Votive offices

Could someone explain votive offices and how they are said to me?

They are no longer said. Pius X abolished them all with the Apostolic Constitution Divino afflatu (1911).

An office is a set of certain prayers to be recited at fixed hours of the day or night. The best-known would be the Divine Office (now called Liturgy of the Hours) which is said by all priests and religious. There are many other offices besides this one; for example, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It appears to me that a votive office would have been a sort of non-standard office, said for the purpose of “satisfying a special devotion” (1911 Catholic Encyclopedia).

The main source for my comments here is the Catholic Encyclopedia, whose treatment of this topic is a little technical. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I hope I’ve answered your question correctly.

I guess this means that tomorrow’s feast of Ss. Nunilo and Alodia is not to be celebrated.

Maybe there is a difference between the sort of votive office of, for example, “Nuns and Martyrs” and a more specific type, which is what was abolished?

I have no idea.

That was true of the former breviary, but is not true for the Liturgy of the Hours.

A votive office is an office which is said outside the regular calendar observance. That is, instead of celebrating the saint of the day, or the day itself (e.g. Wednesday in the XX week of OT, Psalm Week 4), you recite an Office in favor of a particular devotion or for a particular need.

How this works is: suppose I wish to recite a Votive Office of St. N. Typically, I will recite the entire Liturgy of the Hours as I would for his/her feast, taking the appropriate parts from the Proper/Common of saints. The GILH allows great flexibility when choosing the parts for a Votive Office - thus, for example, the psalms may still be of the week, instead of festal psalms from the Common.

Also, although it is not spelled out explicitly in the GILH, but by analogy with the practise of the Votive Mass, one cannot regularly celebrate the mysteries of the life of Christ as Votive Offices. So no Votive Office of Christmas or Easter or something like that. Those form an integral part of the Office of the Seasons. However, particular mysteries can be celebrated e.g. the Holy Redeemer, as the Trinitarian Order does, or the various mysteries of the Passion, as is common among the Passionists.

If you wish to celebrate a Votive Office of Ss. Nunilo and Alodia, then you would take the appropriate parts, including the Closing Prayer (unless you somehow happen to have a Proper one by virtue of it being in your diocesan calendar or something), from the appropriate Common. In this case, that would be either the Common of Virgins or the Common of Martyrs - in either case, observing whatever special texts are laid down in both for Virgin Martyrs.

Here is as I see:

As a devotion in addition of the regular office a second office was recited as votive. Some of them like the ‘dirge’ (office of dead) on the first free day of each month became obligatory; others were obligatory for a particular Church as a response for a previous foundation, to pray for someone.

St Pius X deleted the obligations for the votive offices, but they are still allowed as private devotion.

The rule is that after the first vespers of the regular office one says the first vespers of the votive office. Also after Matins-Lauds one says the Matins-Lauds for the votive office.

The votive office is the same as the regular, except the the Matins has only one nocturn, 1st Monday and Thursday, 2nd Tuesday and Friday, 3rd Wednesday and Saturday. No votive office was and is to be said for Sundays or duplex feast.

The votive Masses are still allowed according to the 1960 rubrics for 4th class days (ferias, commemorations)

gglas - good to see you on this forum. You truly are a walking divine office.:smiley:

This is one kind of Votive Office but since Pius V there have usually only been two forms of this: Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, and the Office of the Dead.

The other kind of Votive Office, which St. Pius X abolished, was the Office of a Saint or Mystery which replaced the Office of the day. This was in order to shorten the number of psalms said which at that time, before Pius X, were very long for a ferial office. They were of two types - one type was optional, and the clergy could avail of the privilege of reciting the Votive Office instead of the ferial, if they chose - and the other was mandatory - the Votive Office had to be recited. This is part of a piece that I had written some time back:

It was a rare priest who was opposed to any accretions to the calendar for the simple reason that it lightened the burden of reciting the Divine Office. The Roman arrangement used at that time followed the ancient practice of a semi-continuous reading of the psalter, with the result that some days were overly burdened with lengthy psalms. Sundays boasted the considerable number of 18 psalms at Matins; the ferial Office of Thursdays featured 728 verses– that in addition to lengthy intercessory prayers (preces) at Lauds and Vespers, and well as an antiphon, versicle and collect to commemorate the Holy Cross, Blessed Virgin, Ss. Peter and Paul, patrons and titulars, and for eace, (the so-called “Common commemorations”). Festal offices of the saints were usually free of such ‘pious burdens.’

The clergy, ever-ingenious, devised pious ways that furthered the encroachment of the much shorter sanctoral offices on those of the ferial. Votive Offices were one such instrument. Thursdays were devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, Saturdays to the then-newly popular Immaculate Conception. Outside certain days like Advent and Lent,
these Masses and Offices replaced the Mass and Office of the weekday, when no feasts occurred. Religious orders gained privileges for Votives of their founders and patrons or special mysteries in the life of the Blessed Virgin.

In 1883, the pious Leo XIII assigned a Votive Office to every day of the week except Sundays, and allowed its recitation even in formerly restricted times, like Advent and Lent. Violet and Green vestments became redundant almost overnight as most days in Advent and Lent not occupied by feasts were superseded by Masses in honour of the angels, apostles, the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph.

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