Saturday, July 29, 2017

Arranging the EF Breviary for the Rest of the Liturgical Year

This is our annual posting on one of the discrepancies between the traditional arrangement of the Roman Breviary and the new rubrics of 1960; the first such discrepancy appear at Vespers this evening. Previous versions of this post were done to explain the difference in dating the September Ember Days, but this year, they are the same in both systems.

One of the changes made to the Breviary in the revision of 1960 regards the arrangement of the months from August to November.

The first Sunday of each of these months is the day on which the Church begins to read a new set of scriptural books at Matins, with their accompanying responsories, and antiphons at the Magnificat at Vespers of Saturday; these readings are part of a system which goes back to the sixth century. In August, the books of Wisdom are read; in September, Job, Tobias, Judith and Esther; in October the books of the Macchabees; in November, Ezechiel, Daniel, and the twelve minor Prophets. (September is actually divided into two sets of readings, Job having a different set of responsories from the other three books.)

The “first Sunday” of each of these months is traditionally that which occurs closest to the first calendar day of the month, even if that day occurs within the end of the previous month. This year, for example, the first Sunday “of August” is actually tomorrow, July 30th, the Sunday closest to the first day of August.

In the 1960 revision, however, the first Sunday of the months from August to November is always that which occurs first within the calendar month. According to this system, the first Sunday of August is the 6th this year.

This change also accounts for one of the peculiarities of the 1960 Breviary, the fact that November has four weeks, which are called the First, Third, Fourth and Fifth. According to the older calculation, November has five weeks when the fifth of the month is a Sunday, as it is this year. (This is also the arrangement that has the shortest possible Advent of 3 weeks and one day.) According to the newer calculation, November may have three or four weeks, but never five. In order to accommodate the new system, one of the weeks had to be removed; the second week of November was chosen, to maintain the tradition that at least a bit of each of the Prophets would continue to be read in the Breviary.

The Sundays for the rest of the liturgical year, according to the traditional system:
July 30th - the 1st Sunday of August (The readings from the Sapiential books begin.)
August 6th - the 2nd Sunday of August (commemorated on the feast of the Transfiguration.)
August 13th - the 3rd Sunday of August
August 20th - the 4th Sunday of August
August 27th - the 5th Sunday of August

September 3 - the 1st Sunday of September
September 10 - the 2nd Sunday of September
September 17 - the 3rd Sunday of September (Ember week)
September 24 - the 4th Sunday of September

October 1 - the 1st Sunday of October
October 8 - the 2nd Sunday of October
October 15 - the 3rd Sunday of October
October 22 - the 4rd Sunday of October

October 29 - the 1st Sunday of November (commemorated on the feast of Christ the King)
November 5 - the 2nd Sunday of November
November 12 - the 3rd Sunday of November
November 19 - the 4th Sunday of November
November 26 - the 5th Sunday of November

The Sundays for the rest of the liturgical year, according to the 1960 system:
July 30th - the 8th Sunday after Pentecost (the second week of readings from 3 Kings.)

August 6th - the 1st Sunday of August (The first week of readings from the Sapiential books; the entire Office of the Sunday is omitted this year on the feast of the Transfiguration)
August 13th - the 2nd Sunday of August
August 20th - the 3rd Sunday of August
August 27th - the 4th Sunday of August

September 3 - the 1st Sunday of September
September 10 - the 2nd Sunday of September
September 17 - the 3rd Sunday of September (Ember week)
September 24 - the 5th Sunday of September

October 1 - the 1st Sunday of October
October 8 - the 2nd Sunday of October
October 15 - the 3rd Sunday of October
October 22 - the 4rd Sunday of October
October 29 - the 5th Sunday of October (The entire Office of the Sunday is omitted this year on the feast of Christ the King)

November 5 - the 1st Sunday of November
November 12 - the 3rd Sunday of November
November 19 - the 4th Sunday of November
November 26 - the 5th Sunday of November

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