Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ordo for the Traditional Benedictine Office in January

Set our below are Ordo notes for the Monastic Day Office with page references to the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal (which uses the 1963 rubrics). Some cross-references to the Roman Extraordinary Form (EF) and Novus Ordo calendars have been included but they are not comprehensive.

Note that there are several changes of season this month, to the ordinary of Nativitytide (Jan 2), Epiphanytide (Jan 6), then to 'time throughout the year' (Jan 14).

31 December – Seventh Day within the Octave of the Nativity, Class II
See MD 103*ff

I Vespers of the Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord, MD 104*ff

Friday 1 January – Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord, Class I [Novus Ordo: Mary, Mother of God]

MD 108*

Saturday 2 January – Saturday of Our Lady **(in some places) St Thomas of Canterbury, bishop and martyr: Class II

Office of Our Lady – See MD 9133)ff

Note instructions for the ordinary of the Nativity 119*

For St Thomas, MD 3**

I Vespers of Second Sunday after the Nativity, MD 113*

Sunday 3 January – Second Sunday after the Nativity: Class II [EF: Most Holy Name of Jesus; NO/EF: External Solemnity of the Epiphany]

MD 115*ff

Monday 4 January – St Titus, Bishop and Confessor: Memorial

MD 125*-126*

Tuesday 5 January – feria [EF: Vigil of the Epiphany]

I Vespers of the Epiphany of Our Lord – MD 126*ff

Wednesday 6 January – Epiphany of Our Lord: Class I

MD 129*ff

Thursday 7 January - feria

Note instructions for the Ordinary of the Epiphany, MD 133*ff

At Lauds: Antiphon for the Benedictus: MD135* (day II)
At Vespers: Antiphon for the Magnificat: MD 139*

Friday 8 January - feria

Antiphon for the Benedictus: MD135* (day III)
At Vespers: Antiphon for the Magnificat: MD 139*

Saturday 9 January – Saturday of Our Lady

See MD [133]

I Vespers for first Sunday after the Epiphany: MD 140*

Sunday 10 January – First Sunday after the Epiphany: Class II [or Holy Family]

MD142*ff

Monday 11 January - feria

Antiphon for the Benedictus: MD136* (day IV)
At Vespers: Antiphon for the Magnificat: MD 139*

Tuesday 12 January – (in some places) St Benedict Biscop, Abbot, Class I

Antiphon for the Benedictus: MD136* (day V)
At Vespers: Antiphon for the Magnificat: MD 139*

MD 10**

Wednesday 13 January – Commemoration of Our Lord’s Baptism: Class II

MD 140*

Thursday 14 January – St Hilary, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor: Memorial

Note: From now until Septuagesima, all is said as for ‘throughout the year as set out in the psalter

MD [24]

(in some places I Vespers of Our Lady of Prompt Succour, see below)

Friday 15 January – feria (in some places) Our Lady of Prompt Succour: Class I [EF: St Paul the First Hermit]

MD 11** - 16**

Saturday 16 January – Saturday of Our lady; St Marcellus I, Pope and Martyr: Memorial

MD [133], for the commemoration MD [25]

I Vespers for second Sunday after the Epiphany, MD 146*

Sunday 17 January – Second Sunday after the Epiphany: Class II

MD 146*ff

Monday 18 January - feria

Tuesday 19 January – SS Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, Martrys: Memorial

MD [26]

Wednesday 20 January – SS Fabian, Pope and Sebastian, Martyrs: Class III

MD [27]

Thursday 21 January – St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr: Class III (Class II in monasteries of nuns) (in some places, St Meinrad, Class I)

MD [27] – [34]

For St Meinrad, MD 16**ff

Friday 22 January – St Vincent, Martyr: Memorial

MD [34]

Saturday 23 January – Saturday of Our Lady;St Emerentiana, Virgin and Martyr: Memorial

MD [133], for the commemoration see MD [35]

I Vespers of Sunday, MD147*ff

Sunday 24 January – Third Sunday after the Epiphany: Class II

MD 148*

Monday 25 January – Conversion of St Paul, Apostle: Class III

MD [36] – [42]

Tuesday 26 January – St Polycarp, bishop and martyr: Memorial

MD [43]

