Saturday, June 7, 2014


Requiem Mass held for Card. Lourdusamy in the Vatican

A REQUIEM Mass was held on Thursday morning at the St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican to pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Simon Lourdusamy, who passed away at the early hours of Monday.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals presided over the Eucharist that was well represented by the Indian community in Rome. In his homily he referred to Cardinal Lourdusamy as a faithful servant of the Church, who lived a life of dedicated service in Puducherry and Bangalore Dioceses and then accepted with generosity the call of Pope Paul VI, who wanted him in Rome to work in the missionary Congregation of Propaganda Fide. “Here, for twenty years devoted his energies to the great cause of the evangelization of peoples, until, weighed down by his illness, he continued to serve the Church through prayer and suffering, with an attitude of great serenity.” he said.

At the end of the Eucharist, Pope Francis led the chorus of the faithful “May the angels and saints lead you into paradise”. He then blessed the coffin of the dear departed Cardinal.

Following this REQUIEM mass his mortal remains are to be flown to India where the funeral of the deceased Cardinal will take place at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Church, Pondicherry. The time and date of the funeral have yet to be finalised.

MY COMMENTS:  In 99% of Catholic parishes in the USA, the official Entrance Chant (Introit) of the Ordinary Form (yes the Ordinary Form) Requiem Mass from which the term Requiem comes, is omitted for some far fetched paraphrased hymn or a hymn that has nothing to do with the Introit's words or sentiments.
The Latin word for the first word of the English Introit for Requiem Masses is: "REQUIEM." It is translated into English as "Rest". I suppose on could substitute Requiem Mass with "Rest Mass", but "Requiem" has a connotation in English for this Mass for the Deceased that "Rest" does not have. Or maybe would could call it the "Eternal Rest Mass?"

Here are the words for the Proper Entrance Chant (Introit) for all Ordinary Form Requiem Masses. I ask my readers, how many times has this been chanted at a Funeral Mass you have attended? And how many times have you heard instead "On Eagle's Wings?" or "Be Not Afraid" or some other hymn that has nothing to do with these official words of the Requiem Mass?

Refrain: "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them."
Verse: "It is fitting, O God, to sing a hymn unto you on Mount Zion; and our vows shall be carried out for you in Jerusalem ."
Refrain: "Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them."
This is the Latin text for the Ordinary Form Requiem Mass's Entrance Chant (Introit):
Refrain: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux peerpetua luceat eis.
Verse: Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem: exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet.
Refrain: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux peerpetua luceat eis.

This is the Official Offertory Chant. How many times have you heard this or had substituted "Ave Maria" or even some Protestant hymn that had nothing to do with the meaning of these words:

Refrain: O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the departed faithful from the sufferings of hell and from the deep pit; deliver them from the mouth of the lion, may they not be swallowed up by hell, may they not fall into darkness; but may Saint Michael, the standard-bearer, present them in holy light as you promised long ago to Abraham and his descendants. 

Verse: We offer our sacrifices and our prayers to you, O Lord; receive them for the souls that we are remembering today; O Lord, make them pass from death into life as you promised. 

This is the official Holy Communion Chant for the Ordinary Form Requiem Mass. How many times have you heard it? 

May eternal light shine upon them, O Lord, in the company of your saints for eternity, for you are full of goodness. 

And of course, at the "Final Commendation" how many have heard the actual chant prescribed for the incensation of the body? Rather what other hymns are selected that have nothing to do with the actual words of the Roman Missal for this part of the Requiem Mass?

"Come to his/her aid, O saints of God...Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God most high."

And then after the Prayer that follows the "Chant of Farewell" the congregation is dismissed; but how many actually hear the official chant that is prescribed for the procession from the Church and rather are made to sing or hear some hymn that does not capture the sentiments of this official chant?

"May the Angels lead you into paradise, may the martyrs come to welcome you..."  


John Nolan said...

