Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rubrical Alert!

Tomorrow is Ascension Day.  Don't forget to extinguish your Paschal Candle after reading the Gospel.

Because you are celebrating Mass.  Aren't you?


Anonymous said...

Ahh - but you don't extinguish it till Pentecost. You just move it from the Altar to the Font on Ascension.

Father said...

Umm ... to praphrase Tonto's punchline in a favorite joke, "What you mean 'you,' white man?"

Traditionally, the Paschal Candle was extinguished after the Gospel reading on Ascension Day. The post-1969 reforms of the Roman rite directed it to be left burning until Pentecost. So were this a *Roman* Catholic blog, you'd be exactly right.

However, the rubrics of the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship direct differently: "... it should be snuffed after the reading of the Gospel [on Ascension Day]. Some may wish to omit this ceremony and continue lighting the candle until the Day of Pentecost. In either case the candle is then moved to the baptismal font where it is lighted as a reminder of the resurrection character of Holy Baptism."

The rubric is as vague as one comes to expect from Lutheran rubrics, but it *certainly* means that the Paschal Candle is to be extinguished. Whether it then intends re-lighting during the same service, or subsequent one during the season, or baptisms throughout the year, is not spelled out.

Reasonable worship leaders may differ, as they do on what should become of the unlit candle after Pentecost -- leave it in place, or move it to the sacristy. We at the Egg strongly believe that the candle should be removed from the chancel during the times of year when it is not in use.