Thursday, December 7, 2017

No Advent Lessons And Carols In Divine Worship Missal

My wife and I attended an Advent festival of lessons and carols at St Mary of the Angels this past Sunday. This was very well done and shows how well Dr Kathleen Moon, the music director, has held the program together though several years of extreme difficulty. Clearly the service was following a liturgy, and the liturgy was good enough that it was making me think better of the DWM, that is, if the DWM had a liturgy for an Advent festival of lessons and carols -- a uniquely Anglican Advent celebration. So I posed the question to Fr Kelley, who replied,
The format for the Lessons & Carols was created by Bishop Edward White Benson, when he was the brand new Bishop of Truro (a newly created diocese, ca. 1877). He wanted to establish some "traditions" for the new diocese. The original format had 9 lessons, but we've kept to seven here. King's College, Cambridge, still keeps to nine, as do most of the English cathedrals. King's is the one the BBC usually broadcasts live each year. The Bidding Prayer is basically that composed by Bp Benson. . . .

So, no, the Lessons & Carols isn't found in the Ordinariate sources; but there's no reason why it shouldn't be incorporated in some future edition. It is very flexible, in terms of what can be incorporated, both in the lesson selection, and in the musical opportunities. The Magnficat is not a "standard" part; but given the Visitation Gospel lesson, which is an alternative in the lists, it seemed perfectly appropriate to include a Magnificat said to be one of Pope Benedict's favorites, & to do it as a Solemn Magnificat, in the best St. Mary's tradition.

As far as I can tell, the dicasteries had something like a dozen people on this thing, and they managed not to think of the Advent festival of lessons and carols. Given the history Fr Kelley gives, this is an authentic treasure of the Anglican spiritual patrimony.

UPDATE: A visitor notes,

The service known as “Lessons and Carols” does not have a rite in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, either, and thus does not have status as liturgical prayer even within the Anglican tradition.

Since “Lessons and Carols” does not involve any sacrament, there is nothing that precludes any Catholic parish or other congregation from holding such a service. Canonically, “Lessons and Carols” is a pious devotion.

However, worthwhile as such a service can be, so far, I note that nothing is being said about it this year by the people at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society blog. A good question would be how many OCSP communities are holding this at all.