The pre-Lenten season is nearly upon us, and on Septuagesima Sunday—February 12—the TMSM will be restoring the Medieval tradition of “burying the Alleluia” before Solemn Mass at St Mary’s in Pine Bluff.
What is the “burying of the Alleluia”?
In the Medieval churches of Western Europe, various customs arose around the final “Alleluia” which concludes First Vespers of Septuagesima. Especially in the French and Germanic lands, this often included writing the word “Alleluia” on a cloth or parchment, placing this in a catafalque, and burying it as at a funeral, to be uncovered after the joy of Easter Sunday. This act would be accompanied by hymns and canticles, most notably the hymn Alleluia, dulce carmen (O sweet song, alleluia), of French origin. The pre-Tridentine Germanic missals even included a Sequence bidding farewell to “Alleluia” on Septuagesima, Cantemus cuncti melodum nunc alleluia (Let us all now sing the melodious alleluia).
Since the Wisconsin ground is frozen and snow-covered, and we do not celebrate Vespers in common, on Sunday we will bury the Alleluia in the church basement immediately before Mass.