Sunday, March 27, 2016

CONFLICTED AT EASTER


I have to say that our Palm Sunday and Easter Triduum liturgies were beautiful. All of them solemn and appropriate for each day. My favorite of the Triduum has always been Holy Thursday. This year's Good Friday Liturgy seem to move well and feel integrated. In the past I always found its nature to be disjointed.

We are fortunate to have a music program where we can have cantors chant the passion of Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

Our Easter Vigil was 2 and a half hours long. We baptized four adults, three children and received into the full communion of the Church 14 other adults. I felt our Easter Vigil went very well. Our PV, Fr. Vernon chanted the Exultet beautifully. And a day of rain gave way to sunshine prior to the Vigil and our ability to begin outdoors for the Blessing of the Paschal Fire, Candle and procession into the darkened Church.

We read four Old Testament readings, the Epistle and Gospel. It was a completely OF Easter Vigil but quite solemn and traditional as the OF in the vernacular can be. The music was wonderful.

Our 9:30 AM Mass was standing room only and people were in the vestibule and outside under the portico. It was a completely OF Mass, with choir, organ, timpani and trumpet, very upbeat and very OF but in a powerful way.

Then our 12:10 PM EF High Mass was packed but enough room for all to be seated. Our mixed schola was magnificent. We began with the "Vidi Aquam" and all was traditional. For many, it was the first time they had participated in an EF Mass and for others who were visitors (we are in the midst of our International Cherry Blossom Festival and we are on Interstate 75) many older Catholics told me that they had not been to a Mass like that in over 50 years--they had tears in their eyes.

Our organist said they she felt more people in the congregation were chanting the Latin parts of the Mass with gusto than the 9:30 English Mass did. The congregational  EF singing was more robust!!!!!! This is properly Sacrosanctum Concilium's theology of actual participation affecting the EF Mass as it should.

I wore my biretta and I had so many kids ask me about it, both girls and boys. And the parents of the younger children told me that the Latin Mass kept their children's attention and that they were fascinated by it! (I was too as a pre-elementary school child!)

As reverent as our OF Masses are; there is something more reverent about the EF Mass and more mystical, less cerebral and more engaging and reverent. It feels more Catholic to me; I feel more Catholic; I feel more like a PRIEST!

There is no doubt in my mind that the EF Mass properly celebrated as it was in my parish today could well turn around the Church in her decline if implemented from the Vatican on down. It would lead to the new evangelization and a new springtime for the Church!

7 comments:

TJM said...

Deo Gratias!

Stephen Conner said...

5 p.m. was BEAUTIFUL, as well. We are so blessed at St. Joseph to have you, Father McDonald, as well as Father Vernon and Deacon Don. I rarely see Deacon Tom at 5 p.m. Anyway, the music at 5 p.m., today, was very reverent,,beautiful and Father Vernon always celebrates Mass so reverently and wonderfully. St. Joseph is a parish full of people, in my humble opinion, that truly love our Lord and their Catholic faith. Happy Easter, Father!

John Nolan said...

There is a church in central London which had the Triduum according to the 1962 Missal, aka the EF, but since this incorporates the substantial changes in the rites made by Bugnini and his accomplices between 1951 and 1955 (which prefigure the Novus Ordo) I don't really see the point. It can be argued that the 1970 version of the Easter vigil is the better of the two untraditional versions on offer, particularly when celebrated mostly in Latin (the use of the vernacular for the prophecies was permissible in the 1951 version, but they were reduced from twelve to four; the 1970 revision increased the number to seven, and there is a canticle after each).

It's fine to celebrate the Easter Sunday Mass in the EF, but Easter will not fall on the last Sunday of the month again until 2024! The way forward is surely to incorporate the traditional and venerable chanted Propers into the principal OF Mass, and on solemnities make a habit (as modelled by Pope Benedict) of using Latin from the Preface to the Pater Noster. A schola capable of singing from the Graduale Romanum or the Solesmes Gregorian Missal will want to do so more often than once a month.

It's not easy to wean modern congregations from their hymn-addiction, despite the fact that it's a) lazy and b) unliturgical so compromises have to be made. But Marty Haugen and his ilk will not be missed. How many people go home and put on a CD of this sort of music? Or download it?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John we have had an Easter Sunday EF High Mass for about 8 years but always as an addition to our Mass schedule. Fortunately it fell on the Last Sunday which allowed us to celebrate it at a normal time for the first time ever.

But what made this possible and in an organic development for the parish in this regard, is that our 12:10 Sunday Mass has been ad orientem for the las five years now. Plus we have had the EF Mass for special solemnities which brought to it a broader participation by parishioners. Our packed Midnight Christmas Mass while OF had a good amount of Latin and was completely ad orientem except for the Liturgy of the Word.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As long as I am here our 12:10 Easter Sunday Mass will be an EF High Mass.

John Nolan said...

Fr AJM, keep up the good work. In the past parish priests might be criticized for overlong and badly prepared sermons, or for continually asking for money, or for favouring some of the laity over others. Nowadays they are expected to defer to the laity on liturgical matters. Progressive pastors have an easier time since those who don't like liturgical abuses or bad music will have long since decamped. Those who remain will be made to feel important and given 'ministries' to the extent that half the women in the parish will be readers, extraordinary ministers and the like.

A more orthodox priest taking over such a parish enters a minefield. Attempts to resacralize the liturgy will result in accusations of 'clericalism'. Even wearing a Gothic chasuble with orphreys or using a chalice veil will result in his being branded 'pre-Vatican II', regardless of the fact that he wasn't even born when the Council ended. Declining to use female servers or to employ EMs when their use is not justified will result in his being called 'confrontational' and letters to the bishop will follow. He might well be doorstepped by a female reporter from the ultra-liberal 'Tablet' and asked to explain himself.

Ten years ago a youngish Australian priest told me that conservative-minded priests faced considerable peer-pressure not to deviate from the liberal consensus. The situation is better now, but liberal middle-class and middle-aged laity with exaggerated notions of 'empowerment' can still wreak considerable mischief.

Jan said...

Yes, Father, when you say, "As reverent as our OF Masses are; there is something more reverent about the EF Mass and more mystical, less cerebral and more engaging and reverent. It feels more Catholic to me; I feel more Catholic; I feel more like a PRIEST!" I totally agree. I think it is due to the beautiful prayers that lift the mind and the heart to God which the OF cannot do because the prayers are limited. Only when Eucharistic Prayer I is said does it come close. I think Eucharistic Prayer I should be mandated for Sundays and holy days at least.

I read of a priest who was more or less badgered into saying the OF of the Mass and was a bit hostile at first. But he said that when he was at the altar praying the Mass he could "feel" the sense of prayer coming from the congregation behind him and he was also overcome to the point that he stated more or less what you have said.

One priest who offers the Mass once a month said in his sermon that he was conscious that this was the Mass offered by so many of the saints and those who laid the foundations for the faith - the same prayers and readings on the same day. There is something in that.

I believe with one stroke of the pen, Pope Benedict did the thing that will restore the Church and that was to bring back the Mass of ages ...