Pastoral Notes 22nd November, 2015

‘DIES IRAE’
Before the Mass was celebrated in our own languages, it was celebrated mostly in Latin (or in other ancient languages) and in the month of November students for the priesthood had to sing Masses for the deceased benefactors of their Colleges, including the hymn known as ‘Dies Irae’, Latin for ‘Day of wrath’, first words of a 13th century hymn. It can be sung in these last days of the Church’s year in the official Daily Prayer of the Church. The tune later appeared in many classical musical compositions. When this hymn was first sung, life-expectancy was much less than it is today, not to speak of recurring diseases or epidemics. So the hymn has a rather darker tone to it than we are accustomed to. In the month of November we remember the departed especially, as the Church’s year comes to an end: we can bring our griefs openly to God, but do so full of confidence in the Lord who is ‘the Resurrection and the Life’.