Saturday, October 13, 2012


As some of you will recall, on Sunday, June 24, 2012 at our normal 12:10 PM Sunday Mass, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist ad orientem. You can review it here:

At this Mass, we had our Men's Schola sing the parts of the Mass in Latin but we encouraged the congregation to join. Most of the people at the Mass knew the Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus. They were unfamiliar though with the Credo and at that time, we did not have it available for them as our hymnal didn't have it. Nor did most know that particular Agnus Dei that was sung, although they do know the Jubilatio version.

Our new St. Michael hymnal had Credo III both in Latin and in English and eventually our 9:30 AM and 12:10 PM Masses will learn it in English.

But as a result of this Mass and as a part of our celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the issuing of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church and as a part of our parish's celebration of the Year of Faith, which we opened with the Solemn Recitation of the Most Holy Rosary within the context of Exposition and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, we will implement this Sunday, October 14, 2012, the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time the following heaven and earth rattling reform (DRUM ROLL PLEASE):


Apart from that, we will not make any radical changes to the way we sing the Mass in English and it is a Mass that is completely sung including the priest's parts beginning with the Sign of the Cross through the Final Blessing.

At all our Sunday Masses, the Official Introit found in the Roman Missal as well as the Offertory and Communion Antiphons are chanted. As the Procession begins the official Introit is chanted and then blends into the congregational processional hymn.

The Introductory and Concluding Rites of the Mass will be at the priest's chair to the side of the altar as in the Ordinary Form. The Liturgy of the Word will be as it normally is at all our Masses.

It will be The Liturgy of the Eucharist only, beginning with the Offertory, that will be Ad Orientem.

The parts of the Mass will be sung in English as we normally do except beginning in November our EF Men's Schola will assist in singing the Mass with the Latin Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons and parts of the Mass in Latin on the Third Sunday of the month only, although most of the Mass will remain in English.


Joseph Johnson said...

Hopefully this will begin to be implemented throughout the Diocese of Savannah.

This is, in my opinion, the single most important reform (with Communion kneeling and on the tongue a very close second) that is sorely needed in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite of Mass.

I will pray for your successful implementation of this and for more of our priests to see the merits of restoring this critically important liturgical practice!

Gene said...

Fr, I noticed in your bulletin article about the ad orientum OF that you said you would be seeking "feedback" from the parishioners. I wish you would not do do not need (and should not want) their approval or suggestions. As I have said before, the laity's tastes are being formed, not consulted. Part of the reason we have such a mess in the Liturgy now is becaue of efforts to please the degraded tastes of the "public." I am sure you are just being diplomatic, but I hope the spirit of Pope Julius II
speaks to you in your dreams concerning difficult laity. LOL!

Joseph Johnson said...

Gene is absolutely right in the need to form rather than follow the current opinions of certain laity on this issue.

Early in his tenure at our parish, our pastor tried ad orientem at a couple of weekday Masses and stopped when one sixty something year old lady (who is a fairly regular daily Mass attender) said, "Father, I don't like it when you turn you back to us!"

She's a good lady but people with these attitudes (formed by the immediate post-Vatican II years) shouldn't be allowed to hold up these needed corrections and reforms in the liturgy--otherwise, we may be waiting another twenty or thirty years (until such people are no longer part of the Church militant) for these needed corrections. The Church can afford to wait that long!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes but the constructive feedback helps me in subsequent cathecesis, what is called mystygogia.

Anonymous 5 said...

I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I've long said that the single most influential and important change we could make to the NO (other than cutting out abuses, of course) is to return to ad orientem. Many thanks for taking this step!

Joseph Johnson said...

I meant to say that the Church CAN'T afford to wait that long!

As far as subsequent catechesis is concerned--I suppose at least hearing their criticisms lets you know where to start with certain individuals in "getting them up to speed" from they are now. This would be part of re-forming them in their understanding of the liturgy.

John Nolan said...

A couple of points; the missal Introits and Communios are not intended to be sung; to find the sung texts you need to go to the Graduale. Secondly, if you really must kick off with a congregational hymn it should precede the Introit.

For some reason you still seem to be fighting shy of the Church's sacred language; Catholics need to be able to sing the Credo and Pater Noster in Latin and if they don't know Credo III then teach them Credo I which is genuinely Gregorian. Credo III is unbelievably awkward in English.

Anonymous said...

Up to now, I had no particular 'favorite' Mass time.
Now I do...
the 12:10 Mass!!!


ytc said...

I will say one thing. If a hymn is to take place at the beginning of Mass, it really should be the processional text, while the Introit should be left to the place of accompanying the priest's _entrance_ into the sanctuary, ergo, _Intro_it.

Anonymous said...

I have been puzzled about this for quite a while. Is it not the case that in the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) there simply isn't an Offertory Antiphon? What is meant in rhis and other posted articles by Offertory Antiphon (when speaking of the Movus Ordo)?

Ancil Payne

Gregorian Mass said...

This is excellent.I wish all parishes would be so bold in correcting what has gone wrong since Vat II Council.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There isn't an offertory antiphon printed in the Roman Missal for some odd reason, but the are offertory antiphons in the Roman Gradual--which i didn't know until about 10 years ago.

John Nolan said...

