Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

[Why I Am Catholic]: Lent And Holy Week (A Primer) [Catholic Caucus]
YIMCatholic.blogspot.com ^ | April 2011 | Frank Weathers

Posted on 04/10/2011 7:03:06 PM PDT by Salvation

Lent And Holy Week (A Primer)

-Feast of St. Vincent Ferrer 
We are officially past the half-way point of the Lenten Season.  Before you know it, it will be Holy Week. As a convert who entered the Church on Holy Saturday in the Year of Our Lord 2008, I'll never forget that experience.

Those who serve as sponsors for the Catechumens and Candidates never forget it either.

But if you are like me, it is good to be reminded of not only what is taking place on that day, but for the whole season. The recollection of what leads up to the glorious celebration of Our Risen Savior on Easter Sunday. If you haven't attended that particular Mass in a while, this year would be a good time. You might even exclaim like St. Peter did after the Transfiguration with, "Lord, it is good for us to be here!"

But where did Lent come from? Remember Fr. John F. Sullivan, author (and illustrator) of The Visible Church? I've shared his chapters about all the Sacramentals here recently. His book is full of information that is beneficial to newbies like me and will help dust off the cobwebs for the rest of you too.

What follows is from Lesson 49 in Section VI of his book. I call it a the Primer on Lent. Have a look,

The Ecclesiastical Year: Lent and Holy Week

Lent is a season of penance set apart by the Church in memory of the fast of our Lord in the desert, and as a means of sanctification for her children. It consists of six and one-half weeks preceding Easter, and includes forty fasting-days, which are weekdays. The Sundays are a part of the Lenten season, but are not observed as days of fasting or abstinence.

The date of the beginning of Lent varies from year to year, according to the date of Easter. In Latin it is called Quadragesima1 (fortieth), from which are taken the Italian Quaresima and the French Careme. The English name is from the Anglo-Saxon Lencten, which means Spring.

The History of Lent

Some sort of fasting time before the Easter festival has been observed from very early times. From about the fourth century it became a fast of forty days in many parts of the world. For some time thereafter, however, the Roman Church prescribed a fast of thirty-six days only, beginning after the first Sunday of Lent; the four days before that Sunday were added by a Council held at Meaux, in France, in 846. At the present day the obligation of Lenten fast and abstinence ends at noon on Holy Saturday.

Lenten Masses

At the Masses of the Lenten season (except those of saints or festivals) the Church's ritual is penitential. The Gloria is omitted; the Alleluias are replaced by the more sorrowful Tract; and near the end of the Mass is inserted a "Prayer over the People," asking God's mercy and forgiveness.

On the fourth Sunday, however, there is a note of joy. That day is called Laetare Sunday, from the opening words of the Introit of the Mass. When possible, rose-colored vestments are worn on this day, to indicate a relaxation in the penitential spirit symbolized by purple.

On Passion Sunday (the fifth Sunday of Lent) the more solemn part of the penitential season begins. The images in our churches are veiled in purple wrappings, remaining thus until the end of the services on Holy Saturday.

The Tenebrae is the public chanting of a part of the Divine Office, taking place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Holy Week. It is the "anticipated" Matins and Lauds of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It contains passages or "lessons" from the Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah—chanted to a beautiful and most mournful tune.

The service takes its name of "Tenebrae" (darkness) from a ceremony which forms a part of it—the gradual extinguishing of candles in a triangular candlestick standing in the sanctuary. This, in the Middle Ages, was called the Tenebrae "hearse," which means a harrow, from its shape. Fifteen candles are used—because fourteen are extinguished one by one at the end of each of the fourteen psalms of Matins and Lauds. Afterwards, during the chanting of the "Benedictus," the six candles on the altar and the other lights in the church are put out. The fifteenth or topmost candle is then removed, and, still lighted, is hidden behind the altar. After a mournful chant and the reciting of the "Miserere," a noise is made by the clergy with their books (symbolizing the earthquake at the death of Christ), and the hidden candle is replaced in the candlestick, as an emblem of our Risen Savior.

Holy Thursday is the day whereon the Church commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist
The earlier portion of the Mass is joyful. When the Gloria is intoned, the organ sounds, the bells are rung— and suddenly they cease, remaining silent until the Gloria on Holy Saturday.
At the Mass a second Host is consecrated, to be consumed at the service on Good Friday. This is carried in a solemn procession to another altar or chapel, known as the Repository or Altar of Repose, and is there honored by the use of lights and flowers and by relays of adorers. After the Mass the main altar is stripped of its linens.

