ASK FATHER: Lighting Advent wreath during Mass – REVISITED

From a reader some years back.

QUAERITUR:

Father, is it appropriate to replace the penitential rite with the lighting of the advent wreath?

No.

Just… no.

The longer explanation is, course, Nooooooooo.

Attention to the wreath during Mass seems like the triumph of low information sentimentality over good Catholic common sense.

I think there is a blessing for a wreath that can be used during Mass in the Ordinary Form on the 1st Sunday of Advent only, and only in countries where it has been approved.  That doesn’t apply to other Sundays of Advent.  Also, in no way does it substitute for the penitential rite of Mass.  You bless the thing, light the candles, Mass goes on as it should according to the book.

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9 Responses to ASK FATHER: Lighting Advent wreath during Mass – REVISITED

  1. Diana says:

    I, for one, and very grateful for the longer explanation. Thank you.

  2. Josephus Corvus says:

    Fr. Z. writes: I think there is a blessing for a wreath that can be used during Mass in the Ordinary Form on the 1st Sunday of Advent only…

    The thing that I found goofy, or at least my question about it, is why doesn’t the blessing “stick”? It’s done on the first Sunday and no other, I would assume, because once it’s blessed, it’s blessed. That makes sense, but why is it blessed at every Mass on the the 1st Sunday? Or is that another misinterpretation of the red and black?

  3. William says:

    Josephus Corvus wrote:

    The thing that I found goofy, or at least my question about it, is why doesn’t the blessing “stick”? It’s done on the first Sunday and no other, I would assume, because once it’s blessed, it’s blessed. That makes sense, but why is it blessed at every Mass on the the 1st Sunday? Or is that another misinterpretation of the red and black?

    Father can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it is supposed to be blessed only at the first Mass.

    I suspect that it is blessed at other Masses because the first Mass is typically a Saturday vigil and priests subconsciously know how ridiculous the whole come-to-Mass-before-your-hangover-Mass is.

    (Psst, I know that I’m being cynical about the motives about going to the Saturday vigil. I’ve been known to go to it myself a time or two, but always reluctantly, and if there were no Saturday vigil, and I was in a pinch, I could find a Sunday Mass to attend.)

  4. iPadre says:

    Josephus Corvus. Because it’s about play, putting on a show, entertaining the masses.

  5. Imrahil says:

    I think the rationale was that apparently some rule would say that immediately after a distinct liturgical celebration (which the blessing of the Advent wreath indeed is), the penitential rite could be left away.

    I don’t know if such a rule actually exists, of course. But I do have heard rumours of such thing before.

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  7. TonyO says:

    Just… no.

    The longer explanation is, course, Nooooooooo.

    Thank you, Fr. Z., well said. I read this to my family, and they enjoyed it very much.

    I fear that priests who try a “shortcut” here, or even just don’t really know what to do, are a symptom of the seminary training on the N.O.: since it was cobbled together like a Dr. a Frankenstein monster from whatever parts were ready to hand, they are unable to ascertain from a sense of “what it’s all about” whether the blessing eliminates the need for the penitential rite. They can only tell by being told point blank at each moment what the next thing is. If you make it up as you go along, not surprisingly nobody else can tell “what comes next”. At some point, one might legitimately wonder whether priests trained up this way (i.e. having only the N.O. from infancy on) can really be priests of the Latin Rite, when they neither grasp any of the Latin nor any of the spirit of the Latin Rite.

  8. Susan C says:

    I can certainly see the problem with “blessing objects” as if the blessing doesn’t last. However, some items are blessed more than once (i.e. perhaps your house is blessed yearly).

    In the case of this instance and any similar such instance where Mass goers are present (blessed palms), it would seem promising a priest is actually willing to publicly bless anything.

    As to the Vigil Masses, almost all daily mass attendees go to worship both then and Sunday morning. Then there are a number of elderly who have a hard time with health care issues in the mornings, and some families where one or both parents have to work. Is it ideal? No. But better they attend then than not at all. Oh! Forgot a group… many of those who went to confession since right before Saturday Mass is often the only allotted scheduled time.

  9. G1j says:

    Was shaking my head at Mass tonight when our priest said that the blessing was going to replace the penitential rite.

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