatory psalm (94) with antiphon said responsorially (follow the text as set out);
  • one or three nocturns. Each nocturn consists of three psalms each with an antiphon, and three readings each followed by a responsory.
  • the collect and conclusion - MD (163).

Note that there are instruction on what to do if Lauds is not said, or Lauds is separated from Matins on MD (163).

Lauds of the Dead

Lauds of the Dead can be found on MD (163). Apart from stripping out the introductory sections of normal Lauds, it follows the same basic pattern for the psalms and canticles. The concluding prayers for the hour are on MD (173).

Friday, June 12, 2009

On Ordos!

I gather there are a few people searching around for an Ordo to use with the Office, and some confusion about which Ordo is what. So I thought I'd just try and summarise the key differences between the various Ordos I know of, or have been told about, as a bit of an aid to those searching.

This is also a chance for those who are using the Ordo I produce each week to let me know what additional details they would like me to include (no guarantees on delivery though!).

What is an Ordo?

An Ordo is essentially a calendar for use in conjunction with the Mass and/or Office that tells you which feasts are celebrated on a particular date so that you can ensure you use the appropriate texts for the day. At a minimum, it simply lists the feast of the day and tells you the level of it (as in the summary in the sidebar to the right on this blog page). But it often provides a few more details of the particulars of the day (see for example the more detailed weekly notes on this site).

An Ordo is pretty essential - some feast days (such as Easter) change their date every year, and everything else flows from that. And there are inevitably clashes between possible feasts on particular dates, so you need to know what the rules determine should be celebrated on a particular date, and an Ordo should do that.

Some Ordos are extremely detailed - but this is the exception not the norm! In general, unless you live in a monastery where someone else is working it all out for you, you will need to become sufficiently familiar with the structure of the Office to be able to work out that if it is a third class feast, the things that change are....

The choices

The most commonly referred to Ordos are as follows:

  • the Novus Ordo calendar used by the Catholic Church post 1970 - you can find a version of it here. This is the calendar most people will see used at Mass, and works well with the Liturgy of the Hours. It talks about feasts being solemnities or memorials. It is pretty hard to use it, however, in conjunction with one of the traditional forms of the Office (see below);
  • the 1962 Roman Calendar, which you can find here, used for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and fits easily with the Roman Breviary. It talks about feasts being Class I, II or III, memorials or commemorations;
  • the 1962-3 Benedictine Calendar, which is what I am providing on this site, is very similar to the 1962 Roman Calendar, differing only in terms of a few saints' feasts in the main. It can readily be used (or adapted) by anyone attending the EF mass, and using any of the traditional forms of the Benedictine Office (ie 1962 or earlier);
  • a pre-1962 Benedictine or Roman calendar, used I gather in the Anglican Breviary and older forms of the Breviary - if your calendar talks about 'doubles' or 'duplexes' and such like terms then it is using one of these calendar variants. If your breviary uses this terminology it is actually pretty easy to superimpose the 1962 calendar onto it (it means dropping a few octaves and other changes though);
  • Anglican or Anglican Use Ordos - Anglican Ordos will not include all feasts used in the Catholic Church, and may include some additional saints' feasts. Anglican Use ordos will presumably be something of a hybrid;
  • the Western Rite Orthodox Ordo - uses the Orthodox calendar which dates Easter differently to the Western Church;
  • Ordos for other religious orders such as the Dominicans, Carmelites, etc. These may come in either Novus Ordo, 1962 or pre-1962 forms.

Note also that most individual Benedictine monasteries (such as Le Barroux) produce their own Ordos for internal use, and by their Oblates, which are likely to differ in some respects from the Universal calendar.

Choosing and Ordo to use

Most people will instinctively want to use the Ordo that goes with whichever form of the Office they have purchased in the interests of simplicity. Fair enough, especially when you are just starting off and struggling to learn the Office.

My own view though is that as far as possible you should work up to using the calendar that aligns most closely with the Mass you attend (particularly if you are a daily mass goer), but admitting of variants to reflect a particular spirituality, such as Benedictine or Dominican, to which you may be attached. So if you attend an EF Mass, by all means use the variants provided by the Benedictine Ordo, it will fit well enough.

The reason is simple: the Office takes the Mass as its starting point, and expands out from it. So on a Sunday, for example, the Gospel at Mass will often provide the antiphon for the Benedictus and Magnificat. At Matins, the Patristic readings will relate to that Gospel. And so forth.

