QUAERITUR: Mass texts for St. Elijah, Old Testament Prophet

Many of the great figures of the Old Testament are considered saints and have a day in the Roman liturgical book called the Roman Martyrology. I post about them on occasion.

A reader sent this:

The feast day of St. Elijah is fast approaching [20 July] and our parish priest was wondering about how he would go about saying a Mass in the honor of him. He said that there are no Mass propers for this in the missal…


The Martyrology says that when the day is clear on the regular calendar – id est there is not even an obligatory memorial – a saint of the day in the Martyrology can be selected.

In the older, traditional Roman calendar, I think we must use St. Jerome Emiliani.  In the newer calendar, I think we are freer, since there is only an optional memorial for St. Apollinaris.

Problem: Where to find the texts for Mass for St. Elijah?

Since the Carmelites venerate him, perhaps they have Mass texts.  If they do, could Fr. Sven O’Brien use them at the diocesan parish of St. Ipsidipsy in Black Duck?  He could probably ask permission of the local Bishop of Black Duck.

And if the Carmelites have a Mass for Elijah, who would have a Mass formulary for, exempli gratia, Sts. Adam and Eve? St. Jeremiah? St. Nahum?

This is off the top of my head.

Anyone have well-founded ideas?

Finally, the mention of Elijah and Carmelites prompts me to remind you to refresh your coffee supply with


Mystic Monk Coffee!

When you’ve hard a hard week of searching for Mass texts for Old Testament prophets until you look like Gandalf in the archives of Minas Tirith, you can still save the world from Sauron, and find your Mass formulary, by drinking lots of …

Mystic Monk Coffee.

Do you not care about finding that long-lost parchment?

Do you not care about … about the liturgy?

Is it possible that you don’t care about saving the liturgy and saving THE WORLD?!?

What would Gandalf do?

Mystic Monk Coffee

It’s swell!


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29 Responses to QUAERITUR: Mass texts for St. Elijah, Old Testament Prophet

  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I don’t have a lot of hopes for this, because July 20th was St. Margaret’s Day. And St. Margaret of Antioch, the dragonslayer-by-Bible or -by-cross, was a popular saint. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. The Cistercian missal says they celebrated her day.

    OTOH, there might be some kind of standard set of propers for OT saints. I’ll look about too.

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I did find out that in Rheims, July 15 was the day to celebrate the Division or Dispersion of the Apostles throughout the world to do evangelization. (Also St. Henry.) St. Mary the Mother of James and St. Salome are on July 11.

    Yup, the Carmelites have a votive Mass of Ss. Elias and Eliseus!

  3. James0235 says:

    The Carmelites do have Mass texts for St. Elijah.

    A few years back I ordered a book called Carmelite Missal from somewhere in Ireland, I believe. This book comes from before the new, corrected translation of the Roman Missal so maybe there is an updated version.

    I see that for the Carmelite Order (OC) it is a Solemnity and for the Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD) it is a Feast.

    There is a separate Entrance Antiphon for the OC and the OCD and other than that everything else it contains for the Feast (Opening Prayer, First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, Second Reading, Gospel Acclamation, Gospel, Prayer over the Gifts, Preface, Communion Antiphon, and Prayer after Communion) seems to be the same for both orders.

  4. Rellis says:

    What about just using the antiphons and orations from the Common of Holy Men? That would seem to be the only option, absent approved propers. Celebrate as an optional memorial, with ferial readings. Done and done.

  5. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Introit from the 1621 Carmelite missal:

    Cum Elias, et Eliseus incedentes sermocinarentur, ecce currus igneus, et equi ignei diviserunt utrumque: Et ascendit Elias per turbinem in caelum: Et requievit Spiritus eius super Eliseum.

    Psalm 47:
    Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto eius.
    Gloria Patri, etc.

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Actually, why should I copy all this out? Here’s the 1621 stuff. I don’t know if it got revised between then and now.

  7. VexillaRegis says:

    20th of July was St Margaret’s day for more than a thousand years before St Jerome Emiliani entered the picture. When was it given to the prophet Elijah?

  8. inara says:

    Don’t forget the TEA! The monks’ Iced Tea blend is sooo yummy ~ it has hints of fruit flavor that make it much better than your run-of-the-mill varieties.

    I don’t care for the taste of coffee, but I do love the aroma ~ their flavor of the month is Blueberry Muffin & just looking at the page makes me wish I had Smell-O-Vision!!

    [TEA? Is it the TEA you are after? Click HERE! And don’t forget MONK SHOTS!]

  9. bourgja says:

    From the 1959 OCD proper calendar (with apologies for any typos):

    Introit: Ecce ego mittam vobis Eliam Prophetam, antequam veniat dies Domini magnus, et horribilis et convertet cor patrum ad filios, et cor filiorum ad patres eorum. Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos et misereatur nostri. Gloria Patri.

    Collect: Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui beatum Eliam Prophetam tuum et Patrem nostrum igneo curru mirabiliter elevatum esse credimus, eodem interveniente ad caelestia sublevemur, et sanctorum tuorum consortio gaudeamus. Per Dominum.

