Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Modest Proposal for the Reform of the Reform Mass

This would be in continuity not only with the Missal of 1962 but also with the missal of 1970. We want to promote the "hermeneutic of continuity" even for the 1970 missal! In other words, this is the missal of 1970 but with some rubrics and prayers from the 1962 Mass added. This presumes the revised English Mass recently approved by the bishops.

This proposal also is in continuity with the "ad orientem" style of worship.

After the procession to the altar and at the foot of the altar:

The Sign of the cross
The confiteor (as revised)
The absolution

The priest ascends to the altar praying silently:
Take away from us our iniquities, we entreat you, O Lord, that with pure minds we may worthily enter into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

He kisses the altar and prays silently:
We besceech Thee, O Lord, by the merits of thy Saints, whose relics are here, and of all the Saints, that You will pardon me all my sins. Amen.

The priest goes to the right side of the altar and reads the Introit Antiphon

He returns to the middle of the altar and recites or sings the Kyrie
The Gloria is said or sung at the middle of the altar.

The priest kisses the altar, turn to the people, says the Lord be with you with their response and then goes to the right side of the altar, says let us pray and then prays the collect.

All are seated for the Liturgy of the Word which is done in the current Ordinary Mass fashion and from the three year lectionary. During the singing of the Gospel Acclamation, the missal is transferred as in the Extraordinary Mass from the right side of the altar to the left.

After the homily, the priest goes to the center of the altar and the Creed is said or sung.

The intercessions are introduced by the priest, the deacon or in his absence a lay person prays the petitions. The priest concludes.

After the Intercessions, the altar is prepared, the priest recites the offertory antiphon by first kissing the altar, turning to the people, greeting them, turning back to the altar and saying or singing the antiphon.

Then the preparation prayers are prayed as is done in the Ordinary Mass. After washing his hands, he returns to the middle of the altar, kisses it, turns to the people and prays "Pray brothers and sisters....completing this facing the people and then turning back to the altar to pray the prayers over the gifts.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist would be prayed as is done currently with the Ordinary Mass, but ad orientem. I would recommend the following rubrical clarifications:

For Eucharistic Prayer I or the Roman Canon--pray with all the rubrics of the Extraordinary Mass.

For the other Eucharistic Prayers simply add the double genuflections after the consecrations. Add a genuflection after the Great Amen.

Make explicit rubrics for the use of the pall, genuflecting each time the chalice is covered or uncovered after the Precious Blood has been consecrated.

After the priest's communion, the Communion antiphon should be sung or recited.

At Communion time allow for the option of kneeling for communion or standing, either or, don't get rigid about this.

After Holy Communion, purify the chalice. Place the missal on the right side of the altar. After the purification, the priest kisses the altar, turns to the people greets them, then goes to the missal, says Let us pray and recites or sings the prayer after Holy Communion. He returns to the center of the altar, kisses it, turns to people, greets them, if there is a solemn blessing, asks all to bow their heads, prays the blessing over them and then blesses them and dismisses them. He goes to the foot of the altar and departs as normal.


Robert Kumpel said...

I nominate Fr. McDonald to be Secretary of the New Consilium.

I would just add one point: Please revoke the indult permitting reception of Holy Communion in the hand.

Bravo, Father!

Templar said...

I know we don't get to "vote" but I'm for it!!

Seriously Father, some of what you are outlining here is already "do-able" in the current OF Mass, is it not? Why not do what we can?

Unknown said...

Whose proposal is this?
Is it yours, Father?
Do you have the wiggle room to do this?
Does "ad orientum" mean the priest's back to the assembly?
If so, I humbly beg you not to do that.
It's great in the Latin Mass, which I love, but if Mass was again celebrated that way all the time we'd miss out on SO MUCH. Please don't forget about us little people.

One GOOD thing that came came out of the reform was having the priest face the people. I am so very grateful for that. Now we can see and further appreciate every little detail of the Mass so much more fully. The Mass is less hidden from the assembly. Every gesture, expression, every little part is a treasure to me and I know to others; and each part is there for a valid and important reason.

