This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Monday 30 June 2014

30th June. Commemoration of St Paul, Apostle

Commemoration of St. Paul, Apostle

"The Tiber on entering Rome," writes an ancient poet, "salutes the Basilica of St. Peter and, on leaving it, that of St. Paul. The heavenly door-keeper has built his sacred abode at the gates of the eternal city wich is an image of heaven. On the opposite side, the ramparts of the city are protected by Paul's portico: Rome is between the two." With Peter, the new Moses, leader of the new Israel, is associated Paul, the new Aaron, more eloquent than the first, chosen in his mother's womb to announce to the Gentiles the riches of the grace of Christ (Collect, Gradual, Epistle).

Scio cui credidi, et certus sum, quia potens est depositum meum servare in illum diem, justus judex. * Domine, probasti me, et cognovisti me: tu cognovisti sessionem meam et resurrectionem meam.
I know whom I have believed, and I am certain that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day; being a just judge. * Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up.
(2 Tim. 1:12 and Psalm 138:1-2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui multitudinem gentium beati Pauli Apostoli praedicatione docuisti: da nobis, quaesumus; ut, cujus natalitia colimus, ejus apud te patrocinia sentiamus.
O God, who didst teach the multitude of the Gentiles by the preaching of blessed Paul the apostle; grant, we beseech Thee, that we who celebrate his heavenly birthday, may also enjoy his patronage with Thee. (Collect)

Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.
Brethren, I give you to understand that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it; but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion: how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it; and I made progress in the Jews' religion above many of my equals in my own nation, being more abundantly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased Him, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, immediately I condescended not to flesh and blood. Neither went I to Jerusalem to the apostles who were before me: but I went into Arabia, and again I returned to Damascus. Then, after three years, I went to Jerusalem to. see Peter, and I tarried with him fifteen days; but other of the apostles I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord. Now the things which I write to you, behold before God I lie not.
(Galatians 1:11-20)

Sunday 29 June 2014

29th June, The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

To-day the whole Church rejoices, for "God has consecrated this day by the martyrdom of the apostles Peter and Paul" (Collect). In both the grand basilicas erected at Rome over the tombs "of these two princes who by the cross and the sword have obtained their seat in the eternal senate," this double martyrdom was celebrated. Later, on account of the distance which separates the two churches the festival was divided, St. Peter being more specially honoured on June 29th and St. Paul on June 30th.

St. Peter, bishop of Rome, is the vicar, that is to say the visible representative of Christ. As is shown in the Preface, Alleluia, Gospel, Offertory and Communion, the Jews had rejected Jesus. They also rejected His successor (Epistle). Displacing the religious centre of the world, St. Peter then left Jerusalem for Rome which became the eternal city and the seat of the Popes.

St. Peter, the first pope, speaks in the name of Christ who has communicated to him His doctrine of infallibility. He is not guided by flesh and blood, but by the heavenly Father who does not permit the gates of hell to prevail against the Church of which he is the foundation (Gospel).

St. Peter on receiving the keys is placed at the head of the "kingdom of heaven" upon earth, that is to say the Church, and he reigns in the name of Christ who has invested him with His power and supreme authority (Gospel).

The names of St. Peter and St. Paul head the names of the apostles in the Canon of the Mass (first list).

With "the Church which did not cease praying to God for St. Peter" (Epistle), let us pray for his successor "the servant of God, our Holy Father the Pope" (Canon of the Mass).

Nunc scio vere, quia misit Dominus Angelum suum: et eripuit me de manu Herodis, et de omni exspectatione plebis Judaeorum. * Domine, probasti me, et cognovisti me : tu cognovisti sessionem meam, et resurrectionem meam.
Now I know in very deed, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. * Lord, Thou hast proved me, and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up.
(Acts 12:9 and Psalm 138:1-2 from the introit of Mass)

Deus, qui hodiernam diem Apostolorum tuorum Petri et Pauli martyrio consecrasti: da Ecclesiae tuae, eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum, per quos religionis sumpsit exordium.
O God, who hast made holy this day with the martyrdom of Thine apostles Peter and Paul; grant that Thy Church may in all things follow the precepts of those from whom it first received the faith.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi, and He asked His disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is ? But they said: Some, John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered, and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art Thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father who is in heaven: and I say to thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
(St Matthew 16:13-19)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia, on St Peter:

Saturday 28 June 2014

28th June, The Vigil of the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul

The Vigil of the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul

The Church celebrates to-morrow the feast of the two apostles who are the two foundations on which she is solidly established (Collect). "The rigour to which a people subjects itself by certain days of preparation," writes Dom Gueranger, " is a mark of the faith which it has preserved, showing that it understands the greatness of the object proposed by the holy Liturgy for its worship."

Peter raised to his cross (Introit, Gospel), like Christ rises above the world. He seals in his blood his confession of faith (Gospel of to-morrow) and love (Gospel) in Jesus, and henceforth it will be in His name (Ibid.) and as His vicar that he will be king of souls.

Paul, by sharing his labours and martyrdom, shares his kingship and his triumph.

