31 January 2015

Septuagesima Sunday 1863

1 SUNDAY. SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers Ad libitumViolet. First Vespers of the feast of the Purification with commemoration of the Sunday. White. [In diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Plenary Indulgence.]

2 Monday. FEAST OF DEVOTION. THE PURIFICATION OF THE BVM, double of the second class. Creed. Preface of Christmas. White. Plenary Indulgence.

After Compline, Ave Regina until Maundy Thursday exclusively.

3 Tuesday. St Peter's Chair at Rome, greater double (transferred from 18 January). Second prayers of St Paul, Apostle. Third prayers of St Blase. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. White.

4 Wednesday. St Andrew Corsini, Bishop Confessor, double. White.

5 Thursday. St Agatha, Virgin Martyr, double.  Red.

6 Friday. The Prayer of OUR LORD, greater double. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence. Abstinence.

7 Saturday. St Romuald, Abbot Confessor, double. White.

At Septuagesima we begin the pre-Lenten season which lasts for the couple of weeks before Ash Wednesday.  On the three Sundays, the priest wears violet, alleluias have disappeared, and the Tract is said instead of the Gradual.  The Septuagesima season was abolished during the Bugnini reforms which led to the New Mass, along with the distinction between Passiontide and the rest of Lent.  Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday in the new rite.  The Septuagesima season was followed by Lent, which was followed by Passiontide earlier. 

The feast of the Purification is the first Feast of Devotion of the year.  It is one of the Holydays suppressed after the Reformation which are too many to be restored as Holydays of Obligations, but which the faithful are encouraged to treat as such if they can

The feast of St Peter's Chair at Rome finally appears after being displaced from 18 January, but St Ignatius is displaced by Septuagesima (a privileged Sunday), moving from 1 to 9 February, and St Titus from 6 to 11 February.  St Peter's Chair and the commemoration of St Paul means that St Blase (Saint Blaise nowadays) is simply commemorated on his feast day: the blessing of throats will still take place at the altar rails after Mass, however.

At this time, the two feasts of St Peter's Chair at Rome and St Peter's Chair at Antioch were kept as separate feasts.  I suppose it isn't a surprise that they should have been merged under Pope St Pius X: the point that it wasn't Rome where the Petrine Ministry was first exercised but (for however brief a period) Antioch has, or could have, all sorts of implications for the ultramontane Vatican I-nostalgic.  We should remember that de-emphasising historical facts to support present shibboleths isn't just something practised post-Vatican II.

On Friday we celebrate the feast of the Prayer of Our Lord.  On the Friday of each -gesima and each Lenten week, ie from now until Passiontide, we will have a feast of Our Lord which focuses us on an aspect of His Passion. These were abolished during the reforms of Pius X.  (The Friday before Good Friday is the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the BVM.)  The calendar of the next few weeks would have felt as strange to somebody in the 1950s as the 1950s calendar would feel to somebody who only knew the New Mass.

(The order of these Friday feasts varies between different hierarchies: in fact, in Rome (and therefore in Scotland, the Scottish Hierarchy not yet having been re-established) those celebrated in England and Wales on the next two Fridays are celebrated instead on the next two Tuesdays.)

The prayer which is the motive of the feast, by the way, is "Father, if this chalice may not pass me by". Let me know if you can't find the prayers and readings for these Fridays and I will include them.

Monday and Friday being feasts of the BVM and of Our Lord respectively, there is a plenary indulgence available for the souls in Purgatory.

At Crook, near Darlington, the parish of Our Lady Immaculate and St Cuthbert, is served by the Rev Thomas W Wilkinson.  On Sundays and Holydays Mass is at 10.00, and Vespers and Benediction are at 6.00.  On all Holydays, Days of Devotion, Feasts of Patrons, and on every Thursday, Benediction is at 7.00 in winter, and 7.30 in summer.  On weekdays Mass is at 8.30, except for Saturday when it is at 8.00, and there are Devotions every evening.  On the first Sunday of every month at 3.00 pm there is a procession of the Rosary Confraternity.
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