To the Band of Brothers: February 13, 2024

Fr. Willie ‘87 | President
Tomorrow, we kick off the 40 days of Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday Mass. Right after the homily, I will bless the ashes that remind us of our mortality and then proceed to smear them in the shape of a cross on your forehead. The words are powerful, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but that’s exactly how life is… a bit dramatic.

The season of Lent has a significant impact on the life of the Church and its members. Fasting, abstinence, extra praying, confession, almsgiving, they all contribute to setting the right mood and spiritual demeanor to prepare ourselves for Holy Week and the celebration of Easter. Even the liturgy of the Masses during this time have nuances we normally don’t see during the rest of the year in order to set the right tone.

Here are some examples of what we should expect…

First, there is no singing of the Gloria after the penitential rite or the Alleluia before the Gospel. It makes sense. If Lent is a more somber period, we don’t want to be singing such festive songs like the Gloria and Alleluia. We want to tone things down a little while building excitement for Easter when we can burst out with the Gloria like an army of mighty angels making a triumphant entry into conquered lands. Ultimately, singing the Gloria and the Alleluia during Lent is like playing “Happy Days Are Here Again” at your mother-in-law’s funeral… totally inappropriate.

Second, keeping in line with the somber theme, there is no ringing of the bells during consecration. You will remember that on four different occasions we ring bells at Mass. First, during what is called the epiclesis, the moment the priest places both hands over the bread and wine before consecration. Second and third, at the moment of consecration when he raises the host and then the chalice. And fourth, when he drinks the blood of Christ before distributing communion to the rest of the congregation. 

During Lent, instead of ringing bells to announce these things, the liturgy allows the use of a clacker. It’s basically a wooden contraption that, when spun, clacks a loud noise. The sound is definitely not as nice as bells, but that’s the point. Bells remind you of Bob’s tail as he pulls an open sleigh dashingly through the snow making spirits bright. The clacker reminds you of Bob’s tail getting caught on the barn door as they shut down the stable for the night.

Also, there are no flowers during Lent. Considering everything you have read so far, no flowers make sense with the whole subdued thing. But I cringe whenever a couple asks to get married in our chapel during Lent. You don’t want to know the reaction of some brides when they find out they can’t have flowers near the altar for their wedding. Mamma Mia… you’d think you just told them 13 times is way too many times to show Taylor Swift during the Super Bowl. But look, there are 325 days of the year you can get married on, these 40 belong to Lent.

In a couple of days, I am going to send out another email making a few general comments about the liturgy. The idea of focusing a bit on the liturgies came to me after celebrating the Confirmations last Saturday. The ceremonies were beautiful and, as I was sitting on the altar, I thought about how blessed we are to be able to take part in a tradition that is thousands of years old. Every part of every liturgy is thoughtfully and prayerfully planned.

We need to know more about it.

Stand by.

Auspice Maria.
500 SW 127th Avenue, Miami, FL 33184
phone: 305.223.8600 | fax: 305.227.2565 | email:
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain.  The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline.  In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty.  The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow.  Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.