Friday, January 1, 2010



Today, January 1, 2010 we will celebrate two Masses in honor of The Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God. These will be at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. As well, we will commend the world to God's grace and peace on this World Day of Prayer for Peace.

Our Catholic identity is very much united to our veneration and love for our Blessed Mother, the Mother of God. It is a sweet relationship and she always directs us to her Son who is the Savior of the world.

This is the 8th Day of the Octave of Christmas. Since Christmas Day, time has stood still liturgically. These eight days are in effect one long day. This is a marvelous way to extend our celebration of Christmas and to savor its joy. Like a kid who does not want Christmas Day to end because 24 hours goes by so fast, the Church gives us "one day" that last 192 hours. I think I'm ready now for the day after Christmas!

And what a day the day after Christmas will be. I will be celebrating my first Nuptial Mass in the Extraordinary Form! The main difference between it and the Ordinary Form of the Nuptial Mass is that after the bridal procession, everyone, including the bridal party kneels for prayer. There is the traditional versicle "+Our help is in the name of the Lord" with the congregational responses and a concluding prayer. Then the priest is allowed to say some of his own remarks. The couple and their two witnesses then come forward for a very simple exchange of vows and rings. After the vows, the priest sprinkles the married couple with Holy Water, then he blesses the rings, they exchange them there are some concluding versicles and prayers and the wedding party returns to their kneelers for the beginning of the Nuptial Mass.

In other words, they are married prior to the Mass beginning. They attend their very first Mass, from its beginning, as a married couple. The couple to be married are David Bushey and Stephanie Howe. They both met at Christendom College. Stephanie is a member of a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Richmond that is completely "Extraordinary Form" oriented for all the sacraments. David is a long time member of St. Joseph Church. The marriage prelude to the Nuptial Mass may be done in English.

In the Ordinary Form of the Nuptial Mass, the couple actually exchanges vows after the homily. So they are not married for the Introductory Rite and the Liturgy of the Word. I didn't realize that the EF Nuptial Mass celebrated the vows as a prelude to the Nuptial Mass. It makes sense to me to have the EF way of celebrating the Nuptial Mass. It is powerfully symbolic for them to listen to the Word of God and hearing the homily as a married couple for the very first time at their Nuptial Mass.

In addition, in the EF form of the vows, the priest must ratify the "consent" given in their public vows with a blessing, "I join you in Matrimony, in the Name of the Father + and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." This blessing is omitted in the OF form of consent. I do believe this omission should be revisited. In the uniate Eastern Rites of the Church, the priest must ratify the consent with this type of blessing or the marriage vows are not valid. The Latin Rite states that the Nuptial Blessing accomplishes this now, but it is not as clear as it is in the EF Rite which also has a nuptial blessing, in fact two, one after the Lord's Prayer and one immediately following the "Ite Missa est" and prior to the Placeat and final Blessing of Mass. The Eastern Rite does not emphasize as the Latin Rite has done, since Vatican II only, that it is necessary for the priest to ratify the marriage vows for the validity of the ceremony. We now teach that the couple "marries" themselves as an exercise of their baptismal priestly rights--a rather vague and peculiar theologizing. The Eastern Rite in union with us doesn't buy it!

Then on Sunday, St. Joseph will have its monthly Latin High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at 2:00 PM--back to back Extraordinary Masses! I really love celebrating this form of the Mass and find its beauty to be truly edifying, inspirational and beneficial to my priestly spirituality and growth. I also love the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Having these two forms as possibilities in one parish is truly an enrichment, so much so that I think I'm getting tooth decay because it is indeed so sweet. In fact I feel just like Jackie Gleason! "HOW SWEET IS IS!"

May your New Year in our Lord be sweet too! God bless you.


Anonymous said...

How exciting and delicious!

Pater Ignotus said...

So who, in an EF wedding, "confects" the sacrament? The couple who pledge their lives to each other, or the priest who "ratifies" the consent? Two very different theologies of marriage there . . .

And Fr. McDonald, the use of "uniate" to refer to the Eastern Churches is considered something of an insult, custom notwithstanding. Why choose to insult other Catholics?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To Pater Ignotus, from Fr. McDonald of Southern Orders: In my many, many years of working with Fr. Daniel Munn, a Greek Catholic and bi-ritual in the Latin Rite, and also with Fr. Miguel Grave de Paralta, I learned that the Church of the East, including the Orthodox and those in union with us, more commonly referred to as "Uniates" view themselves together. Of course the Orthodox think the "uniates" have abandoned the fullness of Orthodoxy and thus desire them to return to true Orthodoxy while the "uniates" or those in union with us see themselves as the way to the one undivided Church though with two lungs, east and west. So whether you use uniates or those of the east in union with us, someone will be offended. And it does appear to me to be saying the same thing, "uniates" and those in union with us or the Holy Father.

In terms of the who confects the sacraments, here again I must refer you to the Eastern Rite's canon law. When I was in Augusta, I was called by our Diocese to be present at the marriage of a Methodist woman and Greek Catholic man (Byzantine, uniate). The wedding was taking place at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church (uniate Methodist Church:)?) The Eparchy which the groom belonged to could not give a true dispensation from the form of marriage because in the canon law of this rite of the Church, a requirment for the valid celebration of the sacrament of matrimony required that a priest ratify and bless the vows. I was delegated by the Eparchy of this groom to do that. If not, the marriage would have been invalid.

Of course, since the Second Vatican Council's reform of the Nuptial rites, the priest in the Latin Rite except for the Extraordinary Form, does not ratify the vows. Our canon law indicates that it is the couple who marries themselves, which the minister, deacon or priest, only witnesses officially for the Church. Hence, in the Latin Rite Canon Law, the Church can dispensed from the form of Catholic ritual and allow a minister of a Protestant denomination to officiate even with the priest absent. The Latin Rite's current theology is that the couple confects the marriage, first with the public intention before God and the Church to live as husband and wife, one in Christ and secondly, their actual life together, which includes consummation of the marriage. So ratification and consummation confect the sacrament.

Templar said...

Remembering that as recently as 2007 I had no conception of the differences between the OF and EF Mass, I am once again dumb struck by everything I learn about EF Liturgy. Everything I learn and experience about it just seems to fit, to make sense, to have a logical flow to it. Like something that clearly developed organically and wasn't thrown together by a committee.