Wednesday, August 1, 2012
THE HEAVY GRAVITATIONAL PULL ON ME AS IT CONCERNS THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM'S PRESSURE ON THE ORDINARY FORM'S MASS
Yes, while on vacation I celebrated Mass at my former parish in Augusta, Georgia, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, established on the same land in 1810! The new Church was begun in 1857 and completed in 1863, during the height of the Civil War or the War Between the States depending on where you live. At the time, it was the only Catholic Church in Augusta up until about the 1870's when Sacred Heart Church was built six blocks away. It was merged back into Most Holy Trinity in 1970 and the building sold in 1986 to become a secular culture/reception hall, the "Great Hall" of the Sacred Heart Cultural Center as it is now called.
But I digress. On both weekends I was tempted to no end to introduce myself (or reintroduce myself) to those who know me, or don't recognize me anymore and to those who are new since I departed on June 30, 2004.
In the past and to a certain extent today when I feel there is a need, after the liturgical greeting, I would indicate a few things and would have had no problem telling people who I was and that it is great to be back, etc. on and on, blah, blah, blah.
But the gravitation pull of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass has become so great on me, this is how I began the Mass the last two Sundays at Most Holy Trinity (these were different Mass times):
Fr. McDonald: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. McDonald: The Lord be with you.
Response: And with your Spirit. (and by unanimous acclamation!)
Fr. McDonald: Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins so as to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries.
(pause for silence)
All: I confess...
Fr. McDonald: May almighty God have mercy....
It was not until the homily that I introduce or reintroduced myself to everyone. Oh, the anticipation!
The only reason I did not do this self disclosure at the introduction of the Mass is because of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass where this would simply be impossible to do.
Could you imagine the priest after the singing of the the Official Introit, or better yet, before the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, turning to the congregation and saying,"Good morning folks, I'm your long lost former pastor. I was here from 1991 to 2004 when I was named pastor of St. Joseph Church in Macon. I'm so happy to be with you all again. I know, my hair is gotten gray and I'm a bit heavier now than I was. I hope you still recognize me though. Well, it's great to be here, so let us get back to the Mass!
Then I would turn and pray the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, or if I delayed it until after the chanting of the Introit, I would turn back to the altar for the Kyrie.
Wouldn't that disrupt the unity and flow of the Extraordinary Mass? No one would even think of doing such a thing at an EF Mass, but how often has the time after the Greeting of the OF Mass been turned into the most secular, narcissistic time for announcements, introductions, etc and ad nauseum?
The worst offenders are papal Masses, and Masses with hoards of concelebating bishops and priests. Supposedly the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were eliminated so as to make the sprint from the Greeting to the Liturgy of the Word more quickly since the Liturgy of the Word is the "meat" of the first part of the Mass, not the long, tedious lead up to it in the EF Mass.
But then we substitute the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar with a lenghty explanation of the purpose of the Mass, who's who of the Mass and maybe a mini-sermon on the readings and anything else of secular interest sometimes lasting up to 10 minutes. The recent close of the Fortnight of Prayer in Washington had Cardinal Wurel asking everyone to be seated prior to the sign of the Cross for a 20 minute pep rally of introductions and self-congratulations.
Folks, the OF Mass does not indicate a time of bantering after the Greeting. The rubrics say to the priest to say the following only:
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins so as to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries.
Nothing else need be said and then the Penitential Act takes places using one of the too many options that are allowed.