Mandeville, LA – Today is Septuagesima Sunday, septuagesima means “70” and as such marks the 70 days between today and Easter Sunday. This season begins with the priest wearing the somber color of The Passion, purple. Dom Prosper Gueranger says of the history of Septuagesima Sunday.
The Season of Septuagesima comprises the three weeks immediately preceding Lent. It forms one of the principal divisions of the Liturgical Year, and is itself divided into three parts, each part corresponding to a week: the first is called Septuagesima; the second, Sexagesima; the third, Quinquagesima. As the season of Septuagesima depends upon time of the Easter celebration, it comes sooner or later, according to the changes of that great Feast. The 18th of January and the 22nd of February called the Septuagesima Keys, because the Sunday, which is called Septuagesima, cannot be earlier in the year, than the first, nor later than the second, of these two days.
Septuagesima Sunday thus is the start of preparation for the Lenten season. The Mass will change today as the Alleluia is omitted.
The leading feature, then, of Septuagesima is the total suspension of the Alleluia, which is not to be again heard upon the earth, until the arrival of that happy day, when, having suffered death with our Jesus, and having been buried together with him, we shall rise again with him to a new life. -Dom Prosper Gueranger
Saint Augustine instructed the faithful on this season in a manner that only he was blessed to deliver.
“There are two times, one which is now, and is spent in the temptations and tribulations of this life; the other which shall be then, and shall be spent in eternal security and joy. In figure of these, we celebrate two periods: the time ‘before Easter’ and the time ‘after Easter.’ That which is ‘before Easter,’ signifies the sorrow of this present life; that which is ‘after Easter,’ the blessedness of our future state. Hence it is, that we spend the first in fasting and prayer; and in the second, we give up our fasting, and give ourselves to praise.”
A blessed Septuagesima to you all, oremus!