Dicit Dominus Petro: Cum esses junior, cingebas te, et ambulabas ubi volebas: cum autem senueris, extendes manus tuas, et alius te cinget, et ducet quo tu non vis: hoc autem dixit, significans qua morte clarificaturus esset Deum.  Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei: et opera manuum ejus annuntiat firmamentum.
The Lord saith to Peter: When thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not: and this He said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. *The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the works of His hands.
(St John 21:18-19 and Psalm 18:1 from the introit of Mass)

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut nullis nos permittas perturbationibus concuti, quos in apostolicae confessionis petra solidasti.
We beseech Thee, almighty God, that Thou suffer no disturbance to shake us, whom Thou hast founded as on a rock on the confession of Thine apostles.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on the Eves of Feasts:

28th June, St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Towards the end of the second century when gnostic sects endeavoured to undermine the basis of the Christian religion, God raised up St. Irenaeus to oppose them. "He granted him the grace to destroy the heresies by the truth of his doctrine" (Collect).

Succeeding St. Pothinus in the See of Lyons in 177, St. Irenaeus "preached in season and out of season" as St. Paul prescribes (Epistle) and constituted himself defender of Christ (Gospel) and of His Spouse. "The Church," he declares, "disseminated throughout the world, to the extremities of the earth, professes the faith she has received from the apostles, who themselves received it from the Son of God." This Church has its centre at Rome. "With her, every church must be in agreement because of her primacy: for through the succession of Roman pontiffs the apostolic tradition of the Church has come down to us ."

An ardent apologist, St. Irenaeus was also a profound theologian. He has been called the father of the Catholic theology and the golden link binding the spirit of the Gospel to the doctrine of the Fathers. With his ears still full of the last echoes of apostolic teaching (Alleluia), he was the first to write a reasoned summary of our faith. His treatise: "False doctrine unmasked and refuted" also called "Against heresies" gave the death blow to the gnostic heresy.

St. Jerome gives him the glorious title of Martyr. He died, as is believed, during the persecution of Septimus Severus in 202. Benedict XV extended his feast to the universal Church.

Lex veritatis fuit in ore ejus, et iniquitas non est inventa in labiis ejus: in pace, et in aequitate ambulavit mecum, et multos avertit ab iniquitate. * Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei.
The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace, and in equity, and turned many away from iniquity. * Attend, O My people, to My law: incline your ear to the words of My mouth.
Malachias 2:6 and Psalm 77:1 from the introit of mass)

Deus, qui beato Irenaeo Martyri tuo atque Pontifici tribuisti, ut et veritate doctrinae expugnaret haereses, et pacem Ecclesiae feliciter confirmaret: da, quaesumus, plebi tuae in sancta religione constantiam; et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus.
O God, who didst grant that blessed Irenaeus, Thy martyr and bishop, should both overcome heresy by the truth of his doctrine, and establish peace in Thy Church: give unto Thy people, we beseech Thee, constancy in their holy religion, and grant us Thy peace in our days.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Friday 27 June 2014

27th June, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
(pro diversibus locis)

The picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour is painted on wood, with background of gold. It is Byzantine in style and is supposed to have been painted in the thirteenth century. It represents the Mother of God holding the Divine Child while the Archangels Michael and Gabriel present before Him the instruments of His Passion. Over the figures in the picture are some Greek letters which form the abbreviated words Mother of God, Jesus Christ, Archangel Michael, and Archangel Gabriel respectively. It was brought to Rome towards the end of the fifteenth century by a pious merchant, who, dying there, ordered by his will that the picture should be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the church of San Matteo, Via Merulana, between St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. Crowds flocked to this church, and for nearly three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. The picture was then popularly called the Madonna di San Matteo. The church was served for a time by the Hermits of St. Augustine, who had sheltered their Irish brethren in their distress. These Augustinians were still in charge when the French invaded Rome (1812) and destroyed the church. The picture disappeared; it remained hidden and neglected for over forty years, but a series of providential circumstances between 1863 and 1865 led to its discovery in an oratory of the Augustinian Fathers at Santa Maria in Posterula.

The pope, Pius IX, who as a boy had prayed before the picture in San Matteo, became interested in the discovery and in a letter dated 11 Dec., 1865 to Father General Mauron, C.SS.R., ordered that Our Lady of Perpetual Succour should be again publicly venerated in Via Merulana, and this time at the new church of St. Alphonsus. The ruins of San Matteo were in the grounds of the Redemptorist Convent. This was but the first favour of the Holy Father towards the picture. He approved of the solemn translation of the picture (26 April, 1866), and its coronation by the Vatican Chapter (23 June, 1867). He fixed the feast as duplex secundae classis, on the Sunday before the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and by a decree dated May, 1876, approved of a special office and Mass for the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. This favour later on was also granted to others. Learning that the devotion to Our Lady under this title had spread far and wide, Pius IX raised a confraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and St. Alphonsus, which had been erected in Rome, to the rank of an arch-confraternity and enriched it with many privileges and indulgences. He was amongst the first to visit the picture in its new home, and his name is the first in the register of the arch-confraternity. Two thousand three hundred facsimiles of the Holy Picture have been sent from St. Alphonsus's church in Rome to every part of the world. At the present day not only altars, but churches and dioceses (e.g. in England, Leeds and Middlesborough; in the United States Savannah) are dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. In some places, as in the United States the title has been translated Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

(From the Catholic Encyclopaedia)

Mary from thy Sacred Image
with those eyes so sadly sweet
Mother of Perpetual Succour
see us kneeling at thy feet.

