The gesimae are upon us (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima) – that strange season before Lent having a quasi-Lenten character to it, but not quite that of full-on Lent. Pre-Lent (also known in some places as Shrovetide) is a transitional period in the Church Year, away from the festive toward the more somber and penitential.
Because it is transitional it can be a little confusing. Just how Lent-y are the gesimae weeks? What changes in the daily office? What stays the same? The simple answer is that one continues to use the propers from the Epiphany season unless indicated in the rubrics. So, for example, at Terce one would use the Responsory and Verse for the Epiphany season after the Chapter.
But there are a few places in the liturgy that do change for Prelent:
- Starting with Septuagesima Sunday no alleluias are said in the liturgy or hymnody.
- The Invitatory at Matins is that of Lent.
- At Lauds and Vespers the Preces are said between the Lord’s Prayer and the Collects.
May our Lord continue to bless you and strengthen your praying.