Today, Sunday 14 November, in Milan is the first Sunday of Advent. Unlike the rest of Italy, Ambrosian Advent is longer and lasts six Sundays: that’s why.
The Ambrosian Advent begins today in Milan. The liturgical time that precedes Christmas in the Lombard capital begins earlier than in the rest of Italy, where the Catholic Church observes the Roman rite. Instead of four, in Milan and in a large part of the Archdiocese, where the Ambrosian rite is followed, there are six Sundays in Advent. The first is celebrated today, Sunday 14 November, the first after San Martino: among the appointments, at 5.30 pm the Mass that will be celebrated in the Milan Cathedral by the archbishop of Milan, Monsignor Mario Delpini.
The differences between the Ambrosian rite and the Roman rite
We therefore enter in full Christmas spirit in the Lombard capital. The longest wait for Christmas is one of the legacies left in Milan and its surroundings by Sant’Ambrogio, patron saint of the city. The Ambrosian rite, as some faithful of the Catholic religion who moved to Milan from other Italian cities will already know, has some differences compared to the Roman rite also in the celebration of mass. The elements are essentially the same, but have slight differences or are temporally arranged differently. For example, the moment of the “exchange of peace”, currently only at a distance due to the Covid emergency, is not before Communion but is brought forward immediately after the Liturgy of the Word. Or again: in the Ambrosian churches the typical penitential act is the triple invocation “Kyrie eleison” (“Lord, have mercy”), which is repeated, also in Greek, even shortly before the final blessing.
The other dates of the Ambrosian rite
The Ambrosian rite follows a different calendar not only for Advent, but also for Lent: in Milan and its surroundings it does not start on Ash Wednesday, but on the following Sunday. This is due to a different way of understanding Lent, seen as a period of penance, but not of strict fasting, which begins 40 days before the Easter Triduum. The different way of “calculating” Lent also affects the Carnival: in fact, the Ambrosian Carnival is celebrated in Milan, which lasts longer. The final party is celebrated not on Shrove Tuesday, the last day of “masquerades” and jokes in the rest of Italy, but the following Saturday.