Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December 6: St. Nicholas and the Dominican Order...Again.

The feast of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, is one of my favorite non-Dominican feasts in the liturgical calendar.  It holds the liturgical rank of III Class, as in the Roman Rite, but unlike the latter rite the Dominican Breviary contains a near-complete set of propers, as if the feast were II Class (you can download the text of the propers here, taken from the 1967 English Translation of the Breviarium S.OP.).

And for the third year in a row, I have stumbled across a connection between St. Nicholas and our holy Order.  Two years ago I did a post about how the feast of St. Nicholas was elevated to a totum duplex (1st Class) feast.  Then, last year, I did a post on how the famous mystical experience which ended St. Thomas Aquinas' prolific theological writing occurred on the feast of St. Nicholas, right after the Angelic Doctor finished offering the Mass of this saint.  A few weeks ago, while flipping through Pere Jacquin' "The Friar Preacher - Yesterday and Today" (Washbourne, 1915), I came across the account of St. Dominic's death.  Apparently, when our Holy Father became too ill to walk, he was carried by the brethren by stretcher to the Church of St. Nicholas in Bologna.  And there, surrounded by his fellow friars, he passed to his eternal reward.

So there you go, yet one more connection between the Order of Preachers and this wonderful saint.

As always, I remind anyone who reads this blog to check out the website of a wonderful organization called The St. Nicholas Center, who contacted me last year to ask if they could include my post from last year on St. Nicholas and the Dominicans on their website.  I was happy to oblige.  This organization seeks to promote and educate the world on this wonderful saint, who is the inspiration for Santa Claus.

Prayer

O God, you adorned the blessed bishop Nicholas with countless miracles; grant, we beseech you, that through his merits and prayers, we may be delivered from the flames of hell.  Through our Lord...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1: Blessed John of Vercelli, C., O.P., Commemoration

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we make a commemoration of Blessed John of Vercelli, 6th Master General of the Order.  The Advent ferial office is prayed, according to the rubrics, and the commemoration of Blessed John is made at Lauds and Vespers, since his is a privileged commemoration.  In addition, a second commemoration is made of SS. Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus, Martyrs.  At Pretiosa, the obit of Thomas Turco of Cremona, 56th Master General of the Order is read.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Ferial Office During Advent

From “Missale Sacri Ordinis Praedicatorum"; 1933
This year, during the season of Advent, we will pray the ferial office 12 time.  In the Dominican Breviary, the ferial office in Advent draws heavily from the Book of Jeremiah for the Little Chapter (Lauds, Terce, Sext, and Vespers).  The versicle before Lauds is from Isaiah 6.  Each one builds upon the Old Testament Prophets' anticipation of the coming of the Messiah, just as the Church now does during Advent.

The ferial days in Advent have the rank of III Class, until December 17.  During these days, when a III Class feast occurs in the Proper of the Saints, a commemoration is made of the ferial day at Lauds and Vespers.  From December 17 through December 23, the ferial days have the rank of II Class.  During this period, when a III Class feast occurs, the ferial office is prayed and a commemoration of the III Class feast is made at Lauds and Vespers.  The preces are prayed on all of these ferial days.

Friday, November 25, 2016

November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, V., M., III Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr.  The feast is III Class, so the ordinary office is prayed according to the rubrics.

Prior to the mid-20th Century revisions of the calendar, her feast was celebrated as a Totum Duplex with an octave (December 2), and her office contained a partial set of propers (the office did not include proper antiphons for the psalms of Matins, and only included three of the original nine responsories).  The antiphon at 1st Vespers for her feast in the 1909 Breviarium S.O.P. was "Hail! O Catherine, thou gem of virgins.  Hail!  O glorious spouse of the King of kings."

Due to the circumstances of her martyrdom, as one defending the Faith against pagans, and the fact that she is reputed to have been a philosopher, she has traditionally been referred to as one of the two "protectresses" of the Order, the other being St. Mary Magdalene.  In a future post, I will give the account of their intervention in the miracle of St. Dominic at Soriano.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Advent: Are You "Excited"?

Excita!  Are you "excited"?  Advent is upon us, and the word "excita" is very prominent in the liturgy at this time of year.  Next Saturday evening, we switch to Volume I of the Dominican Breviary, for 1st Vespers of the 1st Sunday of Advent.

This holy season is intended to prepare us by rousing (stirring) up sentiments of contrition and hope in us, as we count down the weeks till we celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Contrition for our sins, and hope in the Child Jesus, who is our salvation.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 15: St. Albert the Great, B., C., D., O.P., II Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Albert the Great, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church.  Since today is a II Class Sunday (VI Sunday after Pentecost) we can make a commemoration of the feast of St. Albert at Lauds and Vespers.

It is truly remarkable to me to think that it was not until the early 20th Century that the Universal Church raised this saintly teacher to the altars of the Church.  Nevertheless, his sanctity and spirit are a model for all Christians, but in particular for Dominicans, given the broad scope of his erudition.

Monday, November 14, 2016

LOST FEASTS: November 13 - St. Thomas Aquinas - Patron of Catholic Schools

In the annals of the traditional Dominican liturgical calendar, this feast may rank as one of the shortest lived.  In the early 20th century, rather than celebrating the VI Sunday after the Epiphany yesterday, the Order would have celebrated the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas - Patron of Catholic Schools.

One year after his landmark engyclical Aeternis Patris on the philosophical and theological methods of St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Leo XIII declared:
“We, for the glory of Almighty God and in honor of the Angelic Doctor, for the increase of the sciences, and for the common benefit of human society, declare by Our Supreme Authority , that St. Thomas Aquinas is Patron of Studies in Universities, Colleges, Lyceums, and Catholic Schools; and We desire that he be so held by all…” "Cum hoc sit", Brief of Leo XIII, August 4, 1880.
Beginning with the 1924 Breviarium iuxta ritum sacri ordinis praedicatorum, November 13 was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas - Patron of Catholic Schools in the Dominican liturgical calendar. Fr. Bonniwell's "History of the Dominican Liturgy" gives no date for when exactly the Order adopted this feast.