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    Day 9: The Advent Mass

    Since 3rd of December, in churches all over Poland, the faithful have been able to attend special masses called “Roraty” in Polish. Where did this custom come from? Let’s find out.

    Roraty (early morning Advent Masses – ed.) are masses about the Blessed Virgin Mary, which were customarily celebrated at dawn. The name comes from the first word of the song sung at the beginning of the mass: ‘Rorate coeli, desuper’. The Polish text of the antiphon (entrance song) reads “Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just “. The song refers to a prophecy from the book of Isaiah (45:8) and is an expression of the expectation of the Messiah. Roraty is a Polish custom. Tradition has it that it was started by Saint Kinga, the wife of Bolesław V the Chaste, and the first references to the celebration of the Holy Mass come from the 13th century. 

    At first, the mass is celebrated in darkness, which is only dispelled by the light of the morning candle, which is placed near the altar, and the lighted candles and lanterns brought by the faithful. The whole church is illuminated only after the singing of: “Glory to God in the highest”. Roraty is the only Mass during Advent when this hymn is sung. The dawn Mass is also distinguished from the others by the colour of the chasubles – in Advent the priest wears purple, while the vestments during the early morning Advent Masses are white. 

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