Friday, October 26, 2012


We have five Sunday Masses. Our 12:10 PM Mass will now be the "reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass." What this means is the Liturgy of the Eucharist will be celebrated Ad Orientem, but everything else will be as in all our other Masses, in terms of the music, the Introductory Rite at the chair, the Liturgy of the Word as usual and the Concluding Rite as usual.

This particular Mass is also the weekend of the kick-off our our Stewardship renewal. Dr. Richard and Mrs. Suzanne Rowe speak after my very brief homily on their journey of Stewardship. I'm very grateful to them as they spoke at all our weekend Masses making it a marathon for them.

Unfortunately our chanted official Introit was not included at the beginning which is a prelude to the processional hymn. Tell me what ye thinks!


Anonymous said...

Why do you think it is appropriate to say the Penitential Rite, Gloria, and Collect from the Presider's Chair and facing the people instead of at the Altar ad orientem at the "Reform of the Reform" Mass?

Anonymous said...

Also, by what authority are lay people speaking during the Mass? Is that not best left until after the Mass, perhaps ideally in a different location other than the Church proper in those instances where a parish has an adequate other location as St. Joseph does? The same goes with the intrusive video played AT THE ALTAR last Sunday... At best it borders on sacrilege and at worst violates the First Commandment objectively and publicly...

Are you not sending mixed signals at this so-called Reform of the Reform Mass by continuing the abuses while changing other aspects, all the while retaining abuses like the overuse of EMHCs and including them in the liturgical procession?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To the first post, because this is how our Holy Father celebrates the Ordinary Form of the Mass either ad orientem or facing the people but with the Benedictine Altar arrangement and also because it is in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
The second point is that videos are allowed and even the Holy Father spoke to the Eucharistic Congress during the Liturgy by way of video. It is not an abuse in the Ordinary Form to have Eucharistic Ministers or the common chalice, it would be in the EF. The laity are able to speak at Mass but not give the homily in the Ordinary Form.

Gene said...

It looks like attendance was lower than usual...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There was a GIFT gathering following the 9:30 AM MAss with a brunch, so many came to that Mass, but it was about normal, more at the back of the Church.

John Nolan said...

A dignified celebration, all the better for being mostly sung. Some points (well, you asked for feedback!)

1. A major aspect of the ROTR is to reconnect the people with the traditional Latin chants of the Ordinary. Sing Mass XVII on all Sundays in Advent - by Christmas everyone will know it by heart and it can be used again in Lent. And sing the Credo in Latin (Credo III if you must but Credo I is better and simpler). It is vitally important that people know some of the settings in the Kyriale; they are beautifully written unlike most trite modern vernacular settings.

2. You had enough servers to have torchbearers who enter with the thurifer during the singing of the Sanctus. The thurifer should incense at the elevations from the epistle side.

3. The deacon should kneel for the Consecrations. Also, why does he stand so far back from the altar?

4. Although it's "ladies and gentlemen" it's "brothers and sisters" although the gender-inclusive "brethren" is worth considering. (The Sarum Use had "Orate fratres et sorores").

5. I won't comment on EHMC, serviettes and the like, as you already know where I stand. But please, please, in the sanctuary exchange the pax in the correct liturgical manner (it takes half a minute to learn). Leave glad-handing to the politicians.

Andy Milam said...

"Dr. Richard and Mrs. Suzanne Rowe speak after my very brief homily on their journey of Stewardship."

I don't think that is allowed. They may speak after reception of Holy Communion, but during the time allotted for the homily, not so much.

I would have you look to Canon 767§1. It expressly states who can preach the homily and who cannot. As far as the idea that it isn't the homily, is that how the faithful will see it? I doubt it. Most will look at it as laymen preaching, therefore it is dealt with specifically in the above mentioned canon.

It would seem that while it may not be "preaching" per se, it certainly can be perceived as such and that would give rise to possible scandal.

So, would it not be better to preach your homily during the time allotted for that and then allowing them to speak after reception of Holy Communion, be a better option? There can be no confusion then.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

The Bishop of Rome presides from the Episcopal Throne because he is a bishop.

EMHCs are for instances where there is an inordinate amount of people. This is not the case when the Church isn't even full.

EMHCs are clergy or ordinary "ministers" so they are not allowed in liturgical processions at the beginning of Mass.

