Today, February 2nd, is Candlemass, also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus and the Feast of the Purification of Mary. Candlemass is one of the oldest feasts in the Church; it has been celebrated since the 4th century! Today marks the last day of the liturgical Christmas season (so, tomorrow, much to the children’s dismay, down come the Christmas decorations!). A cute anecdote: Baritone had a week off from work in between Christmas and New Years, so the children also had a holiday from school during that week. On January 2nd Baritone went back to work and I told the children it was time to hit the books again. They tried to make the argument that since the liturgical season of Christmas was not over yet, they should not go back to school yet. 😉 They did not win that argument, haha. 😉
This Candlemass at our parish we will have the blessing of candles, followed by a candlelit procession and a high mass. Our choir will sing the Missa de Beata Virgine by Palestrina, as well as several beautiful motets. Several of the motets and some of the chants we will sing this evening can be heard on our choir’s CD Lumen Gentium. Here is a sneak listen to one motet we will sing this evening, Sancta et Immaculata by Guerrero. I am singing the Soprano II line. 🙂
We are already in what Fr Z recently referred to as the “pre-Lent” season. Lent will be here before we know it. Ash Wednesday falls on St. Valentines Day this year…and yes fasting and abstaining are still requirements! Any Valentine’s Day festivities should be moved to a day prior. 🙂
A blessed feast day and a happy Candlemass (and last day of Christmas) to all!
Image source: I’m afraid I don’t know the source for this image; I saw it in a Google search result and there was no source listed. It appears to be a rather old and beautiful fresco. If anyone knows the name, or location, of the fresco, drop a comment in the comment box! 🙂