Dies Irae

What are the rules regarding this hymn for the Mass? It’s a requiem I know this much. Outside of the Easter and Holy Week stuff, my favorite day of the liturgical calendar is November 1st.

Is this Wikipedia article correct? And if it isn’t, can someone, who knows how to, clean it up some?


Wikipedia’s religious coverage (and I say this as one who is quite involved therein) can tend to have an unintentional slant. For instance, the Anglicanism WikiProject has a decidedly Anglo-Catholic flavour. The innocent visitor to Wikipedia could be forgiven for inferring that all Anglicans pray the rosary, practice Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and use the Roman Missal for Mass.

In the case of articles dealing with the Roman Rite, the bias tends to be toward the extraordinary form. I had a devil of a time fixing up the article on the Orate Fratres because it talked exclusively about the EF. I’m an EF kind of guy, but I thought it was silly that the OF wasn’t even mentioned.

So, without knowing whether this is true of the article you cite in particular, I would caution you that there may be information in it that does not reflect the ordinary form.

Happy reading!

The Wikipedia article seems correct in that the Dies Irae is not part of what we know as the Ordinary Form of the Mass, but it is still part of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

As regards the Extraordinary Form, my Missal at the Dies Irae says that

“This Sequence is always said in the Mass on the day of death or the funeral or pro-burial Mass. It can be omitted in all other Masses for the dead.”

By “all other Masses for the dead” it seems to be referring to the traditional Masses on the third, seventh, or thirtieth day after burial, the Mass on the Anniversary, and the Daily Mass for the Dead (which can be celebrated on certain ferias, or weekdays). The words “can be omitted” is a little unclear to me; does that imply that it “can be included”?

As for November 2 (Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed), my Missal (Extraordinary Form) says that

The Sequence, Dies irae, … is said only in the principal Mass or the first Mass.

Note that in the traditional Latin Mass the Dies Irae was actually part of the Mass. It wasn’t the equivalent of one of our hymn selections in the Ordinary Form. If you are wanting to use it in the Ordinary Form on November 2, I suppose a case could be made for using it in the place of one of the hymns, if it would have meaning for the congregation (i.e., if the congregation has some comfort level with using Latin or if a translation were provided). Or perhaps it could be used as a prelude or postlude. (I’m no expert liturgist; I’m just thinking out loud and will happily defer to someone wiser than myself.)

These are good answers. Thank you for correcting me. It is November 2nd. Being an Irishman with the duke-us (I can’t spell Irish words worth a dang-nabit & I have a tough time with its vocatives, etc.) I still enjoy November 1st and October 31st. We have a good rector at our cathedral. He’s a hefty Irish-American who speaks Italian with me. And, the bishop isn’t bad either. They seem (especially the msgr.) very approachable.

As for my red-headed bishop, McManus, he’s one of the bishops who wrote against ayuvardic medicine and reiki. I’m glad to have him. I’m glad to see him carry la cruz a cuestas through gang infested, busy city streets on our cold New England Good Fridays. Although he is the first bishop here I haven’t known on a personal basis. To my delight, he made Sta. Giuseppina Bakhita a patroness here.

Our rector found the old black vestments in the back of the vault. They could be over 100 years old. It’s great. He wore them last November. This year I’m going to push the November 1st through 8th indulgence period. Dies Irae might be part of my argument. I still need to know more. Honestly, I don’t know anything about the faith really. I went to Catholic schools.

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