    Epistle: Eccli. 48, 1-10.
    Gradual: Prope est Dominus omnibus invocantibus eum, invocantibus eum in veritate. Voluntatem timentium se faciet, et deprecationem eorum exaudiet: et salvos faciet eos. Alleluia. Domine Deus ostende hodie quia tu es Deus Israel, et ego servus tuus. Et cecidet ignis Domini, et voravit holocaustum.
    Gospel: Luc. 9, 28-36.

    Offert. : Elias, homo erat similis nobis passibilis: et oratione oravit ut non plueret super terram, et non pluit annos tres, et menses sex. Et rursum oravit, et caelum dedit pluviam, et terra dedit fructum suum. Alleluia.

    Secreta: Offerimus tibi, Domine, hostiam laudis in honorem sancti Eliae, Prophetae tui et Patris nostri: et sicut tu holocausto illius adfuisti, ita sacrificium nostrum acceptare digneris: ut per illud ad aeternam pervenire mereamur laetitiam. Per Dominum.

    Comm.: Comedit Elias, et bibit, et ambulavit in fortitudine cibi illius usque ad montem Dei, alleluia.

    Postcommunio: Deus, qui per sanctum Angelum beato Eliae, Prophetae tuo et Patri nostro, cibum et potum tribuisti: ipso interveniente concede; ut, quae de caelesti mensa percipimus, sinceris mentibus illibata servemus. Per Dominum.

  10. bourgja says:

    This feast also has a beautiful preface, which I will type below. I believe that the feast can only be celebrated by those associated with the Carmelite order, and also I know that there are no other feasts for Old Testament figures (except for St. Eliseus) in the Carmelite calendar. The Byzantine calendar does have such feasts however, in addition to its own feast of St. Elijah.

    Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: et te in solemnitate (commemoratione) beati Eliae, Prophetae tui et Patris nostri, exsultantibus animis laudare, benedicere et praedicare. Qui in verbo tuo surrexit quasi ignis, caelum continuit, mortuos excitavit, tyrannos percussit, sacrilegos necavit, vitaeque monasticae fundamenta constituit. Qui pane ac potu angelico ministerio refectus, in fortitudine cibi illius usque ad montem sanctum ambulavit. Qui raptus in turbine ignis. Praecursor est venturus secundi adventus Iesu Christi Domini nostri. Per quem maiestatem tuam laudant Angeli atque Archangeli, Cherubim quoque ac Seraphim: qui non cessant clamare quotidie voce dicentes:

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Sorry to have looked up the wrong thing this morning — the old 1621 St. Elijah’s Day Mass stuff is on page 371 of that book. Sorry to mislead!

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    And yeah, the propers have obviously changed, because the 1621 introit starts, “Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum….”

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Most of the OT saints’ days were based on either the OT guy’s relation to Christian/Jewish feasts (ie, Christmas Eve, Passover/Easter/Annunciation, etc.), or to the traditional dates of death/disappearance/martyrdom in Jewish and Christian tradition.

  14. AspiringMysticMonk says:

    Speaking of the Carmelite Monks, I’m visiting them next Thursday on a discernment retreat. Please pray for me, I could really use the help.

  15. Lepidus says:

    Slightly off topic, but since Father brought up Elijah, I was wondering if somebody could point me to the official Church teaching on him. We know that Jesus (obviously) and Mary have their bodies in heaven, the Old Testament suggests that Elijah was brought up without dying as well, but that doesn’t seem to correspond with the fact that Mary is there because the fact that she was preserved from original sin. Ideas? Thanks.

  16. Elizabeth D says:

    I have the Discalced Carmelite Propers for the Liturgy of the Hours which has Elijah, which if I recall correctly is a Feast for them (traditionally he is “founder” of the Carmelites). So the place to find the Mass propers is surely also in the Carmelite Mass propers. Carmelite missals are available from the UK’s Carmelite Book Service (if there is a US source I am unaware of it): http://www.carmelite.org.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_CARMELITE_LITURGY_47.html

    I looked around to try to find the texts online and did not immediately find that. The collect for St Elijah, as per the Discalced Carmelite Proper Offices, and referring to Elijah from the Carmelite POV as “our Father” (this is Not an updated translation and if there is any such I am not aware):

    Almighty, ever-living God,
    your prophet Elijah our Father
    lived always in your presence
    and was zealous for the honour due to your name.
    May we, your servants, always seek your face
    and bear witness to your love.
    We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  17. Mark H. says:


    And dont forget Enoch, even though it is more mysteriously worded, who was taken up by The Lord and was no more according to Genesis. As for your question, probably by the same way as Mary, in my opinion. They are saved through the sacrifice of Christ which somehow specially applied to them by the grace of God for the honor and glory of God and to show other people like us so that we could be taught something. Kind of a sparknotes version of what anyone could write on this topic, but that’s what I would guess.

  18. Mark H. says:

    As a side note, he is also mentioned as having been “translated” by God so that he could not see death in Hebrews 11:5.

    So I would presume his body is in heaven, with this in mind- heaven away from earth is temporary, as the actual eternity with God is meant for heaven in earth (Rev. 21, etc.). So in whatever bodily form they are in in heaven, they would return to earth and be as they were, except perfected for eternity.

