Saturday, September 26, 2015
MASS AT THE GARDEN
Last night's Mass at Madison Square Garden was splendid and what the Ordinary Form was meant to be. No ad libs and music that was quite sober and uplifting; nothing bombastic.
I heard a new Latin Sanctus and it was a quite familiar English Sanctus translated into Latin. I'm not sure if it was the Mass of Creation or the Community Mass, but it was quite familiar although I had never heard it in Latin. It was beautiful in Latin.
The parts of the Mass chanted in Latin to include the Pater Noster were robustly chanted by the congregation. It makes no sense whatsoever to have multiple languages in a multiple language assembly. Latin is such a uniter and makes the Mass an integrated celebration as it concerns language and music!
The Kyrie was beautiful as well and it was the EF's nine-fold Kyrie in Greek, with the Cantor chanting the first, the congregation the second and the choir the third with flourishes. Quite stunning. There was no Gloria or Credo since it was a daily Mass.
The Communion antiphon was splendid Gregorian Chant, absolutely stunning and captures the true spirituality of the Mass which should be integrated into the entire Mass.
The greatest flaw with so many sung OF Masses is the hodgepodge of styles and language of what is sung trying to please everyone and usually in the process making the Mass an unintegrated musical mess.
Madison Square Garden was set up for the Mass in a wonderful way. It was stunningly beautiful and appeared churchy. Move the altar to the highest point of the platform where the Pope chair was, and it would have been wonderful for an EF Mass.
Of course after Holy Communion, Cardinal Dolan had a few remarks and the New Yorkers, well, they were New Yorkers and the thunderous prolonged standing ovation given to the Holy Father, while over the top and thus typically New York, was quite moving and even Msgr. Marini was smiling which says something.
At the Vatican people are warned about not doing this sort of thing for Pope Francis, either at the procession or the end and usually Pope Francis, once the procession enters, doesn't even look at anyone and certainly doesn't gesture to them. Even in the recession at the Vatican, the Pope looks angry when he departs and does not even offer the Signs of the Cross to the congregation.
But not last night! Pope Francis at the end of Mass for the recessional was exhuberant and looked papal. He departed down the asile blessing the congregation which is traditional for bishops and popes to do.
Just watch any papal Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica with Pope Benedict at the beginning and end and you will see and hear raucous applause and the Pope egging them on. Pope Francis put a stop to it, but last night was a first at the recessional for him in this regard to do it.