Sunday, 7 February 2016


Today, Quinguagesima, is the last Sunday in the count-down to Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

Here is the Introit of the Mass (EF)  sung by the Benedictine Nuns of Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation, Le Barroux:

Esto mihi in Deum pro­tectórem, et in locum re­fúgii, ut salvum me fácias: quóniam firmaméntum meum et refúgium meum es tu: et propter nomen tuum dux mihi eris, et enútries me

In te, Dómine, sperávi, non confúndar in ætérnum:  in justítia tua libera me et éripe me.

Glória Patri...

Be Thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of re­fuge, to save me: for Thou art my strength and my refuge: and for Thy name’s sake Thou wilt lead me, and nourish me. 

In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deli­ver me in Thy justice, and save me.

Glory be to the Father...      .

Curiously, while Quinquagesima is indeed 50 days before Easter as its name would suggest, Sexagesima and Septuagesima are not 60 and 70 days before Easter.

This period of pre-Lenten preparation has been replaced in the new Calendar by a few Sundays of Ordinary Time; these are then resumed after Pentecost, as a further set of Ordinary Time Sundays.  In former times (and still, if one celebrates according to the traditional calendar) these were the Sundays after Pentecost.

In my view, that change is an impoverishment.  The seasons of the Church year used to be a constant reminder of one or other of the great mysteries of our Faith.  It seems particularly ironic that in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, when we were all supposed to be so much more aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church today, we should have removed the reference to the descent of the Holy Spirit in our counting of the Sundays after Pentecost, and replaced them with 'Ordinary.'

If I had my way, we'd call them Ghostly Sundays, in honour of the Holy Ghost, and because it would be such a great name!

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