Wednesday, August 4, 2010


What does a well celebrated Ordinary Form of the Mass look like? In this regard, I am speaking about the Sung form of this Mass.

1. All participants arrive early, greet each other in a human fashion in the narthex or outside, enter the nave and pray private prayers in preparation for the sacred mysteries. There is hushed, reverent silence before Mass, conducive for private devotions and contemplation or just good old peace and quiet, a sanctuary from our noisy world.

2. The procession begins, all stand. A good metrical hymn of strong Christological focus is sung by all. As the priest approaches to incense the altar, the choir effortlessly transitions to the official introit of the day sung in a uplifting chant in English or Latin.
3. The priest begins the Mass by singing the "Sign or the Cross" and greeting, briefly invites everyone to enter the mercy of God and one of the options for the penitential rite is said or sung, always with the Kyrie being sung in English or Greek. If the Rite of Sprinkling is chosen, Asperges Me is sung or Vidi Aquam during the Easter Season. After the penitential rite the priest intones the Gloria which is sung by all in a robust way.

4. The Opening Collect is sung by the priest and sit for the Liturgy of the Word.

5. The lectors approach the altar, and go to the ambo. After the first reading, the first lector returns to his/her seat and a moment of silent reflection occurs lasting about the lenght of an "Our Father."
6. The cantor and/or choir sings the Responsorial Psalm. It is a good chant mode or even Anglican chant, no glitzy Broadway tunes. The congregation has an easy chant refrain to sing.

7. The second reading occurs and this lector return to the congregation. After another silent period, the Gospel acclamation is chanted with the Gospel procession and use of incense.

8. An inspirational, Bible based homily is preached lasting no more than 8 minutes with a period of silent contemplation following the rousing homily.

9. The Credo is chanted in either English or Latin.

10. The General Intercessions follow.

11. The collection and preparation of the altar begin, first by the chanting of the official preparation antiphon by the choir and some other fitting motet to cover the action of the collection and incensations.

12. The people stand and the Orate Frates is said with the singing of the Prayer over the Gifts.

13. The Preface Dialogue and preface are sung as well as a strong Sanctus, Mystery of Faith and Great Amen. If the celebrant is able he sings the words of institution and the Doxology.
14. The Pater Noster is chanted in English or Latin with its embolism.

15. The greeting is chanted and a sober sign of peace begins

16. The Agnus Dei is sung follow by the Dominus Non Sum Dignus and Holy Communion.

17. The official Communion antiphon is chanted as the priest receives Holy Communion and a appropriate Communion Procession anthems are sung as the congregation receives Holy Communion.
18. After Holy Communion there is a good period of silence

19. Then the Prayer After Holy Communion is chanted, brief announcements made if necessary and the final blessing is sung with the dismissal.

20. All leave to either a strong instrumental or a good recessional hymn.

21. The congregation departs silently as others who desire drop to their knees to say a private prayer of thanksgiving. There is robust fellowship in the narthex, parish hall or outside the nave.
Is this possible or am I living in Neverland?


Pater Ignotus said...

In what culture is silence not a sign of reverence, or does culture not matter?

Anonymous said...

It happens every week.

Anonymous said...

On what planet is there only one kind of silence?

Such a mass would be wonderful. I would like too have a time in my life to attend mass each day. One such as this would motivate me to start now.

Seeker said...

The "culture of death" in which too many remain silent.

"culture" is a sign of man's inadequacies. It's how some seem to cope with a fallen world. Some cope better than others.

Templar said...

Pater Ignotus said...

In what culture is silence not a sign of reverence, or does culture not matter?

Why is this question relevant when we are talking only about the culture of the Latin Rite Church? If setting off fireworks is a form of reverence for Liberty in America that is well and good, and should be respected in America. However "America" has no place inside the Latin Rite Church, and nor should "Russia, Mexico, or any other "culture". Leave your Culture at the door, and enter into being a Catholic. We should be taking our Catholic "culture" to the world, and not introducing local "culture" to the Universal Church.

Templar said...

IRT to your ideal Mass Father:

Unless otherwise noted, I think we're already there as a congregation.

1) We're pretty good at this, although you can usually find someone who thinks the time before mass is social time.

7) We don't Chant the Gospel as I recall.

9) Please oh please when can we begin chanting the Credo in Latin?

14) Same comment as 9). When can we begin chanting the Pater Noster in Latin? The Credo and Pater Noster (and probably Gloria) should be REQUIRED to be in Latin if the Church is serious about giving Latin pride of place in the Mass.

15) somber? For a while we had removed the Sign of Peace at Mass. Now it has not been officially returned, yet it is even worse now as the congregation starts glad handing, hugging, back slapping and peace signing while the Choir chants the Angus Dei and doesn't stop until almost the end of the second verse. I really wish they would put the sign of peace at a less intrusive part of the Mass.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I'm with you Father on 99% of this, I must say I would love to see the sign of peace eliminated in the congregation though, and the St Michael Prayer said after every Mass :)

Henry said...

Of course, I know that many parishes have "variant" Masses -- youth, contemporary music, hispanic, maybe an early morning recited Mass with no music.

However, I know of no reason why the typical parish can not or should not have a Mass such as you describe for its principal Sunday morning Mass. Actually, most of the parishes in my immediate area (hardly a liturgical mecca) make an effort in this direction, though none does as well as you evidently do.

Gene said...

I detest that sign of peace nonsense. I used to just remain standing with my hands prayerfully folded, but you can't just ignore all the people around you wanting to get all touchy feely like some great big wet puppy. So, not I respond in kind. I also wish you would explain to people that the oracular gesture is a Priestly gesture so they would stop lifting their hands during the Our Father like some Pentecostal rapture drill or something.

Templar said...

I'm with you pin, people have actually been rude to me if I refuse to shake hands, despite smiling an saying no thank you. What I do now is keep my hands folded in Prayer at chest height, eyes closed and head down, belting out the Angus Dei as loudly as possible (maybe they'll get the idea what they should be doing).

And don't even get me started with the hands held in the air routine. I'll wager not 1 in 100 could even tell you what they think they are doing, and those that do have a reason would just tell you that everyone else is doing it. I know, "what's the harm right"? Well the harm is that it's wrong, and it's our duty to correct them, with charity.

Gene said...

Isn't it technically a liturgical abuse for the people to make the oracular gesture?

Templar said...

Here is a very good article from the EWTN website pin that talks about the Orans position of prayer:

The article is very clear on why the posture is NOT appropriate for the laity and the confusion it creates, but tt does not call it an abuse, and I wager it would not be considered an abuse unless a Priest was actually encouraging the laity to do it during Mass, as it is clearly not in the rubrics in the GIRM.

Now, how do we get everyone in the Parish to read the article?

Anonymous said...

Mostly very beautiful and reverent.
But it is very jarring to see the lovely, pretty girl dressed up in clerical garb.
The female "altar boy" is out of place in this picture.
The cassock, and the Roman collar, are priestly, clerical traditions.
I will never be at peace with girls and women serving in the sanctuary and dressing up like priests (or priestesses). The Roman Cassock is not "feminine", and it is not appropriate garb for a girl.
The permission for boys or men who are not clerics to wear clerical garb (while serving at the altar)reflects their natural resemblance to the priest.

Dan Hager said...

I grew up with something much like this. Under various priests, I am sure it is more widespread than we think. It just has no catchy name, or hip following. Also, furious invective about real or imagined liturgical abuses has created an echo chamber effect. The ordinary form does not have an army of trolls.