Rorate Mass at the National Shrine of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Holy Mother Church has given us the tradition of the Rorate Mass, on a Saturday of Our Lady, in the midst of Advent as an opportunity to contemplate the mystery of darkness and light. Outside, all the world lies in darkness while, inside, the candlelight leaps into the shadows and overpowers them.

We may feel like the darkness of sin and indifference, like the darkness of the troubles that plague our world, our nation, and our Church, threaten to overwhelm and destroy the Light of Christ. But darkness does not overcome light. The light of just one candle is enough to dispel darkness. Imagine the power of the Light of the World!

The Rorate Mass is a visible, burning reminder to us that, by our prayers and offerings, we are to awake the dawn of Christ in our own lives. By vigilantly tending our own flames of faith, of prayer, and of penance, we burn out all inside of us that is not of Him. The candles on our altar, offered by our faithful, are a reminder to us that these spiritual flames are the only real weapons that have any power over the darkness.

It takes days to set up all the candles in the Shrine of Saint Alphonsus Liguori before Rorate. Hundreds of tiny, flickering flames set the altar and sanctuary aglow. But it is a joyful, spiritual labor, because their light in the darkness is a reminder of the Divine Flame that burns inside our hearts, even in a dark world.

Offer a candle to Our Lady this year for your particular intentions. The Rorate Mass will be offered for those intentions enrolled. And the candles that burn for those intentions will continue to bear your prayers to Heaven for seven days and nights. Unite your prayers to our Lady’s at this year’s Rorate Mass by lighting a candle. Together, let us awake the Dawn, hidden just beyond the horizon:

Watch the live broadcast of High Mass from the Shrine, featuring Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Missa Alma Redemptoris Mater and his motet Alma Redemptoris Mater, as well as Ola Gjeilo’s Ave Generosa, beginning just before dawn at 6 am on Saturday, 9 December:

December 4, 2023