Bishop Conley to Celebrate Pontifical Rorate Mass

On Saturday, December 11, at 6:30 AM at the UNL Newman Center, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska will offer a Pontifical Solemn High Rorate Mass at the throne.

This is the fifth consecutive year that a Solemn Rorate Mass has been offered at the Newman Center; however, this will be the first time that it will be elevated to the ceremonial splendor of a Pontifical Solemn Mass.

Despite the early-morning start time, especially for college students, this Mass in its last four years has been very well attended, attracting hundreds every year. In fact, Bishop Conley has previously remarked about the attendance in a 2018 interview with Catholic World Report.

Just a couple weeks ago during Advent, one of our priests celebrated a Rorate caeli Mass. A Saturday morning Mass at 6:30 am, in the dark, just candlelit, in the Extraordinary Form. It was a Solemn High Mass and they had the choir. Four hundred and fifty college students showed up for that.

It was amazing. I thought, fine, go ahead, you’re not going to get college students up at six o’clock in the morning. But the word went out on Facebook and Twitter, and they all showed up. They said it was amazing because they had this beautiful choir singing sacred polyphony and chant. They loved it. They had a great experience of the transcendent and the holy.

A Rorate Mass is a completely candlelit Traditional Latin Mass offered in honor of Our Lady, which can only be done on a Saturday in Advent — customarily done before the sun rises, symbolizing the waiting in darkness for the coming of Our Lord, the Light which “shineth in the darkness” and which “the darkness did not comprehend.”

This Mass is referred to as a “Rorate” Mass as “Rorate” is the first word of the Introit (Entrance Antiphon), taken from Isaiah 45:8.

Rorate caeli desuper et nubes pluant justum. Aperiatur terra et germinent Salvatorem.

Drop down dew, you heavens from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One. Let the earth be opened and bring forth the Savior.

Furthermore, this Mass will be offered by Bishop Conley — pontificating from the throne — heightening the ceremony to a complex ceremonial choreography which is deeply Catholic and deeply traditional.

As can be evidenced from previous years, this Mass has proven to be a wellspring of inspiration for students amidst the spiritual battles of young adulthood and the university scene.

Now that the ceremonial for this Mass has been heightened, so have the expenses. If you are so inclined, please consider helping put this on by visiting our GiveSendGo fundraiser page.

Lastly, please pray for the success of this great event — that many hearts may be open to conversion, the value of sacred tradition, and the love of its monumental restoration.

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