Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jul 30: Bl. Mannes, C., O.P., Commemoration

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we make a commemoration of Blessed Mannes, Confessor, of the Order of Preachers.  Since today is a ferial day, the ferial office is prayed, and a commemoration is made of Bl. Manes at Lauds only.  In addition, a commemoration is made at Lauds of Ss. Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs.

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22: St. Mary Magdalen, Protectress of the Order, III Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, Protectress of the Order.  Though her feast is III Class in the calendar, her office has a complete set of propers as though the feast was actually a II Class feast.  The Benedictus antiphon is particularly beautiful:

O lamp of the world and gleaming pearl, who by announcing Christ’s resurrection merited to become the Apostle of the Apostles, Mary Magdalen, be ever our loving advocate with God who has chosen you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17: Bl. Ceslaus, C., O.P., Commemoration

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we make a commemoration of Blessed Ceslaus, Confessor, of the Order of Preachers.  Since today is a ferial day, the ferial office is prayed, and a commemoration is made of Bl. Ceslaus at Lauds only.

As the website for the Order of Preachers reported, this May, families in Wrocław took turns hosting an icon of Bessed Ceslaus - the patron saint of their town, in their homes.  The pilgrimage of the image which started on the 20th of February was approved by the Wrocław Metropolitan Archbishop.From “Short Lives of the Dominican Saints” (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1901):

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Breviarium S.O.P. Blog Poll

This blog has only been publishing on the internet since April of this year, yet we get visitors from all over the world! (United States, Russia, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Italy, Belgium, China, Spain and Australia).  Welcome all!

Who are you?  Are you associated with the Dominican Order in any way?  Do you pray the Dominican Breviary?  If so, which one (the 1962 Latin edition or the 1967 English edition)?  Or do you pray the Liturgy of the Hours with the Dominican Supplement?

I myself started with the Roman Breviary in 2005.  Specifically, the abbreviated Office (Prime and Compline) available from Angelus Press.  A dear friend introduced me to the full Roman Breviary in 2008, and I began praying primarily Lauds and Compline.  On occasion, I would pray Vesper and Matins.  In 2011, that same dear friend gave me his 2-volume Dominican Breviary (St. Saviour's, 1967), and I have been praying it faithfully ever since.  In early 2012, thanks once again to that same dear friend and some very generous and helpful Dominican Nuns, I obtained my copy of the 1962 Breviarium Juxta Ritum Sacri Ordinis Praedicatorum.  The primary hours I pray are Lauds and Compline.  That fits my busy work schedule.  Occasionally, on the weekend, I can pray Vespers.

I have recently translated the "office" of Pretiosa, which is in the 1962 Breviarium Juxta Ritum Sacri Ordinis Praedicatorum, but does not appear in the 1967 Dominican Breviary.  That translation, along with my recently obtained copy of the Martyrology of the Sacred Order of Friars Preachers (W. Bonniwell, O.P., tran., Newman Press, 1955) allows me to pray Pretiosa immediately after Lauds.  Briefly, Pretiosa is the last half of the hour of Prime, but modified.  It includes the martyrology, the commemorations of the deceased Masters General and the anniversaries of the dead.  I am planning a couple of posts on Pretiosa, and will be posting my translation of this beautiful hour soon for anyone who is interested in praying it.

Please feel free to use the comment box and let me know who is looking at this blog!  Anonymous posts are welcome.  Thanks.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 14: Obit V.B. Humbert de Romans, 5th Master General of the Order

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, at Pretiosa we make a commemoration of the 5th Master General of the Order, Humbert de Romans.

No single person, in the history of the Dominican Order, is so closely linked to the Dominican Rite of Mass and Office as the 5th Master General, Humbert of Romans.  Though all of the Masters General, after out Holy Father St. Dominic, had a hand in completing the project of securing a universal Mass and Office for the Order, it was during Humbert's Master Generalship that the liturgical books were formally accepted and the project brought to completion.

Very little is actually recorded about the process of adopting and revising the various editions of the Missal and Breviary, and what changes were sought by whom.  In his book on the history of the Dominican Liturgy, Fr. William Bonniwell, O.P., notes that "Not only are we hampered by a dearth of liturgical books, but even the historians and authors of that period seem to have entered into a conspiracy of silence regarding the history of the rite, so that we have only the scantiest materials with which to reconstruct the first two-score years of Dominican liturgical history (pp. 18-19).  He gives, as a possible reason for this silence, "the disturbance which the question [of the universal liturgical books] had caused the Order for over a quarter of a century."