Wednesday 27 January – St John Chrysostom, bishop, confessor and doctor: Class III

MD [43]

Thursday 28 January – St Cyril, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor: Memorial

MD [44]

Friday 29 January – St Frances de Sales, bishop, confessor and doctor: Memorial

Saturday 30 January – Saturday of Our Lady

MD [133]

I Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday, Class II: MD 153*

Note: From now until Easter, after the double alleluias at Vespers, Laus tibi is said instead of Alleluia after the ‘Deus in adjutorium’

Sunday 31 January – Septuagesima Sunday

MD 154*

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Office in Nativitytide***amended

From December 24 onwards we are in Nativitytide, and the Vigil (December 24) is of the first class.

The rubrics for the vigil can be found in the Monastic Diurnal at 54*, and very straightforward once you know what the office of the day is from the Ordo (below): all of the texts are proper, and psalms for Lauds and Vespers are festal. Similarly, the details for Christmasday are set out in the Diurnal from 58*.

The main point to note is that Christmas has an octave, so within the week of Christmas, any day that is not a particular feast is said using the antiphons and texts from the feast day itself (**note that the psalms for Prime and the little hours are of the day of the week though, and that the fourth psalm at Vespers alternates).

Also, at Compline, don't forget to use the prayers after the Marian Antiphon marked for after December 23.

May you all have a happy and holy Christmas, and please, keep me in your prayers!

THE ORDO

24 December - Vigil of the Nativity, Class I

See MD 54*.

I Vespers of the Nativity of Our Lord, MD 58*

25 December – The Nativity of Our Lord, Class I with a II Class Octave

See MD 61*ff

26 December – St Stephen, Protomartyr, Class II

See MD 83*ff

27 December – Sunday within the Octave within the Octave, Commemoration of St John

See MD 77*ff; for the commemoration at Lauds and Vespers, MD 90*ff

28 December - Holy Innocents, Martyrs, Class II

See MD 97*ff

29 December – Fifth Day within the Octave of the Nativity, Class II

See MD 103*

30 December – Sixth Day within the Octave of the Nativity, Class II

See MD 103*

31 December – Seventh Day within the Octave of the Nativity, Class II

See MD 103*ff

I Vespers of the Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord, MD 104*ff

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Traditional Benedictine Ordo for December

All pages references are to the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal (MD).

Saturday November 28 – Saturday of Our Lady

See MD (129)

First Vespers for Sunday I in Advent – MD 1*ff

At Compline: Marian antiphon, Alma Redemptoris Mater

Sunday 29 November – First Sunday of Advent

See MD 4*ff (and pay careful attention to the notes on the Ordinary of Advent)

Monday 30 November - St Andrew, Class II, with a commemoration of Monday of the First Week of Advent

See MD [2] - at Lauds and Vespers make a commemoration of the feria with the versicle, canticle antiphons and collect for the first Monday of Advent, MD 17*, 11*), ie:

. at Lauds: Benedictus antiphon Angelus Domini, versicle Vox clamantis, collect of Sunday I.
. at Vespers: Magnifcat antiphon Leva Ierusalem, versicle Rarate caeli, collect of Sunday I.

1 December 2009 – Tuesday in the first week of Advent, Class III [**in some places Blessed Richard, Hugo, John, abbots and companions, martyrs, memorial]

[Note the instructions on the Ordinary of Advent, MD 9*-17*]

At Lauds: antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn from MD 18*, 9*ff; canticle antiphon of the day, MD 18*.

Prime: use antiphon for the first week of Advent (from the Sunday), MD13*, in conjunction with psalms of the psalter;

Terce to None: antiphons for the week (MD 13-15*) with psalms of the psalter; versicle and chapter for Advent as noted in the psalter; Collect of I Sunday of Advent from MD11*

Vespers:antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn from MD 15*; canticle antiphon of the day, MD18*

For the commemoration, see MD 1**

2 December - Wednesday in the First Week of Advent (Class III) with a memorial of St Peter Chrysologus, bishop, confessor and doctor

Collect from MD 11*; canticle antiphons MD18*; at Lauds for the commemoration, MD [8]

3 December - Thursday in the first week of Advent (Class III) with a memorial of St Francis Xavier, Confessor [***in some places, Class I]

Collect from MD 11*; canticle antiphons MD18*; at lauds for the commemoration, MD [8]

For St Francis Xavier as a Class I feast, see MD 1**

4 December - Friday in the first week of Advent, Class III

Collect from MD 11*; canticle antiphons MD19*

5 December - Saturday in the first week of Advent, Class III

Collect from MD 11*; at Lauds Benedictus antiphon MD18*.

