Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A Rogation Day Procession in Paris

The church of St Eugène in Paris always celebrates the liturgy in an exemplary fashion, and not only because our friends of the Schola Sainte Cécile are the in-house choir, and sing such beautiful music, always appropriately chosen for the liturgical day. The church also makes a great effort to preserve the best of the liturgical traditions of its city and nation, as, for example, in the celebration of Vespers on Easter according to the old medieval form, which we have highlighted previously. Yesterday offered another very good example of this; during the Rogation procession, they carried several relics, including a classic palanquin for a large reliquary.

The program of the entire ceremony (in Latin and French) can be seen here: There are three musical parts at the Mass which are also particularly worth noting.

- During the incensation at the Offertory (1:12:00), the choir sings one of the most ancient surviving liturgical texts of all, a litany composed by St Martin of Tours, and used in the ancient Gallican Rite. (Explained in greater detail in an article by Henri de Villiers, the head of the Schola.)
- At the distribution of Communion (1:30:54), the choir sings a processional antiphon for the Major Litanies, formerly used also in the Roman Rite, and maintained in the Use of Paris. As noted in the program, this was sung by St Augustine of Canterbury and his companions when they processed into the city in 597 to present themselves to King Ethelbert of Kent. “Deprecamur te, Domine, in omni misericordia tua, ut auferatur furor tuus et ira tua a civitate ista, et de domo sancta tua, quoniam peccavimus, alleluia. - We beseech Thee, o Lord, that Thy furor and wrath be taken away from this city, and from Thy holy house, for we have sinned, alleluia.”
- At the recessional (1:40:12), another such antiphon is sung: “De Jerusalem exeunt reliquiae, et salvatio de monte Sion; propterea protectio erit huic civitati, et salvabitur propter David, famulum ejus, alleluia. - From Jerusalem shall go forth the remnants (‘reliquiae’ - also ‘relics), and salvation from Mount Zion, wherefore, this city shall have protection, and shall be saved for the sake of David, his servant, alleluia.”

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