In thine arms thy Child thou bearest;
Source of all thy joy and woe;
What thy bliss, how deep thy sorrows,
Mother thou alone canst know.

On thy face He is not gazing,
Nor on us is turned His glance
For His anxious look He fixes
On the Cross and Reed and Lance.

To thy hands His hands are clinging
As a child would cling in fear,
Of that vision of the torments
Of His Passion drawing near.

And for Him thine eyes are pleading
While to us they look and cry:
"Sinners spare my Child your Saviour,
seek not still to crucify."

Yes, we hear thy words sweet Mother,
But poor sinners we are weak;
At thy feet thy helpless children
Thy Perpetual Succour seek.

Succour us in clouds of sadness;
Hide the light of heaven above;
Hope expires and faith scares lingers;
And we dare not think we love.

In that hour of gloom and peril,
Show to us thy radiant face,
Smiling down from thy loved Image,
Rays of cheering light and grace.

Succour us when stormy passion,
Sudden rise within the heart.
Quell the tempest, calm the billows,
Peace secure to us impart.

Through this life of weary exile
Succour us in every need;
And when death shall come to free us,
Succour us ah! then indeed.

27th June, Within the Octave of St. John the Baptist

Within the Octave of St. John the Baptist

The Church, honouring the saints in proportion to the part they played in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, gives to St. John a special place.

Each day in the Mass, as well as at the Confiteor, at the Suscipe and at the Nobis quoque peccatoribus, the name of St. John the Baptist precedes that of the apostles. Is is the same in the Litany of the Saints. His feast immediately precedes that of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. By ending the mission of the prophets and commencing that of the apostles, he is the link between the Old and the New Testament.

Let us, also, give to St. John the Baptist the place of honour which is due to him in our worship of the saints. The worship must, indeed, be hierarchically ordered so that we may never forget that Jesus is the principal author of our redemption, and that the saints are more or less great as they are more or less united to Him as secondary instruments.

The feast of the nativity of St. John the Baptist falls in the season when the Cycle shows us the Church which, as this saint foretold, was born in the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire at Pentecost, and goes on continually developing herself. It is, indeed, to the holy Precursor that she owes it to have known Jesus, the Spouse that makes her the fruitful mother of many souls.

As with the Jews, a friend was the intermediary between the bride and the spouse and prepared the wedding-feast, St. John is called in the Gospel the " friend of the Spouse". It is he whom God has chosen to prepare for the Lord, by his preaching and baptism of penance, a perfect people. And after having adorned the bride, he presents the Spouse to her. " John was the man sent as a witness so that through him all should believe in Jesus."

Jesus comes to him in the waters of the Jordan and at this divine contact the water acquired the virtue which in baptism causes our souls to be born to supernatural life. As St. John baptizes Christ in the Jordan, he hears the voice of the Father proclaiming that Jesus is His well-beloved Son. He sees the Holy Ghost hovering over him in the form of a dove and he reveals that Jesus is "the Lamb of God".

Let us remember that after having baptized the Master, the one who is called John the Baptizer has also presided over our own christening, for all the baptistries (particularly that of St. John Lateran in Rome) are dedicated to him, and his image is to be used for the adornment of baptismal fonts. Having thus been brought by him to Jesus, let us also through St. John approach the Eucharist, reciting the words of the Agnus Dei, by which he indicated the Saviour.

Mass as on the feast-day.

Hymn for the Feast of St John the Baptist

1. Ut queant laxis resonare fibris
Mira gestorum Famuli tuorum
Solve polluti Labii reatum
Sancte Joannes.

2. Nuntius celso veniens Olympo,
Te patri magnum fore nasciturum,
Nomen, et vitae seriem gerendae
Ordine promit.

3. Ille promissi dubius superni,
Perdidit promptae modulos loquelae:
Sed reformasti genitus peremptae
Organa vocis.

4. Ventris obstruso recubans cubili
Senseras Regem thalamo manentem:
Hinc parens nati meritis uterque
Abdita pandit.

5. Sit decus Patri, genitaeque Proli,
Et tibi compar utriusque virtus,
Spiritus semper, Deus unus, omni
Temporis aevo.

1. Unloose, great Baptist, our sin-fettered lips;
That with enfranchis'd voice we may proclaim
The miracles of thy transcendent life,
Thy deeds of matchless fame.

2. Oh, lot sublime! an angel quits the skies,
Thy birth, thy name, thy glory to declare
Unto thy priestly sire; while to the Lord He offers
Israel's prayer.

3. Mistrustful of the promise from on high,
His speech forsakes him at the angel's word;
But thou on thine eighth day dost re-attune
For him the vocal chord.

4. No marvel; since yet cloister'd in the womb,
The presence of Thy King had thee inspir'd;
What time Elizabeth and Mary sang
With joy prophetic fir'd.