First vespers of the Second Sunday in Advent – antiphons etc from MD19*ff

6 December – Second Sunday of Advent, Class I

See MD 22*

7 December – St Ambrose, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor, Class III

See MD [10], with a commemoration of the Monday of the second week in Advent (MD 11*, 17*).

First Vespers of the Immaculate Conception, MD [11] with a commemoration of the feria (MD 11*, 17*)

8 December – The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Class I

See MD [13]ff, making a commemoration of the Tuesday of the second week of Advent at Lauds and Vespers (MD 11*, 17*, 18*).

9 December – Wednesday of the second week of Advent, Class III

At Lauds: antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn from MD 9*ff; canticle antiphon of the day, MD 27*

Prime: use antiphon for the second week of Advent (from the Sunday), MD13*, in conjunction with psalms of the psalter;

Terce to None: antiphons for the week (MD 13-15*) with psalms of the psalter; versicle and chapter for Advent as noted in the psalter; Collect of Sunday II of Advent from MD11*

Vespers: antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn from MD 15*; canticle antiphon of the day, MD 27*

10 December – Thursday of the second week of Advent, Class III [**in some places, Blessed Mark Barkworth, John Roberts and companions, martyrs, memorial]

As for Wednesday, with collect from MD 11*; canticle antiphons MD 27**;[For the commemoration, see MD 2**]

11 December – Friday of the second week of Advent, Class III, St Damasus I, Pope and Confessor, Memorial

As for Wednesday with Collect from MD 11*; canticle antiphons MD 28*; for the commemoration at Lauds, see MD [17]

12 December – Saturday of the second week of Advent, Class III [**In some places, Our Lady of Guadeloupe]

As for Wednesday, with Collect from MD 11*; canticle antiphon MD 28*

For Our Lady of Guadeloupe, use Common of the BVM, MD (119)

First Vespers of the third Sunday of Advent, MD 28*

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

See MD 31*

14 December – Monday in the third week of Advent, Class III

At Lauds: antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn from MD 9*ff; canticle antiphon of the day, MD 41*

Prime: use antiphon for the third week of Advent (from the Sunday), MD13*, in conjunction with psalms of the psalter;

Terce to None: antiphons for the week (MD 13-15*) with psalms of the psalter; versicle and chapter for Advent as noted in the psalter; Collect of Sunday III of Advent from MD11*

Vespers: antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn from MD 15*;canticle antiphon of the day, MD 41*

15 December - Tuesday in the third week of Advent, Class III

As for Monday with Collect MD 11*; canticle antiphons MD 42*

16 December – Ember Wednesday in the third week of Advent, Class II

As for Monday with Collect and canticle antiphons MD 42-43*

17 December – Thursday in the third week of Advent, Class II

At all hours: Psalm antiphons from MD 39* with psalms of the psalter (antiphon 1 for Prime, Antiphon 2 for Terce, antiphon 3 for Sext, antiphon 4 for Nones; at Vespers omit antiphon 4).

At Lauds, chapter, responsory and hymn from MD 9*ff; Benedictus antiphon and collect MD 43*

At Vespers, O Antiphon for the Magnificat – O Sapientia, MD 35*; collect MD 43*

18 December – Ember Friday in the third week of Advent, Class II

Antiphons MD 40*; Benedictus antiphon and collect MD 44*

At Vespers, O Antiphon for the Magnificat – O Adonai, MD 35*

19 December – Saturday in the third week of Advent, Class II

Antiphons MD 40*; Benedictus antiphon and collect MD 44-45*

Vespers for the fourth Sunday of Advent, MD 45*, O Antiphon for the Magnificat – O Radix Iesse, MD 35*

