In the statement by Arcbishops Nichols and McMahon (Wednesday 4 November), the two gentlemen called for a day of Prayer for the ending of the pandemic on "the Vigil of Christ the King (21st November)".
(1) How jolly. I had thought that Vigils, except as Saturday evening celebrations of the Sunday Mass (called a vigil mass), had been abolished in the course of the post-Conciliar disorders. It is always jolly to see the Bishops moving back behind Bugnini.
(2) In fact, November 21 is the Feast of the Presentation of our Lady in the Temple, not to be confused with February 2, the Feast once called the Purification of the BVM but renamed by Bugnini the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. This November 21 festival has a rather low rank on Western Calendars, but is one of the Great Feasts in the Byzantine Rite. It celebrates the presentation of the three-year-old Mary to the Temple, where she stayed until puberty, being fed with paradisal food by angels. As befitted her unfallen state. Indeed, it has always seemed to me that there are conceptual links between this festival and that of the Immaculate Conception.
Yes, you did read my words aright. At a time when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is strictly proscribed in our churches, we shall be celebrating ... the Entry into, and lengthy sojourn within, the Temple at Jerusalem, by our blessed Lady.
There must be a joke somewhere here. Can somebody help?
I wonder if some sweet little sharp-eyed labourer in the Liturgy Office of the CBCEW advised their Lordships against referring to November 21 by the title of our Lady's festival.
We wouldn't want the Lower Clergy, would we, to have a laugh at the bishops' expense!