'Requiem' is the accusative of 'requies' meaning 'rest' (cf tomorrow's Sequence 'in labore requies, in aestu temperies, in fletu solatium') I suppose one could refer to it in English as an 'Eternal Rest' Mass. Its proper title is Missa pro Defunctis.

The Graduale Romanum (1974) gives no fewer than seven options for the Introit, plus six for the Gradual, four for the Tract, seven for the Offertory and ten (yes, ten) for the Communio, which makes this Mass unique in the Ordinary Form. Only in the EF are the chants fixed.

Anonymous said...

Father, the word REQUIEM means REST, not Eternal. The Requiem Mass connotes the commendation of a soul to its rest.

Otherwise, your observations are quite right.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It's fixed. I realized it as I took my shower--I post early before the brain awakes.

Pater Ignotus said...

"--I post early before the brain awakes."

Well, that explains a lot...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It does explain a lot PI whereas yours is unexplainable.

JBS said...

Thumbs up on the new and improved header. The sub-title is especially appropriate. Our Lord did not alter His teachings just to keep his numbers up.

John Nolan said...

No, Fr AJM, Pater Ignotus is not unexplainable (a valid word, although I would prefer inexplicable) since he operates within a post-V2 modernist mindset which is shared by many (although I should really say 'was' because it is becoming increasingly rare as the biological solution takes hold). He is also an argumentative Irishman who will never concede a point in case it ends the argument. I ought to know, since I am cut from the same cloth. The only difference is that I am right and he is wrong.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course he had a very ultra-conservative seminary experience in the early 80's that at that time was considered so "pre-Vatican II" by post Vatican II types. And of course at that time, his seminary was considered second rate compared to the one I attended that was very much "spirit of Vatican II" and applauded for it's progressiveness unlike Mt. St. Mary's where he went.

So I suspect he's trying to over compensate for the inadequacies of his seminary training, when in fact it was ahead of its time at the time. Today his seminary is packed full, still orthodox and very good academically.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I've been having the devil's time trying to get the photograph to be the right size and finally figured out how to do it. I've been very frustrated with how large that header's photo was and couldn't figure out how to reduce it. But now I know.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - You are wrong about my seminary experience, as were those who thought of Mt. St. Mary's as "pre-Vatican II."

Mt. St. Mary's, while I was there, was about as middle-of-the-road as any house of formation could be.

What people like you and other outsiders experienced of The Mount was the very standard, by-the-book celebration of the liturgy. St. Bernard Chapel was a tiny chapel, so liturgies there had to be pretty much bare-boned. You might recall that, with 180 men in the house, quite a number actually sat outside the halls on the first and second floors (outside the choir loft doors) because there was no room for them inside.

There was nothing particularly inadequate about my seminary education. A student with intellectual ability can always learn well, in spite of any inadequacies among his instructors.

However, a dull boy, even in a seminary such as St. Mary, Baltimore, is always going to be a dull boy.

Joe Potillor said...

I can say that I've never heard the requiem in it's proper context. For my mom's funeral when I wasn't liturgically aware, we definitely did not sing the requiem propers.

JBS said...

I attended four seminaries, from 1989 through 2001, and I'll only say that I'm glad that's all over. Thanks be to God.

John Nolan is right (as always): the proper title is "Missa pro Defunctis", although the West has always welcomed customary names for things ecclesial. Personally, I've often said "requiem", lauds&vespers, the missal, last rites, confession (referring to the sacrament), etc., none of which names were ever suppressed. I even go so far as to call all religious sisters nuns! Coming from a mostly Hispanic parish, I did, however, pick up the Continental practice of addressing bishops as "MonseƱor Surname", and then kissing his ring.

JBS said...

Joe Potillor,

May her soul rest in peace.

Cameron said...

JBS, you're THAT old?! I never would have guessed that you had begun seminary before I was even born.

JBS said...


I'm ancient. That's why I'm ever so wise!

Joe Potillor said...

Fr JBS, thank you for your prayers, God bless you!