5. Immortal glory to the Father be,
With his Almighty sole-begotten Son,
And Thee, co-equal Spirit, One in Three,
While endless ages run.

Thursday 26 June 2014

26th June, SS John and Paul, Martyrs

SS John and Paul, Martyrs

The two brothers John and Paul were Romans and in the service of Constantia, daughter of Constantine. Julian the Apostate, having invited them to be among his familiar friends, they refused, so as to remain faithful to Jesus.

Ten days were allowed them to deliberate, and they used them in distributing all they possessed to the poor. They were then arrested and "without fearing those who can only kill the body and beyond that can do nothing more" (Gospel), they became in 362, brothers more than ever, by the same faith and the same martyrdom (Collect, Gradual, Alleluia). The Church compares them "to the two olive-trees and to the two candlesticks, mentioned in the Apocalypse, which shine before the Lord." "These just men," she adds "have stood before the Lord and have not been separated from one another." Wherefore both their names, mentioned in the Canon of the Mass (first list) pass on from generation to generation, while their bodies rest in peace (Epistle) in the ancient church erected in their honour on Mount Coelius at Rome. It is there that the Station is held on the Friday after Ash Wednesday.

Let us enjoy to-day with the Church, the double triumph of SS. John and Paul (Collect) and let us, like them, courageously confess Jesus before men so that He may recognize us for His own before His angels (Gospel).

Multae tribulationes justorum, et de his omnibus liberavit eos Dominus: Dominus custodit omnia ossa eorum: unum ex his non conteretur. * Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore: semper laus ejus in ore meo.
Many were the afflictions of the just, and out of all these the Lord hath delivered them: the Lord keepeth all their bones; not one of them shall be broken. * I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall be always in my mouth.
(Psalm 33:20-21,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut nos geminata laetitia hodiernae festivitatis excipiat, quae de beatorum Joannis et Pauli glorificatione procedit; quos eadem fides et passio vere fecit esse germanos.
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we may receive twofold joy on this day's festival of the triumph of blessed John and Paul, whom the same faith and martyrdom made truly brethren.

In the Divine Office, there are proper antiphons for the psalms at Lauds and Vespers:

Paulus et Joannes dixerunt Juliano: Nos unum Deum colimus, qui fecit coelum et terram.
John and Paul said unto Julian, We worship one God, who hath made heaven and earth.

Paulus et Joannes dixerunt Terentiano: Si tuus dominus est Julianus, habeto pacem cum illo: nobis alius non est, nisi Dominus Jesus Christus.
John and Paul said unto Terentian, If thy lord be Julian, keep thou at peace with him, but as for us, we have no other lord than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joannes et Paulus, agnoscentes tyrannidem Juliani, facultates suas pauperibus erogare coeperunt.
John and Paul, when they had heard the tyrannous command of Julian, began to disperse abroad their goods among the poor.

Sancti spíritus et animae justorum, hymnum dícite Deo, alleluja.
O ye holy spirits, ye souls of the righteous, sing ye a hymn unto God, alleluia.

Joannes et Paulus dixerunt ad Gallicanum: Fac votum Deo coeli, et eris victor melius quam fuísti.
John and Paul said unto Gallican, Make thy vow unto the God of heaven, and thou shalt be yet a greater conqueror than ever thou hast been heretofore.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Wednesday 25 June 2014

25th June, St William, Abbot

St. William, Abbot

William was born of noble parents at Vercelli, in Piedmont. Having left his family and renounced his riches (Gospel), he built a monastery on Monte Vergine. Like Moses, to whom God gave His law on the mountain (Epistle), under the guidance of heaven he gave to the congregation of hermits, whose father he became (Communion), a rule, inspired, in a great measure, by that of St. Benedict. His holy life was entirely spent in the meditation of divine things (Introit), and became renowned by his numerous miracles.

After having foretold the moment of his death, he fell asleep in the Lord in 1142, and in heaven his brow was encircled with "the crown of precious stones" (Gradual, Offertory), the symbol of his virtues.

Let us walk in the footsteps of St. William, with the help of his prayers (Collect).

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium; lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. * Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:30-31,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui infirmitati nostrae, ad terendam salutis viam in Sanctis tuis exemplum et praesidium collocasti: da nobis, ita beati Gulielmi Abbatis merita venerari: ut ejusdem excipiamus suffragia, et vestigia prosequamur. 
O God, who, to help our weakness, hast given us Thy saints to be our example and protection in the way of salvation; grant that we may so venerate the merits of the blessed abbot, William, that we may both gain his prayers and follow in his footsteps.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Tuesday 24 June 2014

24th June, The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

"A prophet of the most High" (Alleluia), St. John is pre-figured by Isaias and Jeremias (Introit, Epistle, Gradual); moreover, he was consecrated before birth to announce Jesus (Secret) and to prepare souls for His coming.

The Gospel narrates the prodigies which accompanied his birth. Zachary gives his child the name which St. Gabriel has brought him from heaven, which signifies: The Lord has pardoned. He immediately recovers his speech and, filled with the Holy Ghost, he foretells the greatness of his son: "He shall walk before the face of the Lord to give unto the people the knowledge of salvation."

