Proper Verses for the Regina Cæli on the Ascension and Pentecost

Some pre-Tridentine mediæval uses had the custom of altering the third verse of the antiphon Regina cæliResurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia (“Hath risen as he said”)—for the feasts and octaves of the Ascension and Whitsun. The 1560 Breviary of Barcelona, for instance, has the following rubric:

And it is to be noted that from the day of the Ascension until the vigil of Pentecost inclusive [the verse] Resurrexit is omitted & is said Iam ascendit (“Hath already ascended”). And on the day of Pentecost and throughout its octave in the place of the song Iam ascendit sicut dixit is said Adimplevit quod promisit (“Hath fulfilled what he promised”).

Although in the Dominican use the Salve regina is said after Compline throughout the year, adding an alleluia during Paschaltide, some houses did have the custom of singing in Paschaltide the Regina cæli during the procession to the Rosary altar held on Saturdays after Compline, in place of the usual prose Inviolata. Whenever the Regina cæli was sung between Ascension and the Vigil of Pentecost, the verse Resurrexit was also changed to Jam ascendit. In his study on Dominican Compline, Frank Gorton asserts that this practice dates back to 1256 (Compline in the Dominican Rite, p. 141).

The Regina cæli in the 1949 Completorii Libellus juxta ritum S. Ordinis Prædicatorum (p. 132).

Vignettes of Capitular Life in Barcelona: More Stipends, Obits, and Vervain Garlands

As Canon Fàbrega explained in the excerpt posted last week, the clergy of the Cathedral of Barcelona received daily distributions inter praesentes which came from three different purses or funds: the canonical purse, the purse of the Manna, and the common or Anniversary purse. Having described the stipend the canons received  from the first purse each day if they were present in quire, he now turns to the two other sources of payment.

The High Altar of the Cathedral of Barcelona as it looked from the 14th century until 1969, when the retable was ripped away and the sanctuary redesigned in the wake of Vatican II. Engraving by F. J. Parcerisa, 1839.

In addition to the canonical distributions that were reserved to the canons alone, the canons and beneficiaries received another stipend from the hands of the manner or bursar of the Manna, which was “the distribution given for the obits and funerals to be said in the said church” (Libre dels oficials, f. 46r). The amount of this distribution was fixed according to the different categories of burials and Requiem masses.

The third group of distributions inter praesentes which Cathedral clergy received came from the Anniversary purse, also called the common purse because both canons and beneficiaries were paid from it. The Libre dels oficials states, “In this church there is a distribution vulgarly called the common distribution, or Anniversary distribution, which is meted out to the reverend canons and beneficiaries who participate in the divine offices, both day and night” (ff. 46r-47v).

This purse was managed by a protector, a procurator, and a bursar, who had to oversee a variety of aspects of Cathedral life, all of which were suitably enumerated in the chapter constitutions. I cannot mention them all, but by way of example here are a few of their responsibilities (ff. 51):

Pay twenty pounds every year for dowries of maidens to be married.

Pay the usual salaries of the Chapter’s proctors, of the organist of this Cathedral, of the organ pumper, of the protector of the said Anniversaries, of the archivist, of the Chapter notary, of the librarian, of the standard-bearers on Corpus Christi, of the scholar of the chapel of St. Eulalia, and of the readers of the Passions on Holy Week.

Every time a procession of pilgrims to the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat is held, the procurator of the said Anniversaries is bound and obliged to go before the said procession and to find inns for lodging and to feed the clergy of this Cathedral who go in the said procession, as is the custom, and must also pay from this purse all the expenses of food and drink and otherwise.

Ensure the lighting for the feast of Our Lady in February, and give wax candles to the officials, as is the custom.

Care for the green candle that shines before the True Cross.

Ensure that the vervain garlands are prepared on the morrow of the feast of St. John in June.

But the task that occupied the greater part of the bursar’s time was certainly the management of the stipends he had to give daily to each of the canons, beneficiaries, and chaplains who participated in the liturgical life of the quire or in other legitimately assigned duties. These distributions were also minutely regulated and we cannot explain them fully here, but the norm was the following:

On semidoubles, simples, and ferias

Mattins: 1 penny at the Invitatory
               2 pence at the II Nocturn
               1 penny at the Te Deum
               1 more penny, at the bursar’s discretion
Minor hours: 4 pence (one penny for each hour)
Mass: 1 penny at the Kyrie
           4 pence at the preface
Vespers: 4 pence
Compline: 2 pence
Total: 1 shilling and 8 pence

On Sundays and doubles

Mattins: 1 penny at the Invitatory
               2 pence at the II Nocturn
               1 penny at the Te Deum
               2 more pence, at the bursar’s discretion
Minor hours: 4 pence (one penny for each hour)
Procession: 3 pence
Mass: 2 pence at the Kyrie
           4 pence at the preface
Vespers: 4 pence
Compline: 2 pence
Total: 2 shillings and 1 penny 

Beneficiaries who were not priests received the same amounts minus one penny at Mattins and another at High Mass. Chaplains had somewhat smaller stipends.