20 December – Third Sunday of Advent, Class I

See MD 48*; at Vespers O Antiphon O clavis David, MD 36*

21 December – St Thomas, Apostle, Class II

See MD [22]ff

22 Deccember – Tuesday in the fourth week of Advent, Class II

Antiphons for the psalms, MD 37*ff; Benedictus antiphon MD 52* (Consurge); Magnificat antiphon – O Rex gentium, MD 36*; collect MD 12*

23 December – Wednesday in the fourth week of Advent, Class II

Antiphons for the psalms, MD 38*; Benedictus antiphon (Ecce completa), MD 45*; Magnificat antiphon - O Emmanuel, MD 36*; collect MD12*

24 December - Vigil of the Nativity, Class I

See MD 54*.

I Vespers of the Nativity of Our Lord, MD 58*

25 December – The Nativity of Our Lord, Class I with a II Class Octave

See MD 61*ff

26 December – St Stephen, Protomartyr, Class II

See MD 83*ff

27 December – Sunday within the Octave within the Octave, Commemoration of St John

See MD 77*ff; for the commemoration at Lauds and Vespers, MD 90*ff

28 December - Holy Innocents, Martyrs, Class II

See MD 97*ff

29 December – Fifth Day within the Octave of the Nativity, Class II

See MD 103*

30 December – Sixth Day within the Octave of the Nativity, Class II

See MD 103*

31 December – Seventh Day within the Octave of the Nativity, Class II
See MD 103*ff

I Vespers of the Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord, MD 104*ff


Please let me know if you have any queries, or spot any errors!

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).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Learning Matins: The structure of the Hour and the readings

For those interested in saying Matins, this post provides a brief introduction to the hour.

INVITATORY SECTION

It starts with 'Domine labia mea aperies; et os meum annuntiabit lauden tuam' (O Lord open my lips, that I may announce your praise', said three times while making a sign of the cross on your lips.

Then Psalm 3 (uniquely to the Monastic Office) is said.

Then Psalm 94, interspersed with the antiphon of the day, season or feast (there is a slightly complicated pattern to the interspersing which you can get by looking at Office for the Dead in the Farnborough Diurnal, the Little Office of Our Lady, or a Roman version of the Office).

Then the hymn of the day, season or feast.

Both the antiphon and hymn are generally (though not always) the same as in the Roman Office, so you can find them here (note this link, I'll refer to it again. And make sure you specify 1962 rubrics for this purpose, assuming that is what you are saying otherwise).

THE NOCTURNS

Monastic Matins, like Matins in the Roman Office, is divided into 'Nocturns' - the psalms with antiphons followed by a versicle, Our Father, Absolution, and lessons each with responsory. There are significant differences between the Roman and Monastic Office here though:
  • in the Monastic Office, the first two Nocturns almost invariably consist of six psalms with antiphons, compared to the Roman three;
  • the Third Nocturn (used on Sundays and major feasts) consists of canticles and antiphons rather than psalms;
  • the number of readings often differs between the Roman and Monastic Offices.
Matins comes with either two or three Nocturns, and with one, three and twelve 'lessons', depending on the day of the week, time of the year and feast. Each lesson is followed by a responsory, the last of which in each Nocturn includes the Gloria Patri...
The conclusion of the Hour is essentially the same as for the day hours (though it can be somewhat abbreviated on Sundays where Lauds follows immediately).

THE READINGS

Sundays and First Class Feasts

On Sundays, there are twelve lessons (each with a request for a blessing, blessing, and responsory), followed by a reading of the Gospel for the Sunday (the same as used at Mass). The normal pattern (to which there are exceptions) is as follows:
  • First Nocturn - Scriptural readings
  • Second Nocturn - Patristic commentary on the first nocturn readings;
  • Third Nocturn - Patristic readings relating to the Gospel of the day, followed by the Te Deum, Gospel, the hymn Te Decet Laus, then the Collect.
In most (though not all) cases the Scriptural and patristic readings are the same as in the pre-1960 Roman Office, but split into four sections rather than three (and so with an extra responsory). So you could use the site I provided a link to above to simply substitute in the Roman version and not be too far off what is said in the Monastic Office (just make sure you specify 'reduced 1955' under rubrics rather than 1962 - the 1962 Roman Office cuts out several of the readings). The Roman Office doesn't actually read out the Gospel though, so you will need to note the reference provided in the third Nocturn (or look it up in your Missal) in order to do this in accordance with the Monastic rubrics.