During these days of liturgical banality, in which our Order has abandoned the very Rite of Mass and Office that it once so fiercely defended, may the prayers of the holy and blessed 5th Master General obtain for us a return to our glorious liturgical patrimony.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July 13: Bl. James of Voragine, B., C., O.P., Commemoration

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we make a commemoration of Blesssed James of Voragine, Bishop, Confessor, of the Order of Preachers.  Since today is a ferial day, the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday is prayed.  A commemoration is made of Bl. James of Voragine at Lauds only.  The collect prayer for this holy bishop speaks of his love for peace and truth.  In these days where there is very little peace, whether between nations, peoples, citizens of the same country, members of Holy Mother Church, and even within families, due so often to a lack of knowledge of, or regard for, Truth, may this holy Dominican bishop pray for us and our deplorable times.

Blessed James is the author of the famous "Golden Legend", a medieval manuscript of saints’ lives that was extremely popular in the Middle Ages.  From “Short Lives of the Dominican Saints” (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1901):

BLESSED JAMES was born in the little village of Voragine, also called Varazzo, not far from Genoa. He entered the Order of Saint Dominic at the early age of fourteen, and devoted himself to the acquisition alike of learning and of sanctity, making marvelous progress in both. After teaching theology in various places, he was sent to preach throughout Northern Italy. Such was his eloquence and such the purity with which he spoke his mother tongue, that he took his place at once in the foremost rank of Italian orators. He was the first to translate the Bible into Italian; and he wrote several works, in particular a large and valuable book of sermons, a treatise in praise of our Blessed Lady, to whom he bore a tender devotion, and a collection of Lives of the Saints, known as the "Golden Legend," which became the most popular book of spiritual reading in the Middle Ages. It was translated into various languages, and was perhaps more widely diffused than any other work before the invention of printing.

He became Prior of the Convent of Genoa, and when only thirty-seven was elected Provincial of Lombardy. His appointment to this important post, whilst still so young, created some surprise throughout the Order, but when the Friars became witnesses of his benevolence and charity, and of the blessings which his wise and saintly administration drew down upon the Houses committed to his charge, this feeling of surprise was exchanged for one of admiration and gratitude, and he continued to hold the office for the then unprecedented period of nineteen years. In the year 1288, Pope Honorius IV entrusted to him the delicate task of absolving the city of Genoa, in his name, from the censures and the interdict which it had incurred. Blessed James discharged this mission with such prudence and tact as to win all hearts, and not long afterwards the Cathedral Chapter unanimously elected him as Archbishop.

Genoa was at this time in a very distracted state, torn by the rival factions of the Guelphs and Ghibellines, the scene of horrible murders and civil war. The saintly Archbishop succeeded in re-establishing peace and order. He showed himself to be truly the father of his people, sparing no labor on their behalf, and stripping himself of everything in his boundless liberality to the poor. He also bestowed munificent benefactions on the hospitals, convents, and churches of his diocese. The Crusaders had brought back with them, after the capture of Constantinople in 1203, a great quantity of holy relics. A portion of those which had fallen to the share of Venice passed into the possession of the Genoese, together with a considerable piece of the True Cross. The pious Archbishop succeeded in obtaining them, and deposited them in the Dominican Church in Genoa, under two tables which he plated with silver.

All through his life, Blessed James had made it his study to acquire interior peace, and his soul had become, according to the testimony of his contemporaries, a perfect mirror of the happiness of heaven. After eight years spent in governing his flock with such wisdom and success that most of the Bishops of Northern Italy took him for their counselor and model, and adopted his statutes for the reformation of their clergy, the saintly Archbishop of Genoa gently fell asleep in the Lord in the July of the year 1298. His body was laid under the high altar of the Church of Saint Dominic in Genoa, where it received the veneration of the faithful until A.D. 1798, when it was translated to the Church of the Friars Preachers at Santa Maria di Castello. A fresh and very solemn translation took place in the year 1885.  Blessed James was beatified by Pius VII., A.D. 1816.