My points were that these things are out of step with the idea of the Reform of Reform. So, in the Reform of the Reform Mass, they seem best excluded even though they may be technically allowed under the rubrics, which some are not.

Anonymous said...

One of the most reverent and inspiring aspects of the Ad Orientem is seeing the Deacon...especially when he is very moving.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In the Ordinary Form, priests preside from their priestly chair, but not so in the EF where only the bishop does from his throne. EMC's are quite permissible and needed when there are chalices which again is allowed in the OF. This Mass, while I call it the reform of the reform, is an OF Mass where ad orientem is allowed. In fact, I believe if one uses the Benedictine Arrangement facing the people is allowed in the EF Mass as long as all the other rubrics are used.

Gene said...

I don't understand why you are so defensive of EMHC's. They need to be out of the Processional...period.I'd like to see them gone forever. In strictly theological terms, they are a pain in the butt...and a distraction from what is supposed to be going on. Let 'em pout...they'll get over it. If not, let 'em go hold hands and play Protestant over at Ignotus' Church. Sheesh!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

EMC's are allowed and I am very grateful for them. In terms of the procession, it is quite permissible for them to be there but not necessary, the same is true of the lectors and if we had banners that could be carried in, that would be allowed.

However, beginning November 1st, the EMC's are no longer processing in, however they will continue to use the collars provided as this lets us know who is present and who isn't so that the right number of EMC's are given their collars before Mass begins.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I hope you notice the manner in which we distribute Holy Communion which honors the norms for the USA. We have offered great hospitality by providing kneelers for those who wish to kneel. Our instructions, which are including (soon) in our hymnal is: "The norm in the USA is to stand to receive Holy Communion, the exception is to kneel, both are allowed, the choice is the communicant's."
Watching the distribution of Holy Communion and respecting these two allowed positions, there is no liturgical divisiveness that I detect, but harmonious respect for people's choices in this regard!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I might add that I have sent an email to our two deacons to help train them for the ad orientem Liturgy of the Eucharist with the video link. This is the content of that email: :)

Dear Deacons:
This is how our 12:10 PM Mass will be celebrated. I ask you to study the big mistakes of the deacon at this Mass and not to replicate them.

1. The deacons should know which side to kiss the altar on if there is an extra priest or at least let the extra priest know where he is to go but politely please!
2. The deacon should make sure not to sing into the microphone, especially at the end of the Gospel! He should not respond to his own commission: Go in peace….
3. When preparing the altar, the deacon should make sure that all is placed on the altar and properly, the least of which is the Roman Missal!!!!!!
4. The deacon should stand or kneel before the altar but not far off to its side as the deacon in this video does. For example he should be in the opposite position, physically as the priest concelebrant in this video. The effect of how the deacon in this video positions himself creates a visual dyscemetry. Even though one step down and opposite the priest concelebrant, he should have been as close to the main celebrant as the priest concelebrant is.
5. It is nice and highly recommened for the deacon to kneel from the Epiclesis through to the Mystery of faith, but closer to the celebrant rather than away as in this video where the deacon refuses to kneel and is a mile away. The deacon could place a kneeling pad to assist him in his decrepitness, but if for whatever reason, he can’t kneel, he may stand, but should be one step down but closer to the celebrant, not far off as in this video.

I hope this video will help you as you train yourselves and by avoiding all the mistakes of the particular deacon in this video. Fr. McDonald

Joseph Johnson said...

No doubt, this is a great step forward and there is certainly more to praise than there is to criticize. In instituting "new" practices such as this one, there will always be some time needed to get comfortable with things and to make needed refinements.

Some suggested refinements:

1. The servers (at least those who are actively serving the altar for this particular Mass) should come out to the steps and kneel facing the altar.

2. I noticed that the priests and deacon genuflected at the altar platform in the sanctuary rather than at the steps--why not do that there before ascending the sanctuary steps (thus emphasizing the sacred space you are about to enter).

3. While still not common (but still used in some places in the OF and not suppressed), why not have birettas for the priests and deacons to wear in procession and while seated. The removal of these at the altar steps again emphasizes the sacredness of what you are about to enter into (both sacred space and Holy mystery). An MC server would be the one to take them from you at the steps and place them on your chairs to be worn while seated.

John Nolan said...

