784 years ago tonight, our holy father St. Francis departed from this life. On this eve of his feast day tomorrow, Franciscans everywhere will celebrate the transitus of Francis, marking his migration from time to eternity. As a ritual it does not seem to have a fixed form, but usually includes the reading of one of the accounts of the saint's last hours.
Here is one of the traditional antiphons for the celebration, courtesy of the 1955 Rituale Romano-Seraphicum:
omnes stant et cantant:
Salve, Sancte Pater,
patriae lux, forma minorum:
Virtutis speculum, recti via, regula morum;
Carnis ab exsilio duc nos ad regna polorum.
omnes genuflectunt et duo Cantores cantant:
V. Franciscus pauper et humilis caelum dives ingreditur
R. Hymis caelestibus honoratur.
All stand and sing:
Hail, holy Father,
light of our homeland, form of minors;
Mirror of virtue, right way, and rule of conduct;
lead us from the exile of the flesh to the kingdom of heaven.
all genuflect and two cantors sing:
V. The poor and humble Francis enters heaven rich.
R. And is honored by celestial hymns.
Translation improvements are welcome, as always.
Curiously, neither the ritual nor the Roman-Seraphic breviary offer any rubric as to when or how this celebration fit into the course of the Divine Office for the day. Also, and interestingly, the old ritual imagines the Transitus as a public celebration, as evidenced by one of the final rubrics instructing the celebrant to bless the people with a relic before the ritual concludes with an opportunity for religious to kiss it.
Happy feast of St. Francis!