Friday, 5 February 2016
The Schola Abelis accompanies Candlemas
The Schola Abelis accompanied Candlemas - the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary - in SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford, on Feb 2nd.
Before the Mass proper the priest blesses candles, distributes them to the Faithful, and leads a procession with them. This requires a number of extra chants, starting with the Antiphon 'Lumen ad revelationem gentium', alternating with verses from the Canticle of Simeon: the Canticle Simeon sang when he was able to embrace the Christ Child in the Temple, on the occasion of the Purification.
The procession with candles has been so closely identified with the feast and the events of this visit by the Holy Family to the Temple, that it has influenced the way the latter is represented in Catholic art. Here is a painting from 1490.