Today — Friday before Palm Sunday — is traditionally the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in Passiontide; also known as “St. Mary in Passiontide”, “Our Lady in Passiontide”, or “Our Lady of Seven Sorrows”. This feast is found in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and also in the Anglican Ordinariate’s Missal, Divine Worship.
In places like Spain there are great public processions with images of Our Lady of Sorrows.
What about in the Ordinary Form of the Mass? I think there is a way that this historic commemoration could be observed — with the bishop’s permission. See no. 374 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM):
374. If any case of a graver need or of pastoral advantage should arise, at the direction of the Diocesan Bishop or with his permission, an appropriate Mass may be celebrated on any day except Solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, days within the Octave of Easter, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day), Ash Wednesday, and the days of Holy Week.
I judge that there is “pastoral advantage” for keeping this commemoration and so using an “appropriate Mass” of Our Lady from the Missal today. Hopefully the bishop will agree!
It would be great if some bishop someplace would take the lead by putting a memo out to his whole diocese with permission and encouragement to keep this commemoration.
Here is the prayer (Collect) that is in the Anglican Ordinariate Missal:
O Lord in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, the sword of sorrow did pierce the most loving soul of thy glorious Virgin Mother Mary: mercifully grant that we, who devoutly call to mind the suffering whereby she was pierced, may, by the glorious merits and prayers of all the Saints who have stood beneath the Cross, obtain with gladness the benefits of thy Passion; who livest and reignest with the Father…
In both the Anglican Ordinariate Missal and the Extraordinary Form Missal the beautiful sequence Stabat Mater is indicated also for this commemoration. Read the whole thing here, but let this excerpt guide our meditation on this day:
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
UPDATE: Well duh. I forgot that in the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal, there is an optional second Collect given for today’s Mass, which reflects this more ancient commemoration. In any case, what I say above is still useful, because if the bishop gives permission then the priest could use the Mass of September 15 (Our Lady of Sorrows) and wear Marian vestments, whereas if he only celebrates the Mass of the day he will be in purple and only the Collect reflects the feast, not the rest of the Mass texts.
Here, in any case, is that optional Collect:
O God, who in this season
give your Church the grace
to imitate devoutly the Blessed Virgin Mary
in contemplating the Passion of Christ,
grant, we pray, through her intercession,
that we may cling more firmly each day
to your Only Begotten Son
and come at last to the fullness of his grace.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity…
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