Saturday, February 20, 2010

Holy Days During Lent

I have been asked if it was proper to celebrate the feast days of Saints during Lent. The answer is yes. Although Lent is a time of preparation the Easter, the only time during which such celebrations are prohibited is during Holy Week itself. These days focus solely upon the Passion and Death of Our Lord and Savior. This also holds true for the octave of Easter. All of the days from Easter to Low Sunday (Quasimodogeniti) admit no feast whatsoever. For example, if March 25th, the Annunciation, falls during Holy Week (or Easter week) it is always transferred to the first free day after Low Sunday.

This year, St. Matthias Day (February 24) is the Wednesday after Invocabit. At this Mass the Gloria in Excelsis is sung; but the tract replaces the Alleluia Verse. This would be the pattern for any feast celebrated during Lent; but outside of Holy Week.

The historic Gradual is from Psalm 139:17-18 - How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.

The Tract is from Psalm 21:2-3 - Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. For Thou hast prevented him with the blessings of goodness: and setest a crown of pure gold on his head.


Father Hollywood said...

Dear Deacon:

I've often wondered about funerals during Lent. Do we omit the alleluias (in hymns and liturgy), or is the funeral a mini-Easter within Lent?


Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

Fr. H.,

Since Lutheran understanding indicates that the color of the season is retained for "occasional" services, so you would follow the rubrics of the season.
However, I am of the opinion that each Mass has, as one of the propers, a proper, assigned color.

Therefore, if you celebrate a funeral Mass in white vestments, you would follow festal rubrics. If you celebrated in black or violet vestments, you would observe the penitential rubrics.

If you require a broader interpretation, please let me know.

Brian P Westgate said...

I had been wondering if the Gloria would be sung on St. Matthias Day!

Seems to me that the tradition for funerals is black, or if you don't have it (Lenten) violet. At least that's what I grew up with, and that's what the pre-Vatican II Missal states.

Father Robert Lyons said...

Interesting... I was never aware of singing the Gloria, even on Festal Days, during Lent. In the Roman Church, even Annunciation isn't excepted from this rule.

Is this a rubric particular to the Augustana Rite? I can find no similar precedent in the Anglican or Roman rites.


Father Robert Lyons said...

Father Hollywood,

I always celebrate funerals as 'little Paschas', even in Lent. Paschal Candle comes out, white vestments, etc. That may be a more modern practice, but it accords better with the message of a funeral, IMO, which is that God has shattered eternal death through the victory of his Son.


Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

Rev. Fathers,

To the best of my knowledge, the Gloria in Excelsis is omitted only in Masses celebrated in Violet or Black vestments. It is never omitted in the Masses of feasts, such as Saint's days.

Fr. Lyons, how would you account for the fact that during Lent, in the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the Gloria in Excelsis is always sung? Why would this be the only exception to not singing the Gloria during Lent?

Father Robert Lyons said...

Dear Deacon,

I stand corrected... I was confusing my Roman and my Anglican sources... always a dangerous thing to do.

Anglican usage (at least where the Gloria is used in accord with seasonal variance as opposed to in the 1662 position as a fixed post-communion canticle) prefers the ommission of the Gloria even on Holy Thursday, reserving the Gloria for the first Paschal Eucharist.