The angel Gabriel had announced to Zachary that "many would rejoice in the birth of St. John the Baptist". Indeed not only "the neighbours and relations of Elizabeth" solemnized the event, but every year, on its anniversary, the whole Church invites her children to share in this holy joy. She knows that the nativity "of this prophet of the most High" at this "Summer Christmas" is intimately connected with the Advent of the Messias.

After the feast of the Nativity of St. John, the days become shorter, while, on the contrary, after the nativity of the Saviour, of which this feast is the prelude, the days become longer. The Precursor must efface himself before Jesus who is the true light of faith. "He must increase," says St. John, ''and I must decrease."

The solstices were the occasion of pagan feasts when fires were lighted to honour the orb which gives us light. The Church christianized the rites seeing in them a symbol of St. John who was "a burning and brilliant lamp". Indeed "she encouraged this kind of manifestation which corresponds so well with the character of the feast. The St. John bonfires happily completed the liturgical solemnity; they showed the Church and the earthly city united in one thought." The name of the Precursor is inscribed in the Canon of the Mass at the head of the second list.

Formerly, on his feast-day three masses were celebrated in his honour, and numerous churches were dedicated to him. Parents loved to give his name to their children.

Paul the Deacon, a monk of Monte Cassino and a friend of Charlemagne, had composed, in honour of St. John the Baptist, the hymn: "Ut queant laxis." In the thirteenth century the Benedictine monk Guy of Arezzo noticed that the notes sung on the first syllabes formed the sequence of the first six degrees of the scale. He named each degree by the corresponding syllable: "Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si" and thereby greatly facilitated the study of musical intervals.

De ventre matris meae vocavit me Dominus nomine meo: et posuit os meum ut gladium acutum: sub tegumento manus suae protexit me, et posuit me quasi sagittam electam. * Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime. 
The Lord hath called me by my name from the womb of my mother, and He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow. * It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O most High.
(Isaias 49:1-2 and Psalm 91:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui praesentem diem honorabilem nobis in beati Joannis nativitate fecisti: da populis tuis spiritualium gratiam gaudiorum; et omnium fidelium mentes dirige in viam salutis aeternae.
O God, who hast made this day honourable to us by the birth of blessed John; pour forth upon Thy people the grace of spiritual joys, and direct the souls of all Thy faithful into the way of eternal salvation.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Monday 23 June 2014

23rd June, Vigil of St John the Baptist

The Vigil of St. John the Baptist

In the Gospel of March 25th, we read that the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that three months later, Elizabeth, in virtue of a divine miracle, would have a son. This is why the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is celebrated towards the end of June. This important feast is preceded by a Vigil.

Ne timeas, Zacharia, exaudita est oratio tua: et Elisabeth uxor tua pariet tibi filium, et vocabis nomen ejus Joannem: et erit magnus coram Domino: et Spiritu sancto replebitur adhuc ex utero matris suae: et multi in nativitate ejus gaudebunt. * Domine, in virtute tua laetabitur rex: et super salutare tuum exsultabit vehementer.
Fear not Zachary; thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John; and he shall be great before the Lord and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb; and many shall rejoice at his birth. * In Thy strength, O Lord, the king shall joy: and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly.
(St Luke 1:13,15,14 and Psalm 20:2 from the introit of Mass)

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut familia tua per viam salutis incedat; et beati Joannis praecursoris hortamenta sectando, ad eum quem praedixit, secura perveniat, Dominum nostrum Je-sum Christum Filium tuum.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that Thy servants may walk in the way of salvation; and by following the exhortations of blessed John the precursor, may safely attain unto Him whom he foretold, Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Sunday 22 June 2014

22nd June, St Paulinus of Nola, Bishop and Confessor

St. Paulinus, Bishop and Confessor

Paulinus, born in 353 of a very distinguished Roman family at Bordeaux, in Aquitaine, distinguished himself in his studies and became senator at the age of twenty-five. Elected consul, he established his residence at Nola, in Campania, near the tomb of St. Felix, the martyred priest whose feast the Church celebrates on January 14th1, where he was suddenly touched by grace and soon after baptized. Following the example of Christ, "who, being rich, made Himself poor" (Epistle), and who counselled the practice of the virtue of poverty (Gospel), he abandoned his great riches and at this price bought the kingdom of heaven. Having separated from his wife, who also gave herself to God, he became a priest. Later he was bishop of Nola (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion).

His former friends blamed him. He "is content with the approval of Jesus." Soon afterwards the Goths ravaged Campania and utterly despoiled the rich of Rome, who gained no merit thereby, whereas St. Paulinus, who had abandoned his riches voluntarily for Christ's sake, is rewarded a hundredfold hereafter in eternal life. He died in 431 at the age of seventy-eight, and was buried near St. Felix at Nola.

