Office for the Dead: Evening Prayer Canticle of Mary

We pick up on our examination of the Office for the Dead with the liturgical highlight of Evening Prayer, the Canticle of Mary.

After the psalms, New Testament canticle, reading, possible homily, and brief responsory, the passage from Luke 1:46-55 is sung. Yes, the rubric specifies sung.

391. If evening prayer is celebrated in the church, the altar may be incensed during the canticle, then the minister and the congregation. All stand as one of the following antiphons is sung by the cantor and then repeated by all.

Outside the Easter season:

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I shall not turn away.


During the Easter season:

Our crucified and risen Lord has redeemed us, alleluia.

Then all make the sign of the cross as the canticle begins. The stanzas of the canticle are sung by all and the antiphon is repeated after the last stanza.

Before we get to your comments, some observations:

  • Note the place of incense in the ritual. The OCF doesn’t indicate if the casket may be incensed. I suppose it could be done, if the body is present.
  • Note that the people stand as they would for the proclamation of the Gospel at a Liturgy of the Word.
  • I’m not aware of these antiphon texts being set to music in any collection for the funeral rites. They would seem to be a priority for any such project.
  • I don’t think the liturgical police would be called if the Magnificat were sung in alternating stanzas antiphonally, but the rite seems to prefer a through-sung setting by the people.

Any thoughts?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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