Days of the week in (Northern Hemisphere) Summer

If the Sunday Office is much longer than the Roman, St Benedict cuts down the number of readings at least in the weekday Office during summer to allow his monks to get enough sleep (remember the night was measured by hours of darkness, so a lot shorter in summer).

So when it comes to readings all you get during this time of year for Nocturn I is a very short, set lesson which is closer to a chapter in length, though does come with an introductory request for a blessing, together with a responsory. For Monday for example, it is from Lamentations, Chapter 2, vs 19.

Nocturn II also has a chapter and versicle of the day, and variants based on the time of saint for Class III feasts.

The ferial Office in winter

In winter, Nocturn I has three readings with responsories, normally identical to those in the Roman Office, so just take it from there. You could follow the Roman pattern for summer as well if you really want to say a reading or two...

Third Class feasts

Third class feasts during summer generally have one reading, usually on the life of the saint - you can generally find these in the Roman Office. In winter, there are three, often the same as in the Roman (assuming the saint is celebrated in both calendars. There is a common of saints where no proper exists).

Second Class Feasts

Second class feasts usually have two nocturns with three three readings (typically patristic, but sometimes including something from the life of the saint) in Nocturn I, and a chapter relating to the type of saint in Nocturn II. You can generally find the Nocturn I readings in the Roman Office.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Books for Matins (revised)

Someone asked about chant books for Monastic Matins, so I thought I'd set out what I've found on books for Matins more generally - others may wish to chip in!

This is a post for the enthusiasts only!

The Breviary

The essential book for officially approved version of Matins is the Monastic Breviary - in full, 'Breviarium Monasticum Summorum Pontificum cura recognitum pro omnibus sub regula S. P. Benedicti militantibus issu abbatis primatis editum'. It is published by Marietti at Rome, 1963 and comes in two volumes. These days it is of course out of print, but can be found readily in secondhand book shops. This edition is of course in Latin only.

If you really want the English, there are a couple of options. Lancelot Andrews Press have published an edition of it entirely in English. It follows the structure for Matins set out by St Benedict, but uses the psalms from the Book of Common Prayer/Scripture from the King James Version. The Gospels and other readings do not always line up with the official version, and it obviously doesn't come with an imprimatur.

The other option is that Clear Creek monastery has produced a partial parallel Latin-English text for the use of their novices and visitors, covering ferias only (you can obtain it through lulu). It does not provide the variable texts such as readings, and texts for seasons and feasts however.

I have also mentioned in a previous post the book of Liturgical Readings put out by Grail Publications which provides many of the patristic readings (available in a reprint).

Singing Matins

In terms of actually singing Matins, a fair amount of the music is available from books you may already have, or that can be downloaded from the net. In particular:
  • the Liber Hymnarius provides most (though not all) of the invitatory antiphons and hymns;
  • the psalms and antiphons for the daily (ferial) Office can be downloaded here;
  • the Liber Responsorialis provides most of the responsories and other texts you need is available (also reprinted by Nova et Vetera)
The other useful book you may wish to acquire is the Processionale Monasticum (though most of its contents also appear in the Liber Responsorialis), which is also readily available in a reprint.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting ready to tackle Matins

Yesterday I suggested you should think twice about how much Office you should be saying. But there are some people who want and will be able to say Matins, even if not everyday, so I am going to provide some notes on it.

I'd have to warn though, that Matins has a higher level of difficulty than the day hours, so I strongly recommend a programme of preparation before you actually start trying it. And this post is about some suggestions on what to prepare.

So why is Matins harder?

Monastic Matins is much longer than the Roman EF version, and quite a bit tougher than the day hours to tackle for a number of reasons including that:
  • it is much longer than any of the day hours - around double the length of Lauds on a short day;
  • it is much more variable in length than the day hours - its length differs significantly between days of the week, for feasts, between summer and winter, etc, making it potentially more difficult to fit into your daily schedule;
  • it is much more tailored to particular feasts and seasons - depending on the level of feast and the time of year it can have 1, 3 or 12 readings. Many feasts have their own set of psalms as well as hymns etc;
  • lacks a complete parallel Latin-English edition - there are some partial ones around, and all Latin or all English versions, but a little more work is required;
  • if you do say it in Latin, the text is a bit more challenging than the day Office - lots of Patristic readings, the more difficult psalms, etc.
So, before you start actually saying it, my advice is to thoroughly prepare.

