Celebrating 50 Years: Week 28

100217012Q: Where do the ashes of come from?

A: Each year, at the onset of Holy Week, the Church celebrates Palm Sunday - and palm branches are blessed for the faithful to carry in procession before the Mass, commemorating the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem before His Passion.  These palms are kept, and on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) they are burnt down to ashes, which are the ashes used to sign people's foreheads at Mass at the beginning of Lent.  Thus, the very matter that brings one Lenten season to completion one year is used to open Lent the next year.



Celebrating 50 Years: Week 26

Blessed_Hugh_halfBlessed Hugh of Fosses - February 10th

Blessed Hugh was born in Fosses-la-Ville toward the end of the 11th century; he became a cleric of the collegiate  chapter of his hometown and later a court chaplain of Burchard, bishop of Cambrai.  Hugh met St. Norbert in Valenciennes on March 26, 1119 and was so taken with his apostolic way of life that he decided to join him and thus became his first disciple.  He was the first prior of the young community Norbert had founded and was really his "right hand man." After Norbert was appointed archbishop of Magdeburg in 1126, the confreres at Prémontré elected Hugh (at Norbert's suggestion) to be the first abbot of Prémontré.  He built the abbey church and the monastery and was an essential part of unifying the Order in the years after its foundation.  He called the superiors of the various houses to a meeting out of which the General Chapter developed.  He also compiled the first book of ceremonies with the liturgical directives of the Order, and it is likely that he authored the ancient account of St. Norbert known today as "Vita Norberti B."  Thanks to Hugh's vision and prudence, an organizational structure was created that made it possible for the Order to last for centuries.  He is honored as the first Abbot General of the Order.


Celebrating 50 Years: Week 27

St._Evermode_halfSt. Evermode - February 17th

St. Evermode was born in the Belgian province of Henegouwen around 1100.  After hearing St. Norbert preach he was so struck by the personality and words of this man that he joined him in 1120, becoming one of his most loyal disciples.  He followed him to Magdeburg and was present when Norbert transformed the collegiate chapel there into a community of the Order.  Evermode was present at the deathbed of St. Norbert and took care to see that he was buried in the church of the Norbertine monastery of Our Lady in Magdeburg.  He is often depicted in paintings weeping, for Norbert's death was very hard on him.  He became a bishop and wisely reigned over the diocese of Ratzeburg from 1153 until his death in 1178.  He was buried in the presbytery of the Romanesque cathedral of Ratzeburg.  Pope Benedict XIII confirmed his cult on January 22, 1728.


Celebrating 50 Years: Week 25



Q: Why are candles blessed on the Presentation of the Lord?


A: The feast of the Presentation on February 2 has often been referred to as Candlemas in the Western Church, since it is on this day that priests traditionally blessed the beeswax candles used for Office and Mass throughout the coming year.  The candles were also distributed to the faithful or the faithful themselves brought their own candles for blessing at this Mass.  Christ is the Light of the world, and the candles fittingly symbolize His presence. The following day is the feast of St. Blaise, the bishop of Sebastea and 4th century martyr, who is invoked as patron of cures of diseases of the throat.  In the blessing of St. Blaise, the candles blessed on Candlemas are held at the throat and the blessing is administered by the priest. 

Come to the abbey for Mass on Candlemass (February 2 - 11:00 a.m.) and St. Blaise ( February 3 - 7:00 a.m.) and see the candles blessed and receive the blessing of throats.


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