Some of you have written asking about “Rorate Masses” during Advent.
This is a beautiful custom whereby Mass is celebrated illuminated only by candlelight. They are usually before dawn.
The Mass is a Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin, and so it is celebrated in white, rather than Advent purple. “Rorate” is the first word of the Introit chant for a Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin in Advent. There is also a beautiful Advent Gregorian chant hymn that uses this text, which comes from Isaiah 14.
One way that I have heard this done is that, while the hymn Rorate caeli begins, the priest and people, who have gathered outside, process into the church. At the end of the hymn, prayers at the foot of the altar begin as the chant Rorate is sung if it is a Missa Cantata. When the Gloria is sung (for the Blessed Virgin’s votive Mass) the lights of the church are turned on. That’s one way. Otherwise, the lights remain off, as they would have, obvious, in time before electrification.
It could be good to time to end of Mass as the sun is rising.
Are you having Rorate Masses where you are?
A friend sent me photos of the Rorate Mass recently celebrated at the vibrant parish of Holy Innocents in Manhattan. Here are a few snaps.