Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

Archive for the ‘Liturgy’ Category

Chanting the Psalms

Posted by universalis on 19 July 2018

The Grail psalms, which are used in the English Liturgy of the Hours, are designed with a given number of stresses in each line. The number of syllables per line may vary from one verse to the next, but the stress pattern remains consistent throughout the psalm. As one might say:

When chánting each psálm,
the páttern of stréss is consístent.
If you lóok at the márks,
you will sée how the psálm should be chánted.

In general, among the printed Liturgy of the Hours books, the English books tend to include these marks (“pointing”) and the American ones tend not to. The latest versions of Universalis give you a choice between viewing the stress marks (if they are helpful) or hiding them (if they are distracting).

The question then arises – what to do with these marks once you have them?

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Cheating with the daytime Hours

Posted by universalis on 13 July 2018

In the Liturgy of the Hours, the daytime Hours (Terce, Sext and None) are designed to cater for all preferences. Specifically, they are designed to cater for people who celebrate all three of them each day and also for people who celebrate only one.

The tricky thing about the daytime Hours is that what psalms you use depends on which kind of person you are. There are “psalms of the day” which should be used each day, once only; and there are “complementary psalms” which should be used at any daytime Hour when you don’t recite the psalms of the day. Moreover, now and then, there are rules about which Hour you can use the psalms of the day at, and which you can’t.

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When do the psalm-prayers happen?

Posted by universalis on 23 February 2018

In the revision and renewal of the Liturgy of the Hours that was completed in the early 1970s, one of the important and interesting changes was the addition of “psalm-prayers”, collects that are inserted after each psalm and canticle. As §112 of the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours puts it:

Orationes super psalmos, quae recitantes adiuvent in eorum interpretatione praecipue christiana, in Supplemento libri Liturgiae Horarum pro singulis psalmis proponuntur et possunt ad libitum adhiberi ad normam veteris traditionis, ita scilicet ut, absoluto psalmo et aliquo silentii spatio observato, oratio psallentium affectus colligat et concludat.

“Prayers on the psalms, to help those who recite the psalms to interpret them in a particularly Christian sense, are offered for each psalm in the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours. They can, if wished, be added to the Office, following an ancient tradition – that is, the psalm having been completed and a certain period of silence having been observed, to bring together the thoughts and feelings of those who have recited the psalm, and to bring them to a conclusion.”

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Mass readings on the Memorials of saints

Posted by universalis on 29 August 2017

The Lectionary gives readings for most saints’ days. So do the printed missals, and so do a lot of web sites.

In most cases the readings given should not be used.

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More audio in Universalis

Posted by universalis on 1 February 2017

Adding Sung Latin Compline to Universalis has been a great success, even though it is so far only available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. (We do plan to produce an Android version later this year).

Now we have started to add speech as well as music.

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Malayalam in Universalis

Posted by universalis on 20 September 2016

The project to provide Malayalam translations of the Mass texts – the Order of Mass, the readings and psalms, and the prayers and antiphons – is almost complete.

Because we have been given these texts free of charge, we do not intend to charge for them. Here is how this works:

Android

Catholic Calendar normally has a one-month period during which it shows you the full text that the paid-for Universalis app would show. But if, in the app settings, you set the “Order of Mass” language to “Malayalam”, then for the Mass pages only this time limit is removed and you will be able to view the Mass without ever having to pay.

This is available now.

Windows and Mac

The Universalis program normally has a one-month period during which it shows you everything; after that, you need to buy and enter a registration code if you want to carry on seeing anything other than the “About Today” page. But if, in the “Translations” screen, you set the “Order of Mass” language to “Malayalam”, then the Mass pages will always be visible and will not require a registration code.

This is available now.

iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

Free access to Malayalam text will be available in the next release.

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Music in Universalis

Posted by universalis on 15 September 2016

We have long wanted to be able to add music to Universalis, and now at last we have been able to take the first step. Users of the Universalis and Catholic Calendar apps on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch can now hear:

  • The Marian anthem at the end of Compline (Night Prayer), free of charge.
  • The whole of sung Latin Compline for Sundays, as an in-app purchase.

