ASK FATHER: Why is a Mass during Lent called “Sitientes”?

From a reader…


Good morning, Father!
Greetings from snowy Colorado! I was setting up my new Android calendar on my phone because I’m no longer using google, etc.  As I was making notations for the TLM calendar for March 20, 2021, I saw this phrase on the FSSP calendar for the day: Feria of Lent (Sitientes)

I grabbed my trusty Dr. Traupman Latin/English dictionary: “adj thirsting, thirsty; arid, parched; parching; (w. gen) thirsting for, eager for ”

I looked it up online and could not find a liturgical explanation. Could you explain this, please?

Thank you very much! God reward you for what you do for us!
Pax et bonum!

Good question.  Thanks.

Aim phone camera

Sitientes is what that Mass formulary is called because the first word of the first antiphon, or Introit, of the Mass is, in fact “Sitientes“.  “Sitientes, venite ad aquas, dicit Dominus…“.  This is the Mass formulary for the last day in Lent before Passiontide begins, in other words, Saturday in the 4th Week of Lent, just before 1st Passion Sunday.

Sometimes formularies are called by their Introits.  Say you are looking at Masses in the Common of Martyrs.  You will see the Mass “Statuit ei Dominus” or “Sacerdotes Dei” or “In virtute tua“, etc.   The Mass for Quinquagesima coming up can be called “Esto mihi“.

If you look at the great resource page right now you will see in the list of upcoming Masses that, at the beautiful church St. Eugene in Paris, tomorrow they will celebrate St. Scholastica with the Mass “Dilexisti“.  There are two Mass formularies “Pro virgine tantum”.  The first word of the Introit tells you which to follow.

That’s the story behind “Sitientes“.

Thanks for being thirsty for an explanation.

And as a bonus, here the Introit Sitientes sung by the nuns of Santa María de Benifassà.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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