Using the Mass as your starting point of course is harder than it sounds if you want to use one of the traditional forms of the Office, whether Roman, Monastic or some other in conjunction with the OF Mass. Essentially, if you attend a Novus Ordo Mass, you might be able to line up saints' feast days, but the normal passage of liturgical seasons is harder to make work (though technically possible if your Latin is good enough, at least in relation to the Benedictine Office - you need to purchase the new Antiphonale Monasticum from the Monastery of Solesmes).

You should also be aware that whatever Ordo you use, there are local feasts that you will need to add to it - feasts particular to your country, diocese and parish.

My Ordo notes

This site is primarily dedicated to the Benedictine Use. If you are using any of the breviaries or diurnals that are based around the monastic form of the Office (modelled on the provisions set out in the Rule of St Benedict), you should be able to use the Ordo and notes I provide here.

I normally provide page references to the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal, but if there is sufficient demand, I would be happy to either provide references to the 1962 Monastic Breviary as well. From some of the queries I'm receiving, I think I perhaps need to provide a few more details of the texts to be used in any case, and it may be that this would assist those using other editions of the Diurnal (such as the Lancelot Andrews Press version). I'd certainly be happy to add in Ordo notes for Matins if that would be of assistance to anyone (presumably references to the English of the Office would be preferred?). So let me know what information would be useful - no guarantees, but I'll see what I can do!

Further reading

To learn a bit more about Ordos and the issues associated with them, take a look at my series on learning the Office in the sidebar - parts II, III and XII are relevant.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Learning the Office part XIVB: Singing the Office continued


I want to continue, in this part (if you've just found this series, start at Part I, to be found n the righthand side bar) to say something about singing the Office, and I'm going to do this by working through the various types of chant you will find in the Office.

I can't, of course, in one part, teach you how to sing the office. But I can give you some pointers to resources to help you, and provide a bit of a guide through as you attempt to work it out for yourself. The key text is of course the Antiphonale Monasticum, a page of which (for Sunday Vespers) is pictured above - click on the picture to see a larger version of it.

How music reflects the solemnity of the Office

One of the reasons it is important to tackle the music of the Office is that music is used, amongst other things, to indicate the degree of solemnity of the particular hour and day. For example:
  • for many basic chants, such as the introductory 'Deus in adjutorium' there are different versions to use at the little hours (the simple tone), and a 'solemn tone' to use at Lauds and Vespers;
  • the tone for standard hymns (at the minor hours) can differ between Sundays and weekdays, for different classes of feasts, and in particular seasons and feasts; and
  • there are lots of beautiful settings of the concluding 'Benedicamus Domino...Deo Gratias' that vary depending on the type and level of feast, hour and season.
Start recto tono

I said in the last part that it is always an option to sing everything on one note - called recto tono. My suggestion is to stat by doing just that - it will get you singing the Latin aloud and getting familiar with how it sounds. And that will help you immensely when you come to sing to the proper tones.

There are basically two methods of singing the psalms. The first is to follow speech rhythm, lengthening the accented syllables of the words (either the first syllable or the one marked). The second is to make all syllables the same length, slightly lengthening the last two syllables of each half of the verse. The first method allows you to put more meaning into the text - but the second is a lot simpler and particularly useful in keeping together large groups of singers, so is often used in monasteries.

Build up gradually

My second suggestion is, build up gradually. Pick a little section to add each week. There are many variants to the Office chants - ignore these at first and stick to it until you know it really well without worrying to much about whether it is the correct tone for the day or season at first. Then, once you are comfortable with it, add the next variant or element to your repertoire.

And start with the simpler types of chant in the Office. The main types of chant in the Office, in increasing degree of elaborateness, are:
  • the common tones used for things like the Deus in adjutorium.., versicles and so forth, which often aren't much more than a few variations on one note. They generally come in two or more variants, a simple tone for the little hours, and a solemn tone for Lauds and Vespers;
  • the set patterns - called psalm tones - used for the psalms and canticles. I'll say more about these below;
  • the antiphons, which are typically very short, and often use the same tunes or phrases over and over, but can be quite elaborate;
  • the hymns;

  • more elaborate chants, often for feasts, such as the 'prolix responsories' that are an option for First Vespers of major feasts.
You might want to skip down this list a little and say add a few hymns in fairly early on, but in general, I'd suggest starting at the top of this list, and working down it.

The Liber Usualis and Roman Office chant books

One way of starting off is to start off by working from the Liber Usualis, which contains most of the chants for the Mass, and a lot of the chants for the (Roman) Office, particularly the common tones. It is available online, contains instructions on how to sing the psalms, and is rather easier to follow in places to the Antiphonale, so a good place to begin. As well as setting out most of the chants for the (Roman) Sunday day Office (which is very similar to the Benedictine, but remember to skip the extra psalm!), as well as the antiphons for most major feasts, the Liber also has the proper antiphon for the Magnificat in with the Mass propers for each week (though for the Roman Office, they are normally pretty much the same as the Benedictine ones).