O God, you rendered your blessed confessor and bishop, James, a glorious herald of truth and an effective peacemaker; grant us, at his intercession, to love both peace and truth, and to reach you in whom peace is most perfect, and truth most pure.  Through Our Lord...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11: Ss. Ignatius and Dominic, Bb, O.P., and Companions, Mm., III Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of Ss. Ignatius and Dominic, Bishops, and their Companions, Martyrs.  From “Short Lives of the Dominican Saints” (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1901):
Of the glorious band of seventy-seven martyrs beatified by Pope Leo XIII. on May 27, in the holy year of Jubilee, 1900, twenty-six are assigned in the Apostolic Brief to the Order of Preachers, nineteen by actual profession, and the remaining seven by their connection with the Dominican mission of Eastern Tonquin. They are often spoken of as the Martyrs of the Annamite Church, the name of Annam having been formerly applied to a larger extent of country than at the present day; and they suffered in the persecution which raged during the years 1838, 1839, and 1840.

The leaders of the heroic company were two Dominican prelates, Blessed Ignatius Delgado, Bishop of Melipotamus and Vicar Apostolic of Eastern Tonquin, and his coadjutor, Blessed Dominic Henares, Bishop of Fesseita and Pro-Vicar Apostolic of the same district. Both were Spaniards by birth, and both had laboured in Tonquin for nearly half a century, having arrived there in 1790 and been invested with the Episcopal dignity shortly afterwards. At the outbreak of the persecution in 1838, the two venerable prelates were on the point of concealing themselves in a large cavern which had been arranged as a hiding-place, when they were betrayed into the hands of the soldiers who had been sent in search of them. Blessed Dominic managed on that occasion to escape; but Blessed Ignatius, who was very infirm, was seized and carried away in a cage, which was so small that it was impossible for him to stand upright in it. On approaching the city of Nam-Dinh, where a great concourse of people awaited his arrival, he beheld a crucifix laid across the entrance to be trampled on by all who passed through the gates. Pierced with grief at the sight, he insisted so earnestly on its removal that he was obeyed; but, as soon as his cage had been borne into the city, the sacred image was replaced on the ground, so that the faithful who were following their Bishop in great numbers on his way of sorrows were unable to enter.

Meanwhile Blessed Dominic had also been captured and imprisoned in a cage; and he was now brought, together with his faithful catechist, Blessed Francis Chien or Chieu, to the same city. For a few moments the two holy Bishops and the Blessed Father Joseph Fernandez, Vicar-Provincial of the Order in Tonquin, who had also been seized, were confronted with each other and able to exchange a few words in their native tongue. Blessed Dominic and his catechist were the first to suffer martyrdom, being beheaded June 25, 1838. On the following July 12, Blessed Ignatius died in his cage of hunger and thirst and exposure to the rays of a burning sun. The inhuman governor caused the sentence of decapitation, which had already been pronounced on the venerable old man, to be executed on his lifeless body.

There suffered also in this same persecution eight native priests of the Order, who appear to have made their noviciate in the Philippine Islands, and eight devout Tertiaries, of whom four were catechists, one was a doctor, another a tailor, and two were peasants. Faithful to their vocation, these holy members of the Third Order whilst in prison converted and baptized a hundred of their fellow-captives. Some of these native martyrs were subjected to the most horrible torments that oriental cruelty could devise; and one of the catechists, the Blessed Thomas Toan, naturally of a weak and irresolute character, when put to the torture, twice renounced the faith, and twice returned to it. After his second apostasy his remorse bordered on despair; but happily for him, there was in the same prison a priest (probably the Blessed Joseph Hien, O.P., afterwards a martyr) who consoled and absolved him. From that moment Blessed Thomas was filled with heroic courage, and at every fresh insult and torment did but repeat: "I have sinned against my God; He has forgiven me; henceforth I must be for ever faithful to Him." He was starved to death in prison, passing to his reward June 27, 1840.

