Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Concede nobis: Responsory for All Saints Day

Each year on the Vigil of All Saints a special event is held at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC with readings from the lives of the saints, a ferverino, the office of Compline, and a procession around the cloister to our reliquary. This year, the schola sang a long responsory from the Dominican chant tradition, Concede nobis, following one of the readings. The text of this chant is curiously similar in form to that of a Collect.

Concede nobis, Domine, quæsumus, veniam delictorum, et intercedentibus Sanctis quorum hodie solemnia celebramus, talem nobis tribue devotionem, * Ut ad eorum pervenire mereamur societatem. V. Adjuvent nos eorum merita, quos propria impediunt scelera: excuset intercessio, accusat quos actio, et qui eis tribuisti cœlestis palmam triumphi, nobis veniam non deneges peccati. * Ut ad. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto. * Ut ad.

Here is an English translation:
Grant us, Lord, we implore you, forgiveness of sins; and through the intercession of the saints whose feast we celebrate today, grant us such devotion * that we may merit to share their company. V. May we, who are hampered by our own wickedness, be aided by their merits; may we, who stand accused by our actions, be excused by their intercession, and may he, who granted them the palm of heavenly triumph, not deny us forgiveness of sins. That we may (&c). Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. That we may (&c). (Dominican Breviary (1967) 2:901).

A recording of this chant as sung at the 2011 All Saints Vigil may be listened to here.

Concede nobis is assigned in the Proprium Officiorum Ordinis Praedicatorum (1982) as the responsory following the second reading at the Office of Readings (cf. p. 458). In the medieval Dominican rite, it is sung as the first vespers responsory and as the ninth matins responsory.

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