A similar arrangement can be seen in the Advent “Rorate Caeli” liturgies, Advent Masses celebrated in the coldest and darkest time of night (just before dawn). The altar and books are illuminated only by candlelight, manifesting the first words of the Mass, “rorate caeli” (from Isaiah 45:8)—"let the Savior drop down from heaven like dew”—like starlight from heaven to light up our dark earth. The Archbishop of San Francisco will be celebrating his annual Rorate Caeli Mass at the cathedral tomorrow at 5:30am, and I will be celebrating our Rorate Caeli Mass at Star of the Sea on December 20 at 7am. Last Advent we lit 85 candles to illuminate our vast church for the Rorate Mass. Rather than curse the darkness, we light candles—lots of them!
God bless you, Fr. Joseph Illo