At Christmas Mattins, the bursar of the common purse gave each of the assistants two rals (each ral was worth two shillings), and at Tenebrae, he gave each fourteen pence.

Those who attended the processions of Corpus Christi, St. Eulalia, St. Severus, the Assumption, and the Conception received seven pence instead of the usual three, and at the Kyrie at the High Masses on these feasts, they received four pence instead of the usual twopence. 

Vignettes of Capitular Life in Barcelona: A Shilling for Mattins

In the previous installment of this series, Canon Fàbrega i Grau described the “portions” received by those who worked in the Cathedral, which were originally given in foodstuffs, although part thereof was later given in coin. These portions came from half of the Chapter’s patrimony, which itself was divided into twelve equal parts each administered by a provost. Each of the twelve provosts was assigned a month during which he was to hand out the daily portions due to each “portioner”.

The other half of the Chapter’s patrimony was managed by the Casa de la Caritat (“House of Charity”), which used a certain share thereof for works of piety, hence its name. The Casa de la Caritat was established on 24 April 1226 by Bishop Berenguer de Palou, and was originally administered by two canons called caritaters, although within a few decades a single canon-caritater carried out this task.

Faced with a financial crisis, in 1273 Bishop Arnold de Gurb imposed a yearly tax on the ten richest parishes of the diocese, which thenceforth provided the Cathedral with 275 pounds per annum. The canon-caritater was assigned to manage this sum, and was responsible for doling out a certain portion of the money every day to the canons if they were present at the liturgical offices. Fàbrega i Grau now describes how these “daily distributions” worked.


Besides the distribution of the portions, the Cathedral clergy also received funds from another endowment if they were actually present in the functions that took place in the Cathedral throughout the day. These distributions, handed out to those who were physically present in their proper places, came from three different funds or purses: a) the canonical purse; b) the purse of Manna; and c) the common or Anniversary purse.

Ever since the financial reform of the Barcelonan chapter undertaken by Bishop Arnold de Gurb in 1273, the canon-caritater was in charge of handing out what were called the canonical distributions, because they only applied to canons. But since on account of changes in the administration of the distributions, fewer and fewer of them were given as foodstuffs and more and more in coin, on 23 February 1570, Bishop William Caçador instituted a new canonical officer to take over its administration: the clavari (Latin clavarius, “key-bearer”). 

The clavarius was to oversee the daily distributions made in coin made through the hands of a beneficiary who held the office of bursar. The bursar was tasked with handing out the requisite amounts to the canons throughout the day, either in quire or in the places of work assigned by the chapter constitutions. He made the distributions according to a previously-established programme. Although I cannot enter here into too much detail, I can say that these distributions were, generally speaking, the following:

• At Mattins, during the reading of the homily, that is, during the three readings of the Third Nocturn: 1 shilling (on ordinary major doubles, 2 more shillings were added)
• At the beginning of the procession held every Sunday and on double majors before High Mass: 2 pence
• At the end of the procession: 2 pence (on ordinary double majors, 1 shilling was added)
• At High Mass “a bit before raising God”: 2 shillings
• At Vespers, during the Magnificat: 1 shilling
• At Compline, during the Nunc dimittis: 4 pence

Total: 4 shillings and 8 pence

The clergy of the Cathedral of Barcelona entering quire in procession (Engraving by F. J. Parcerisa, 1839).

Extraordinary distributions were meted out on the greatest feasts. Here are a few examples, since I am unable to provide the financial programme of all of them:

On the feast of the Circumcision (1 January)

• I Vespers: 3 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence
• Mattins: 3 shillings
• Procession: 1 shilling
• High Mass: 6 shillings
• II Vespers: 3 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence

Total: 16 shillings and 8 pence

On the feast of the martyrdom of St. Eulalia, patroness of Barcelona (12 February):

• I Vespers: 5 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence
• Mattins: 3 shillings
• Procession: 1 shilling
• High Mass: 6 shillings
• II Vespers: 5 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence

Total: 20 shillings and 8 pence

On the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross, titular of the Cathedral (3 May):

• I Vespers: 2 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence
• Mattins: 3 shillings
• Procession: 2 shillings
• High Mass: 3 shillings
• II Vespers: 2 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence

