Thursday, February 2, 2023

Purification of the B.V.M, Candlemas (First Thursday)

II class

General info:

The blessing of candles and procession are held today. For notes about these ceremonies, see the Reminder information below, or see the seasonal notes for the Season after Epiphany by clicking on the Season icon at the bottom of the page.

The Compline antiphon of the BVM changes today to Ave Regina Caelorum, which is used until Wednesday of Holy Week.

The First Thursday votive Mass cannot be celebrated, but the customary devotions in honor of the Priesthood and for priests may certainly still be held.


Proper Mass, Gloria, Credo, preface of the Nativity


Matins: 3 Nocturns. Invitatorium Ecce venit ad templum; hymn, antiphons, psalms and verses are in the Common of the BVM; lessons and responsories proper to the feast; Te Deum.

Lauds: Proper antiphons, with psalms of Sunday; remainder is proper to the feast.

Hours: Psalms and antiphons of the feria; remainder proper to the feast.

Prime: Verse Qui natus es

Vespers: Proper antiphons, with psalms from the Common of the BVM; remainder proper

Compline: Of Sunday. Antiphon of the BVM Ave Regina Caelorum


– The blessing of candles and procession customarily take place on this day. It is also a traditional day in the SSPX seminaries for the taking of the cassock and Tonsure.

– The color is white. The candles are placed to the Epistle side of the altar, either on the Epistle corner or on a credence beside it. The celebrant ascends the altar, kisses it, then stands at the Epistle side facing the altar for the blessing. The five prayers of the blessing of candles, as given in the Missal, are each closed with the short conclusions. The celebrant sings or says them with joined hands (even at Oremus, although he bows to the cross). He imposes incense there at the Epistle corner, sprinkles the candles thrice (center, left, and right) while saying in a subdued voice the entire Asperges antiphon but without its psalm. When the celebrant makes the sign of the cross over the candles during the blessings and when he sprinkles them, the deacon or server should hold back the right side of the cope. The celebrant then incenses the candles with three simple swings (center, left, right), saying nothing.

– For the distribution of the candles, a priest will give a candle to the celebrant. If there is no other priest, the MC will lay the celebrant’s candle at the center of the altar. The celebrant will take it from the altar (which in the sacred liturgy represents Christ), kiss it, and set it aside. He will distribute candles to the servers, who kneel at the footpace. They kiss first the candle, then the celebrant’s hand. Then the celebrant will distribute candles to the faithful who kneel at the altar rail, taking the customary route used for distributing Holy Communion. The faithful likewise kiss first the candle, then his hand.

Lumen ad revelationem with Nunc dimittis is sung during the distribution. If there is no choir, the priest reads them before distributing the candles. After the distribution, he may wash his hands (employing the acolytes with ewer and basin) at the Epistle side in plano, before ascending to the altar to chant the remaining prayer. At the center, and turned toward the nave, the deacon sings Procedamus in pace, to which the choir responds In nomine Christi. Amen. Without a deacon, the priest will sing or say this himself.

– The procession may take place outdoors, or if needed simply go around the interior perimeter of the church. During the procession, the antiphon Adorna is sung. When the procession re-enters the church (or re-enters the sanctuary after having circumambulated the nave), the antiphon Obtulerunt is sung. If there is no choir, the priest will say these antiphons himself (reading them from a card). Returning to the sanctuary, the celebrant (and ministers) reverence the altar, then go to the sedilia to change out of the cope (and take up maniples), from whence they return to the foot of the altar.

– The rubrics say that when the blessing of candles and procession have been held, the prayers at the foot of the altar are omitted at the beginning of the Mass; the celebrant ascends the altar directly, kisses it, and begins the Introit. The rest of the Mass follows as usual. In Masses without the blessing of candles and procession, the prayers at the foot of the altar are said as usual.

– The candles are held lighted during the procession, during the Gospel, and during the Canon (from the Sanctus to the Pater noster). Ushers or servers should be deputed to assist the faithful in lighting their candles after they have received them, as they return to their pews (in anticipation of the procession), during the Epistle (in anticipation of the Gospel), and during the Preface (in anticipation of the Canon). During a solemn Mass, the celebrant also holds his candle lighted while the deacon chants the Gospel.

– For what regards the rubrics governing votive Masses or commemorations in relation to the feast, it is considered as a feast of the Lord.

– If the procession is not held, candles are not blessed with the Candlemas blessing, as the particular candle-blessing exists for the purpose of the procession, forming one inseparable rite of Gallican origin. However, if the candle-blessing and procession are not held, candles may nevertheless be blessed apart from Mass with the form given for the blessing of candles in the Ritual (which can be used any day of the year). The blessed candles of Candlemas are taken by the faithful to their homes, therefore extra candles may well be blessed during the ceremony and set out in the vestibule afterward. The candles are sacramentals which are burned in times of distress, such as during illness, difficult births, hurricanes and other calamities, and are burned furthermore around the bedside of the dying.