24 January 2014, St. Timothy (EF) 8am

24 January 2014, St. Timothy

EF Missa Cantata & Holy Hour, 8am

Introit: Statuit ei, begin on C (as re)

Gradual: Inveni David, begin on D (as re)

Alleluia: Tu es sacerdos, begin on C (as re)

Offertory: Veritas mea, begin A (as re)

Communion: Semel juravi, begin on G (as sol)

Recessional: Alma redemptoris Mater, PBC, p. 119, begin on C (as do)
Mass XII, PBC, pp. 49ff. No Credo.

The Introit has two phrases:

  1. Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis
  2. (a) et principem fecit eum
    (b) ut sit illi sacerdotii dignatas in aeternum

Translation: The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of priesthood should be to him for ever. (Ps. 131: 1) O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.

Originally adapted from the text of Ecclesiasticus (aka Sirach) 45:30 for the feast of Pope St Marcellus, this chant was already part of the core repertory in Rome by the mid-eighth century. This so-called ‘Old Roman’ version has been recorded by various groups and can be heard on the net. Our current melody was re-shaped sometime in the ninth century as the fusion of Roman and Franco-German chant into Gregorian developed after the Carolingian reforms. It is literally a textbook example of a Mode 1 chant. When compared to the Introit Da pacem, the first half is almost identical while the second half is very different. A standard Mode 1 intonation is followed by a recitation on a leading to an intermediate cadence on g (Dominus). Testamentum pacis ends with a redundant cadence on d, indicating the rest and tranquility of peace. Then we re-intone over in principem to take us to the high point over illi and sacerdotii, stressing the importance of Peter’s priesthood, and finally come to a true cadence at in aeternum to reflect the eternal nature of Peter’s role.

The Gradual has three phrases in the corpus and three in the verse:

  1. Inveni David servum meum, oleo sancto unxi eum
  2. manus enim mea auxiliabitur ei
  3. et brachium meum confortabit eum


  1. Nihil proficiet inimicus in eo
  2. et filius iniquitatis
  3. non nocebit ei

Typical formula for Mode I graduals. High points over auxiliabitur and inimicus and filius iniqitatis are trumped by the highest melodic peak over eo. God’s support of His faithful servant, the annointed Davidic king, is ultimately triumphant over all their enemies. As in today's communion text, our Saint reflects in his own life that royal virtue seen perfectly in Christ.

The Alleluia verse has two short phrases:

  1. Tu es sacerdos in aeternum
  2. secundum ordinem Melchisedech

This very melismatic melody soars repeatedly to reflect the high dignity of the Melchisedek priesthood proclaimed in Psalm 109, as we sing each Sunday at Vespers. That dignity is so exalted, of course, because it foreshadows the dignity of the ultimate High Priest, Jesus himself. The melody is a showcase for the strength of the 8th mode, the mode of completion. Jesus is the completion and perfect fulfilment of that priestly dignity.

The Offertory has two phrases:

  1. Veritas mea et misericordia mea cum ipso
  2. et in nomine meo exaltabitur cornu ejus.

This piece marks the only place in the Graduale Romanum where the Fa clef is on the fourth line. This would indicate that the melody has a strong tendency to descend. The first half of the first phrase with a range of only five notes moves in intervals of seconds and thirds (repercussion); the second half has one interval of a third, with the other intervals seconds. Over the word ipso the melody modulates to a full step below the tonic, a common turn in the second mode. The second phrase has a range of an octave and comparatively large intervals; there are, however, fewer neums on individual syllables than in the first phrase. The melody over -cordia recurs over mea, and in an abbreviated form over ejus.

The melody is solemn and well sustained, which is all the more fitting when the word of God is quoted. God redeemed His promises in the mystery of the Incarnation and thereby exemplified His fidelity and mercy. St. Nicholas became famous for his exemplary life, in which fidelity and mercy were pre-eminent. The text, however, may also bear a particular application to the saint. The image of the horn of mercy and plenty, so beloved in Sacred Scripture, was surely manifest in his life. He brought to life that providence of God, portrayed by the triumphant ring of the melody with its major chord over nomine meo. The older manuscripts assign this number to the feast of Pope St. Marcellus.

The Communion verse has two short phrases and a third long one:

  1. Semel juravi in sancto meo
  2. semen ejus in aeternum manebit
  3. (a) et sedes ejus sicut sol in conspectu meo
    (b) et sicut luna perfecta in aeternum
    (c) et testis in caelo fidelis

The style is of an Office antiphon, with minimal neumes. It rises to a high point over sicut sol, emphasing the rising of the sun, a symbol of Christ, who is the ultimate fulfilment of this Davidic prophecy. In this instance, it also represents the shining virtue of St. Timothy, who was a reflection of that Davidic servant king perfectly lived in Christ Himself.

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