Sunday at the beginning of Lent
SATURDAY 17 FEBRUARY
– 4.45pm Musical Elevation introducing the celebration
– 5.30pm Vigil Eucharist
SUNDAY 18 FEBRUARY
Eucharistic celebrations 7am – 8am – 9.30am – 11am – 12.30pm – 5.30pm
– 10.30am Morning Lauds
– 11am Chapter Eucharist
– 4.30am Vespers and Rite of Imposition of Ashes presided over by His Excellency Monsignor the Archbishop
It is possible to follow the Musical Elevation and Vigil Eucharist (Saturday, February 17th), the 9.30am celebration, the 11am Chapter Eucharist and the 4:30pm Vespers presided by Archbishop Monsignor Mario Delpini (Sunday, February 18th) in streaming on this Site (www.duomomilano.it) from the Duomo Milano TV YouTube channel
The Ambrosian Rite has never known, as the beginning of the Lenten Season, the so-called “Ash Wednesday” (this year on 14 February), typical instead of the Roman Rite tradition, but has always made this liturgical Period begin with First Vespers from the sixth Sunday before Easter, what the Ambrosian liturgical books still call the Sunday “at the beginning of Lent” (“in capite quadragesimæ“).
An exhaustive answer as to the reason for this different computation between the two Rites is certainly very complex. It seems clear, however, that the Milanese liturgy tends to take up, on the one hand, the tradition according to which one should not fast on Saturdays and Sundays and, on the other, the more ancient and original computation of Lent. It was in fact considered as the period between Sunday at the beginning of Lent and Vespers on Holy Thursday, when the Triduum of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord begins. Ambrosian Lent thus takes the form of a forty-day period of penance, but not of strict fasting, in preparation for the celebrations of the solemn Easter Triduum.
Moreover, for a long time, precisely in Milan, the Rite of Imposition of Ashes was not celebrated in connection with Lent: for example, a provision from the time of Saint Charles Borromeo, in 1583, prescribed that, in the Ambrosian Rite, ashes should be imposed on the faithful on the first of the three days of penance (Litanie triduane) celebrated before Pentecost. According to a more recent tradition, this penitential rite was linked to the beginning of Lent and precisely to the first Monday, with the possibility of anticipating it, for pastoral reasons, to Sunday, when the participation of the faithful is greater.
This year, in the Duomo, the Rite of Imposition of Ashes is celebrated during Vespers on Sunday 18 February, presided over by Archbishop Monsignor Mario Delpini, and at the end of all celebrations on Monday 19 February (Monday of the First Week of Lent).