Sacerdotes tui, Domine, induant justitiam: et sancti tui exsultent: propter David servum tuum, non avertas faciem Christi tui. * Memento, Domine, David: et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice, and let Thy saints rejoice: for Thy servant David's sake, turn not away the face of Thy anointed. * O Lord, remember David and all his meekness.
(Psalm 131:9-10,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui omnia pro te in hoc saeculo relinquentibus, centuplum in futuro et vitam aeternam promisisti: concede propitius; ut sancti Pontificis Paulini vestigiis inhaerentes, valeamus terrena despicere, et sola caelestia desiderare.
O God, who hast promised a hundredfold hereafter and life everlasting to those who leave all things in this world for Thy sake; grant in Thy mercy that following in the footsteps of the holy bishop Paulinus, we may despise the things of this world and desire only those of heaven.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Saturday 21 June 2014

21st June, Dedication of the Cathedral

Dedication of the Cathedral of St Chad, Diocese of Birmingham

St Chad’s was built between 1839 and 1841 to serve the rapidly expanding Catholic population in Birmingham through the inspiration of Bishop Thomas Walsh, the Vicar Apostolic of the Central District. The present Cathedral was designed in north German 13th century style by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852), the world famous pioneer of Gothic revival architecture, and was consecrated on 21 June 1841 by Bishop Walsh. St Chad’s was the first Catholic cathedral erected in England since the Reformation. In 1941 St Chad’s was made a minor basilica by Pope Pius XII on the occasion of its centenary.

Terríbilis est locus iste: hic domus Dei est et porta coeli: et vocabitur aula Dei. * Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum! concupiscit, et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.
Terrible is this place: it is the house of God, and the gate of heaven; and it shall be called the court of God. * How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.
(Genesis 28:17 and Psalm 83:2-3 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nobis per síngulos annos hujus sancti templi tui consecrationis reparas diem, et sacris semper mysteriis repraesentas incolumes: exaudi preces populi tui, et praesta; ut, quisquis hoc templum benefícia
petiturus ingreditur, cuncta se impetrasse laetetur.
O God, who renewest unto us every year the day of the consecration of this thy holy temple, and bringest us always in safety to the celebration of these sacred mysteries: graciously hear the prayers of Thy people, and grant that whosoever shall enter this temple to ask blessings of Thee, may rejoice in obtaining all his requests.

21st June, St Aloysius Gonzaga, Confessor

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Confessor

The Holy Ghost, "distributer of heavenly gifts" (Collect), made of Aloysius, a young prince of the noble family of Gonzaga, an angel on earth, uniting in him all the marvels of innocence and mortification (Ibid.). Wherefore the Church applies to him the verse of the Psalm where the humanity of Adam before the fall and that of Christ are declared hardly inferior to angelic nature (Introit). His birth to a heavenly life preceded in a certain manner his natural birth, for he was born at the Castle of Castiglione in Italy in such perilous circumstances that they hastened his baptism (Gradual). As an infant, all those who carried him in their arms thought they held an angel. At the age of nine, at Florence, he made a vow of virginity before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, and practised during his whole life the strictest modesty in his looks. Amid the seductions of the princely courts, to which his father sent him, he kept his first innocence so faithfully that he seemed confirmed in grace (Epistle). Towards the age of eleven, he received for the first time the Bread of angels from the hands of St. Charles Borromeo (Communion). At sixteen he entered at Rome the Company of Jesus, of which he is one of the glories. He so distinguished himself by his mortification and love of God that he is compared to the elect in heaven. " They live like angels," says Jesus, because the soul will exercise ftill command over the body which will participate in its spiritual nature.

At the age of twenty-two (1591), wearing his innocence like a nuptial robe, on which shone the pearls of his continual tears, he died a victim to his devotion to the plague-stricken and ascended the holy mountain to take part in the heavenly banquet to which God invites the pure of heart (Secret, Offertory, Gradual).

Let us have recourse to the merits and intercession of St. Aloysius.

Benedict XIII gave him as a pattern to young people, in order that, not having always imitated him in his innocence, they may at least imitate him by doing penance (Collect).

Minuisti eum paulo minus ab Angelis: gloria et honore coronasti eum. * Laudate Dominum, omnes Angela ejus: laudate eum, omnes virtutes ejus.
Thou hast made him a little less than the angels: Thou hast crowned him with glory and honour. * Praise ye the Lord, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts.
(Psalm 8:6 and Psalm 148:2 from the introit of Mass)

Caelestium donorum distributor, Deus, qui in angelico juvene Aloisio miram vitae innocentiam pari cum poenitentia sociasti: ejus meritis et precibus concede; ut, innocentem non secuti, poenitentem imitemur.
O God, who, in distributing Thy heavenly gifts, didst in the angelic youth Aloysius, unite wonderful innocence of life with an equal spirit of penance: grant through his merits and prayers, that we who have not followed him in his innocence, may imitate him in his penance.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Friday 20 June 2014

20th June, St Silverius, Pope and Martyr

St. Silverius, Pope and Martyr

A son of Pope Hormisdas, who was married before receiving holy orders, Silverius was invested with full sacerdotal powers on succeeding Agapitus on the pontifical throne (Introit, Alleluia). Theodora, Empress of Constantinople, entreated him to restore to the pontifical throne of that city, a heresiarch, who, "living a slave to his impious wishes and not having the spirit of God " (Epistle), had been deposed by Agapitus. The Pope having refused, Theodora caused him to be exiled in the island of Ponza.

As a disciple of Christ, the holy Pontiff followed Him bearing his heavy cross (Gospel), and from there governed the Church "taking for his food," as he is reported to have said, "the bread of affliction and the water of anguish".