Historically the Offertory is not an antiphon but a responsory and the verses, unlike those for the Introit and Communion, are melismatic. The Domine Jesu Christe from the Missa pro Defunctis was for a long time the only survivor of this form, but De Musica Sacra (1958) authorized the addition of verses to Introits, Offertories and Communios. Solesmes published a neumed Offertoriale Triplex in 1984.

These chants can now cover the rites they accompany (and the Simple English Propers follow this principle). In the OF, for example, there is usually an offertory procession and incensations. The Communio should really begin at the priest's Communion and continue during the Communion of the faithful, followed by a period of silence.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; congregational hymns are inappropriate generally, and at the Offertory and Communion especially so.

Henry Edwards said...

John: "congregational hymns are inappropriate generally, and at the Offertory and Communion especially so."

I wonder whether it's even possible to imagine how an offertory or communion hymn can be sung congregationally without it being an interruption in and distraction from the people's worship of God in praying Holy Mass.

How long will take for everyone to understand that worship of God should preclude any interruption whatsoever to praying the Mass?

Other than the time-honored interruption in the Mass for the sermon, though how many sermons have you heard that you can honestly say contributed to the Holy Sacrifice? As opposed to catechesis or edification that really ought to take place in the parish hall. For which reason I find especially enriching a daily low Mass without either music or sermon, with the resulting spiritual intensity from beginning to end.

John Nolan said...

Henry, some years ago at the Solemn Christmas Day Mass at the London Oratory the priest wished everyone a happy Christmas, thanked us in advance for our offering, and announced he was not going to preach, as he thought we deserved a rest from homilies, and in any case the liturgy said it all.

What makes the NO so wearisome is that even at a weekday Mass we are treated to an introductory mini-homily about what we are going to hear in the readings (which are in the vernacular anyway) then another homily telling us what we have just heard, then we are invited to sing a hymn (unaccompanied) usually of the genre of 'Gifts of Bread and Wine' or 'Here I am, Lord'. Believe me, a dental appointment is preferable.

Gene said...

Once again, congregational singing is an example of the very Protestant understanding of the preached Word as the primary Sacrament. Hymns are an integral part of protestant worship and are generally chosen to complement the sermon. The usually robust singing in prot churches is due to the belief that the laity is participating in the Proclamation of the Word. How many Catholic seminaries have courses in "Hymnology: The Theology of Praise?" This is, perhaps, why the congregational participation in singing in Catholic Churches is almost is completely incongruous with Prayer and Catholics on some level must know that.
Then, of course, in the more evangelical denominations, where the idea is to get people to come down the aisle and give their heart to Jesus, the Hymn of Invitation is an integral and indispensable part of the sermon..."Just As I Am...without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me and that Thou bid'st me come to Thee..."
The stark contrast in the theology of Atonement between Protestant and Catholic churches could not be more clearly demonstrated than in the "Hide Me Rock of Ages," "The Sheltering Rock," "Under the Shelter of His Wings," and, of course, "Just As I Am," with its total emphasis upon the triumph of "Irresistable Grace" in the lives of "Totally Depraved" sinners to bring about "Unconditional Salvation."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

While I don't disagree with your analysis of how Protestants and Catholics understand salvation and the hymns of the Protestant tradition that have this Protestant doctrine, I do disagree with not encouraging the laity to sing, the question what is it that they should sing.
We do have hymn singing in the Catholic Church even in Pre-Vatican II Times. In the Low Mass four hymns (usually Marian hymns but also Benediction hymns) could be sung and were sung robustly.
It was the High Mass that demanded that the Mass be sung, not using hymns but the texts of the Mass, usually though this meant the choir representing the congregation.
I personally believe we have gone down the wrong path in substituting hymns for the official Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons and like the other parts of the Mass,we could by now, if implemented properly, have a strong tradition of congregational chanting in English of these official parts, but rather, we allowed hymns to replace them and often hymns of the Protestant tradition, some quite good and Catholic in theology, but not all, and vapid new creations that are banal and trendy. That is the greatest error of the past 50 years.
However, I love hearing the congregation singing the Kyrie, Gloria, Amens, And with your spirit, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Great Amen, Our Father, Lamb of God--these are the true hymns of the Catholic Mass and the laity should sing them too; it's just too bad that we eliminated the official Introits, offertory and communion antiphons. These should be restored and reformed for the laity to sing too!

Gene said...

Fr., I'm not sure we disagree so much. The congregational singing you mention are all prayers and an integral part of the Mass. I have no problem with that at all...however, if you have us break out into "What A Friend We Have in Jesus," or "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder," I'm heading for the hills. LOL!

Henry Edwards said...

Fr. McMillan: "We do have hymn singing in the Catholic Church even in Pre-Vatican II Times. In the Low Mass four hymns (usually Marian hymns but also Benediction hymns) could be sung and were sung robustly."

The fact, that it was done then, does not mean that it was right to be done, no more than it does now. The faithful at Mass should be praying the Mass, not something else.

The 4-hymn sandwich is completely antithetical to the ethos of the low Mass, as we should certainly recognize now, even if some didn't then. There are some--of the Msgr. Schuler school, for instance--who would inform you that a prime objective of Vatican II (as it had been of Pius X) in sacred music was precisely to rid the Mass of the 4-hymn sandwich. Which, however, was simply transferred to the Novus Ordo, where lamentably it still survives.