Several feasts and solemnities interject a specific focus of the paschal mystery into the steady pace of Ordinary Time. This Sunday is one of those feasts. Occurring 40 days after December 25, for some cultures, February 2 is the unofficial end of the Christmas season, when crèches and Christmas trees can finally be taken down. Historical documents note that this feast was celebrated with the same festivity as Easter, with candlelight processions. Some of that is reflected in the unique introductory rites for this day.
The Roman Missal gives two options for the entrance. The first option has the entire assembly gather outside the church. Everyone is given a lit candle (or you can invite people to bring their own candles from home).Several feasts and solemnities interject a specific focus of the paschal mystery into the steady pace of Ordinary Time. This Sunday is one of those feasts. Click To Tweet
After the Sign of the Cross and greeting, the priest blesses the candles. Then all enter the church singing the Canticle of Simeon. Once inside, the Gloria is sung followed by the collect; the penitential act is omitted. The blessed candles become those used throughout the year in the church and parish homes.
Ensure that all the liturgical ministers, especially music ministers, are aware that today will be different in its opening and in the readings. Also let music ministers know if the blessing of throats, which usually happens on February 3, will take place during today’s Masses, so they can prepare music for that procession.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Prateek Gautam, Unsplash, CC0.