In [a parish bulletin] bulletin, they are announcing a “Winter Solstice Mass” on Dec 22nd. I have never heard of such a thing. Please advise! This is considered a “solstice” mission with the window aligned with the sun, however it sounds rather pagan to me.
Neither have I heard of a “Winter Solstice Mass”.
Keep in mind that the main door of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the main altar within is exactly aligned with the rising of the sun on the Vernal Equinox. On the Winter Solstice, if memory serves, the Egyptian obelisk relocated to the center of St. Peter’s Square would have lined up with the obelisk and the rising Sun on the Winter Solstice and with the obelisk at Piazza del Popolo on the Summer Solstice. Popes such as Sixtus V placed these obelisks very precisely according to a urban renovation plan. The obelisk at St. Peter’s serves as the spina of an enormous sundial. The great churches of Christendom served also as accurate clocks and sometimes you see on the interior pavement an analemma where a shaft of sunlight darts to the floor. There is a great example of this in Rome at Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Since the very earliest times, Christians observed the turning of the seasons and the changing direction of the sun’s apparent risings and settings. For example, we make much of St. Lucy’s Day in December (Latin for light is lux), and we have in the traditional calendar the Ember Days, which tie us in the Northern Hemisphere closer to the seasons, we celebrate St. John the Baptist in the summer at the solstice.
But a Winter Solstice Mass smacks of sometime … New Age? The New Age thing is a mishmash of the pagan and gnostic. Or it could be secularizing, in the sense of “Winter Festival” rather than “Christmas”.
Maybe this is a special observance of the religion adhered to by the LCWR or the Fishwrap?
It could be purely astronomical and calendrical, but … what sense would that make for a Mass?
Unless some information is missing, this seems a little strange.