To these we must add three native secular priests belonging to the Vicariate and three soldiers. The soldiers, after having courageously undergone many sufferings for the faith for the space of a whole year, at length miserably consented to trample on the cross. There are some grounds for believing that they were not wholly responsible for the act, which was committed, so it is said, under the influence of a potion which had been administered to them. Be this as it may, the poor men were broken-hearted when they realised what they had done; and, as the governor refused to accept their retractation, two of them made their way to the king at Hue, boldly declared themselves to be Christians, and by his command were sawn asunder on board a ship. The third, who was too ill to travel, sent a written retractation by the hands of his comrades, and by the royal orders was strangled.


 God, you willed he lands of the Annam to be moistened by the  blood of the blessed bishops, Ignatius and Dominic, and their companions; through the pleadings of these great martyrs let it blossom with the Christian religion.  Through Our Lord… 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dominican Breviary Downloads

I have added a download bar on the right side of the blog page.  It contains some materials that may be interesting to anyone who prays the Dominican Breviary, or offers the Dominican Rite Mass.  I have created a primitive Dominican Rite Calendar, which is helpful for praying the Office.  It is based on the Dominican Rite Calendar that Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P. creates every year, and puts up on his Dominican Liturgy blog.  His calendar is modified slightly from the 1962 calendar in that the Dominican Blessed's who have been canonized are moved to their new feast days.  For my calendar, I add in notes that are useful for praying the Breviary.  I hope to have a better calendar available for 2014.

I have also put up a copy of the calendar from the 1909 Breviarium S.O.P..  This was the last Dominican Breviary before the reforms of St. Pius X went into effect.  It contains many feast of Our Lord and our Lady which were removed after the reforms, as well as may Dominican Feasts (and octaves) that were removed as well.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9: SS. John, O.P., and Companions , Mm., III Cl.

On this day, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the Feast of SS. John of Cologne, O.P., and companions, the Martyr's of Gorcum.  

From the III Lesson of Matins:

The sixteenth century, memorable for the disturbances of the error of Calvinism, provided in Holland a striking example of christian fortitude.  The nineteen martyrs of Gorcum, as they are called, strove gloriously in defense of the Real Presence of Christ's body in the Eucharist and the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff.  Among these was John, of the Order of Preachers, an alumnus of the house at Cologne.  At the direction of his superiors, he had been administering the parish of Hoornaer in Holland.  Having gone to the town of Gorcum to baptize an infant, he was taken by Calvinist followers and thrown into prison.  There he shared the lot of other priests and religious already imprisoned for the faith.  For several days and nights, their constancy was tried by various forms of ridicule and ill-treatment.  Then, half naked, they were taken by boat to Briel, and, on the way, suffered incredible tortures at the hands of the soldiers, the sailors, and the heretical mob.  Finally, they were hanged from a beam and strangled, thus receiving the palm of martyrdom on July 9 in the year 1572.  Renowned for miracles, they were canonized by Pius IX.

From the Office of Lauds:

Night now is over, rising sun casts splendor
Over the triumph of those valiant soldiers
Fallen in battle on the field of Gorcum; 
Great in their courage!
Joyously rising, they ascend the heavens.
God, himself, greets them in celestial mansions;
There does he crown them with his light eternal;
He is their glory.
Earth, too, applauding, tells the martyr's story,
Name of these victors flies through every nation;
Fame, then, resulting, in a praise most worthy,
Signs of their merits.
O worthy offfspring of Christ's holy martyrs,
With brows encircled by triumphal garlands!
Hear, and be mindful of your own who praise you:
By your prayer, save us.
Might, honor, power, be to God the Father;
Give worship, likewise, to the Son forever;
And to the Spirit, sing, with voice unceasing,
Hymns in his praises.

Collect Prayer

 God, you crowned with the laurel of immortality the struggle made for the faith by your blessed martyrs, John and his companions; mercifully grant that, striving here on earth, we may likewise deserve, through their merits and following their example, to be crowned with them in heaven.  Through Our Lord… 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 7: Blessed Benedict XI, Pope, Confessor, O.P., Commemoration

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the commemoration of Blessed Benedict XI, one of the four Dominican Popes.  From “Short Lives of the Dominican Saints” (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1901).

