Don’t get me wrong. I felt bad that Archbishop Hartmayer had no public send off from the Diocese of Savannah nor a public reception in Atlanta. The Liturgies of the Church should be public in normal circumstances even if for a major celebration it is a ticket only event. And there should be celebratory but simple receptions.
At Bishop Hartmayer’s ordination as Savannah’s Bishop in October of 2011, there was a wonderful reception outside the Cathedral in Lafayette Square. The setting was Southern Charm, Savannah!
Originally the Installation of Archbishop Hartmayer was to take place in a larger church in the suburbs of the Archdiocese as the Cathedral (which I love and is very elegant in its gothic simplicity) is too small. I guess they could have rented the much larger Episcopal Cathedral across the street which is quite beautiful.
There was only a handful in the Cathedral for this installation. But not only did this contrast it from all other Episcopal Installations but the manner in which the Liturgy was celebrated.
Today’s priestly and Episcopal ordinations as well as Installations have become examples of exactly what Vatican II didn’t want—exaggerated triumphalism. There are long processions of vested bishops, priests and deacons with trumpet fanfares and over the top music. Orchestras are used rather than just the organ or no instrumentation. These have become spectacles.
But not so for Archbishop Hartmayer’s installation. While certainly a cathedral full of people would have added to the solemnity and energy of the celebration, the selection of music and only the organ to accompany was splendid. I think there were two or three in the schola, but professional voices.
There was no processional hymn, just organ accompaniment. All the hymns were simple and not bombastic as well as the English setting of the Mass parts.
My only criticism is that it would have been truly splendid if the official Introit in Latin and according to the EF format would have been chanted. It was omitted and substituted by the organ procession.
Apart from the propers not being chanted, everything else was quite splendid. Ad orientem at the cathedral’s original altar would have been better. The free standing altar is peculiar looking to me and out of place in this gothic cathedral. And removing it would make the sanctuary quite spacious. It is in the way as well as peculiar looking. The original altar, with tabernacle dead center, properly vested and with andeppendenium would have been perfect and a perfect symbol of the Triumph of Christ the King.
And there weren’t hoards of bishops crammed into the sanctuary. So unnecessary.
The Cathedral vestments worn I think can be placed in a museum now. Not so nice and rather peculiar looking. Maybe they were trying to match the peculiar free-standing altar?
And this was the reception outside the Cathedral following the Mass. Looks like EF types to me; they come out even in a pandemic! Of course, Tara it’s not or Southern Charm, Savannah!
And finally I am truly grateful that the new Archbishop didn’t wear his Franciscan Birkenstock sandals below his Franciscan habit. Those too can now be placed into a liturgical museum of the peculiar with buskins.