A short time after, Silverius, worn out by privations and sufferings, fell asleep in the Lord in 538. His body, carried to Rome and buried in the Vatican Basilica, was made famous by numerous miracles.

Guided by the Holy Ghost, let us beseech God to help our weakness (Collect), and to fill us with the courage shown by blessed Silverius in the defence of truth.

Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis, et principem fecit eum: ut sit illi sacerdotii dignitas in aeternum. * Memento, Domine, David, et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of the priesthood should be to him for ever. * O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.
(Ecclesiasticus 45:30 and Psalm 131:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Infirmitátem nostram réspice, omnípotens Deus: et, quia pondus própriae actiónis gravat, beáti Silverii Martyris tui atque Pontíficis intercéssio gloriósa nos prótegat.Be mindful of our weakness, O almighty God, and since the burden of our deeds is grievous to us, grant that the glorious intercession of blessed Silverius Thy martyr and bishop may protect us.
(Collect, Mass of Martyr Bishops)

Gregem tuum, Pastor aeterne, placatus intende: et per beatum Silverium, Martyrem tuum atque Summum Pontificem, perpetua protectione custodi; quem totius Ecclesiae praestitisti esse pastorem.
(Another Collect, Mass of Supreme Pontiffs )

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Thursday 19 June 2014

19th June, Blessed Sebastian Newdigate and Humphrey Middlemore, Martyrs

Blessed Sebastian Newdigate and Humphrey Middlemore, Martyrs
(In Birmingham)

Blessed Sebastian Newdigate was one of the London Charterhouse monks hanged at Tyburn for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the Church in England.

Blessed Humphrey Middlemore was a gentleman by birth who had entered the Charterhouse with the desire for Christian perfection. When the Oath of Supremacy was tendered, he resolutely refused to take it, and suffered death at Tyburn.

They were beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886.

Intret in conspectu tuo, Domine, gemitus compeditorum: redde vicinis nostris septuplum in sinu eorum: vindica sanguinem sanctorum tuorum, qui effusus est. * Deus, venerunt gentes in haereditatem tuam: polluerunt templum sanctum tuum: posuerunt Jerusalem in pomorum custodiam.
Let the sighing of the prisoners come in before Thee, O Lord; render to our neighbours sevenfold in their bosom; revenge the blood of Thy saints, which hath been shed. * O God, the heathens are come into Thy inheritance: they have defiled Thy holy temple: they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit.
(Psalm 78:11-12,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Magnificet Te, Domine Martyrum Tuorum Sebastiani et Humphreii beata solemnitas qua et illis gloriam sempiternam, et opem nobis ineffabili providentia contulisti.
May the holy anniversary of Thy blessed martyrs, Sebastian and Humphrey give glory to Thee, O Lord, who by thine unspeakable providence hast thereby given help to us and everlasting glory to them.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia on Sebastian Newdigate:
and on Humphrey Middlemore:

For further information, see:

19th June, St. Juliana Falconieri, Virgin

St. Juliana Falconieri, Virgin

Born at Florence in 1270, of the illustrious family of Falconieri, Juliana, from childhood, gave such signs of holiness that her uncle St, Alexis Falconieri declared to her mother that she had given birth to an angel. Never in the course of her life did she raise her eyes to look at a man's face, and to hear sin spoken of made her tremble (Introit).

At the age of 15, she solemnly consecrated her virginity to God (Epistle, Gospel). O Juliana, only longing for the nuptials of the heavenly Lamb, you leave your paternal roof and conduct a choir of virgins. You sigh night and day for the sorrows of your Spouse, nailed to the cross, and you shed tears at the feet of the Mother of God, whose heart is pierced by seven swords.

Having founded the Order of Mantellate (so called on account of the short mantle they wore) she was asked by St. Philip Beniti to take charge of the whole Order of Servites which honours in a special manner the Sorrows of the Virgin.

On two days a week her only food was the Bread of angels. At the age of 70, not being able to retain any food, she lamented the impossibility of receiving Holy Communion. She asked that at least the Blessed Sacrament should be held near her heart and the Sacred Bread miraculously disappeared leaving an impression in the shape of a host representing the image of Jesus crucified (Collect). She then breathed her last and was joyfully conducted to the throne of the Divine King (Gradual). It was on June 19th, 1340.

Let us beseech the Holy Ghost to grant that we may, like St. Juliana, be nourished and strengthened in our agony by the Body of Christ which will be our viaticum to the heavenly home (Collect).

Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: properea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:8,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beatam Julianam Virginem tuam extremo morbo laborantem, pretioso Filii tui corpore mirabiliter recreare dignatus es: concede, quaesumus; ut, ejus intercedentibus myitis, nos quoque eodem in mortis agone refecti ac roborati, ad caelestem patriam perducamur.
O God, who didst wonderfully refresh blessed Juliana, Thy virgin, whilst sick unto death, with the precious Body of Thy Son; we beseech Thee, through her merits, that when our last hour shall have come, we may likewise be comforted and strengthened, and be safely guided by Thee into our heavenly abode.