There are some minor differences in the chants between the Roman Office and the Benedictine - but a lot of them, I suspect, reflect nothing other than the state of the monastery of Solesmes' views at the date the various books were published (in general, Benedictine chant is the source for Roman chant!). In any case, if you start off by working from the Liber, you can always correct to the Monastic version once you feel more confident of the chant and have acquired the Monastic Antiphonary.

I won't attempt to give page references, you really need to sit down and look through the section starting 'The Ordinary Chants of the Office', and looking through the Offices provided for Sunday for yourself. Be careful though - though the chant tones are often the same, or differ only in minor ways, the Offices themselves are do have significant differences, so watch out for those as you work your way through it.

The psalms and antiphons

The psalms are of course the core of the Office. Essentially, the psalms are normally sung to one of eight set patterns. Which pattern or 'psalm tone' is to be used depends on the antiphon. If you look at the page from the Antiphonale above, for example, you will see it says 'VIIc2' on the line above the antiphon. The VII means psalm tone 7, and the 'c2' refers to the particular ending to be used (there is usually a choice of several) in this case. And in fact if you look down three lines of chants you will see a few notes with 'euouae' underneath them - this is the abbreviation for 'Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen', and shows you how those words fits against ending c2 in case you have forgotten which one it is!

A useful resource to get a flavour of the various psalm tones can be found in the sidebar of the chant blog. The examples given on the MP3s are, I think, all in English, but it will still give you the basic idea. Note that there are some minor variants in the ending labels etc between the Antiphonale and the Liber, plus a few extra purely monastic psalm tones, so if you switch from one to the other, watch out for these!

In order to sing using the psalm tones of course you need to know which tone to use (which tees off the antiphon) and then when to change from the reciting note to the midpoint and ending patterns in the verse. The Liber uses italics and bolding to 'point' the psalms to tell you when to change note so is a very useful resource. It points most of the psalms for Sunday Vespers, and a few others - you will find a lot more of the ones needed for the monastic office in the book I noted yesterday for Vespers and Compline (and the publication details can also be found by following the link in the sidebar under Office books available via Amazon - although 'available' might be too strong a word in reality - as they are mostly out of print, you will probably need to search out other sources for them!).

In terms of learning the psalm tones, I would strongly suggest learning them one at a time, then adding relevant psalms (or perhaps the Magnificat on Sunday in the simple tone version) in that tone into your Office. Start with the easiest, tone 8, then 5, then 2. Tones 3, 4 and 7 are the hardest.

Good luck!

Part XIVA: Singing the Office - Overview

It is important to realise that the Benedictine Office is intended to be sung, not said! Firstly the psalms, the core of the Office are songs. And the hymns set for each hour were of course composed with a view to being sung. Secondly, you will find that singing it gives you a quite different experience of the Office, and is far more conducive to contemplation.

So I want now to focus on learning to sing the Office. This part is a bit of an overview. Then next part will go through some more specific strategies to actually tackle the task, including saying a bit about the different types of chant used in the Office.

Singing is the Benedictine tradition

Private recitation is a much later tradition invented by other religious orders; by contrast many Benedictine communities (used to) pride themselves on the maintenance of the choral office without a break across decades or even centuries.

'Singing' the Office doesn't necessarily mean anything elaborate - virtually every traditional monastery sings at least some of the hours most days 'recto tono', at least for the psalms.

But in the Office, the musical settings are used to indicate the level of the feast, the season, the importance of the particular hour and much more. The different chant tones used help add variety to the Office, which is important given the repetitiousness of the cycle of psalms, and also help give a subtlely different flavour and perhaps interpretation to to the texts set for each day.

In order to sing the Office you need to....

There are basically three requisites for singing the Office which I'll talk a little more about below:
  • being able to sing - St Benedict of course specifies that only those whose voices are edifying should sing in choir. But in the privacy of your own home, if you croak like a frog, only God will know, and will perhaps appreciate you making the effort in any case...;
  • being able to read chant 'square notation' - this is actually much easier than conventional modern musical notation to learn, and there are some good resources around to help you on this which I'll point to below;
  • access to the chant books. There is actually a fair amount of chant available online that you can use to at least get yourself started. I'll say a little about the books to buy below.
Being able to sing - listen first!

To be able to sing chant, you need to be able to sing. I'm personally in the camp that claims that even the most tone deaf person can actually to be taught to sing with a bit of work. Because most people are not really deaf - they just don't know how to reproduce what they hear. And that's mostly because they have never been taught to really listen properly.

