Saturday & Office of Our Lady on the Sabbath

A Missing Feria and a Mising Office

The Anglican Breviary (AB) has a full ferial Saturday Office. The AB also has the Office of Saint Mary on the Sabbath. Practically this means that whenever the ferial Office for Saturday should occur it is suppressed by the Office of Our Lady on the Sabbath. To some, like me, this might seem somewhat bothersome. The ferial Psalms are used, as are the ferial Antiphons, but the Hymn, readings, versicles, and other elements are for the Feast rather than for the Saturday as a Feria. The other days in the week have their ferial Offices celebrated regularly (depending upon the Kalendar one is using) but the Saturday Office is structurally excluded from being said.

I have been wondering – for some time now – if there is a way to “fix” (a very bad word in most liturgical contexts) this. I have come up with the idea to add the Office of Our Lady on the Sabbath to the Office of Saturday whenever there does not occur a ix lesson feast. This would require the user of the AB to treat the Office of Our Lady on the Sabbath as if it were the Little of Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The latter Office was party of the regularly recited Offices since the 8th century or so and this “fix” would in a sense restore the ferial Saturday from oblivion to actually being said regularly, and it would at the same time restore – at least partially – the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

From Sabbath Office of Our Lady to the Little Office of the BVM

The Rubrics found on p. G1 specify how the Sabbath Office of Our Lady is to be said. I will re-write those Rubrics here to fit the idea described above:

This Office is to be added to every Saturday of the year whereon a Feast of simple rite may be celebrated except when the Saturday is occupied by a Simple Octave Day. In occurrence with a Feast of simple rite other than an Octave Day, the Saturday Office [of Our Lady] is preferred and the Feast is commemorated; but in concurrence with II Vespers of a Feast, the Saturday Office [of Our Lady] has a commemoration when the Rubrics permit.


For Vespers that means that after Friday Vespers the Vespers of Our Lady is said immediately following. The Psalms used for the Saturday Office of Our lady will be the Vespers given in Common I of the BVM. The same is true for the Lauds and the Hours the next day. For Matins the Psalms of Nocturn I of Common I of the BVM will be used and the rest is as given in the AB for the Mattins of the Sabbath Office of Our Lady. If adding the Hours of Our Lady is too burdensome, the Saturday Psalms can be used and the Chapter will of the Sabbath Office of Our Lady. There will be no II Vespers and Compline will remain as it is for Fridays.

The thoughts of the readers of this blog are sought and you are encouraged to share them!

Gregory +

About Father Gregory

I am an Anglican Catholic Priest, currently residing in Orvelte, the Netherlands.
This entry was posted in Anglican Breviary, Rubrics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Saturday & Office of Our Lady on the Sabbath

  1. Ryan Ellis says:

    This would be true for the Roman Breviary, as well. So it’s a general problem, not an AB one.

    One disadvantage is that this changes the rules too much for clerics. They cannot do this and comply with Summorum Pontificum.

    That leaves lay amateurs like me. In evaluating this idea for us, it strikes me as lengthening an otherwise very long AB devotion. We have families, jobs, etc. and it’s taken years just to build up an AB practice as it is. Adding on more to the office (albeit on a Saturday) is just too much.

    But since laity can have some liberties with the office, I would suggest the following change to your scheme: the Saturday office our Lady is said on the first ferial Saturday of the month. On subsequent ferial Saturdays, the ferial Saturday office is used.

    In practice, this maintains the cycle of BVM-Sat readings and ensures that few months are skipped in a year. It also means that the ferial office will occasionally be used, though no more than several times a year for those using a robust festal calendar.

    • Father Gregory says:

      Ryan: that is a great suggestion! Thank you. I have received more feedback and will re-write or at least edit this post to reflect the suggestions.

      Gregory +

      • Ryan Ellis says:

        One quick correction to my suggestion: when I say “the first ferial Saturday of a month,” I of course mean the first Saturday which is not occupied by a feast of semi-double rank or higher (in other words, the first Saturday in which the BVM Office is allowed to be used).

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