Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Rorate Masses in New York City

This year, the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York City is holding 10 Rorate Masses, the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Advent, during the first part of the holy season. The Mass takes its title from the first words of the Introit, from Isaiah 45, 8: “Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just one: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior.”; it is celebrated by candlelight, in white vestments are worn instead of violet. In the dimly lit setting, priests and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illuminated by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ. The readings and prayers of the Mass foretell the prophecy of the Virgin who would bear a Son called Emmanuel.
The Rorate Mass will be celebrated at the Church of the Holy Innocents on the following days of Advent, all of them starting at 6 a.m.: Monday, December 4, Tuesday, December 5, Wednesday, December 6, Thursday, December 7, Saturday, December 9, Monday, December 11, Wednesday, December 13, Thursday, December 14, Friday, December 15, Saturday, December 16. The church is located at 128 West 37th Street.
The words of the Introit are used repeatedly both at the Mass and in the Divine Office during the season of Advent, expressing the longings of the Patriarchs and Prophets, and of the entire human race since the fall of Adam, for the coming of the Redeemer. The celebration of this Mass by candle light had originally a more practical reason: for many centuries, no Mass was allowed to be celebrated after noon, and when these Masses were celebrated very early in the morning (before dawn) it was still very dark, especially in winter-time. In the course of time and through the power of religious tradition, a spiritual meaning attached to the custom; the use of candles symbolizes the bright light of Christmas to which Advent leads us.

Before the liturgical revolution after the Second Vatican Council, this Mass was celebrated very early in the morning on all Saturdays, and in some countries such as Poland and Germany, during some or all weekdays during the season of Advent. As the season’s votive Mass of the Virgin Mary, it presents Her as the perfect model to imitate throughout the season of Advent, and teaches us its real spirit as we await the coming of the Messiah. During the nine months of pregnancy, Our Lady lived a hidden life, in silence and intimacy with Christ. During the period of Advent, we should cultivate that same spirit of silence and intimacy by listening attentively to God’s message and by obedience to His word, through devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, we may always find Jesus through Mary “So (the shepherds) went with haste, and they found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger.” (Luke 2, 16).

Thanks to Mr Eddy Toribio for the text above, and to one of our most faithful photopost contributors, Diana Yuan, for these photos of the Rorate Mass celebrated at Holy Innocents yesterday morning:

and these of the First Sunday of Advent celebrated in the Dominican Rite celebrated at St Vincent Ferrer.

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