Wednesday, February 18, 2015

KNEELING FOR ASHES AND THE PRE-VATICAN II LENTEN DISICPLINE, AND ASH WEDNESDAY WITH POPE FRANCIS

 Because the blessing and imposition of ashes is the Penitential Act of the Ash Wednesday Mass (the Penitential Act is omitted during the Introductory Rite), we are asking everyone to kneel for the blessing of the ashes. We asked everyone to use the altar railing, the full length, to receive the ashes.

I can't believe how quickly it went with just two priests going to each penitent. It took less time than when four of us are imposing ashes as people come to us. I suspect the same would be true for the distribution of Holy Communion!

I heard Cardinal Dolan on his radio program yesterday lament the fact that we have lost a great deal in terms of the pre-Vatican II Lenten discipline compared to the minor discipline we have today. I would agree but would accept a more flexible approach to the pre-Vatican II discipline as an ideal that people should strive to do but not required.

How many of you would do this type of penance throughout the Lenten Season (except for Sundays of course)?

Pre Vatican II Fasting Guidelines

For the US:

"Abstinence: All Catholics seven years and older are obliged to observe the Law of Abstinence.
On days of complete abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat are not permitted at all. On days of partial abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat are permitted once a day at the principal meal.

Complete abstinence is to be observed on all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday, Vigils of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas, and on Holy Saturday. Partial abstinence is to be observed on Ember Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on the Vigil of Pentecost.

Fasting: All Catholics from the completion of their twenty-first year to the beginning of their sixtieth year are bound to observe the Law of fast. The days of fast are the weekdays of Lent, Ember Days, the Vigils of Pentecost, the Immaculate Conception, Christmas. Only one full meal is allowed on a day of Fast. Two other meatless meals are permitted. These meals should be sufficient to maintain strength in accordance with each one's needs. Both of these meals, or collations, together, should not equal one full meal.

It is permissible to eat meat at the principle meal on a Fast Day except on Fridays, Ash Wednesday, and the Vigils of Immaculate Conception, Christmas, and Holy Saturday.

Solid foods between meals is not permitted. Liquids, including coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices are allowed.
In connection with problems arising from the Laws of Fast and Abstinence, a confessor or priest should be consulted. Dispensations may be granted for a serious reason concerning health or the ability to work."
For Canada:

"Fasting Days: All days in Lent, except Sundays, the Ember Days, the Vigils of Whitsunday, of All Saints, of the Immaculate Conception and of Christmas Day.

Abstinence Days: The Ember Days, the Vigils mentioned above, the
Wednesdays of Lent, Holy Saturdays forenoon, and all Fridays, except Days of Obligation."

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Because the blessing and imposition of ashes is the Penitential Act of the Ash Wednesday Mass (the Penitential Act is omitted during the Introductory Rite), we are asking everyone to kneel for the blessing of the ashes."

What's the connection between kneeling and the Penitential Rite? Do you normally ask people to kneel during the Penitential Rite?

Anonymous said...

In my parish there are a significant number of elderly people who cannot genuflect (they bow) or kneel. I presume your parish also has people like that. How did they get ashes? How will they receive Communion?

Marc said...

It seems like it would be beneficial if you guys would revert to the practice of fasting during Lent instead of your current pietistic idea. At a basic level, it would be a meaningful communal experience.

On the other hand, maintaining such a fast would be very taxing and probably spiritually harmful if it were imposed under penalty of sin like your current "fasting" rules.

Henry said...

Anonymous, at most EF Masses I've attended (many hundreds over the hears), there have been people unable to genuflect who received communion while standing. No one thinks anything of it. For traditional Catholics, kneeling is an act of reverence, not a fetish.

On the main question, most of the traditional Catholics I know about personally fast throughout the 40 days of Lent-- and partial abstinence every day, full abstinence on Fridays (all the year, not just Lent)--including those like me substantially over the cutoff age of 60 for required fasting.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, a few of the older and some of the younger simply stood at the railing and it was no problem whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

About 85 miles northwest of Poplar Street in of course AA (Archdiocese of Atlanta), parish I went to today had adult altar servers apparently in albs---as opposed to cassock and surplice. I thought albs were liturgical vestments (not worn by laity even in server position), unlike cassock/surplice which basically is choir dress. Also 4 candles to the side of the altar. No altar rails---few churches in AA still have those.

John Nolan said...

For the third year running I attended the lunchtime EF Low Mass at the Oxford Oratory. The blessing and imposition of ashes takes place before Mass, and the PATFOTA are omitted. So why, in the OF, did Bugnini decide to put the Penitential Act after the Gospel?

In the older form the Responsory 'Emendemus in melius' with its dire warning about dying unrepentant, is followed by the Introit 'Misereris omnium' which stresses God's mercy, overlooking men's sins, bringing them to repentance and sparing them. Reversing the order is bad psychology, apart from anything else.

As for Anon's comments, those who can't kneel, don't have to. Today the large congregation tended to be on the young side but I noticed a blind man who was led to the rail and received both ashes and Communion standing. The priest made an exception to the usual EF practice and placed the Host in his hand.

Anonymous said...

What's the connection between kneeling and the Penitential Rite? Do you normally ask people to kneel during the Penitential Rite?

Anonymous said...

Albs may be worn by those carrying out liturgical functions. In a few dioceses, Harrisburg, PA, for one, Extraordinary Ministers of Communion wear albs.

The cassock was "house dress" for clerics. The surplice was a minimized alb intended to cover the "street clothes" of the clerics when engaged in liturgy.

The cassock/surplice are "clerical" dress; the alb is not.

Henry said...

"What's the connection between kneeling and the Penitential Rite?"

Roman Catholics have certainly kneeled during the penitential rite for almost all of the last thousand years (or more). So at least there'a a historical connection.