Sunday, December 6, 2009

Father George Porter, S.J., Archbishop of Bombay On Advent Customs In Italy

I must tell you some of the peculiar religious customs of Tuscany. We don't fast during Advent, we fast on the vigils of the Apostles instead. The animal man can hardly be the gainer, what with the Ember days and the vigil of the Immaculate Conception (a fast in Florence, in discharge of a vow against the plague, and elsewhere a fast much observed through devotion). The Tuscans are rather famous for their devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Holy Souls. In Rome a De profundis is said one hour after Ave Maria. In Tuscany the same custom prevails, and in addition the bell tolls one hour before Ave Maria, alle venti-tre ore, and good people say a Credo for the dead. I have not found out when this custom was introduced, nor do I know why a Credo is recited. The devotion to the Blessed Sacrament has come to be mixed up with devotion for the Holy Souls in 96 Religious customs in Tuscany.

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