Monday, March 20, 2017
CONFLICTED IN HILTON HEAD ABOUT THE EF MASS!?!
I am on my day off and take it on nearby Hilton Head (40 miles from Savannah) on the coast of South Carolina where nothing could be finer!
I have been reflecting on the glorious 3rd Sunday of Lent High Mass in the Extraordinary Form that I celebrated yesterday at our splendid Cathedral in historic and magical downtown Savannah.
My on-going conflict has to do with the fact that in the Sung EF Mass, the priest and ministers celebrate the Mass somewhat disconnected from the choir which sings a parallel "Mass". What this means specifically is that even though the choir sings the Introit, the priest after incensing the altar says it quietly to himself. The same is true of the gradual/tract--while the schola chants these the priest nonetheless says it to himself.
The same is true of the Kyrie, Gloria and Credo, the priest recites these silently and if the choir has not completed it during the Gloria and Credo, the priest sits until is is completed. At the Cathedral as well as my former parish of glorious St. Joseph in Macon, I opted to chant these wth the choir and never sat at a normal Gregorian chanted Mass. Kosher?? I ask; you answer.
The same is true of the Sanctus, as the choir chants it, the priest recites it and then recites in low voice the Canon while the choir continues to chant the Sanctus/Benedictus. In fact in more elaborate chanted or sung forms of the Sanctus, it is divided from its Benedictus with the Benedictus chanted after the consecrations while the priest concludes the Canon.
The earliest reform of the 1962 Missal, the short-lived 1965 Roman Missal, this parallel actual Mass of the priest and ministers with the "Mass" of the choir was suppressed or at least specifically discouraged. I tend to side with the suppression.
However, I have experienced both ways to celebrate the EF Mass and I must say that I can see the "mystical" or the mysticism of the parallel way of celebrating the EF--it shows forth in a powerful way the "drama" of what is celebrated in an unbloody and glorious "Risen" way.