  19. Mark H. says:

    Also, Sirach 44:16 would seem to indicate that his body is in paradise.

  20. Geoffrey says:

    Isn’t this one of the reasons for the Common of Saints in missals and breviaries? I am not sure which one would be chosen… the Common of Holy Men, perhaps?

  21. NoraLee9 says:

    Many years ago, I went on retreat with the Familia Sancti Hieronymi. The idea was to actually speak and pray in Latin for a week. We were in a monastery in Mexico City. It was great fun I happened to be there during the week of July 20th. We celebrated the NO in Latin and I remember very clearly that we celebrated the feast of St. Elias, both for Mass and in the Breviary. I believe that Fr Suitberus was a Carmelite and that we were in Carmelite diggs.

  22. greasemonkey says:

    I can get you what you are looking for, in terms of Elijah. EF office, EF mass texts, EF chants from the Antiphonale, or OF Office or mass texts.

  23. CharlesG says:

    Perhaps there should be a common for prophets? Maybe add a common for patriarchs while you’re at it.

  24. Love the analogy with Gandalf. It always struck me that JRR Tolkien was somehow, perhaps inadvertently, identifying the wizards with the priesthood, or the religious life. They were celibate, wielded great powers, and except for Saruman, tirelessly sought and fought for the common good and freedoms of all people, leading with heroic zeal, and stepping in front of the enemy to protect their people (remember the Balrog? and the Evil King who was “exorcized”?). The wizards like our priests unselfishly were intent to keep things ordered, good, and harmonious, not because it suited them, but because that is the way things should be – as God ordained it. If anybody has a problem appreciating your priests, just look at them as the Gandalf figure that JRR Tolkien created. That is your tirelessly hard working priest. God bless you for saving our _ sses.

  25. JaneC says:

    A bit of trivia: the Carmelite propers for the feast of St. Teresa of Avila were based on the propers for the feast of St. Elijah. I don’t remember the details now, but several years ago I attended a lecture by a Carmelite priest who laid out all the musical and symbolic implications.

  26. Gus Barbarigo says:

    @ Lepidus and
    @ Mark H.

    Enoch and Elijah might be the Two Witnesses (described in the Book of Revelation) sent to earth by God during the Great Tribulation. (Cf. Desmond Birch’s “Trial, Tribulation and Triumph”.)

  27. Along with what Gus Barbarigo says, @ Lepidus and @ Mark H.
    There is a theory that Enoch and Elias didn’t die because their death is preserved for martyrdom in the Latter Days. Considerations include prophecies that say these two saints will return to preach, re-evangelize, help restore the Church and fire us up for the big fight at the end.

    Being a devotee of the Feast of the Transfiguration, I cherish a devotion for St Elias and await his return. Though when he comes back, we will be enduring unimaginable tribulations for which direct help from Heaven can be the only antidote. So there’s a bit of good news/bad news surrounding this prophecy LOL.

  28. jaykay says:

    From the website of the Discalced Carmelites of the very lovely St. Teresa’s Church, Clarendon Street, Dublin: Feasts of July: 20th July, St. Elijah:


    In the collect, Elijah is (or can be, it’s in brackets) referred to as “our Father”, much as the Dominicans refer to “Dominic, our Father” etc. As Elizabeth D notes above, this may not be the latest translation as per the MR3 e.g. it’s still described as “Opening prayer” and concludes with “We ask this…”. The page does however give the revised responses: “And with your spirit” etc.

    The first reading, from the Book of Kings, will strike a chord with anyone who has ever sung Mendelssohn’s beautiful oratorio “Elijah”. I’d have to say that before I first sang this, 20 years ago, I wasn’t familiar with the story of Elijah at all.

  29. Mark H. says:

    Gus Barbarigo and Tina in Ashburn,

    While those may be possibilities, so is the one that was put in the “Left Behind” series of it being Moses and Elijah. I find it rather pointless to speak of things which are quite possibly simply symbol in eschatological passages of Scripture. I think it goes places the texts don’t and tries to make a concrete statement about what is clearly part of the mystery of God and His will.

    And it has wandered from the point of Lepidus earlier here. I think that we have the evidence that Enoch and Elijah are in heaven- body and soul. The question is how and why. Why is not so simple, because basically we have to leave it to the will and purposes of God. How it is, I think relates in some way to the Mother of God in a way. My opinion is that they were for some reason given the gift of grace (similar to many pre-Jesus saints whom we revere in the Christian calendar) that far exceeded, for some reason which we can probe, that of similar men of the time and was part of their faith and life with the Messiah. My opinion is they were given a special grace of some sort that we have Biblical evidence for, that they were thereby given the gift of faith in which they persevered in their earthly lives, and for that reason were preserved, body and soul, as if it was a cleansing by Christ in a historically foreshadowing way of what would happen in Christ. Perhaps it is to give us certain hope in preservation for ourselves. Perhaps it was to raise them to a greatly honored level as exemplars and saints. But, they had cleansed in some fashion. I mean, otherwise they could not behold God in His Glory in Heaven.