And since listening is a very Benedictine virtue, it is a good one to learn! If you fear you might be in this category (and even if you aren't), record yourself to check how you are going. Even monks in some of the traditional monasteries regularly do this as a cross-check on themselves, as we often hear what we want to , not what we are really doing! The key point is to know what you are aiming at sound-wise, and keep testing how far off you are from achieving it.

So one of the the best ways to learn to sing the Office is to listen to examples of it being sung over and over again until you have it in your head and can imitate it. I've posted a few youtube and other chant links as we've gone along in this series, and I'll point you to a few more in the next part of this series.

But google key texts to see what you can find on the net, and look out for CDs. One of the most useful starting points in terms of CD's is Solesmes' recording of Sunday Vespers and Compline - it is a slightly novus ordoized version of the Office, and the (Latin) psalm translation is a different one to that used in the Diurnal, but it is still an excellent reference point. I've put an Amazon link in the sidebar to it in case you are interested in listening to some of it (and if you order it via the link, Amazon rewards me a little too for all my hard work!).

Be aware though that there are some very different singing styles around (and I'll talk a little more on that in the next part) - personally I prefer the more robust sound of the Norcia monks for example, to Solesmes, but it is all a matter of personal taste.

Reading square notation

In terms of learning to read chant notation, particularly if you can already read conventional notation, a useful starting point is The Idiot's Guide to Square Notes by Oost-Zinner and Tucker. If you don't find that's enough, there are a number of books around aimed at teaching it more systematically, often accompanied by CDs. Readers might be able to recommend one or other of them!

The chant books

The basic book you need for the day hours is the Antiphonale Monasticum. Make sure you buy the 1934 edition with updates through the 1950s if possible (so you have later feasts) - do not buy the most recent Solesmes edition of this book (which comes in three parts) as the texts do not match those in the Diurnal. You can either buy it new through the Monastery of Le Barroux and other places, or secondhand.

There are however, a few supplementary books that are worth thinking about, and a few other possible starting places. As the name suggests, the Antiphonale contains all of the antiphons, along with the tones for the hymns and the other chants used in the Office. However, it doesn't write out all the variants for the psalms and hymns in full, and that makes for hard work and lots of mistakes at first.

So to make it easier for yourself, two books are particularly helpful to acquire if you can:
  • the Liber Hymnarius published by Solesmes often sets all of the verses of a hymn to the music, making things a lot easier than being presented with one verse set to the music and the rest to work out how it fits for yourself. It also contains a lot of the music for Matins if you eventually decide to add that hour to your regime (or do it occasionally on special occasions) so it is useful to have. Be warned though, it is a bit frustrating, and isn't cheap. It doesn't always write out all the verses for key hymns, and some of the hymns have been changed or dropped altogether in line with Solesmes' later revisions of the Office;
  • Psalmi Vespertini ad Antiphonale Monasticum...put out by St Meinrad's (available secondhand only) is a truly invaluable publication to have. It writes out all of the psalms, plus the Magnificat, used in Vespers throughout the week and year and against the psalm tone to be used. It also covers Compline.
The other useful text - particularly since you can download it for free - is the Liber Usualis, which I'll talk a little more abut in the next part, since it can provide a useful starting point for learning the chants of the Office.

The key point on singing is that, just like learning the Office itself, or learning to say the Latin, you need to start slowly and build up as you become more confident. So by all means start off singing it all just on one note. I'll talk a bit about how to built up from that in the next part.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Ordinary of Ascensiontide

Now that the great feast of the Ascension is over, we move into 'Ascensiontide' for the next week and a bit. In the pre-1962 calendar this was an 'octave', and remnants of the octave can be found in the Office as it now stands.

You can find the rubrics for this period on page 383* of the Diurnal, and do make sure you know what changes!

The appropriate texts for the minor hours (except for the collects) are set out in the psalter. For the collects, Lauds and Vespers however, you need to keep your ribbon on the page for the Ordinary of Ascensiontide. The key points to note are set out below.

