Pastor’s Prose

The Reform of the Sacred Liturgy Continues

Why were the statues not covered for Lent?

According to the Traditional Calendar, the statues were to be covered the final two weeks of Lent, beginning on “Passion Sunday”. This was called “Passiontide”.

Since the revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969, the instruction is that they “may” be covered. Thus the covering of statues fell out of use. Since the Traditional Calendar is used here with the Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. Masses, we will be covering the statues beginning next Sunday— the Fifth Sunday of Lent— through Good Friday. (In the older usage, the statues were uncovered at the Gloria at the Easter Vigil Mass.)

Why have six candles been placed on the altar?

Paragraph number 117 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal reads:

“The altar is to be covered with at least one white cloth. In addition, on or next to the altar are to be placed candlesticks with lighted candles; at least two in any celebration, or even four or six, especially for Sunday Mass or Holy Day of obligation.”

Pope Benedict XVI has returned this arrangement to the altars in Rome where he has celebrated recent months, and many pastors around the world, including me, have followed suit.

Several weeks ago I mentioned in this column the Holy Father’s turning to the East to lead the people to the Crucified and Resurrected Lord is my preferred liturgical orientation. I will be explaining my personal reason at all Masses this weekend.

Father Gonzales


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