Candle-mass

At the time of this writing I am the guest of the intrepid Fr. Timothy Finigan, one of the Telegraph‘s front-runners to be the next Archbishop of Westminster (though that might be news to the Congregation for Bishops, perhaps it shouldn’t be).

This morning Fr. Finigan had a very fine celebration of Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification.  There was a fine schola of men and plenty of candles to remind us what we were about.  We even had a procession, though that was slightly complicated at one point by someone who had errantly parked a car in our proper path.  Like the wise men we went per aliam viam.

The liturgy begins with the blessing of candles, in purple.  Then they distributed to the people, who kiss the candle and the priest’s hand:

 The Mass, a Missa cantata rather than the solemnis we were thinking about, proceeds as usual.

 

After the Mass we had some time in the parish’s hall, which is also a pub.  Here is where we get the sense of true pastoral theology:

Please take note of the name of the excellent ale that Father is dispensing. 

I am forced into some linguistic musing. 

In this case is "Bishops" (which is probably "bishop’s") an objective genitive/possessive or subjective?   Does this refer to the very finger of the bishop, that is, on the bishop’s own hand, or does it refer to some other finger that the bishop receives?  I suppose it could be plural.  Hmmm… that might clear up the question.  If this is plural "bishops’", then it must be the finger that is directed to or given to the plural bishops. 

Otherwise, maybe that "finger" is really a verb!  Plural bishops are "fingering" someone, as in the following possible heading in The Telegraph:

"Bishops Finger Finigan for Westminster"

Whatever the meaning of the name of this ale, I was very pleased to have a pint and consider my good fortune at having been at Our Lady of the Rosary for Candlemas:

 

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41 Responses to Candle-mass

  1. Michael says:

    Very beautiful. I ask this not to be critical but because I really want to know. Wasn’t the violet cope replaced with a white one for the procession in the 1962 Missal?

  2. jack burton says:

    According to Missale Romanum, Imprimatur by C. Eykens, Vical General of Antwerp, 24 Feb 1963:

    “The priest, vested in a purple cope, blesses the candles, which are placed near the altar.”

  3. Plumtree says:

    According to my 1962 altar missal the cope is white.

  4. Joe says:

    “Wasn’t the violet cope replaced with a white one for the procession in the 1962 Missal?”

    Again, not to be critical, but yes, the purple cope was replaced with white – the new Baronius edition of the 1962 Missal indicates white.

    I know this for certain because, on Candlemas 1961 or 1962 ( I can’t be sure which) as a young boy waiting to serve Mass in my home parish, I have a vivid recollection that the old PP had put out a purple cope, but the then-young curate indicated to the PP that the rubrics had changed and the cope was to be white. Our PP indicated his frustration ‘with all these changes’ (and that was some time before the later major upheavels following the Council). It was a liturgical moment I have never forgotten – all the more so since our beloved PP died on 26 March 1962.

  5. Not that this detracts anything from today’s Mass, but this is a shot of the page of a 1962 Missale Romanum

  6. jack burton says:

    I don’t dispute that the color was changed to white, but I am certain that some 1962 (and beyond) sources still say purple. Besides the source above, my Angelus Press people’s missal has the following:

    “The Priest, vested in a violet cope…”

    This Angelus Press missal is based on “The Ideal Missal” which is indeed based on the 1962 Missale Romanum. I’ve heard of “1962″ missals that are not true to their advertising but I don’t think that is the case here. Perhaps this change came about after some 1962 stuff had hit the printing presses?

  7. Fr Justin says:

    We, too, celebrated TLM for Candlemas this morning, in the south of England. I panicked because I did not have a purple cope, then decided to do the whole thing in white since, really, I had no option. Then I discovered, as some of your other commentators have noted, with relief, that in fact 1962 prescribes white throughout. This is quite a traditional observance: the Sarum use also used white throughout, and no doubt other variants of the Roman Rite did so also.
    The whole thing went beautifully. I had three servers, and though there was no choir, I led the people myself in the Lumen ad revelationem gentium and sang the antiphons in the procession.

  8. Fr Justin says:

    I should have added that if you need something to do or somewhere to go or somewhere to stay during your sojourn in the UK, Fr Z, you know you are very welcome indeed here. Fr Tim or Fr Ray will put you in my direction.

  9. Jill of the Amazing Wolverine Tribe says:

    Well, for a man of the world, Father Z, apparently you have missed the nugget of information that “finger” is a casual measure of booze.

    “Barkeep, get me a whiskey.”

    “How many fingers?”

    “Three.”

    In other words hold the glass at the bottom for “x” fingers and pour to the top finger. Capisce?

  10. jack burton says:

    Fr. Justin,

    Yeah, white certainly makes sense considering the nature of the liturgical day, et cetera, and white is the color for the Mass, but there is something interesting to me about the (formerly) purple cope for the blessing/procession. There must be some reason buried in history and it would be fascinating to discover it. :-)

  11. Atlantic says:

    Here’s what the compay says is the explanation, which I think is cool:

    http://www.bishopsfinger.co.uk/legend.htm

  12. Malta says:

    Monks’ Ale is also a fine “liquid bread” worth pursuing; brewed by the traditional-friendly Abbot Christopher M. Zielinski:

    http://www.monksale.com/

  13. Sean says:

    Nice head.

