A friend from overseas asked me if I knew of the tradition of the Rorate Mass, in which a votive Mass to the Blessed Mother is celebrated just before dawn. The image left is from Assumption Grotto in Detroit. From a Polish-American cultural site:
The Rorate Mass takes its name from the first word of its introit (entrance song): “Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant iustum,” or “Drop down dew, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness.” It is a Mass in honor of Mary in which the interplay of light and darkness convey the meaning of Advent.Historically, it has been celebrated early on weekday mornings in darkness. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter. Because it is a votive Mass to Mary, blue or white vestments are worn instead of the seasonal purple.
Sounds like a nice observance, but in all my years of liturgy, even in the Polish-rich land of Chicago, I’ve never encountered this before. Anyone else hear of it? Too bad it coincides with a very busy time for our students. This would be the kind of celebration that would have an appeal to many of them. My student liturgy team is winding down activity for the semester, as finals week is only 12 days away.