A useful liturgical fact is that Sunday Compline is allowed to be used on any day of the week, not just Sunday. A useful technical fact is that we have been able to get Universalis to show the sung Latin in parallel with the English and to highlight each line as it is being sung. This means that as you listen, you know where you are and what the sung words mean.

This music has been recorded specially for us by the Schola Cantorum of The London Oratory School, is one of the leading liturgical choirs in Britain. We are grateful to Charles Cole, the Director of the Schola Cantorum, and the choristers for recording sung Compline. We would also like to express our gratitude to Father George Bowen of the London Oratory for his enthusiasm and support, and to the Fathers of the London Oratory for allowing the recording to be made in St Wilfrid’s Chapel, Brompton Oratory, London.

We intend to provide more music (and audio generally) throughout Universalis, so look out for updates! As soon as more music is available, we will also work on adding it to the Android app and possibly to the Windows and Mac programs.

Posted in Downloadable Universalis, Liturgy | 1 Comment »

The two-year cycle of the Office of Readings

Posted by universalis on 29 April 2016

Update: Here is how to get the two-year cycle in your Universalis program or app.

When the liturgy was extensively revised in 1970, one of the themes was the inclusion of a far wider range of biblical readings. At Mass, this meant a three-year cycle of Sunday readings and a two-year cycle of weekday readings. In the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours this meant a two-year cycle, both of Scripture readings and of the patristic Second Readings which accompany them.

The two-year cycle covers the whole of salvation history and uses practically every book of the Bible – not avoiding tricky passages which need thorough reading and meditation and aren’t suitable for the “listen fast or it’s gone” nature of the readings at Mass. It is also carefully designed to be out of step with the Mass readings, so that if you hear a passage read at Mass then it won’t appear in the Office of Readings for a year (or at worst, for a few months).

This masterpiece is lovingly described in §§147 to 152 of the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours. But if you look in the actual printed books – it isn’t there. In its place is a one-year cycle of readings, covering half the material.

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An English Christmas bug

Posted by universalis on 22 December 2013

Since at various times it has been necessary to point out errors in the American version of the Liturgy, particularly around Christmas, it seems only fair to say that the English translator has his moments as well.

At First Vespers for the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Magnificat antiphon is taken from the Magnificat antiphons for the days between 18 and 24 December.

At Vespers for the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Magnificat antiphon is taken from the Magnificat antiphons for the days between 18 and 24 December.

So far, so good.

But at Lauds (Morning Prayer) for the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Benedictus has antiphons of its own, a different one for each year of the three-year cycle. The English version ignores this fact. It says that the Benedictus antiphon should be ‘as provided among the antiphons for 17 to 23 December’.

This is wrong.

 

Posted in Calendars, Liturgy | 2 Comments »

Psalms of the day in the daytime Hours

Posted by universalis on 17 December 2013

 

A question has been asked on Stack Exchange about why Universalis sometimes gives a choice of psalms for the daytime Hours and sometimes not. I don’t live on Stack Exchange, but Andrew Leach, who does, pointed the question out to me and I thought that it might be worth putting the answer on the Universalis blog.

The Breviary gives a set of psalms to be used at a daytime Hour – at the daytime Hour, if you only recite one, or at a daytime Hour if you recite two or three of them in the day. The remaining daytime Hours then use what are called “complementary psalms”, one for Terce, one for Sext, one for None. So the simple rule is: pick one Hour for the psalms of the day, and use the complementary psalms at the other Hours.

Now and then, however, the Breviary sets limits on when you use the psalms of the day. For instance, on Monday of the third week of Advent, if you recite Sext, then you must use the psalms of the day at Sext and not at another hour. Only a few days are affected, and the restriction looks rather arbitrary. The Stack Exchange question asks for a reason for it, because no reason is given in the Breviary.

When I was programming Universalis I had to include the restriction, and I was also curious about the reasons. It turned out to be simple once I’d worked it out. Looking at my example of Monday of the third week of Advent, Vespers includes Psalm 70(71), and so do the complementary psalms for Sext. Thus, in the interest of not having the same psalm twice on the same day, one shouldn’t use the complementary psalms at Sext – which, turned round, becomes “If you are celebrating Sext, you must use the psalms of the day then”.

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