Mass versus populum was indeed trialled in certain places before the Council (in the Roman basilicas the orientation and the position of the Confessio demand it anyway). Cologne Cathedral, I believe, got permission to do it sometime in the Middle Ages. The 20th century Liturgical Movement wanted the Epistle and Gospel read facing the people, and since at Low Mass these were read from the altar missal, the only way round this was to have the entire Mass versus populum.

Therefore the introduction of the ambo in 1964 removed at least one of the reasons for versus populum, which is somewhat ironic.

Once you allow Communion in the hand the main objection to EMHC, viz. lay people of either sex handling the Sacred Species no longer holds up. A return to the traditional manner of receiving is necessary before this monstrous regiment can be disbanded, and I don't see the bishops agreeing to this any time soon.

A Parish Priest is of course under no obligation to use them, and the same goes for female servers. The obvious solution (more permanent instituted acolytes) is sadly going to be stymied by gender politics and the false idea that performing a liturgical role is somehow an 'entitlement'.

Reform of the Reform is not new - the London Oratory has been doing it for over 40 years!

Joseph Johnson said...

In other words, as to the positioning of the priests, deacons, and servers, it should look more like the Mass depicted when one pulls up this blog!

Gene said...

Because something is "allowed" does not necessitate its use. Clown masses and Kum Ba Ya are still "allowed." I am "allowed" to come to Mass wearing a wet suit, clown shoes, and a beanie but I do not do so. We are "allowed" far too much. If our concern is a loss of the sense of the Sacred and a return to a truer Liturgical form and a stronger Catholic identity, then some things need to be shunned whether they are allowed or not. I go to Mass in one parish (Atlanta Diocese)where the female altar server (a college student)incenses the Priest and the congregation, then serves as lector. The Priest, after blessing the Deacon, will pat him on the back as he turns to go to the ambo, and this same Priest regularly comes down the steps to the front of the Church an walks about while he preaches the homily. I suppose all this is "allowed."

Henry Edwards said...

The best discussion of revitalization of the OF that I've seen recently is

The Ordinary Form after Summorum Pontificum
Dom Mark Kirby

John Nolan said...

@ gene

It depends on how much you accept what is 'allowed'. If I attended Fr McD's Mass (unlikely, since I am thousands of miles away) I would give great credit for the way he celebrates it, particularly the fact that he sings it, yet lament the fact that his musical resources are not deployed to their best advantage because he has an aversion to Latin. This is unusual for a priest who actually celebrates the Usus Antiquior, so I suspect there is a diocesan/parish subtext.

O for the days when you could simply be a Catholic and get on with it!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course the first Sunday of each month we do sing the EF Mass but at 2:00 PM and everyone who attends that Mass expects it.
For me to sing the 12:10 PM Mass which has never been in Latin would be a good way to kill this reform as people wouldn't attend it. But with that said, the 3rd Sunday of the month beginning in November, our men's schola will sing the parts of the Mass in Latin including the Introit, offertory and Communion antiphons as well as the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Angus Dei--and we'll see if there is an uprising on the popular level. I doubt I'll do much of my parts in Latin and there will be an uprising.

John Nolan said...

But Father, but Father,

If the use of Latin and chant is perceived to be the preserve of the EF (and I know some traddies are all in favour of this) then ROTR is stalled.

Are you seriously maintaining that so-called Catholic parishioners would walk out if exposed to Latin at any point? If this is the case I would be happy to let them slink off. They'e not Catholic anyway.

Gene said...

What kind of "uprising?" I'm sure it would include whining, snorting, foot stomping, and all kinds of Baptist-looking self-righteous/injured countenances. You know what, who cares. If they do not "get it" to that extent, let 'em go. Of course, you could explain to them in no uncertain terms why this is done and why it is proper worship, encouraging them to develop a more traditionally Catholic identity and understanding. Of course, my attitude toward them is, "Hey, ya'll, there's a big ol' Baptist church right next door and the Calvinists are only two blocks away." Tact is not my strong point, but I am working on it...
This business of walking on eggs around whiny parishioners is not good. I know you personally and know that you have sharp edges. You do a remarkable job of keeping your teeth un-bared and your claws sheathed. Maybe you should show them once in a while...LOL! (Not to me, however, being as I am a humble and un-presumptuous parishioner...)

Andy Milam said...

The Novus Ordo can be dressed up all one wants, but in the end, it is still a MAJOR aberration of liturgical theology. MAJOR!!!!

The idea of participatio activa taking precedence over participatio actuosa must be addressed if there is to be any "real" reform of the reform. As long as the faithful misunderstand their role in the liturgical action and perceive that they have a right to exercise "ministry" in a way which is anything other than extraordinary then the "real" reform of the reform will never take place.

When the faithful are used on a regular basis when there is no need, when the faithful are used as a norm, then liturgical theology is compromised and the abuse of "full, conscious, and active participation" is continued. And that is a MAJOR problem.

The role of the faithful isn't to "do stuff" at Holy Mass, but rather the role of the faithful is to worship! WORSHIP! The faithful should be uniting their whole mind, heart and soul to the action of the priest, primarily. The faithful should not be seeing their external action as being fulfilling. Until that is corrected, there is a discussion about apples, when oranges are on the agenda.

I would argue that in 100% of parishes in the USA there is no need for EMHC's. On a regular basis there is no need to use them. The "option" to use the chalice is just that, an option. There is no basis for it as normative, except when there is a need to fulfill the participatio activa "fix" of the women (and occasionally, men) who want to be in the sanctuary.

That is the real discussion which needs to be had, the rest is just symantics, with regard to the Mass.

John Nolan said...

Gene, Andy,

When I sing in a schola for an EF Mass I am conscious that I am fulfilling a liturgical role. When I am in the congregation listening to a choir I don't feel in the least bit alienated because I am not actually singing; on the contrary I feel that by joining heart and soul to the music I am participating in a real sense. The modern so-called liturgists and musicians have got it completely wrong.

Bret said...

Father, I am a long time reader, first time poster. I think it is great how you are celebrating the ordinary form so extraordinary, and I am sorry I don't live in your state (or that there are no priests like you in my state).

Do you think the best "solution", for lack of a better term, to the ordinary form's litany of abuses and problems, would be for the magestarium to supress the Novus Ordo missal of Paul VI as the OF, and replace it with a missal composed of the 1965 order of the mass, adapted to the current lectionary, with stricter regulations on mass settings, ie, only chant or chant-like settings would be allowed, while contemporary style settings (typical GIA and OCP settings)be supressed? Contemporary style hymns would still be allowed. It is more important for the Vatican to get a tighter hold on the mass settings, while the decision on hymns should be done on the diocisian and parish levels.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I have no idea what the future will bring. What Pope Benedict has begun may or may not be continued by his successor, but one has to say that his contribution to the Liturgy will mark his papacy. I believe the EF is here to stay but I don't think it will have widespread appreciation. I don't think the current missal will be dumped. What we might see is some refinement of it to make it more like the 1962 missal, but how that will be accomplished remains to be seen, it could simply be a return to the 1962 Order of the Mass while still having the current missal with all its prayers and its calendar, but the calendar I think will go a revision similar to what the Anglican Ordinariate has.
But as you can see in the video, you can so much with the current missal to make it more like the 1962 Mass and if celebrated in Latin and completely ad orientem, I doubt that most could tell the difference between it and the 1962 missal.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I think Father deserves to be commended strongly for his leadership. Be aware, priests across the country, and probably around the world, are looking to priests like Father McDonald, who are blazing the trail forward.

To some, these things are easy and it's hard to understand why he takes his time, why he doesn't do it all at once...well, lots of priests know why. Such things as returning to chant, or ad orientem, or use of Latin, etc., will all draw the wrath of some--more than you might think.

And don't underestimate the force of this argument: "but no one else is doing what you're doing." In fact, hereabouts, merely singing the orations--in English--is deemed remarkable. I help out in various parishes, and when I do, people ask me, "why did you sing the prayers?" "I always sing the prayers--every Sunday." "That never happens here."

I tip my biretta to you, Father! Keep on, you're helping take us where we need to go.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thank you Father Fox. There are many considerations in bringing change to a parish, not the least of which is concern about what will happen when the next priest comes. Pope Benedict's changes, although not mandated yet, have been very slow but very deliberate--that's the way it needs to be. What happened after Vatican II was much too fast and divided the Church in ways in which we still suffer.
As far as singing, I sing every Sunday too and it helps build confidence and the laity come to expect it and see nothing odd about it. It happens for me naturally now.