On Pre-Lent or Shrovetide

February 12, 2017 at 7:00 am

Today is the first of the three Sundays of the season of the Church Year called Pre-Lent. This is the season of the Gesimas, that is, Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima, In this season, there is a sort of “sea change” as we begin to turn our thoughts away from the joyous celebrations of the Christmas and Epiphany Seasons, with their focus on the birth and manifestation of Christ, and toward the penitential season of Lent, with its focus on our Lord’s suffering and death. Each year on the Sunday before Septuagesima (the first of the Pre-Lenten Sundays) we sing Alleluia, Song of Sweetness, and this marks the final time we should sing or say Alleluia until the great Alleluias of Easter. In fact, some refer to the final Sunday before Septuagesima as “Farewell to Alleluia Sunday”. In Pre-Lent, the colour of the liturgical vestments and altar hangings changes from green to purple, giving us a visual cue that it is time to begin to prepare ourselves for Lent, the season of penitence and self-examination, but also the season of hope, as we look toward the resurrection of Christ at Easter.