At Lauds

  • the antiphons are as for Eastertide;
  • the chapter is Conresuscitavit..., MD 384*
  • the short responsory is Ascendit Deus, MD 384*
  • the hymn is Iesu, nostra redemptio, MD 384-5* (written out in the Liber Hymnaius, pp 88-9)
  • versicle Dominus in caelo, MD 385*
  • Benedictus antiphon (note that this is used each day except where displaced by a feast, Sunday etc), Ascendo, MD 386*
  • the collect for Friday is on MD 386, for Saturday is of the Little Office of Our Lady, for Sunday, of the Sunday, MD 391* (except in places where Our Lady Help of Christians or another feast is celebrated), for the week after, MD 386*
At Prime
  • the antiphon is as noted in the psalter, Alleluia
  • versicle has alleluia added to it (as for TP)
At Terce, Sext and None
  • the antiphon is alleluia, as noted in the psalter
  • note that the chapters and versicles are in the psalter for Ascensiontide (Tempore Ascensionis).
At Vespers
  • the (single) antiphon is alleluia, as for Eastertide;
  • the chapter is Conrescuscitavit, as for Lauds, MD 384*
  • the responsory is Ascendens, MD 388*
  • the hymn is Iesu, as for Lauds, 384-5*
  • the versicle is Ascendit, MD 388*
  • the antiphon for the Magnificat each day (unless displaced) is O Rex, MD 388*
  • the collects are as for Lauds.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Learning the Office Part XIIB: Calendars and Ordos

In the previous part of this series, I started talking about how to construct your own Ordo, and the option of aligning the Office you say with that of the Roman Extraordinary Form. This time I want to tackle the slightly more complex issue of aligning the Benedictine calendar with the Novus Ordo, as well as take a brief look at the older, pre-1962 calendar. Finally, I want to say a brief word about Ordos.

The Novus ordo calendar compared to the 1962 Calendar

The Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal is essentially geared to the 1962 EF calendar. If follows exactly the same liturgical seasons, use of vigils etc. The differences are just in the inclusion and level of particular feasts. By contrast the Novus Ordo calendar:

  • uses a completely different season structure and Sunday numbering system - it has, for example, no season of Septuagesima at all;
  • many dates of saints feasts have been moved around;
  • many saints in the 1962 calendar have been omitted altogether and new ones added.

I really don't think it is possible to use the Monastic Diurnal and attempt to line up the liturgical seasons! But it is feasible - albeit with a bit of work - to align saints feasts. You will need to check the index of feasts in the MD (at the back, (238)) to see if there are rubrics in the book for the saint. If not, apply the same principles I discussed in the last part of this series, looking at the category of the saint. Note that the names of the categories are slightly different in the novus ordo - but it is pretty easy to work out where to put them! Pastors =confessors, etc.

Working out the appropriate level of the feast is a little harder. The newer calendar has four categories. They more or less (but not exactly) align as follows:

  • Solemnity (1970) = Class I (1962);
  • Feasts = Class II/III
  • Memorials and Optional Memorials = commemorations/memorials
  • ferias = Class IV/feria.

But note that there are a lot of memorials in the Novus Ordo calendar that were previously Class III feasts!

The pre-1962 calendar

Some people do prefer to use this calendar for various reasons, particularly in conjunction with older breviaries. For Matins in particular the older version does have some advantages. But the other reason for at least being able to recognise the terminology is that if you want to sing the Office, most of the chant books that will be of use to you still use this earlier categories of feasts.

In terms of the liturgical seasons there are differences between the 1962 and earlier calendars, but a few feasts aside, these mainly relate to the elimination of most octaves - which stretch the celebration of a feast over the next week - in the 1962 calendar.

In terms of the level of feasts though, there used to be:

  • Feria
  • Commemorations
  • Simple
  • Semidouble
  • Double of the I Class
  • Double of the II Class,
  • Greater Double or Major Double;
  • Double.

If you want to know more about this, the Catholic Encyclopedia (available online) has a good article about the evolution of the system over time, adn which feasts were put in which category!

Ordos

Finally, a brief word on Ordos.

Ideally, you need an Ordo for the Extraordinary Form produced for your country, so as to capture all of the local feasts. Such Ordos are put out by the FSSP and others. There are a lot of useful Ordos online though, and I'd just like to mention two:



None of these can be followed exactly, as each includes feasts particular to the country and/or monastery. The way I construct the Ordo I put up on this site is generally to start from the Diurnal itself, then crosscheck it (and my assumptions about which feasts have priority) against those two Ordos plus two Australian ones. But they are very useful resources.

Hope that all helps!

The next part of this series can be found here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Learning the Office Part XIIA: A note on calendars

We are getting down, now to the technical stuff which is not absolutely essential to understanding and saying the Office, but which is at least useful to have thought about briefly. So if you've just found this blog and want to learn how to say the monastic Office, please do start at Part I of this series.

In terms of what I still plan to cover, my list currently is calendars/Ordos, pronouncing the Latin (and learning it), and singing the Office. Feel free to make suggestions though!

In the meantime, here first is a note on calendars and Ordos. The points I want to look at briefly are:

  • which calendar you should be using;
  • how to construct your own personal Ordo; and
  • how to adapt the Benedictine Office to the Roman (EF) calendar.