  14. Sean says:

    I must add that Fr. Finigan really looks the part of an old-style priest, someone who looks like they could handle themselves in a fight.

  15. Most blessings of objects are given wearing purple vestments assigned to be worn. Post 1962, couldn’t say.

  16. Jill of the Amazing Wolverine Tribe says:

    I agree with Sean. Fr. Tim could easily be believable in On The WaterFront.

  17. Atlantic: Thanks for that reference. From that website:

    “Clerics and beer have been linked with one another for centuries, but what particularly attracted us to Bishops Finger was its uniquely Kentish associations.

    Bishops fingers were found only in Kent because they were fingerposts sited along the Pilgrims Way to show the pilgrims the route to Thomas à Becket’s shrine in Canterbury Cathedral before it was destroyed by Henry VIII in the 16 th century.”

  18. Matt Q says:

    Glad you’re having fun, Father. That shot of the full glass of beer looked totally good and made me think of Homer Simpson, “Beeeer… aaaaaahhhhhhhh.” LOL

    These sorts of light-hearted posting is humorous and fun, but it kind of sobered ( ha, no pun intended ) when Father Z said,

    **”Bishops fingers were found only in Kent because they were fingerposts sited along the Pilgrims Way to show the pilgrims the route to Thomas à Becket’s shrine in Canterbury Cathedral before it was destroyed by Henry VIII in the 16th century.”**

    See the things vicious, psychotic people do, especially when it’s directed towards the Faith.

  19. John F. says:

    The violet cope represents the penitential nature of the trip to the temple in Jerusalem for the purification of the Blessed Virgin along with the sacrifice of the two turtle doves after the birth of a first born son as prescribe by the Mosaic law.

  20. danphunter1 says:

    Matt Q,
    Damn Protestants.
    Happy Purification of the Blessed Mother, to all.

  21. K says:

    We certainly had everything in white at the Oratory. On the other hand, that was a -reluctant- NO Mass, where someone “forgot” to turn on the microphone at the altar during the Canon.

    Fr Z, will you be having a blognic of the same type as in Kansas City while you are here?

    Happy feast everyone.

  22. Gregorius Minor says:

    The comment by John F. is correct. In the Roman tradition, all procecssions have a penitential aspect to them. The exception is of course, Corpus Christi, which is of much later institution than the other days on which a procession is traditionally done. (Rogations, Purification.) Fr. Bugnini and his gang, who were responsable for most of the changes instituted between 1955 and 1962, got rid of the purple cope on Feb. 2 as part of their run up to the general abolition of penitantial days from the Roman rite (Ember days, vigils of Saints etc.).

  23. Gregorius Minor says:

    The comment by John F. is correct. In the Roman tradition, all procecssions have a penitential aspect to them. The exception is of course, Corpus Christi, which is of much later institution than the other days on which a procession is traditionally done. (Rogations, Purification.) Fr. Bugnini and his gang, who were responsable for most of the changes instituted between 1955 and 1962, got rid of the purple cope on Feb. 2 as part of their run up to the general abolition of penitential days from the Roman rite (Ember days, vigils of Saints etc.).

  24. Richard says:

    The altar in the photos appears to be a people’s altar nicely transformed into a high altar.

  25. Brian says:

    I hear that the awesome Fr. Aidan Nichols, OP may be considered to be Archbishop of Westminster, either choice would be awesome! Especially if either one of them put into work the plan for England’s conversion to Catholicism as recently written by Fr. Nichols.

    This is an exciting but also a daunting time to be alive.

  26. Brian says:

    I hear that the awesome Fr. Aidan Nichols, OP may be considered to be Archbishop of Westminster, either choice would be awesome! Especially if either one of them put into work the plan for England\’s conversion to Catholicism as recently written by Fr. Nichols.

    This is an exciting but also a daunting time to be alive.

  27. Margaret says:

    We have got to get the pub/parish hall thing to catch on here in the US… :-)

  28. Matt Q says:

    Margaret wrote:

    “We have got to get the pub/parish hall thing to catch on here in the US… :-)”

    Oh, if only, Margaret. If only. It would be a great thing. It would re-invigorate parish life. The ushers and Knights of Columbus would gladly come to the meetings.

    = = = =

    Gregorius Minor mentioned Rogations. That’s nice. When was the last time anyone had a meaningful Rogation Sunday?

  29. EDG says:

    Margaret and Matt Q., I remember the good old days when the men’s club and the KofC attended the bar booth at the parish festival…

    The newer, purer, more Protestantized post-VII Catholic decided that this was tacky and scandalous. I was living in a parish where they actually halted alcohol use at parish events and made a big announcement about how “inappropriate” it was to sell beer at the parish festival. Huh? Why?

    Well, leaving aside my obsession, we had a lovely Candlemas at the 7 a.m. daily mass today, with the Schola Cantorae (all girls, or at least, we like to think of ourselves as girls) chanting away and our priest blessing the candles as he should. The female liturgist tried to halt this and sent out a memo, but since she doesn’t live in the parish and doesn’t go to anything that requires her to be there at 7:00 a.m., we did it anyway. People loved it! We loved it! Things are good and getting better!