From what I read, when the priest is facing the same direction as the assembly, it represents the priest offering the prayer up to God on our behalf. I have also read that it represents the priest facing the heavenly Jerusalem. Forgive my unschooled oversimplification, but is my basic understanding right? If so, then 'ad orientum' is reverent and noble, but I now know what I'd be missing and it would be devastating.

As for the rest of the proposal, you know better than us. Actually, as far as the ENTIRE proposal, you know better than us.

Templar said...

Actually skshah, the V2 reforms did NOT envision the Priest facing the congregation, and in fact the current rubics in the GIRM are written to "assume" the Priest is leading the congregation and not facing it. Although it's common practice, facing the congregation by the priest has developed much as Communion in the hand developed, and that was as an unapproved liturgical abuse.

For my part I would welcome ad Orientum worship at the OF Mass. I find the priest facing me during Mass a major distraction. I am constantly focusing on "him" instead of concentrating on the prayers of the liturgy and uniting myself with the sacrifice. In short I participate better when I am not being entertained by Father, who is forced into the role of entertainer, willingly or unwillingly, when he faces us. It is human nature.

Unknown said...

Thanks go to Templar for his comment on my comment.
Upon further reflection, what I desire is immaterial and irrelevant; and I mean that sincerely.

Basically, I'm immensely grateful for any Mass I can attend and Holy Communion that I can receive, as I have to climb a hill or mountain of some degree to get to any Mass, and my worthiness to receive Holy Communion is not of my own doing.
Also, it seems to me that regardless of the externals there is one Truth in every Mass that is unchangeable, and that is sufficient for me.
Whatever the form of the Mass, I intend, with Jesus' help to make the most of it so as to grow spiritually each and every time.
Meanwhile, I am still grateful for the opportunity to see more of what happens at the altar so as to appreciate it, learn from it, and love the Mass even more.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

These are my proposals and as a priest I am not free to implement them, at least those that add anything to the Mass or change its order (like the prayers ascending the steps to the altar and changing the location of "The Lord be with you" and the additional kissing of the altar.)
However, I am told that a priest could change the direction he faces at Mass since it was never outlawed to pray the Mass "ad orientem" meaning toward the liturgical east or in the same direction as the laity. I'm chicken to impose this on any of our Masses at St. Joseph and I'd be upset if my parochial vicar did it or any visiting priest. So I do think personally that the bishop should always be consulted on these sorts of changes and seek his approval. But with that said, a priest in Greenville, SC has begun celebrating all his Masses "ad orientem" and evidently has the canonical right to do so without permission from his bishop. I personally like some aspects of facing the people during Mass, but it does create the temptation to look at the people while praying, thus making it look like the priest is reading the prayers to the people or worse yet, praying to them. Pope Benedict has not insisted during any of his visits to other places and churches that the altar be prepared for ad orientem worship, but he has insisted upon the traditional decoration of the altar with six candles and the crucifix dead center and facing him as he celebrates the Mass. This has been his solution to make sure that when priests celebrate Mass they are "facing the Lord" liturgical and symbolically, by having the crucifix directly in front of him on the altar. This has been the solution I have instituted at St. Joseph for well over a year now.

Templar said...

"I'm chicken to impose this on any of our Masses at St. Joseph"

I am sad to hear you say so Father. It would be a teaching moment. To imply it would be an imposition to us implies the parish would not understand, and I think we are better than that, and I know you do too.

Anonymous said...

While I'm fairly new to the parish, only a year or so here, I suspect some of our members have in the past been less than charitable to Father.
That just breaks my heart.
Perhaps since then, those people have come to learn how much he sacrificied to come here.
A short time ago I learned that some others like me genuinely appreciate Father's style of pastoring in it's various forms in various situations and circumstances, and wish for more opportunites to hear him.
I read a quote recently, but can't recall the author's name. It went like this, "A leader takes you where you want to go. A great leader takes you where you need to go, but don't want to go."
Clearly, God led him here where he was sorely needed, and he's leading us where we need to go.
Go for it, Padre. Ask the Bishop when you feel inspired to do so.
We're with you all the way!!!