January 26, 2018

Septuagesima Sunday

This Sunday January 28th is Septuagesima Sunday, designating the ninth Sunday before Easter and also, the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday commencing the solemn penitential season of Lent. The word Septuagesima comes from the Latin for "seventieth." The three Sundays which precede Ash Wednesday were called Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima respectively, or, the seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth days (approximately) before the highest solemnity of Easter.

Septuagesima, the seventeen day period starting on Septuagesima Sunday was intended to be observed as a preparation for Lent. In many countries, however, Septuagesima Sunday marked and still marks the traditional start of the carnival season, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, sometimes known as Mardi Gras.

Although the current Church calendar does not formally recognize this prelude to Lent; we need Septuagesima now more than ever. The traditional Roman Rite marks Septuagesima Sunday by omitting the recitation of both the Alleluia and the Gloria. The priest wears violet vestments in anticipation of Lent. Holy Mother Church reminds us during this season that we are sojourners on earth; captives to sin and death in desperate need of redemption through the sacrifice of Christ.

O LORD, we beseech you favorably to hear the prayers of your people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by your goodness, for the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you, and with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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