I'll devote a second post to the differences between the pre-1962, 1962 and 1970 calendars, sources of Ordos and more - those who want to sing the Office in particular will need to know something about the pre-1962 calendar.

A plethora of calendars: rubrics

The first point to note is that if you are just saying the Office as a devotional exercise, it really doesn't matter which calendar you are using. And really, for most people that will be the case, and so you can take or leave what I have to say below!

But if you want to formally join yourself to the liturgical prayer of the Church, you probably need to use one of the calendar systems that is actually approved by the Church and one that you are entitled to use.

In effect that means firstly either the 1962 calendar (Extraordinary Form) or the 1970 (Novus Ordo) version or the calendar of the monastery you are an oblate of (abbeys can construct their own calendars within certian constraints), rather than any of the earlier or alternative versions (for example as on breviary.net, or the Orthodox calendar). It also means that you need to include the appropriate local feasts that you won't necessarily find in the Diurnal.

Benedictine Oblates are entitled to follow the Benedictine calendar of the monastery they are aggregated to (and many monasteries send out copies of their calendar for this purpose) but the situation for other followers of St Benedict is a little fuzzier shall we say!

Fortunately, the differences between the Roman calendar and the Benedictine calendar are not huge - the liturgical seasons are the same, so mostly it is a matter of omissions and additions of feasts, and changes to the level of some feasts.

The Mass and the Office

One key consideration aside from the rubrics is that the Office is very closely linked to the Mass. If you can get to daily mass at a traditional monastery you are all set with the Diurnal - but not many of us have that privilege! If you don't go to daily mass, this isn't much of an issue (you just need to think about the Sunday feasts and liturgical seasons). But if you do, it makes sense to try and line up your Office with the calendar used where you go to Mass as much as possible. If you go to an EF (1962) Mass, that is pretty easy to do, and I'll talk about it below. Much harder for the novus ordo though.

Constructing an Ordo

The Farnborough Diurnal actually gives you all of the information you need to construct an Ordo for each week as far as the universal feasts of the Church goes provided you know the rules about which feasts have priority. However, unless you have some expertise on this front, I'd strongly suggest using the Ordos provided on various sites, including this one, at least as a starting point. I'll talk more about this in the next post.

To that Ordo, though, you ideally need to add a few things (General rubrics, 45-50):

  • any feasts particular to the Congregation of Benedictines your monastery belongs to;
  • feasts particular to your monastery, such as the name feast of the oratory or church; and
  • feasts celebrated in your diocese, such as the patron saint of your country, region, province or diocese (all Class I feasts); your parish churches feast day; and the anniversary of the dedication of your cathedral (Class I).
Using the Roman EF calendar with the Benedictine Office

The other issue is how to add feasts or change their level to line up with the (EF) mass you attend! If you want, for example, to say the Office of a saint who is celebrated in the Roman calendar, but only rates a commemoration or is not celebrated at all in the Benedictine calendar, it is really pretty straightforward.

All you really need to know is what type of saint he or she is - and then look at the Common of (martyrs, confessors, etc). All of the Commons provide a standard collect where you can just insert the appropriate saint's name. But the better alternative is to use the collect for the mass provided in your missal.

Use the card that comes with the Diurnal to help you work out what parts of the Common to use, and whether or not to use the 'festal' psalms at lauds and vespers. So for a third class feast, use the antiphons and psalms from the psalter, the rest from the common; for a second class feast, use the festal psalms and antiphons from the common.

Another possible source for antiphons is the Liber Usualis, which contains antiphons (with chant) for vespers on many major feasts, and is available online.

A similar process applies to adding a commemoration of a saint at Lauds - simply say the Benedictus antiphon, versicle and collect from the relevant common (or from your missal).

Hope that doesn't confuse, but do ask if it does!

You can find the second part of this discussion on calendars and Ordos here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Learning the Office: Part XI, The Office of Our Lady on Saturday

Now that we've looked at each of the Day Hours, there are just a few other things to cover, really by way of appendices. The first of these is the Office of Our Lady on Saturday, which can be found in the Diurnal on page (129).

Honouring Our Lady

The Office of Our Lady on Saturday, as the name suggests, honours Our Lady. The antiphons and hymn are all used in the Common of Feasts of Our Lady, and also in the Little Office of Our Lady, and I suspect that the Little Office actually evolved from this (the Little Office originated at Monte Cassino, so has strong Benedictine connections!). The Saturday Office came into wide use in the tenth century when St Hugh of Cluny ordered it to be said in all the houses of the Cluniac Congregation, and was later mandated for the Roman Office as well.

The Office of Our Lady on Saturday is basically said on any Saturday that is Class IV.  So any Saturday that is not a third class feast or higher.

