Monday, February 11, 2013

Burying the Alleluia


Photo by ConcordPastor


This past weekend we "buried the Alleluia" in anticipation of Ash Wednesday and the silencing of the Alleluia until the Easter Vigil.

In the Middle Ages, faithful Christians would go to the parish cemetery just before Lent began with an image bearing the word Alleluia and singing the word they carried. There the image would be buried, a vivid reminder that during the Lenten season we "fast" from this word which means, "Praise the Lord."

(For a fuller treatment of the history of this custom, follow here to a fine article by Diana Macalintal.)

The "burial" of the Alleluia banner in my parish didn't take us to our parish cemetery, however. The banner was taken down at the end of Mass, during the closing song, as we sing our last Alleluias before Lent.   After showing it to all sides of the assembly for a last glimpse, it was carefully placed in a box covered in purple cloth (see the photo at the top of this post). The box was then retired to a resting place just in front of the tabernacle until it will be opened again at the proclamation of the gospel at the Easter Vigil when the banner will be unfurled, processed and hung again in the sanctuary.

Before Ash Wednesday arrives, you might like to feast on this beautiful Alleluia by Mozart...

Alleluia by Mozart on Grooveshark


 
   
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