Sunday, January 20, 2008

Can We Bring Pre-Lent Back?

I do not attend the extraordinary form of the Mass(also known as the "Latin Mass"). Even if I wished it to be my Mass of choice it is not offered in my Diocese at the current time.

However I am throwing myself into what Pope Benedict wants us to do. That is I think for the "older" to perhaps affect the "newer" as I see it. To say it another way to try to establish a continuity and the patrimony of the Church in our Liturgy and Catholic Daily lives.

Over Christmas I bought this wonderful 1962 Missal that is now available to the public. By the way I encourage people to give it a look if you are in a Catholic Bookstore. I love taking it to Mass and praying the various prayers that are in it before Mass.

Now we folks down here are about to gear up for Mardi Gras Season. It is the feasting done before Lent.

Even though I have to admit with all that is going on I have not quite got into the spirit. It always struck me that the change to feasting and fun that is the Mardi Gras season to the Fasting and penance of Lent was always a tad abrupt. One day I am on St Charles ave in New Orleans having a great time and then boom lent.

Now of course Mardi Gras is not a Catholic thing officially. Even though it is found in Catholic cultures in various places through out the world. However I found out something today that I wish we had back in a bigger way. In fact if you have access to the "old Mass" they did it today.

That is Septuagesima Sunday and Season. Now I have heard of this before but I had no idea what it was or why it was special. I was thumbing through my Missal and saw a nice piece on it. Basically it is a nice transition period. It is the three Sundays that precede Ash Wednesday. (Yes we are getting close). They are called in order Septuagesiam, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays.

Now again I am shaking my head. Why in heavens name was this suppressed after Vatican II. It seems to fit so well into the Church year. We have Advent to prepare us for the Christmas season. Why not this?

Father Z had an excellent post on this today where he explains all this at WDTPRS: Septuagesima . Now I am only posting part of his wonderful entry. He goes into the prayers of this period too. So be sure to check the whole post out. Here is part of it:

In the traditional Roman calendar this Sunday is called Septuagesima, Latin for the “Seventieth” day before Easter. This number is more symbolic than arithmetical. The Sundays which follow are Sexagesima (“sixtieth”) and Quinquagesima (“fiftieth”) before Ash Wednesday brings in Lent, called in Latin Quadragesima, “Fortieth”.

These pre-Lenten Sundays prepare us for the discipline of Lent, which once was far stricter. Septuagesima gives us a more solemn attitude for Holy Mass. Purple is worn on Sunday rather than the green of the time after Epiphany. These Sundays have Roman stations. Alleluia is sung for the last time at First Vespers of Septuagesima and is then excluded until Holy Saturday. There was once a tradition of “burying” the Alleluia, with a depositio ceremony, like a little funeral. A hymn of farewell was sung. There was a procession with crosses, tapers, holy water, and a coffin containing a banner with Alleluia. The coffin was sprinkled, incensed, and buried. In some places, such as Paris, a straw figure bearing an Alleluia of gold letters was burned in the churchyard. Somehow that seems very French to me

The prayers and readings for the Masses of these pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604), Pope in a time of great turmoil and suffering. Pre-Lent is particularly a time for preaching about missions and missionary work, the evangelization of peoples. In the Novus Ordo of Paul VI there is no more pre-Lent. A terrible loss. We are grateful that with Summorum Pontificum the pre-Lent Sundays have regained something of their ancient status.

Bring Back Pre Lent!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Post on my that too...