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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All Hallows

This October 31st, if you happen to be in the New York area and are weary of the bloated excesses of our city's Halloween celebrations, consider attending the following instead:

We will celebrate the ancient and beautiful liturgy of Solemn First Vespers for All Saints, officiated by our special guest, Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, C.O. Father Bruno Shah, OP from St. Vincent Ferrer, and Father Michael Barone from the archdiocese of Newark, will assist in the liturgical celebration. Gregorian chant and polyphonic settings for vespers will be provided by the Schola Cantorum of St. Vincent Ferrer, under the direction of Dr. Mark Bani.
One of the many fond memories of my Anglo-Catholic days was the annual celebration of the Requiem Mass for All Souls (which the Holy Catholic Church seems to have abandoned but let us hope is on the way back). Particularly impressive, along with the Dies Irae Sequence was the catafalque that supported a black-draped coffin (representing the souls of the departed) at which the celebrant, in black vestments, would perform the absolution of the dead--most impressive and moving. I also recall the enormous and rather spooky candlesticks with yellowish-orange beeswax candles. I wonder now if the use of the color orange for Halloween decorations derives from the color of those candles rather then from pumpkins, which are native to North America after all. Anyone care to speculate?

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