Be familiar with the day Office first

In many of the traditional monasteries, postulants, and even novices don't necessarily say Matins. Instead, they go through a few cycles of the Day Hours first, so that they really understand the different levels of feasts, and acquire some familiarity with the Scriptural and Patristic readings first. So my first suggestion is that laypeople saying the Office should consider taking the same approach! If you want to block out the time for Matins, use it to study and really penetrate the meaning of the Day Office first, and then to prepare for Matins.

Start with a short Office version of Matins

My second suggestion is to start by saying a short Office version of Matins to 'mark the spot' in your day and become familiar with some of the structural features of the hour.

A good option is Matins for the Dead, contained in the Monastic Diurnal. Apart from being an excellent work of spiritual mercy, it will help you become familiar with the structure of Matins - the way the Invitatory antiphon and psalms work, the Nocturns etc, not to mention expanding your repertoire of psalms a little.

Another good option, and a good step up (as the Office for the Dead cuts out a lot of the standard lead ins to the Office) and a way of building up your repertoire of psalms further, is the Little Office of Our Lady. Baronius put out a very nice edition of this, including the chants for the Office, so well worth acquiring in any case. But there is also an online version.

As there are three Nocturns, one used for each day, in these two short Offices, you could use the two in combination to say a different set of psalms for Matins six days a week. Many people may saying Matins from one or both these short Offices sufficient to satisfy their desire to pray all of the Hours of the day.

Study the psalms in advance

If you do plan on tackling the full thing though, I'd also suggest a systematic study of the psalms used before you start. This is something you should really do in any case for the day hours, but is especially important I think for Matins.

Even if you read them in English, a lot of these psalms rely on your knowing the Scriptural references for it to make sense - so sit down with a concordance or good commentary and learn the context. And if you are doing it in Latin, prepare the text so you can mentally translate the psalm when you say it with ease.

Study the hymns, responsories, chapters etc

These will be less of an issue if you say the Office in English, but still worth becoming familiar with before you really start on in. The hymns are generally the same as for the Roman Office (though in a nicer version of the Latin!), so use the sites that provide the Roman Breviary online to get a working translation. Or better still, acquire a copy of Connelly's Hymns of the Roman Liturgy for literal translations and helpful notes.

The Benedictine Office has more responsories than the Roman, but the Roman Office is still a useful starting point. In the end though, familiarity with the Vulgate Scripture (which will come from doing the readings at Matins) is the key here if you are saying the Office in Latin.

The Readings

The readings for Matins are a mix of Scripture, the Fathers, the lives of saints, and more. A monk novice would traditionally become familiar with many of these texts through his lectio divina, which was often structured around reading the entire Bible in a year. Consider doing something similar. You might find this post on my other blog a useful introduction.

In terms of the Patristic readings, again, they are mostly the same as the Roman Office (though split into four lessons on Sundays and major feasts rather than three). It is, though, possible to buy second hand (although copies are scarce) a book containing most of them in English (not including the Commons of Saints, and with some gaps due to differences between the pre-1962 and 1962 Offices). It is called 'Liturgical Readings The Lessons of the Temporal Cycle and the Principle Feasts of the Sanctoral Cycle according to the Monastic Breviary', Grail Publications, St Meinrad, 1943. This can then either be used as a crib, to help you to prepare the Latin, or even to substitute for the Latin if you prefer.

Hope these suggestions prove helpful, more soon.

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.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Learning the Office Part XIII: Tackling the Latin!

The first part of this series can be found here.

I want to talk in this part about using Latin in the Office. Although the Diurnal provides an English translation of the Office, and that translation may have been used liturgically in some communities, it is really the Latin that is ecclesiastically approved for liturgical purposes. And there are lots of good reasons for saying it in Latin - not the least of which is, if you are saying a traditional Office, you probably want to say it in the language it has traditionally been said in.