The Office starts with Matins and ends at None.

It comes with three main variants:
  • throughout the year, page (130) ff in the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal;
  • from Christmas to the Purification MD (133)ff; and
  • Eastertide (including the Saturday after the Ascension), MD (135).
Office of Our Lady on Saturday throughout the year
  • At Lauds, use the normal Saturday antiphons and psalms, then the rest from MD (130);
  • each of the minor hours has its own antiphon, set out on MD (131) ff, as well as a chapter and versicle;
  • the collect from Lauds to None is set out on MD (131)
The Office after Christmas

The Office after Christmas has its own collect and antiphons, set out on MD (133).

Office of Our Lady on Saturday during Eastertide

The starting point is the normal Saturday Office in the psalter.
At Lauds:
  • The Psalms and antiphons are as in the psalter for Saturday during Eastertide;
  • The chapter is as throughout the year, MD (130);
  • the responsory has alleluias added to it, MD (135);
  • the hymn is as throughout the year, O Gloriosa Domina, MD (130);
  • the versicle has alleluias added, MD (135);
  • the Benedictus antiphon is Regina caeli, MD (135)
  • the collect is as throughout the year, Concede nos...,MD (131).
At Prime:
  • Everything as in the psalter for Saturday, except for the antiphon, which is the antiphon from the Office of Our Lady on Saturday throughout the year, MD (131) with an alleluia added to the end, thus 'Dum esset Rex...suavitatis, Alleluia'
At Terce, Sext and None:
  • Use the antiphons, chapters, versicles and collect for the Office of Our Lady throughout the year, but add an alleluia to the antiphons and each line of the versicles (not noted in the Diurnal).
The next part of this series, with more on calendars and Ordos, can be found here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Le Barroux video

Fr Z has a nice spread on the monks of Le Barroux, with photos excerpted from a video on their life - a selection here, plus a teaser video.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Learning the Office: Hymns, chapters, versicles, responsories

This post reviews the rubrics for some key parts of the Office that are common to several of the hours.

All of these parts of the Office are properly said while standing.

The hymn


The hymn uses the same text each day at Prime (Iam Lucis), Terce (Nunc Sancte), Sext (Rector Potens), None (Rerum Deus) and Compline (Te Lucis).

At Lauds and Vespers (and Matins), the text (and chant tone) can vary according to the day of the week, season, feast or day.  

The last verse (doxology) is sung while bowing (medium).

The chant for the hymns can be found either in the Antiphonale Monasticum (which can be downloaded from CC Watershed or you can use the more recent versions of the chant provided in the Liber Hymnarius published by Solesmes.  Note however that the versions of the hymns used in the Antiphonale (and most traditional monasteries) differ from those used in the Roman Office in both text and chant tones.

Useful resources for learning the chant versions of the hymns (but check that they are the correct ones in the Antiphonale) include:


The versicle


The versicle is a short statement and response.

In the Diurnal it is usually just marked V: and R:

You can find an example in the psalter section of the Diurnal on page 55, where the versicle for Sundays during the year is Dominus regnavit....Induit Dominus...During Eastertide, an alleluia is added to each line.

The versicle is always the same at Prime and Compline, but can vary depending on the day of the week, season, feast or day at the other hours.

At Lauds and Vespers a more elaborate chant tone is generally used.

Chapter (Capitulum) 


The chapter is really just a short Scriptural readings used at each Hour.

It is always rounded off with a 'Deo Gratias' (Thanks Be to God) - have a look for example at the chapter for Prime  on page 7 (of the Psalter).

The chapter is always the same at Prime and Compline, but can vary depending on the day of the week, season, feast or day at the other hours.

(Brief) responsory 


The responsory occurs at Lauds and Vespers. It is often labelled Short R or brief, because it stands in contrast to the 'Prolix' version that can be sung at first vespers of major feasts. You can find an example of the standard format for this on page 52, for Sunday Lauds, and it is important to spend a little while familiarising yourself with the structure because the Diurnal abbreviates these mostly, and you have to remember how to say it. And I'm afraid its one of those cases where it makes a lot more sense when you are singing it with someone leading and the rest responding!

So take a look at the example. The first line goes:Inclina cor meum, Deus, * In testimonia tua.

The whole line is then repeated. Let's call the first half of the line (Inclina..) x, and the second half after the asterix (In testimonia) y.

So the structure so far is:
x*y
x*y

Then the verse (and let's call this bit z) goes:
Averte oculos meos, ne videant vanitatem: in via tua vivifica me.
Then the second half of the first line is added on. So the structure so far is now:
x*y
x*y
z*y

Then a short doxology is added:
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Then the whole of the first line (Inclina cor meum...In testimonia..) is repeated again.