This day is sometimes called Maundy Thursday, from the Latin "mandatum," a command, or from "mundare," to cleanse—from the precept of our Lord: "You ought to wash one another's feet"—a ceremony of this day which is seldom or never observed in this country (but it happens in my parish! —Ed.).

On this day the solemn blessing of the Holy Oils takes place in cathedral churches.
Good Friday is the day whereon the Church commemorates the death of our Blessed Saviour on Mount Calvary for the sins of mankind.

The Services

The altar is bare, the crucifix veiled, and the priests wear black vestments. They prostrate themselves before the empty tabernacle. After certain "lessons," the Passion of our Lord from the Gospel of St. John is read. Then comes the ceremony of the "Adoration of the Cross" (a name sanctioned by long usage, but inaccurate—for we do not adore crosses). The veiled crucifix is gradually uncovered, with the threefold chanting of "Ecce lignum crucis" 1—"Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the Salvation of the World." The clergy then remove their shoes—an ancient sign of reverence— and, kneeling, kiss the crucifix. The laity then venerate it by kissing it.

The "Mass of the Pre-Sanctifled," on Good Friday, is not a Mass at all. It is simply the priest's Communion. The Sacred Host consecrated on the preceding day is brought back from the Repository; and after the recitation of the Pater Noster and a prayer, the priest receives Holy Communion and the service abruptly comes to an end.

Holy Saturday. The principal parts of the service of this day are the Blessing of the New Fire, of the Paschal Candle and of the Baptismal Font, and the Mass.

 
The Blessing of the New Fire takes place at the door of the church. A procession brings the newly-kindled fire into the church, and a triple candle is lighted from it, one branch at a time, the deacon chanting three times in ascending tones, "Lumen Christi"—"The Light of Christ." This ceremony goes back to the twelfth century.

The Blessing of the Paschal Candle opens with the singing of the "Exsultet," a beautiful chant of thanksgiving. Five grains of incense are fixed into the candle—symbolizing the five wounds of the Risen Savior's glorified Body. The new fire and the paschal candle are figures of our Lord, the Light of the World.

The Blessing of the Font (that is, of the baptismal water for the ensuing year) begins with a sort of Preface. The paschal candle is plunged into the water three times, and the Oil of Catechumens and the Holy Chrism are poured into it. Previously the people are sprinkled with the water, and a portion of it is set aside for the blessing of their homes.

The Mass of Holy Saturday is a Mass of joy. When the Gloria is intoned the organ sounds and the bells are rung, because the Church is anticipating the joy and triumph of Easter. This Mass was originally the midnight Mass of Easter, at the end of the long vigil services of that feast; but after a time both the services and the Mass were put on Saturday morning.

Loving God, we enter the season of Lent in the spirit of joy giving ourselves to spiritual strife, cleansing our soul and body, controlling our passions, as we limit our food, living on the virtues of the Holy Spirit; May we persevere in our longing for Christ so as to be worthy to behold His most solemn Passion and the most holy Passover, rejoicing the while with spiritual joy. Amen.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: brokencaucus; catholic; eastervigil; goodfriday; holythursday; holyweek
Some good links in this article.

You might check out the comments at the site too.

1 posted on 04/10/2011 7:03:11 PM PDT by Salvation
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: All

Catholic Ping for upcoming Holy Week.


2 posted on 04/10/2011 7:05:18 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Catholic Ping for upcoming Holy Week.


3 posted on 04/10/2011 7:06:15 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
[Why I Am Catholic]: Lent And Holy Week (A Primer) [Catholic Caucus]
[Why I Am Catholic]: Because God Became Man (Despite His Flawed Human Ancestors)
[Why I Am Catholic]: Because of the Protestant Reformers Beliefs On Mary
Why I Am Catholic: For Purgatory, Thank Heavens (Ecumenical)
(Why Am I Catholic?) For Peace While Suffering (A Few Words for Wednesday)
(why am I Catholic?) Because I Awoke from a Long, Bad Dream
Why I Am Catholic: For All the Saints: Bernard of Clairvaux
4 posted on 04/10/2011 7:08:20 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

I’ve been to a Tenebrae service, back in the 1980s. I keep thinking about holding one at home in Holy Week - there are certainly enough of us - but I’ve never done it. With DP being between jobs now, I can lay some guilt on him and get it done this year!


5 posted on 04/10/2011 7:09:43 PM PDT by Tax-chick (If you believe, you will see the glory of God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick
Here's some FR links"

Tenebrae [Liturgy]
Tenebrae
Tenebrae
Tenebræ [Holy Week Service]

6 posted on 04/10/2011 7:14:29 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Thanks! I had a text in a “Magnificat” handout one year, but I don’t see any around the house now. I can print something out.


