Ave Regina Coelorum by Guillaume Dufay
The early Renaissance composer Guillaume Dufay was born in 1397 and died on November 27, 1474.
He had requested that his motet Ave Regina Coelorum be sung for him as he was dying, with pleas to Mary interpolated between verses of the antiphon. However, time was insufficient for this to be arranged.
One week from now it is Good Friday. Until 1969 today would have been the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, according to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.
On the modern calendar there is just one feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, celebrated on 15 September. However, in a 1727 a universal feast was introduced dedicated to Mary’s sorrows on the Friday before Palm Sunday, just before Holy Week. It was thought to be an appropriate time to remember Mary’s suffering beside her Son.
In 1962 the status of the feast was reduced to a commemoration and seven years later it was removed from the calendar altogether, as it was considered a duplication of the feast of 15 September.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. In the tradition of the Church the 46 days leading up to Easter are marked by prayer, repentance, the giving of alms, fasting and other forms of self-denial.
The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, when Christ’s Passion is remembered. Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows is a reminder that Mary also shared in her Son’s suffering.