14 February 2015

Quinquagesima Sunday And The Beginning Of Lent 1863

15 SUNDAY. QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY, semidouble. Second prayers of SS Faustinus and Jovita, Martyrs. Third prayers A CunctisViolet. Vespers of the Sunday. [In diocese of Clifton, fourth prayers for the Bishop.]

16 Monday. Feria. Violet.

17 Tuesday. Feria. Violet.

18 Ash-Wednesday. Feria. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers Omnipotens. Preface of Lent (until Passion Sunday) unless otherwise directed. Violet. FAST.

The FAST OF LENT is to be continued until EASTER on all days except Sundays on which ABSTINENCE is to be observed, unless Dispensation be granted. The time for complying with the obligation of PASCHAL COMMUNION commences on ASH-WEDNESDAY and continues until LOW SUNDAY inclusively.

19 Thursday. Feria.  Violet.

20 Friday. The Crown of Thorns of OUR LORD, greater double. Second prayers and last Gospel of the feria. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.

On all festivals in Lent a commemoration of the feria is made, and its Gospel read at the end of Mass.

21 Saturday. Feria. Violet.

The Indulgence begins.

No more Friday warnings for the next few weeks. Lent is starting. Start planning now, because every Lenten day (not Sundays because Sundays aren't part of Lent) is a day of fasting and abstinence.  No meat, no eggs, only one restrained meal, as well as two snacks, which together mustn't add up to as much as the one meal.  Sundays are days of abstinence "only". 

Fasting, prayers, almsgiving: Lent is Lent.

If you are young in 1863, your Grandparents will talk about "Black Lents":  the olden days when they were very young and Lent meant six and a half weeks of serious fasting and abstinence. "You young 'uns haven't got a clue", they would no doubt have said, as they considered the fact that in most dioceses, between the start and the middle of the nineteenth century, meat (though not eggs) had begun to be allowed, on at least some, and then gradually all Lenten Sundays: this major change had happened in their lifetimes.

It isn't exactly dissipation, and, importantly, on pain of grave sin to the host if a dispensation hadn't been obtained beforehand, visitors to a Catholic home had to be made to abide by the restrictions in place on the household.  If it made entertainment difficult, or it made going about in Society difficult, then so be it: Lent was not a season for entertainment or Society. 

I still wonder, though, which serpent was looking at which apple when Lenten Sundays became such (comparatively) wanton occasions for the abandonment of tradition.

In spite of the harshness of Lent, we simply slip into it this year.  There are no non-Lenten feasts or festivals to divert us from the penitential season.

Friday's feast asks us to focus on the Crown of Thorns: if you are giving something up which will be difficult, think about the Crown of Thorns, and about how its pain would put into the shade what people like us suffer from the absence of something we are accustomed to which we have given up.

Every day in Lent has proper prayers and a proper Gospel, and these must be read, even if there is a feast whose celebration takes priority. So on Friday these prayers will be said after those belonging to the Feast of the Crown of Thorns, and the Last Gospel of the beginning of St John's Gospel will be replaced by the Gospel of the Friday after Ash Wednesday.

And you are hereby given notice that between Ash Wednesday and Low Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, you must go to Communion, and that means that you must go to Confession. Remember that, but remember too that an indulgence begins after None on Saturday and lasts until Vespers on the second Sunday of Lent. Its conditions are Confession, Communion, Almsgiving and, on the day of Communion, prayers to God for the state of the Church throughout the world, for bringing back all straying souls to the fold of Christ,  for the general peace of Christendom, and for the blessing of God on our nation. It shares these conditions with the Whitsun and All Saints indulgences.

At Whitworth, the Rev John Millward is the Parish Priest.  On Sundays, Mass is at 8.30 and 10.30. Baptisms are at 2.00, and Instruction at 3.30. vespers are at 6.30.  On Holydays Mass is at 5.00 and 8.00, with an evening service at 7.30.  On weekdays, Mass is at 8.00. Churchings are on Mondays after 8.00 Mass. On Thursdays, Rosary, Instruction and Benediction are at 7.30. Confessions are on Saturday at 3.30, and for children on Friday evening. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered once a week for benefactors of the parish.

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