The Cebuano Summorum Pontificum Society marks the beginning of the Great Fast of Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018, with the Ash Wednesday Liturgy in the Extraordinary Form. Our celebration begins at 6:45 p.m. with the public recitation in Latin of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, followed by the chanting of the Office of Vespers (Evening Prayer in the Divine Office) in English and in the Ordinary Form right before Mass.
This Sunday, February 11, 2018, the Society will be singing the Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday to mark the last Sunday before the start of Lent. As usual, we begin with the recitation of the Rosary at 3:15 p.m., and right after Mass, we shall sing Vespers according to the Ordinary Form. This Sunday is called quinquagesima (“fiftieth”) because it falls within the 50 days before Easter Sunday. It is also the last Sunday of the pre-Lent period known as Septuagesima.
Both liturgical celebrations will be done at the Adoration Chapel of the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish (Capitol Parish) church along N. Escario Street, Cebu City.
The Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday will be sung by Msgr. Joseph Tan, media liaison of the Archdiocese of Cebu. The Ash Wednesday Liturgy (comprising of the Blessing and Imposition of Ashes and the Ash Wednesday Mass thereafter) will be sung by Fr. Clement Covacho, novice master of the Community of Saint John. The Schola Gregoriana of Cebu will assist in music at both celebrations.
Ash Wednesday this year falls on Valentine’s Day, the day that most in the secular world associate with flowers, sweets, chocolates, dates, candle-lit dinners, holding hands, romance, mushy feelings, and butterflies in one’s stomach — all falling under the category of what can be called fast-food “love.”
Yet, our Lord Jesus Christ, through his Bride and our Mother, the Church, calls us not to the kind of love that comes as easily as it goes, not to the kind of love plagued with instantaneity, nor to the kind of love riddled with self-pleasure and self-gratification, which the secular world extols greatly on this day.
Rather, He calls us to the love that He Himself lived and died for — self-sacrificial and self-giving love — the kind of love that the Church commemorates all throughout the liturgical year, reaching its climax and most intense point in Her commemoration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord.
Thus, it is fitting, on what many call “Love Day” or “Day of Hearts,” to contemplate on the depth of Our Lord’s love for us this Ash Wednesday. Those of us who wish to pattern our loving after His brand of loving will benefit greatly by being reminded of one great truth: that we are mortal and death stalks us.
Liturgically, we are reminded of this by the imposition of the ashes on our heads, along with the dreadsome words from Genesis 3:19, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Thus, humbled by this immutable truth, we grieve over our sinfulness, we eschew our willfulness, we deplore our heard-heartedness and stubborness, and we turn back to God, Who alone, gives us life everlasting.
Further, this humiliating mark of grief and penitence on our heads, this public admission of our mortality and our sinfulness — the ashes either smeared on our foreheads or sprinkled over the crowns of our heads — signifies our hope in and our reliance on the promise of the victory of the Resurrection, that, we who hold on to Christ and walk in his ways, will never suffer eternal punishment and that death, rot, and decay are not the end of our lives. Only through Christ can we overcome our mortal fate.
Our Lord offers #forever with His kind of love. Yes, #mayforever in love, and only in Jesus can we find it. Don’t let Jesus be the #TOTGA (The One That Got Away) in your life, for you definitely aren’t the TOTGA in His.
See you, then, at our Quinquagesima Sunday Mass and celebrate Valentine’s Day more fruitfully with us through the Ash Wednesday Liturgy.
It’s a date, okay?
- February 11, 2018 — Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday — 3:15 p.m.
- Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2018) — Ash Wednesday Liturgy — 6:45 p.m.
(Feature image credit: “Ash Wednesday” by Ryan Wiedmaier under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License)