Learning to say the Office in Latin is not hard, and doesn't mean sacrificing understanding if you tackle it right.

I'll talk a little bit about getting the pronunciation right, or at least point to some resources to help on that. But I really want to focus here on actually understanding the Latin from the point of view of those who are not classical scholars.  Note that I'm not a linguist or language teacher, so these are just my ideas that may or may not work for you.

The three attentions

On an email list I was once a member of, a monk said that when they were novices they were taught about a hierarchy of 'attentions', which I've adapted a little here:

(1) Attention to the WORDS -- getting the rubrics right, so that we say the correct texts at the correct time; using the appropriate body postures; and saying or singing the words correctly;

(2) Attention to the SENSE -- focusing on the "what " we were saying, the translation of the words;

(3) Attention on GOD -- not worrying about words or sense but simply praying before the Divine Majesty.

The third is the most important. But it is by working on the first two attentions that our attention on God increases, as we penetrate ever more deeply into the meaning of the Office. Up until now we've mainly focused on the rubrics - but as we turn to the Latin, hopefully we start crossing into the territory of the second attention a little more.

Pronouncing Church Latin

So, some basics first. Church Latin is pronounced like spoken Italian. So, if you know Italian, you are set.

If not, there are two things you need to focus on. The first is getting the sounds of the letters right. There are a number of guides to pronunciation on the net, but one that seems quite nice and clear to me can be found here. The second issue is getting the pattern of accents on the words right. The basic rules are as follows:
  • in a two syllable word, accent the first;
  • in a three syllable word, look out for the accent mark in the Diurnal, and stress the syllable marked.
Here, for example is the opening of the first psalm from Compline (MD 260), with the stressed syllables coloured in:

Cum invorem exauvit me Deus justítiæ meæ...
The easiest way to learn though, is to listen to Latin being pronounced correctly. There are lots of resources on the web to help you here, but watch out - a lot of them use classical Latin pronunciation or other variants. Some good starting points are:
Ideally you need to immerse yourself in as much Latin as possible, both to learn how to say it properly and to start understanding it. To really get your ear around the Latin, try listening to some extended readings, such as Fr Z's readings from the Fathers in his podcasts.

Strategies for starting to say it in Latin

If you aren't familiar with Latin, the solution is to start slowly! Start by saying the Pater Noster (Our Father) at each hour in Latin, then add the 'Deus' in adjutorium', and slowly build up.

And focus on learning the meaning as you get the pronunciation right. You don't need to start off understanding the underlying grammar - learn it phrase by phrase, using the translations alongside the text, rather than focusing on each word at first. Maybe take a psalm a week: when you get to that psalm, read the translation first, then say the Latin, then read the translation again, doing this verse by verse. You might even want to put phrases on a flashcard, and test yourself on the meaning regularly.

Once you have built up a small repertoire of psalms learnt this way, start drilling down, picking out which word aligns with what meaning. To help this process along, make up some flashcards for yourself to learn the individual words. You can download a dictionary for all of the words in the psalter here. If you can't find the word you are looking for, it may be because the basic form of the word is not the root form. Try putting it in the dictionary tool here (there are a few of these type of tools around the net).

The great advantage of the Diurnal is that it is very repetitious (just like those nursery rhymes and books kids read over and over and over..), so if you build up slowly, verse by verse of a psalm, you will find it stays in your head! If it doesn't, just flick your eyes across to the translation to refresh your memory.

Tackling the grammar


As you build up your vocabulary, you will probably find you start getting a feel for how Latin works - which endings of verbs mean 'I'" or 'you' or 'him' for example. But it is worth taking a look at one of the various quick and dirty Latin courses on the net to help this process along - the Latin Mass Society's Simplicissimus course is probably a good choice at least as a starting point.

Ideally of course you should do a full Latin course, but see how you go by this method as a starter.

Say it out loud

I'll talk a little bit more about singing in the next part, but I would just note that actually saying the Latin aloud or better still, singing it will really help you learn it faster - there is a reason why children learn all those little ditties! For the Our Father, just use the chant tone the priest uses at Mass. Or sing everything on one note (called recto tono) as a starting point.

And on singing, the next part, which tackles this very subject, can be found here.

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
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.