“Month’s Mind” TLM Requiem (Missa Cantata) for Justice Antonin Scalia.

I received a note that there will be a Sung Requiem Mass in the traditional form of the Roman Rite for the one month mark for the repose of the soul of Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday 12 March at 12 Noon at St. Rita’s in Alexandria, VA.

You may know that it is traditional to celebrated Masses on certain “minding” days after someone’s death.  Typically a Requiem is offered at the 30 day mark and 1 year after.  Masses are also traditionally offered on the day of death itself or when the news of death arrives, on the 3rd day after and the 7th day after death. When counting these days we can count from the day of death or burial without including the day of death or burial in the count. So, if Joe Bagofdonuts goes to the Lord on Monday 5 June, we start counting from Tuesday 6 June.

The “mind” Mass tradition is quite ancient. The very early Apostolic Constitution speaks of the third day after death because that is how long Christ was in the tomb. St. Augustine and St. Ambrose mention them as established custom already in the 4th and 5th c. St. Ambrose in De fide resurrectionis writes: “Nunc quoniam die septem ad sepulchrum redimus, qui dies symbolum futurae quietis est … Now since on the seventh day, which day is the symbol of future repose, we return to the tomb.” Ambrose also wrote of the 30th day in his work on the death of the Emperor Theodosius: “Quia alii tertium diem et trigesimum; alii septimum et quadragesimum observare consueverunt, quid doceat lectio consideremus … Since some have been accustomed to keep the third and the thirtieth day; others the seventh and the fortieth; let us consider what the lesson teaches.” And of course we have many instances of sermons on the anniversaries or feasts of the deaths of martyrs.

Pray for the dead, consider the Four Last Things daily and…


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. majuscule says:

    I was hoping the family would do this!

    A priest who offers private Traditional Latin Masses that I attend has on occasion offered his private Mass as a Requeim on “minding” days for people who may have had a big NO celebration of life. Those who attend his private Masses were especially blessed when he had gotten word of a close family member’s death in the night and on the day of death changed his Mass from the Mass of the day to a Requiem on the day of death.

    It was very moving.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    I recall reading once that “in the old days”, attending the Requiem Mass on the seventh day after death/burial was a “social obligation” for those who could not be present at the actual funeral, and that the seventh and thirtieth day Masses signified the last act of public mourning. Sad that these customs no longer abound…

  3. rodin says:

    St. Rita’s was for many decades the church of my mother’s family (among the thirteen founding families) and it was also mine until I moved to California where I am forced to attend NO masses unless I can get to the TLM an hour away. It is good to know that St. Rita’s still has the extraordinary form on occasion. My ancestors must be watching over it.

  4. Imrahil says:

    Of course we should pray for the dead, and keep ourselves prepared for death.

    However, I disagree as to this: Those who, according to their reasonable ability, are; those who do go to confession regularly… they do not have to, and very personally I do not think we should, ponder on the Four Last Things daily. Sometimes, yes. With increased frequency during Lent, maybe. But daily, really?

    Except, of course, for the short time when they say the Creed and the Four Last Things pop up, as it were.

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