  30. Danby says:

    Our Pastor, Fr. Palmasani, banned alcohol in the parish hall in 1964. Not for any puritanical reason, but for sound pastoral reasons. Our parish in Seattle was about 1/2 Italian and 1/2 Irish. At the reception after the Fruichanti/Parker wedding, a fight broke out between the families of the happy couple, doing about $1500 damage (in 1964 dollars) to the hall, and ending up with the Best Man helping the brother of the bride into the sanctuary of the church, just as the police arrived. Problem was, he didn’t bother to use a door.

    Father didn’t think he could avoid fights by banning alcohol. He figured neither the Irish nor the Italians would want to hold receptions in the hall if they couldn’t drink. How right he was.

    His sermon the next day was on turning the other cheek. The Italian-shaped hole in the wall made a great visual aid.

  31. Malta says:

    ROFL: “Best Man helping the brother of the bride into the sanctuary of the church, just as the police arrived. Problem was, he didn’t bother to use a door.”

    That’s hilarious Danby! Sounds like a rollicking good time for all except the best man and brother of the bride! But I can also understand why the parish priest might have wanted to circumnavigate such festivities to a different venue in the future!

    .

  32. Depending on what country, state and insurance policy of the parish, there either can’t be any alcohol, or minors must be carded (with fines as much as 10,000 per “mistake”), etc. Lots of red tape for licenses, tax, etc. If anything happens later (car accident, etc.), the parish is blamed for everything. We live in different times. Overly pious thoughts about tea-totalling can be nicer way of saying, “We don’t want to go bankrupt.”

    It is these kind of things which preoccupy the time of many fine priests today, which is so sad. We need all our priests to be concerned about the one thing necessary (the other part of this post). It would be great if we priests could celebrate in the parish hall with our parishioners without so many worries, and the parishioners with each other. Catholic culture includes the Sacred Liturgy and celebrating in other ways.

    Anyway, Cheers! until wednesday, when we will bear a symbol of our pedagogical demise on our (fore)heads…

  33. Sebastian says:

    Fr. Finegan clearly knows what is in 1962 and what is not. How appalling to show such disobedience to the Holy Father’s prescription of the 1962 liturgical books by using the Tridentine practice.

    Traditionalists have just taken a page out of the Modernist’s book – disobey Rome for long enough and Rome will eventually sanction the practice.

  34. jack burton says:

    Sebastian wrote: “Fr. Finegan clearly knows what is in 1962 and what is not. How appalling to show such disobedience to the Holy Father’s prescription of the 1962 liturgical books by using the Tridentine practice…disobey Rome for long enough and Rome will eventually sanction the practice.”

    I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions sir. I have two authentic 1962 missals which indicate purple so I think it is fair to give the benefit of the doubt on this one. I can’t explain why some 1962 missals indicate purple and others white, but I speculate that the change to white was perhaps part of a late round of tweaks that occurred after some 1962 materials had hit the printing presses (although I honestly have no idea). Personally I find your insinuation of calculated disobedience for the sake of the purple cope to be most unbelievable. Your apparent allegations of disobedience and a modernist mentality are slanderous of one who is, in my opinion, most probably an extraordinary priest. :-(

  35. Joe says:

    Sebastian – Fr Tim is an excellent and exemplary priest – don’t attriubute actions to him which run counter to his obedience to the magisterium.

    I agree with Jack – I’m sure this was an innocent action. My own experience as a boy (as already mentioned) is the only reason I have to know about the change. Oherwise, I’d have expected purple for all the reasons others have indicated.

  36. Joe is right.
    Fr. Tim Finigan is an excellent and exemplary priest.
    A good and holy man.

    The Church needs more priests like him.

  37. glitterboy says:

    The change in colour for the blessing of candles and procession was required by the decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites “Novum Rubricarum” 26 July 1960 – paragraph 120 reads “120. White is used for the Office and Mass of feasts…(b)of the Blessed Virgin Mary, even for the blessing and procession of candles on 2 February”. The rubrics came into effect on 1 January 1961 so Candlemas 1961 was the first to be celebrated wholly in white vestments.

  38. Sacristy_rat says:

    The 1962 Rubrics, suppose a WHITE cope. White or purple I don’t care, but the correct one is white.

  39. danphunter1 says:

    Thank you to the very nice person who came up to the choir loft at the Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh.Give me a write
    danphunter1@aol.com

  40. Jim says:

    How quickly a great occasion can degenerate into what Father Zed called ‘bitching’.

    White…Purple…..

    Didn’t you see that the beer keg had both in perfect harmoneee?

  41. Danny says:

    I am hoping Sebastian’s comment was somehow intended to be tongue-in-cheek. While I certainly believe that we should endeavor to follow the rubrics – slavishly if possible – I also believe that harping on an innocent mistake in vestment choice is the kind of thing that gives traditionalists a bad name. Furthermore, to imply that someone would be intentionally disobedient so as to wear a purple cope instead of a proper white one (or vice versa) is well, simply bizarre.