So the structure of the whole responsory is:

x*y
x*y
z*y
Gloria...
x*y

You can check your understanding by looking at the text for Lauds for Christmas in the Diurnal (MD 72*) (Verbum caro) and listening to the recording below.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Diurnal traps and shortcuts to be aware of**



  
TOPIC
KEY POINT

Layout of the Diurnal


Page numbering

Each section of the Diurnal is page numbered separately, so you need to pay attention to  [], *, etc to know which section you are in

Order of Psalter section

In order (broadly) of psalm numbers, not hours

Sunday Prime, S&M Terce-None 

Located after Saturday Lauds

Versions of prayers for use by laypeople/Office  vs with priests

At Compline, use second version of Confiteor (no repetition) unless you are saying it with a priest.

Use Domine exaudi orationem meam, not Dominus vobiscum
(for example in closing prayers of each hour)

Opening’ prayers


Said at all hours, even where book does not note this (but in middle of Compline).
Seasonal variation for Septuagint and Lent (Laus tibi…instead of Alleluia)
(Deus in adjutorium…/Gloria Patri.../Alleluia)
Written out in full at beginning of psalter section (MD 1), but abbreviated thereafter

Antiphon(s)

Said in full before and after a psalm, group of psalms or canticle

Psalms

Gloria Patri…is added to the end of all psalms unless otherwise indicated

Hymns

Always end in amen (with alleluia added during Eastertide)

Chapters

Always end in (response) ‘Deo Gratias’

Responsory (Lauds and Vespers)

Abbreviated form in Diurnal needs to be filled out; note no ‘sicut erat…’

Concluding prayers


Litany (Kyrie eleison) one repetition of each set of words only, not triple as at Mass

Note: do not use Dominus vobiscum, as above

Need to add correct conclusion to collect (see conclusions to the collects in front matter)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Learning the Office - glossary of key terms

I thought it might be helpful to have a running list of terms used in relation to the Office, so here is a partial list of the ones mentioned in the series.

The Glossary 

Breviary – Book containing the texts for all of the hours of the Office

Cantor – Leads the singing.

Choir – The liturgical choir of a monastery or other ecclesiastical institution.

Class I, II, III – levels of feasts

Commemoration – Sometimes referred to as a memorial. The lowest ranking recollection of a saint or season, which is marked by some additional prayers at Lauds and sometimes Vespers.

Common of… - Refers to a set of texts that can be used for categories of saints or feasts.

Common, Office in – Office said by two or more people together, who are not obliged to say the Office.

Compline - Compline is said after dark, before bed.

Diurnal – Covers the day hours, Hours from Lauds to Compline.

Divine Office – A liturgical prayer of the Church based around the psalms said daily by priests and religious.

Feria - Class IV or ordinary day of the week with no feasts.

Fixed Feasts – Occur on a particular calendar date.

Hebdomadary – Person designated to lead the Office.

Hour(s) – Parts of the Divine office, viz Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, Compline in the traditional Office.

Lauds - Said at first light, and heralds in the dawn.

Lector – Reader.

Major hours – Matins, Lauds, Vespers

Matins - the night office.

Memorial – Sometimes referred to as a memorial. The lowest ranking recollection of a saint or season, which is marked by some additional prayers at Lauds and sometimes Vespers.

Minor hours – Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Compline

Monastic Office – A version of the Divine Office as said by monks and nuns. Usually refers to the formulation of the Office set down by St Benedict in his Rule.

Moveable feasts – Feasts for which the calendar date can change each year.

None - Literally ninth hour, hour of the Office said mid-afternoon.

Ordinary – parts of the Office that don't change. In the Office, there are essentially two types of 'ordinary':the introductory prayers and other set texts, together with the psalms, that stay the same all the year around (generally found in the psalter section of the Diurnal); the things that stay the same throughout a particular season, such as through Eastertide, such as the hymn at Lauds, and the alleluias.

Prime - Means first, referring to the hour of the Office traditionally said during the first hour after dawn.

Psalter – Literally the book of psalms. In the context of the Office, it generally means the psalms and prayers arranged in the order set for each hour.

Propers – Text that changes (for the season or feast).

Sanctorale – Of the saints. Refers to the cycle of feasts of saints.

Sext - Literally sixth hour, hour of the Office said around midday.

Solemnity - First class feast, the highest level of a feast.

Superior – The person in charge of a monastery. Usually an abbot, abbess, prior or prioress.

Terce - Literally third hour , said mid-morning.

Temporale – Literally of the time. Refers to the liturgical seasons.

Vespers - Evening prayer, originally said around sunset.