Pastoral Notes 25th November, 2018

Church’s Year Ends
Our Church year ends with this week – a new year begins next Sunday with the beginning of Advent. This week is also the one time in the year when the ancient hymn ‘Dies Irae’ may be sung. It’s origins, according to a Catholic encyclopaedia, are obscure but go back possibly to a Franciscan Friar in the 13th century. It has, until fairly recently, been sung at Requiem Masses, but has been now officially sanctioned for the last week of the Church’s Year only. It begins with the words ‘Day of Wrath’, proclaiming judgement on all evil, but ends with a humble and gentle plea for God’s mercy – ‘Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem’. Human guilt and failing is there, but God’s mercy is invoked. We are also called to be messengers of that mercy. Mozart and Verdi and other famous composers have set the ‘Dies Irae’ to music, but the original chant is perhaps the most prayerful.