Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 3: The Vigil of the Feast of St. Dominic

After weeks of preparation, including the 15 Tuesday's devotion to St. Dominic, and the Novena to our Holy Father, the vigil of his feast day has finally arrived!  Traditionally, this was also a day of fasting and abstinence for Tertiaries of our Order.  At Pretiosa today, we announce the feast to be celebrated tomorrow:
At Bologna, our most holy Father St. Dominic, confessor and founder of the Order of Friars Preachers. He was most illustrious, being distinguished by nobility of birth, sanctity and learning. Until death he preserved without stain his virginity and by the singular grace of his merits he raised three persons from the dead. By his preaching he curbed heresies and established many persons in a religious and godly manner of life. On August 6, his soul soared to heaven, there to receive a reward commensurate with his extraordinary works. His feast, however, is celebrated on this day, by an ordinance of Pope Paul IV. A totum duplex feast of the first class with a solemn octave.

That last sentence is a holdover from the pre-1961 calendar, when a solemn octave was celebrated for 8 days after his feast day. On August 5, I will be posting on the manner of celebrating the octave of his feast according to the 1909 Breviarium juxta ritum sacri ordinis praedicatorum.

The office begins at 1st Vespers with the super psalm antiphon....Gaude (O happy parent, Spain,...), followed by the special arrangement of Psalms that are used in the Dominican Office for 1st Class feasts (Psalms 112, 116, 145, 146, & 147, a.k.a, the "laudate Psalms).

According to Fr. Bonniwell, the Ordinanrium from Humbert's codex, which is the prototype of the Dominican liturgical books, has for 1st Vespers of the feast of St. Dominic, the following entry:
"For [first] vespers: superpsalm ana. Gaude. Capitulum: Quasi stella. Response: Granum. Hymn: Gaude mater. Versicle: Ora pro nobis. Magnificat ana.: Transit. Prayer: Deus qui Ecclesiam."
This is identical to the propers that are found in the 1962 Breviarium, with the sole exception of the responsory (which is O spem miram in the 1962). This uniformity continues throughout the office, with only minor changes between the original editions of the Breviarium and the 1962. Bonniwell gives a comparison, "from 1st Vespers to 2nd Vespers" , of Humbert's codex and the 1909 Breviarium of Bl. Hyacinth Cormier, and concludes that with few exceptions, the offices are remarkably similar. (pp. 42-43, History of the Dominican Liturgy).


This is typical for many of the feasts of the Dominican saints and blesseds, and for the temporale as well. I find it to be a tremendous source of spiritual solidarity, that the responsory's, antiphons, hymns, versicles, etc., that I pray on this (and most other) feasts in my Dominican Breviary, are the very ones that thousands upon thousands of Dominican Friars, Brothers, Nuns, and tertiaries have also prayed for hundreds of years.

Pray for us, Holy Father Dominic.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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