Thursday, January 15, 2009

'Tis the Season of Saints

Below I blogged about the four weeks "after Epiphany" now upon us; and soon enough Septuagesimatide will follow, providing sixteen days for to prepare for Lent, during which time the Matins lessons will begin at the beginning, covering Genesis i-xiv (Septuagesima week focussing on the Creation, the Fall and the descendants of Adam*; Sexagesima week on Noë and the Flood; and Quinquagesima on the call of Abraham and his travels - on Shrove Tuesday, the mysterious Melchisedech will make his appearance).
[* How moving is Genesis v, read in part on Friday and Saturday after Septuagesima...]
During all this time, however, there will be not one single ferial day until well into Septuagesimatide (when five occur in eight days, what a surprise that will be!): every day "after Epiphany" this year is a saint's day, as follows (unless otherwise marked, they are of the 3rd class, and so the course of lessons at Matins is unaffected, just supplemented by merging Lessons ii and iii into one, and adding a third Lesson of the Saint):
  • Wednesday 14th January - St Hilary, BCD, & comm. St Felix, priest & M;
  • Thursday 15th January - St Paul the First Hermit, C, & comm. St Maurus, A;
  • Friday 16th January - St Marcellus, P & M;
  • Saturday 17th January - St Anthony, A;
  • Sunday 18th January - 2nd Sunday after Epiphany (∴ no comm. of St Prisca, V & M)†;
  • Monday 19th January - comm. SS Marius, Martha, Audifax & Abachum, MM; & comm. St Canute, K & M;
  • Tuesday 20th January - SS Fabian, P, & Sebastian, MM;
  • Wednesday 21st January - St Agnes, V & M*;
  • Thursday 22nd January - SS Vincent & Anastasius, MM - and moreover, in Hobart, 1st Vespers of the Dedication of the Cathedral occur this evening;
  • Friday 23rd January - St Raymund of Peñafort, C, & comm. St Emerentiana, V & M - however, the Archdiocese of Hobart, this is the 1st class feast of the Dedication of the Cathedral, so no commemorations are made;
  • Saturday 24th January - St Timothy, B & M;
  • Sunday 25th January - 3rd Sunday after Epiphany (∴ comm. of the 2nd class feast of the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle, with customary comm. of St Peter the Apostle "under one conclusion"; although, by special decree for this Year of St Paul, his Mass may displace that of this Sunday);
  • Monday 26th January - St Polycarp, B & M;
  • Tuesday 27th January - St John Chrysostom, BCD;
  • Wednesday 28th January - St Peter Nolasco, C, & comm. St Agnes V & M ("for the second time" on her quasi-Octave day, when after her martyrdom she appeared in glory to her parents according to her Acts);
  • Thursday 29th January - St Francis de Sales, BCD;
  • Friday 30th January - St Martina, V & M;
  • Saturday 31st January - St John Bosco, C;
  • Sunday 1st February - 4th Sunday after Epiphany (∴ no comm. of St Ignatius, B & M - nor, in Australia, of the 3rd class feast of St Brigid, V, which would otherwise take precedence of St Ignatius and reduce him to a commemoration anyway);
  • Monday 2nd February - Purification of Blessed Mary the Virgin (2nd class) [i.e. the Presentation of the Lord, commonly styled Candlemas for the blessing of candles and procession therewith];
  • Tuesday 3rd February - comm. St Blaise, B & M (NB blessing of throats);
  • Wednesday 4th February - St Andrew Corsini, B & C;
  • Thursday 5th February - St Agatha, V & M*;
  • Friday 6th February - St Titus, B & C, & comm. St Dorothy, V & M;
  • Saturday 7th February - St Romuald, A (NB 1st Vespers of Septuagesima end with a double alleluia at the Benedicamus Domino, after which alleluia is not said until the Easter Vigil nine weeks' hence);
  • Sunday 8th February - Septuagesima Sunday (∴ no comm. of St John of Matha, C);
  • Monday 9th February - St Cyril of Alexandria, BCD, & comm. St Apollonia, V & M;
  • Tuesday 10th February - St Scholastica, V;
  • Wednesday 11th February - Appearance of Blessed Mary, Virgin Immaculate [at Lourdes]*;
  • Thursday 12th February - the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of the Servants of Blessed Mary the Virgin (the Servites), CC;
  • Friday 13th February - FERIA;
  • Saturday 14th February - Our Lady on Saturday, & comm. St Valentine, priest & M;
  • Sunday 15th February - Sexagesima Sunday (∴ no comm. of SS Faustinus & Jovita, MM);
  • Monday 16th February - FERIA;
  • Tuesday 17th February - FERIA;
  • Wednesday 18th February - comm. St Simeon, B & M;
  • Thursday 19th February - FERIA;
  • Friday 20th February - FERIA;
  • Saturday 21st February - Our Lady on Saturday;
  • Sunday 22nd February - Quinquagesima Sunday (∴ comm. of the 2nd class feast of the Chair of St Peter the Apostle, & comm. of St Paul the Apostle "under one conclusion")
  • Monday 23rd February - St Peter Damian, BCD‡;
  • Tuesday 24th February - St Matthias the Apostle (2nd class);...
...and then Lent begins!

If, on the two days when there is a commemoration alone, Mass is said of that commemoration (rather than of the feria, that is, of the preceding Sunday), then the liturgical colours used at the liturgy are as follows:
  • Green - three days only (the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays after Epiphany);
  • White - nineteen days (for all confessors and virgins, as well as for the Dedication of the Church);
  • Red - twelve days (for all martyrs, including St Matthias the Apostle);
  • Violet - eight days (for the Masses of Septuagesimatide).
All this addition serves to make me note that "after Epiphany" and Septuagesimatide together this year last for just six weeks, or 42 days.


* SS Agnes and Agatha's feasts, together with that of Our Lady of Lourdes, while ranked as but 3rd class, should really be styled 2nd class feasts, as they have psalmody from the Common at Matins and Vespers, and the Sunday psalms at Lauds.

† Formerly, the 18th of January was the Feast of St Peter's Chair at Rome (the Feast of his Chair on the 22nd of February being that of Antioch); these two dates are respectively the earliest and latest dates on which Septuagesima can fall, and hence are called "the keys of Septuagesima" by a play on the symbolical keys of St Peter - though Septuagesima last fell on the 18th of January in 1818 and won't recur on that date till 2285, and it last fell on the 22nd of February in 1204 (under the old Julian calendar) and won't again fall then until 3784!

‡ Again, until the last pre-Conciliar reforms, a commemoration was made on the 23rd of February of the Vigil of St Matthias.

(I use the usual abbreviations: A for Abbot, B for Bishop, C for Confessor, D for Doctor, K for King, M for Martyr, P for Pope, V for Virgin; comm. stands for "commemoration", a remembrance of the subsidiary saint or saints at Lauds and Low Mass.)

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