Sometimes children acquire nicknames in childhood that stalk them through adulthood: “Pinky,”“Boo-boo,” and the like. This Sunday was once called “Low Sunday,” a step down from Easter glory, and an unfortunate nickname since Easter rejoicing goes on for fifty days. Traditionally this is the day when the newly baptized put away their white baptismal robes and returned to their everyday life after a week of intense celebration. Of course, the goal was to take up everyday duties with a very new point of view.

A long title for the day was Dominica in albis deposito, or “The Lord’s Day for Putting Away the Albs,” so no wonder the nickname “Low Sunday” arose. In the old calendar it was also called “Quasimodo Sunday,” after the first word of the opening chant, Quasimodo geniti infantes, or “As newborn infants,” a reference to the newly baptized taken from the Epistle of Peter. Victor Hugo’s bell-ringing hero in The Hunchback of Notre Dame was abandoned as an infant on the threshold of the cathedral of Paris on Low Sunday, 1467, and named “Quasimodo” for the feast.

– Rev. James Field