Rome, Italy, Jul 31, 2019 / 02:01 am America/Denver (CNA).
Each year the Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as other Eastern Christians, participate in a fasting season Aug. 1-14 in preparation for the Aug. 15 feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God (which is celebrated as the Assumption in the Latin rite).
Traditionally, during the strict fourteen day fast, Eastern Catholics abstain from meat, dairy, fish, wine, and oil on weekdays, with some relaxation on the weekends and on the feast of the Transfiguration. The fast is relaxed for children and the elderly, or for those with a medical condition.
The text from one of the prayers in the Vigil of the Dormition in the Byzantine rite reads: “O peoples, dance with joy and clap your hands with fervor; gather today in eagerness and jubilation and sing with glee, for the Mother of God is about to rise in glory, going up from the earth into heaven. It is to her we always sing hymns of praise, for she is the Mother of God.”
The Paraklesis, also known as the Office of Consolation to the Most Holy Theotokos, consists of a set of prayers sung in the Byzantine rite throughout the preparatory fast with the repeated invocation, “Holy Mother of God, save us!”
For more than 40 years Santa Maria in Via Lata, a Roman basilica, has celebrated this “Little Lent of the Mother of God” with nightly sung prayers taken from both Byzatine and Latin rite texts.