Nicholas Boccasino, who assumed the name of Benedict XI, when raised to the Pontifical dignity, was born of poor parents at Treviso in Italy, A.D. 1240.  He received his early education form an uncle, who held the office of parish priest, and at the age of fourteen was admitted into the Dominican Order at Venice.  The next fourteen years of his life were devoted to prayer and study, after which he was employed in teaching sacred science to his Brethren.  He never allowed his lessons to interfere with his exercises of piety or to prevent him from teaching the Word of God; and he also found time to write some learned commentaries on various parts of Scripture, and other valuable works.
After successively filling the offices of Sub-Prior and Prior and that of Provincial of Lombardy, he was unanimously elected General of the Order, A.D. 1296.  During the two years and a half that he held this charge, the holy General ceased not to visit the Convents of the Order, always traveling on foot and encouraging his companions to face danger and fatigue by exclaiming:  “Come, dearest Brethren, this is the glory of our Order.”  Rigid and austere to himself, he was the gentlest of religious Superiors towards his subjects.  Contemporary historians call him “the lover of the Community,” and are never weary of praising his virtues, and above all, his singular humility of heart.

In January A.D. 1299, Pope Boniface VIII, whose cause he had stoutly defended, created him Cardinal Priest of the title of Santa Sabina.  “Holy Father,” he exclaimed, throwing himself at the Pope’s feet, “why have you laid so heavy a burden upon me?”  “God has a yet heavier one in store for you,” was the prophetic reply.  Two years later, he was promoted to the bishopric of Ostia and Velletri, made Dean of the Sacred College, and sent as Legate to Hungary, which was at that time in a very disturbed condition.  On his return to Italy, he found the Pope surrounded by enemies, the creatures of Philip the Fair of France, and had the glory of standing by the Holy Father’s side at Anagni in company with only one other Cardinal, when he was brutally assaulted and dragged from his throne.  The Cardinal of Santa Sabina succeeded in stirring up the inhabitants of Anagni to expel the sacrilegious rebels from their town, but the Pope did not long survive the outrages he had received, dying almost immediately after his return to Rome.

File:C o a Benedetto XI.svg
Benedict XI Coat of Arms

The Cardinals assembled in conclave eleven days after the death of Boniface, and unanimously elected Cardinal Nicholas Boccasino as his successor, A.D. 1303.  He assumed the name of Benedict out of veneration for his predecessor, who had borne that name before his elevation to the Papacy, and took for his motto those words of the Psalmist: “Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant” (Psalm 118, 135).  Europe was in a very troubled state at the commencement of the new Pontificate; but the admirable prudence and energy of the Pontiff did much for the restoration of peace and order.  In particular, he succeeded in reconciling France with the Holy See and in restoring the Papal authority of Sicily and Denmark; and he greatly exerted himself to induce the princes of Christendom to lay aside their mutual differences and engage in a crusade against the infidels.

Shortly after his elevation to the Pontifical throne, his mother came to pay him a visit.  The magistrates of Perugia, where he was then residing, on hearing of her arrival, received her with great pimp, arrayed her in costly apparel, and conducted her to the Papal presence.  But, when the Holy Pontiff saw his mother richly dressed an accompanied by a splendid retinue, he refused to recognize her, saying:  “My mother was only a poor washerwoman, and not a princess like this.”  Then she retired, laid aside her silk garments, and returned in the humble garb of a peasant woman.  When Benedict saw her thus, he came down from his throne to meet her, embraced her tenderly, and showed her every mark of respect and affection.

Benedict’s reign, marked with vigor, justice, and clemency, unhappily lasted only eight months.  His death, which took place at Perugia on the 7th of July, A.D. 1304, was believed to be the effect of poison, given him in some figs which had been presented to him by an unknown person.  He was buried in the church of his Order at Perugia, and many miracles were worked at his tomb.  He was beatified by Pope Clement XII.

From the "The Martyrology of the Sacred Order of Friars Preachers" (Tr. by Rev. W. R. Bonniwell, O. P., The Newman Press - Westminster, Maryland, 1955):

"At Perugia, Blessed Pope Benedict XI of Treviso, confessor, of the Order of Preachers. In the short space of his pontificate, he did much to promote peace for the Church, to restore discipline, and to increase religion to a wonderful degree."


 God, by the grace of your blessing, you raised to heaven the blessed pontiff Benedict; sanctify your people, we pray, with a further blessing of your grace, and, by his merits and prayers, defend us, in your strength, from all threatening evils.  Through Our Lord…