7 posted on 04/10/2011 7:16:27 PM PDT by Tax-chick (If you believe, you will see the glory of God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

They are daily posters on our FB site along with many other great info/update/news Catholic agencies/bloggers.
Priests for Life.
Raymond Arroyo
LifeNews
Daily Missil ect ect...

And not one anti Catholic loud mouth to interupt.


8 posted on 04/10/2011 7:21:28 PM PDT by Global2010 (Pisces at hospites tribus diebus foetebunt.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

I remember 7 or 8 years ago when my oldest son was in his confirmation class and one week they had a sheet with questions to answer; one of which was “Why are you Catholic?” His short answer: “Because it is true.”


9 posted on 04/10/2011 7:23:01 PM PDT by Chesterbelloc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Global2010

*kiss*


10 posted on 04/10/2011 7:23:08 PM PDT by Tax-chick (If you believe, you will see the glory of God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

Back atcha Sister....Peace be with you and all yours...It has been an awesome Lenten season 2011.


11 posted on 04/10/2011 7:28:08 PM PDT by Global2010 (Pisces at hospites tribus diebus foetebunt.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: Global2010

I’m so pleased for you! Please spare a prayer for Seaman Anoreth, at sea somewhere off California headed South, and I’ll say a Rosary for you and KV.


14 posted on 04/10/2011 7:33:02 PM PDT by Tax-chick (If you believe, you will see the glory of God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

Sure thing. Prayer intentions will go up in evening Rosary.


15 posted on 04/10/2011 8:24:23 PM PDT by Global2010 (Pisces at hospites tribus diebus foetebunt.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: ExtremeUnction

Thanks for letting us know not to take your posts seriously.


16 posted on 04/10/2011 8:31:33 PM PDT by WPaCon (Obama: pansy progressive, mad Mohammedan, or totalitarian tyrant? Or all three?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Chesterbelloc

Great answer!


17 posted on 04/10/2011 9:02:43 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: ExtremeUnction; Religion Moderator

This is a Catholic Caucus thread. If you are not an active Catholic, please follow the Religion Moderator’s rules and do not post to it.


18 posted on 04/10/2011 9:04:35 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: ExtremeUnction

This Religion Forum thread is labeled “Catholic Caucus” meaning if you are not currently, actively Catholic then do not post on this thread.


21 posted on 04/10/2011 9:17:07 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Global2010; Salvation

Thank you both


22 posted on 04/11/2011 3:11:35 AM PDT by Cronos
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Chesterbelloc
“Why are you Catholic?” His short answer: “Because it is true.”

:)

23 posted on 04/11/2011 7:33:01 AM PDT by Cronos
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: All
[Why I Am Catholic]: Lent And Holy Week (A Primer) [Catholic Caucus]
As We Approach Holy Week
The Church Tells Us the Story of God
Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
Tuesday of Holy Week
Spy Wednesday (also Holy Wednesday of Holy Week)
Holy Week and the Priesthood
A week with the Lord [Reflections on Passion Sunday and Holy Week]

The history of Passiontide and Holy Week
The Week That Changed The World [EWTN Program: "No One Comes To the Father, But Through Me" Jn 14:6]
Why is this Week Called Holy? Take This Cup
Just In Time for Holy Week ... Gay Jesus
Holy Week With the Pope … and Jesus
This Holy Week and the Rest of Your Life (Fr. Corapi on dour situation in the world)
Catholic Caucus: Holy Week and the Rest of Your Life
Holy Week is most important week of the year, Pope says
Tenebrae [Liturgy]

Tenebrae
Tenebrae
Now it begins… Now it all Begins: Holy Week
Spy Wednesday
Holy Week
Holy Week in the Catholic Tradition
Tenebrae
Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil
Good Friday
Holy Thursday
Tenebræ

Holy Week and the Triduum
Passiontide and Holy Week
Why Do We Call it the Passion?
The Easter Triduum: Entering into the Paschal Mystery
Cardinal Arinze on How to Live Holy Week - Urges Spirit of Faith and Gratitude
We Will Relive the Passion, Death and Resurrection [Audience with Pope Benedict XVI]
Holy Week Recovers Celebration of Penance (at St. Peter's Basilica) - photos!
History of Holy Week (rooted in the 2nd century)
Holy Week Starts Today - Hosanna to the King of Kings!
The Meaning of Holy Week

24 posted on 04/11/2011 11:13:49 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson