The Last Alleluia

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On Sunday, February 15, we say and sing our last Alleluias, at least for a while, as the Last Sunday after Epiphany and the transfiguration of Christ are celebrated. The Lenten fast begins this week on Ash Wednesday, when the Alleluias will be suspended in the liturgy for the Lenten season. Today’s music, including anthems and hymnody, is filled with sung Alleluias, from the Sequence hymn’s repeating Alleluia at the end of each verse, to the numerous Alleluias in the Communion hymn texts, and finally to the Alleluia refrain of “Ye watchers and ye holy ones.”

In some years I have asked our boy and girl choristers to count the total number of Alleluias used in today’s liturgy, including each hymn verse, the Fraction Anthem, etc. (And if I’ve counted correctly this year, today’s 10:30 liturgy contains 55 individual Alleluias!) So, sing your Alleluias with gusto this morning; this is your last chance until the Alleluias return, with great fanfare and rejoicing, at the Great Vigil of Easter.

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