This Sunday marks our first week of our Lenten journey. We come to it now, the ashes of Wednesday worn or cleaned off, but with hearts and minds ready for renewal. To help us with the renewal and deepening of our faith and commitment to follow the Lord to the Cross of Good Friday and the joy of Easter, we shall be introducing some small changes to our Sunday liturgies. I hope to highlight and explain their significance in this message.
The first noticeable option used during Mass will be that we shall begin chanting the dialogues between priest and people for the Introductory Rites. These are all quite simple so have no fear, and we will practice this before the Sunday Masses. Holy Mother Church encourages us to sing our prayers, and so we will make small steps in this direction by chanting the Sign of the Cross, the Greeting, and the Penitential Rite up to the Collect Prayer.
As part of the Introductory Rites, we shall also be using a less commonly used form for the Penitential Rite. There are 3 options of the form to be used, and the second form tends to be less used, and less well known. But I think it’s a rather beautiful way to deepen our faith by using it, especially for the season of Lent. After the usual invitation of the priest to “acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries”, the priest will begin with the petition: “Have mercy on us, O Lord.”, to which the people add: “For we have sinned against you.” The priest then continues with another petition: “Show us, O Lord, your mercy.”, and the people add again: “And grant us your salvation.”.
The next change noticeable at Mass will be that we will once again be reciting the Apostles’ Creed rather than the Nicene Creed for the seasons of Lent and Easter. The reason for this is because of these periods being especially connected with the renewal of our baptismal promises and those who will be making them for the first time at their baptism at Easter. The Roman Missal indicates this: “Instead of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, especially during lent and Easter Time, the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church, known as the Apostles’ Creed, may be used.”
Conclusion of Mass
The final way we shall be marking the Lenten season in a different way will be with the Conclusion of Mass. It’s often been the case and is customary in many places that the final recession of the ministers out of the sanctuary is accompanied by a final song. Even though this final song is often done, and certainly is appropriate for occasion, it is always optional. The Roman Missal describes that the various processionals are accompanied by song, except where this instruction is not given for the concluding procession of the ministers out of the sanctuary. To help us enter deeper into the “fast” of Lent, which extends even musically in the sacred liturgy, we shall not be singing a final hymn for the conclusion of Mass, and the ministers will instead leave in silence. But we shall be fostering the prayerful atmosphere after Mass, however, by praying together a communal prayer of thanksgiving for the Mass and the gift of the Eucharist, asking the Lord to help us as we bring Christ into our daily lives by word and action. These prayers of thanksgiving, as well as prayers of preparation before Mass, will be printed on a paper booklet located with the hymnals.
May we enter the wilderness of our hearts and souls with Christ at our side this Lent, and by him, be brought to victory over sin and temptation, eager to emerge into the joy of the Resurrection.
I am, in our Lord, yours.
Fr. Brian Trueman
I've attached a booklet we made that we'll have in the church for Mass. This contains the prayers for before and after Mass, along with the chanted prayers of the Introductory Rites.