Total: 12 shillings and 8 pence

On the feast of Corpus Christi:

“In addition to the usual, during the procession let each canon receive 24 shillings, and during the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the high altar, on the feast day and throughout the octave, 1 shilling” (Libre dels oficials, f. 40r)

On the feast of the Conception of Our Lady (8 December):

“In addition to the usual, at the procession, 3 shillings” (Libre dels oficials, f. 40v)

On the feast of Christmas:

• I Vespers: 5 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence
• Mattins: 24 shillings
• Procession: 1 shilling
• High Mass: 6 shillings
• II Vespers: 5 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence

Total: 41 shillings and 8 pence

– pp. 40-42

Our Lady of China

Today the Chinese celebrate the feast of Our Lady of China.

Our Lady of China.jpg

During the Boxer Rebellion, a great number of soldiers attacked the village of Donglu, Hebei. The village consisted of a small community of Christians founded by the Vincentian Fathers. The Virgin Mary appeared in white, and a fiery horseman (believed to be St Michael) chased away the soldiers. The pastor, Fr Wu, commissioned a painting of Mary with Christ child dressed in golden imperial robes. This painting became the image of Our Lady, Queen of China. Donglu became a place of pilgrimage in 1924. The image was blessed and promulgated by Pope Pius XI in 1928.

At the close of the 1924 Shanghai Synod of Bishops in China, the first national conference of bishops in the country, Archbishop Celso Costantini, Apostolic Delegate in China, along with all the bishops of China, consecrated the Chinese people to the Blessed Virgin Mary. An officially-sanctioned image of Our Lady of China was blessed, granted and promulgated by Pope Pius XI in 1928. In 1941, Pope Pius XII designated the feast day as an official feast of the Catholic liturgical calendar. In 1973, following the Second Vatican Council, the Chinese Bishops conference, upon approval from the Holy See, placed the feast day on the vigil of Mothers Day.

There is a fuller version of the history here.

The Mass has several proper parts.

The readings are Act 1:12-14 and Jn 19:25-27. The Psalm is 113:1-3, 4-6, 7-8. Of these, the psalm and Gospel are optional parts of the Commune Festorum BMV. 

The Communion is Ave Maria, Gratia plena, Dominus tecum, Benedicta tu in mulieribus. Alleluia.

The Collect and Postcommunion are proper (here translated by a friend from China, though an official version may exist somewhere):

Collect: Almighty and everliving God, you chose Mary to be the Mother of Your Son and to be Our Mother. We ask that, through her prayers, you may bless the billions of the Chinese people, grant peace and an abundant harvest of grain to our country and our people, and make the whole nation know you, love you, and serve you. We ask this through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.

Postcommunion: Lord, in this feast we have received the Bread of Heaven. We ask that, through the prayers of Our Lady of China, you may bless us, make us constantly imitate the virtues of Our Lady, love you, and serve you with all our heart. We ask you to hear us, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Readers of Chinese can find the Mass here: http://catholic-dlc.org.hk/frame3.htm.

In addition to the Mass, there is a prayer of consecration to Our Lady of China:

Prayer to Our Lady of China:

Hail, Holy Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mother of all nations and all people. You are the special heavenly Mother of the Chinese people. Teach us, your way of total obedience to God’s will. Help us to live our lives true to our faith. Fill our hearts with burning love for God and each other. Stir up in our youth, an unconditional giving of self to the service of God. We call on your powerful intercession for peace, reconciliation and unity among the believers and conversion of the unbelievers in China and throughout the world, for God’s mercy is our only hope. Our Lady of China, Mother of Jesus, hear our petitions and pray for us. Amen.

Consecration of the Chinese People to Our Lady of China:

O Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother, with sincere filial love, we consecrate to your most tender, most loving immaculate heart, our bodies, souls, abilities, lives, words and deeds, and all that we have. We also consecrate to you the Chinese people throughout the world. We pray that you be the Mother of priests and all missionaries. May they loyally and zealously proclaim the Kingdom of God. Be the Mother of all Christians. Help them to progress in virtue and to shine forth evermore the splendor of faith. Be the Mother of all unbelievers. Deliver them from darkness and lead them into the light of Faith. We beseech you to show mercy to the immense population of Chinese descent. They have all been redeemed by the precious blood of your Divine Son. Through your most efficacious intercession, may they all take refuge in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Source of life and holiness, and become one fold under One Shepherd in the Church.

Help of Christians, pray for us. Holy Mary, Mother of all Graces, pray for us. Our Lady of China, Queen of the Chinese People in Heaven, pray for us.

中華聖母 Our Lady of China.jpg