Wednesday, March 15, 2017

PROGRESSIVE SOLEMNITY IN THE ORDINARY FORM


In my previous parish, our 9:30 AM and 12:10 PM Masses were considered our "Principle" Masses. At these Mass all was chanted and incense used every Sunday at all the prescribed places, except for the elevations which we reserved for more solemn feasts like at Christmas and Easter and Corpus Christi.

Today, my former parish reserves incense for more solemn occasions  as it has lapsed into the modern liturgist's suggestion (not to be found in the General Instruction of the Ordinary Form Roman Missal) that there be progressive solemnity.

What I found about doing it every Sunday is that people got use to incense and no one had a psychological reaction to start coughing. It was a ritual which is what ritual means, repeated and this is the only ritual in the sacramental system apart from the Chrism that touches the sense of smell.

On top of that, how to use incense came naturally to the altar servers. They knew exactly how to do it, light the charcoal and when to do it. If it is done only sporadically, well, you can only imagine how often the use of it needs to be explained to the servers and the congregation. And the coughs!!!!!

I have a disclaimer, I cannot use incense in my new church which is a brand new church as it has of all things, very sensitive smoke detectors. I learned that the hard way when I used incense at my first funeral in the new church and the fire alarm went off, with the most ear piercing screeching, blinding strobe lights and an automated voice screaming, EVACUATE NOW, EVACUATE NOW, A FIRE IS DETECTED, EVACUATE NOW over and over and to add insult to injury, the fire department came with sirens blaring too. Oh, the humanity of it all, but all the ruckus did raise the dead!

So just the thought of the use of incense in the new church causes me post traumatic stress syndrome!

But back to the topic at hand: Do you experience progressive solemnity in their parish or solemnity each Sunday at your principle Mass? Is incense and chant ever used by the priest????? I ask, you answer!

20 comments:

Pastor Montanus said...

Currently I am working to build a sense of progressive solemnity in my parish because, up to now, there was NO solemnity, even at Christmas and Easter. I have found that incrementalism is prudent when leading a parish from the mundane to the sublime, and progressive solemnity (distasteful though it may be) is useful for introducing some form of solemnity to the Mass. the end-game, of course, is to establish a "principal" Mass at which the full solemnity of the rites may be used, but we are years from that. Even the use of more than two candles at the Altar of Safrifice has caused a stir.... so, slowly but surely here in my parish. But I have always seen progressive solemnity as more a means to and end, rather than an end in itself.

Gene said...

What in the Hell is "progressive solemnity?"

Dialogue said...

Perhaps you could use only one or two granules of incense. I've suggested this before, but if incense just won't work, then could you try a bubble machine, Lawrence Welk style? He was a good Catholic, after all.

TJM said...

Father McDonald, sorry to hear about your former parish. Obviously a liturgical lefty took over.

Gene said...

Dear Priests, your parishioners' taste is being formed, not consulted. Stop walking on eggs.

Frank N. Sense said...

"If, after you have used the incense, you can still see the altar, you have not used enough."

Anonymous said...

We use it on special occasions at my parish in Georgia's "other diocese"---basically Christmas, Easter and Holy Thursday. Than can be practical concerns about using it frequently---such as some people allergic to the smoke, a ventilation system that doesn't get the smoke out and thus leave some of the sanacturay sooty---or even setting off the fire alarm as pointed out. It certainly should be used on the highest feast days if only to distinquish them from the other Sundays. I think the Orthodox use incense at every service. Needless to say, you won't see it used in most of Protestantism.

Dialogue said...

Gene,

The trouble is that the no-frills crowd are militant, while those sympathetic to reverent worship don't back their beleaguered priests.

Blessed said...

I am happy to say we experience incense every Sunday during the principle mass at Most Holy Trinity in Augusta. This is the most reverent OF Mass I have ever attended outside of an EF Mass. The pastor has a dislike of the TLM, so it is to his credit (and our benefit) that he celebrates Mass most reverently.
The choir sings the Latin entrance chant at the processional, then a congregational hymn is sung during the incensing of the altar. Incense is used before the Gospel reading and at the preparation of the altar.
The small choir is phenomenal and the music is beautiful and appropriate. The only exception is when the communion hymn is something like One Bread, One Body, Gift of Finest Wheat, or Taste and See. Although the choir sings them well, they are so incongruous compared to the angelic music during the rest of the Mass.
I am so grateful to live near this parish.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Blessed! The tradition of incense every Sunday began under The late Fr. Bill Simmons in the 1970's continued by the late Fr. John O'Brien in the 80's and then by me through the 99's up to '04! I am thrilled it continues today! MHT has since the 80's had a very strong choir!

My 13 years there were the best years of my priesthood and will be the apex of my priestly ministry!

Dialogue said...

Father McDoanld,

But, of course, you are deeply devoted to your present flock.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Certainly! But I was 36 when I became pastor three and 62 here! People cut a lot of slack for youth!

Joe Potillor said...

We have a little joke in the East, if you can see the priest, you didn't use enough incense. No progressive solemnity, go big or go home, always sung, always incense. No matter the day.....it's nice.

rcg said...

Fr. My wife has a similar issue with the smoke detector in our kitchen. We joke that it is her cooking timer. She puts a fan in front of it and blows the smoke away. You might try that.

TJM said...

Incense does add an element of solemnity.

When I see a comment that a priest has a dislike of the TLM, I see a culturally deprived and emotionally stunted priest. Very sad

Blessed said...

TJM,
I strongly disagree. Although I am a proponent of the TLM, and have attended every TLM that has been offered in Augusta in recent years, I also understand that all priests do not care for it. Whether this is due to training, inconvenience, or personal preference, I don't know. Father McDonald can tell you of the difficulties involved.
Our pastor runs a tight ship by himself. (No effeminism here!) He hears confessions every day except Tuesdays and Sundays and is always present at daily adoration, even with his busy schedule, made even more so due to the lack of an associate pastor.
He's certainly not perfect, and I wish he were more receptive to the TLM, but he is dedicated and all our Masses are reverently celebrated and for this I am grateful.

John Nolan said...

I find it hilarious that a Catholic church has a smoke alarm. It could only happen in the good old USA. Cologne cathedral has two thurifers at pontifical Masses and many more at the Solemn Benediction on Corpus Christi. Disable the wretched thing without delay.

Regarding 'progressive solemnity' it is part and parcel of the 'optionitis' that afflicts the NO. Musicam Sacram (1967), which has yet to be superseded, maintains the distinction between Low and High Mass.

On a grammatical note, 'principle' and 'principal' are different words with entirely different meanings. Apart from anything else, the former is a noun and the latter is an adjective (although occasionally used as a noun with the same meaning).

Henry said...

Re incense, fires, and hilarity . . . The following announcement last week the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the Anglo-Catholic church in NYC commonly known as "Smoky Mary's" due its typically generous use incense (see image here):

ANNOUNCEMENT: SMOKELESS NO MORE
All of the new fixtures are not in, but on Sunday, March 12, 2017, incense will return. The smoke room has been out of commission since a very small fire on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

Anonymous said...

Smoke alarms are hilarious?

I guess church buildings burned to the ground - the prevention of which is the purpose of smoke alarms - must leave you laughing on the ground and gasping for air...

Disable the thing?

Suuuuuure, why not? Maybe to prevent the deaths of people in the building should, heaven forbid, a serious fire ever get started.

Gene said...

Smoke alarms are a good idea in many instances...but, you could not have one in Kavanaugh's Church because it would go off every time he walked in.