19th June, SS. Gervase and Protase, Martyrs

SS. Gervase and Protase, Martyrs

Sons of St. Vitalis and St. Valeria, these two saints were martyred under Nero at Milan (first cent). Gervase was beaten to death, and Protase, after having been scourged, was beheaded. St. Ambrose discovered their bodies in 386. Their names are included in the litanies of the saints.

Loquetur Dominus pacem in plebem suam: et super sanctos suos, et in eos, qui convertuntur ad ipsum. * Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam, avertisti captivitatem Jacob.
The Lord will speak peace unto His people: and unto His saints: and unto them that are converted to Him. * O Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.
(Introit: Psalm 84:9,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nos annua sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Gervasii et Protasii solemnitate laetificas: concede propitius; ut, quorum gaudemus mentis, accendamur exemplis.O God, who year by year dost gladden us by the solemnity of Thy holy martyrs Gervase and Protase, mercifully grant that we, who rejoice in their merits, may be inspired by their examples.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Wednesday 18 June 2014

18th June, SS. Mark and Marcellianus, Martyrs

Mark and Marcellianus, Martyrs

Brothers by birth, Mark and Marcellianus were brothers especially because they generously shed their blood for the sake of Christ (Alleluia). Persecuted for their faith, like the prophets and the apostles (Gospel), they were arrested under the Emperor Diocletian and were nailed by the feet to a post where they remained hanging.

The Holy Ghost, who filled their hearts with the holy love of God and the hope of an eternal reward, sustained them in their torments (Epistle) and protected them in their tribulations (Introit). "Never," they exclaimed, "have we enjoyed such delights as those we feel in suffering for Jesus Christ."

After a day and night of suffering, they were pierced with arrows, in A.D. 286, and their souls "delivered like the sparrow from the bird-catcher's net" (Offertory) entered for ever " into the kingdom which had been prepared for them from the beginning of the world " (Communion).

On this day, the anniversary of the heavenly birth of these two holy martyrs, let us ask God, through their intercession, to deliver us from all the ills that threaten us (Collect).

Salus autem justorum a Domino: et protector eorum est in tempore tribulationis. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
But the salvation of the just if from the Lord: and He is their protector in the time of trouble. * Be not emulous of evildoers; nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:39,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut, qui sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Marci et Marcelliani natalitia colimus; a cunctis malis imminentibus eorum intercessionibus liberemur.
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who celebrate the heavenly birthday of Thy holy martyrs Mark and Marcellianus, may through their intercession, be delivered from all threatening evils.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

18th June, St Ephrem, Deacon, Confessor, Doctor

St. Ephrem, Deacon, Confessor, Doctor

St. Ephrem was born at Nisibis in Mesopotamia and was one of the lights of the Church (Gospel). His father, a pagan priest, cast him out of his home. He then went as a hermit in the desert and was ordained deacon of Edessa (Communion). Led by the Holy Ghost to Caesarea in Cappadocia, he there met St. Basil. In order to refute the numerous errors which were being spread by the prayers and canticles of the heretics, he wrote poems and Christian hymns, celebrating the mysteries of the lives of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints. That is why he is called "the harp of the holy Ghost". He always had a great devotion to our Lady. He died at Edessa in 375 under the Emperor Valens. Benedict XV proclaimed him a Doctor of the universal Church (Collect).

Let us ask God, through the intercession of St. Ephrem, to defend His Church against the snares of error and wickedness (Collect).

In medio Ecclesiae aperuit os ejus: et implevit eum Dominus spiritu sapientiae et intellectus: stolam gloriae induit eum. * Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and He filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. * It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy name, O most High.
(Ecclesiasticus 15:5 and Psalm 91:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam beati Ephraem Confessoris tui et Doctoris mira eruditione et praecteris vitae meritis illustrate volulsti: te supplices exoramus; ut ipso intercedente, eam adversus erroris et pravitatis insidias perenni tua virtute defendas.
O God, who hast willed to illuminate Thy Church by the wondrous learning and excellent merits of the life of blessed Ephrem Thy confessor and doctor: we humbly beseech Thee that through his intercession Thou mayest defend it by Thine everlasting power against the wickedness and snares of the enemy.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Tuesday 17 June 2014

17th June. St Gregory Barbarigo, Bishop and Confessor

St Gregory Barbarigo, Bishop and Confessor

Gregory Barbarigo (1625-1697) was an Italian cardinal, diplomat, and scholar. He was a strong supporter of the work of the Council of Trent. He was beatified by Pope Clement XIII in 1761, and canonized Pope John XXIII in 1960.

Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis, et principem fecit eum: ut sit illi sacerdotii dignitas in aeternum. * Memento, Domine, David, et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of the priesthood should be to him for ever. * O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.
(Ecclesiasticus 45:30 and Psalm 131:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beatum Gregorium, Confessorem tuum atque Pontificem, pastorali sollicitudine et pauperum miseratione clarescere voluisti: concede propitius; ut, cuius merita celebramus, caritatis imitemur exempla.
O God, who did will that Blessed Gregory, Thy confessor and bishop, should be renowned for his pastoral care and his mercy for the poor; grant, we beseech Thee, that we who celebrate his merits may also imitate the example of his charity.

For more information: