Wednesday, January 1, 2014

BLESSED SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, BLESSED THE PEACEMAKERS AND BLESSED NEW YEAR IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD, 2014! AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO BEGIN WITH A SOLEMN HIGH TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS AT SAINT PETER'S BASILICA WITH THE VICAR OF CHRIST

Oddly, I found this first photo of this morning's Pontifical Mass at St. Peter's at the website of "The Voice of Russia"! Our Lady has obviously heard the consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart for the conversion of Russia's government (the faithful of Russia have always been, well, faithful, especially to our Lady as the Mother of God as this is a foundational dogma for the Orthodox Churches,  as well as for the Holy Roman Church). 
The Holy Father, on the heels of the Solemn Sung First Vespers of the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, celebrated Solemn Mass this morning at St.Peter's Basilica and primarily in Latin. For the Holy Father, the use of the vernacular or Latin isn't either/or but both/and. He uses the Roman Canon as well.

The vestment and new, ornate miter he uses are quite stunning in both their beauty and simplicity as are the matching dalmatics of the deacons.

Unfortunately, the Sistine Choir seems to have a boy chorister singing loudly off-key! Maybe passive aggressiveness typical of us Italians or he's going through puberty and its time to move on.

One of the primary con-celebrants is my good friend (not really, mild acquaintance) Cardinal Peter Turkson, who could have been Pope Peter II. He knows my parochial vicar, who is from Ghana, and he knows my bishop.

Please note in the video of this morning's Mass how this Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated and compare it to what it would have been like if the 1962 version of the Traditional Latin Mass Missal had been used. Let me count the ways of continuity. Please note too that for the Liturgy of the Eucharist there are some marvelous camera shots from the "ad orientem" perspective of the Mass in the basilica:

1. Please note the continuing use of the stunning pre-Vatican II altar arrangement also known after its return as the Benedictine Altar Arrangement and as with the 1962 Missal, the Mass of the Faithful is celebrated at the historic papal free-standing altar in the same direction for centuries, almost 1700 years.

2. Please note the chanting of the marvelous "Tu Es Petrus" for the papal procession

3. One could see how easily the option of the traditional prayers at the Foot of the Altar (as in the Anglican Ordinariate Roman Missal) could have been incorporated as the Pope and his minister could have recited these at the foot of the altar as the choir chanted the Introit. The chanting of the Introit could have also covered the action of the Holy Father ascending the altar to kiss and incense it, as he said quietly to himself the psalm for this purpose and then he would as usual approach his throne as the choir sang the Kyrie and Gloria. The greeting "The Lord be with you" could easily be placed in its traditional place prior to the chanting/saying of the Collect.

4. Please note the marvelous Gregorian Chanted official Introit following "Tu es Petrus"

5. Please note that the Holy Father prays the Mass (does not proclaim it) as though He is speaking directly to God on behalf of the Faithful who have gathered (as a priestly intercessor, in the image of Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest, who intercedes for His priestly people before God the Father). In other words, the Holy Father prays the Mass, even when facing the congregation, in an "ad orientem" sort of way. It is prayer to God, not a proclamation either to God or the congregation!

The other thing that I find so ironic is that Pope Francis during his procession into the Church and during the Recessional is very reserved and introverted and completely more so than Pope Benedict was. Pope Benedict always acknowledged the congregation in the most extroverted and gesticular way  as he entered and departed St. Peter's and there always was thunderous applause at the beginning and conclusion of his Masses, not so for Pope Francis, he has brought this to an effective end!


Pope at January 1 Mass: Mary, Mother of God, Mother for all



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis welcomed the new year Wednesday with a solemn morning mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, calling the faithful to look to Mary as a Mother to all and messenger of hope.

In his homily for this, the Solemnity of the Mother of God, Pope Francis said “there is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year” to hear God’s blessing “The Lord bless you and keep you…. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

These "words of strength, courage and hope" "will accompany our journey through the year opening up before us,” the Pope said.

But, the Pope warned, this is not “an illusory hope based on human frail promises, or a naïve hope which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future.” Rather, he reminded the faithful, it is a hope based on God’s blessing, containing the “greatest message of good wishes there can be and this is the message which the Church brings to each of us.”

The message of hope in God’s blessing, the Pope stressed, “was fully realized in a woman, Mary, who was destined to become the Mother of God.”

“Mother of God is the first and most important title of Our Lady,” Pope Francis said, noting that in their devotion to her from early times, the faithful had understood this “from the beginning.”

Pope Francis recalled the ancient Council of Ephesus which “authoritatively defined” the divine motherhood of the Virgin Mary and later “the first Marian shrine in Rome and the entire West” which was erected in devotion to her in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.

Mary is our Mother too, the Pope reminded us, “ever since Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave her to us as our Mother, saying ‘Behold your Mother!’”

Through the most difficult and trying times, Mary’s “sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, whether good or bad,” the Pope said, and she communicates “her maternal affection to each and every person… a source of hope and true joy.”

Inviting the faithful to entrust to her “the journey of faith, the desires of our heart, our needs and the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice and peace," Pope Francis said by Mary’s “example of humility and openness to God’s will she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation.” And turning towards the statue of Our Lady near the high altar, Pope Francis invoked her three times, repeating forcefully: “Holy Mother of God!”

Below we publish the official English translation of Pope Francis’ Homily:

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
1 January 2014

In the first reading we find the ancient prayer of blessing which God gave to Moses to hand on to Aaron and his sons: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26). There is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year to hear these words of blessing: they will accompany our journey through the year opening up before us. They are words of strength, courage and hope. Not an illusory hope, based on frail human promises, or a naïve hope which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future. Rather, it is a hope that has its foundation precisely in God’s blessing, a blessing which contains the greatest message of good wishes there can be; and this is the message which the Church brings to each of us, filled with the Lord’s loving care and providential help.
The message of hope contained in this blessing was fully realized in a woman, Mary, who was destined to become the Mother of God, and it was fulfilled in her before any other creature.

The Mother of God! This is the first and most important title of Our Lady. It refers to a quality, a role which the faith of the Christian people, in its tender and genuine devotion to our heavenly Mother, has understood from the beginning.

We recall that great moment in the history of the ancient Church, the Council of Ephesus, in which the divine motherhood of the Virgin Mary was authoritatively defined. The truth of her divine maternity found an echo in Rome where, a little later, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major was built, the first Marian shrine in Rome and in the entire West, in which the image of the Mother of God – the Theotokos – is venerated under the title of Salus Populi Romani. It is said that the residents of Ephesus used to gather at the gates of the basilica where the bishops were meeting and shout, “Mother of God!”. The faithful, by asking them to officially define this title of Our Lady, showed that they acknowledged her divine motherhood. Theirs was the spontaneous and sincere reaction of children who know their Mother well, for they love her with immense tenderness.

Mary has always been present in the hearts, the piety and above all the pilgrimage of faith of the Christian people. “The Church journeys through time… and on this journey she proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary” (Redemptoris Mater, 2). Our journey of faith is the same as that of Mary, and so we feel that she is particularly close to us. As far as faith, the hinge of the Christian life, is concerned, the Mother of God shared our condition. She had to take the same path as ourselves, a path which is sometimes difficult and obscure. She had to advance in the “pilgrimage of faith” (Lumen Gentium, 58).

Our pilgrimage of faith has been inseparably linked to Mary ever since Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave her to us as our Mother, saying: “Behold your Mother!” (Jn 19:27). These words serve as a testament, bequeathing to the world a Mother. From that moment on, the Mother of God also became our Mother! When the faith of the disciples was most tested by difficulties and uncertainties, Jesus entrusted them to Mary, who was the first to believe, and whose faith would never fail. The “woman” became our Mother when she lost her divine Son. Her sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved Jesus. The woman who at the wedding at Cana in Galilee gave her faith-filled cooperation so that the wonders of God could be displayed in the world, at Calvary kept alive the flame of faith in the resurrection of her Son, and she communicates this with maternal affection to each and every person. Mary becomes in this way a source of hope and true joy!

The Mother of the Redeemer goes before us and continually strengthens us in faith, in our vocation and in our mission. By her example of humility and openness to God’s will she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation. In this way our mission will be fruitful, because it is modeled on the motherhood of Mary. To her let us entrust our journey of faith, the desires of our heart, our needs and the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice and peace. Let us then together invoke her: Holy Mother of God!

Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/01/01/pope_at_january_1_mass:_mary,_mother_of_god,_mother_for_all/en1-760339
of the Vatican Radio website

Please note Pope Benedict's more flamboyant and boisterous recessional style:


And the Swiss Guard, who are really, really cool, continue even with Pope Francis, to process and recess in this fashion, but listen to the congregation! Listen to the Italians complaining in Italian that the stiff bishops won't even give them their hand! It is funny hearing it in Italian! But there is something quite stirring about all of this that is lacking in Pope Francis' Masses where no one does this anymore and yet Pope Francis has become the celebrity and Pope Benedict wasn't! Who is misrepresenting whom now?:


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please note Pope Benedict's more flamboyant and boisterous recessional style.

Really? Pope Benedict's "style" is now called boisterous. The most unassuming, quiet gentle man is still being misrepresented. Why don't you do an article on the Prada shoes that never existed.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Videos don't lie, I prefer the more boisterous departure and entrance if Pope Benedict and his predecessors!

rcg said...

I think it is probably a good idea for Pope francis to compartmentalize his personalities into the rock star and the respectful celebrant.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the main problem today was the Sistine choir, although agree that the singing was depressingly bad at times. The problem was with the amateur choir, located by the altar of the chair, who had their own separate conductor (I've only noticed this other choir at the last three papal masses). That's where the out of tune soprano voice came from!

It's a nice idea to have an additional choir to strengthen the congregational parts of the mass, but perhaps they need to be more selective. And at points this choir was badly out of sync with the Sistine choir.

John Nolan said...

Also I have noticed that the microphones hardly pick up the Sistine choir at all, something the engineers should have noticed and rectified - it's been happening for some time.

I get the impression that Pope Francis's liturgical style is a direct consequence of his not singing. The necessary objectivity that singing brings to the celebration is achieved by Francis by a very austere manner of recitation. It's quite opposite to the usual post-V2 style of celebration. Although today's Mass was in Latin, this also applies when he celebrates in Italian.

So far, the ceremonial is much the same as it was in Benedict's latter years. Given the recent personnel changes in the office for papal liturgical celebrations this may not continue, and I would not be surprised to see some reversion to the P.Marini style in the coming year.

ytc/Cameron said...

Has anyone noticed Pope Francis's face? His face, especially the right side of his upper lip, seems swollen.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes I did notice it at the Mass and Vespers the night before.

Anonymous said...

Father I just found your blog and it is so refreshing and honest. Thank you and Happy New Year!!

A New Reader