This week I have striven to say some of the Breviary Hours, thus participating in some degree in the liturgy of Whitsuntide, the Octave of Pentecost, the last echo of the Paschal season. Just as in the Extraordinary Form, the traditional, immemorial form of the Roman Rite, Lent is preceded by Septuagesimatide, beginning 63 days before Easter Sunday, so the Octave of Pentecost follows on and continues the celebration of Pentecost, the fiftieth day of Easter, until the 56th day, Whit Saturday. (If, as is now common, Corpus Christi is kept on the Sunday after Trinity, the Solemnity of the Sacrament of the Altar falls on the 64th day, 63 days after Easter, exactly parallel to Septuagesima Sunday 63 days before Easter.)
At midday this Whit Saturday, walking back to my car after brunch, I prayed for the last time this year the Regina cæli, which I first repeated with the special Premonstratensian and Dominican forms:
Regina cæli, lætare, alleluja,Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluja,Spiritum misit, sicut dixit, alleluja:Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluja. (O.Præm.)
Regina cæli, lætare, alleluja,Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluja,Jam ascendit, sicut dixit, alleluja:Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluja. (O.P.)
Regina cæli, lætare, alleluja,Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluja,Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluja:Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluja.
("Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia, for He Whom thou didst merit to bear, alleluia, hath sent the Spirit / now ascended / risen again, as He said, alleluia: pray for us to God, alleluia.")
Eastertide ends after None; first Vespers of the Holy Trinity marks the beginning of the long Sundays per annum. This year, Trinity Sunday falls on the feast of St Philip Neri, and he will not be marked by any commemoration because of this (except among his sons the Oratorians, who transfer his feast to Monday); he will I am sure be pleased by this coincidence, being one who preferred to hide his sanctity, and who has now been "hidden with Christ in God" for over four hundred years. "Eternity!" – such he once cried; and what must that be like?
I will be serving at the parish vigil Mass this evening, and will be asking St Philip's prayers – not least for the Oratorians throughout the world, and specially for those in process of establishing a new Oratory in Brisbane.