Monday, 24 May 2010

The Octave of Pentecost

Today is a holiday here in Canada, Victoria Day after Queen Victoria the Monarch at the time of Confederation in 1867. Not of course that most Canadians care much or even know about her; newer Canadians want to abolish the monarchy (I just want it Catholic), and the rest call it the May 2-4 because the beer comes in a case of 24.

Yes, we've forgotten much.
So too we've lost something more important that this is really Pentecost Monday or Whit Monday for those who really remember Her Majesty's English and tomorrow is Pentecost Tuesday, Wednesday and so on. It is the Octave of Pentecost if you follow the Calendar for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, something sadly lost in the Pauline reform of 1970.

Have you considered the joy and ceremony which is used to light the Paschal Candle a symbol of Christ amongst us at the Easter Vigil? Does it not seem a little strange that the candle is just blown out after Mass on Pentecost (or Vespers where I attended at The Oratory last evening) without a thought to it or a ceremony of any kind showing symbolism and meaning behind it? In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the Paschal Candle is not lit until Pentecost, it is extinguished for all to see after the Gospel on Ascension THURSDAY, where all can witness the liturgical symbolism of Christ now being gone from us back to the Father; and now we wait without the Light of Christ until the flame is re-lit in our hearts and minds and souls on Pentecost by the Holy Spirit. Another of those little liturgical actions taken from us that seemed of such little importance.

If you go to Mass according to the more ancient use this week the vestments will be red, not green and the Sequence, Veni Sancte Spritus will still be said. It is a continuing basking in the glow of this great Solemnity as with Christmas and Easter. These are the three great feasts of the year. Yet Christmas and Easter have their octaves (their continuing celebration for eight days) yet not Pentecost.

If there was anything from the 1962 calendar that I would want to see in the new it would be a return of the Gesima Sundays (pre Lent), the Octave of Pentecost and the Octave of Epiphany, from the 1970 it would be to move the Feast of Christ the King to the Last Sunday after Pentecost.
As for this liturgically correct blog, the masthead will be red and the music of Pentecost will remain for your edification for the octave.

One calendar moving forward; its time will come, no doubt.

Father Z at "What does the prayer really say?" has once again today posted this story which has made the rounds over the years and which he was told directly by a witness:

"The Monday after Pentecost in 1970 His Holiness Pope Paul VI rose bright and early and went to the chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red he expected, there were green vestments laid out for him.

He queried the MC assigned that day, "What on earth are these for? This is the Octave of Pentecost! Where are the red vestments?"

"Santità," quoth the MC, "this is now Tempus ‘per annum. It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost is abolished."

"Green? That cannot be!", said the Pope, "Who did that?"

"Holiness, you did"

And Paul VI wept."

And the rest of us have been weeping ever since.

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