Friday, March 25, 2011

Stations all year, penitential days every Friday

I just returned from the recitation of Stations of the Cross over in the church. Never has there been so simple a devotion that causes such havoc on knees and leg muscles for two days afterward!

I wonder why parishes don't encourage the recitation of Stations all year round. I mean, the Stations are not like the Advent wreath, here for the season and then gone 'til next time. In our churches, for the most part, they are permanent fixtures. But you never hear of public recitation of the Stations outside of the season of Lent.
Am I wrong? Please, if anyone has been to a parish that does have regular recitation of the Stations of the Cross, let me know.
Today, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, much has been made about the fact that Canon 1251 specifically says that you do not abstain from meat on days that rank as Solemnities in the Church. In other words, in celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord today, the Church asked us to "step out" of Lent. We wore white vestments. We sang/chanted/recited the Gloria and the Creed. The final piece of it is that we were given a "treat" by the Church to allow ourselves some meat today. We do it when St. Joseph's Day falls on a Friday. We have to ask to do it with regards to St. Patrick, since his feast is a commemoration during Lent (ranking him with St. Turibio, among others), and not a Solemnity. Like most things in the Church, though, there is even an exception to that. If you live in a diocese or archdiocese that has St. Patrick as a diocesan patron or secondary patron (New York, Boston, Burlington (VT), Erie (PA), Fort Worth, Harrisburg, Norwich (CT), or Sacramento), then his feast is celebrated as a Solemnity, and no dispensation from the law is needed.

Now, part of this "ho hum" attitude is that, for many of us, Fridays of Lent are the only times meat is not a regular part of our diets. To understand the treat we're given in Canon 1251, we need to look at Canon 1250:
"All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the universal Church."
Heard about that lately?

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