These daily 5 minute podcasts are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season.
Today is Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent. Laetare still echoes in our ears, but in the ancient Church the catechumens and the baptized, this week, began their strict penance in earnest.
How wonderful it would be if we could recapture something of the spirit of ancient catechumens!
Today we have just a taste of Pius Parsch’s description of an important moment in the formation of the ancient Roman catechumens, this very day of Lent. Today, at St. Paul’s Basilica, the catechumens received the first elements of what today are part and parcel of the traditional rite of Baptism. The Mass formulary is very ancient, which is demonstrated by the extra Lesson. The bishop put salt into their mouths and then they had to leave the basilica until summoned again. The catechumens were later brought back in and they knelt three times and hands were imposed on them. Their ears were “opened” in the ephpheta gesture. They were solemnly given, in the traditio, the Gospel, the Creed, and the Our Father in Greek and Latin as the bishop’s hand hovered over their heads. They were then dismissed again, as the sacrificial part of Mass continued.
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