Sunday, April 1, 2012


Father Dawid Kwiatkowski celebrating the 12:10 PM Mass for Palm Sunday:
The Blessing of the Palms and reading of the outside Gospel and procession:
The Liturgy of the Word:
The Three Cantors chanting the Passion. The middle cantor with a baritone voice chanted the parts of Jesus:
Even though I didn’t have to do a thing but stand there and listen, I was extremely nervous and uneasy as for the first time in my life, lay or ordained, I heard the Passion chanted by three professional, operatic voiced cantors. It was stunning. Everyone stood for the entire chanting of it at our 9:30 AM EDST Mass.

The three cantors had such strong voices, they did not need to have microphones in our Neo-Gothic, Romanesque Revival church. The reason for my nervousness was doing something different with what had become a tradition in this parish, but only for the last 8 years since I came here. Prior to that the pastor now retired and still living in the parish who became pastor in 1974 continued to encourage, until his retirement in July of 2004, the acting out of the Passion at every Palm Sunday Mass by the parish’s youth group. It had been a tradition since 1968.

The parish was in a time warp and warped by the wrong time period marked by liturgical literalism. My first Palm Sunday in 2005 we did not act out the passion but read it from the missalette in parts. Many were very unhappy with me about that major change as well as the other liturgical changes I was introducing but others were thrilled. Today, though, I think everyone was awe struck by what they heard in their participation. I hope it will become a new tradition for us. I am sure some may have felt it was too long especially those with children. But I kept my homily to about a minute and prayed Eucharistic Prayer II chanting the epiclesis and words of institution. Normally our regular 9:30 AM Mass ends about 10:40 AM. Today, even with going outside for the blessing of palms, reading of the Gospel outside and procession, we concluded at 10:50 AM.

The entire experience of Palm Sunday from start to finish was magnificent. I love the EF Mass, but I love the OF Mass as much (and I love its flexibility) and it can be just as stunning and spiritual when celebrated with dignity, care and flair.


Seeker said...

It was incredible. Well done Father!

Unknown said...

A couple sitting behind my family and me at the 9:30 Mass were from Michigan on their way home from a visit to Florida. They said were thrilled to discover themselves in such a beautiful church for Palm Sunday. After Mass, they were even more exuberant with the beauty of it, too. They were so impressed with the service, Fr. McDonald and Deacon Coates! I have no idea what they are accustomed to in a Deacon, but they thought Don was really something very special! They declared that they felt they had just attended the first “real Catholic Mass” in far, far too many years. I know we are blessed to have our priests, deacons and beautiful church, but it really is good to be reminded just how blessed we are.

Jarrett Cooper said...

I'm glad I attended. I enjoyed the chanting and Fr. Dawid's homily. One thing stuck out at the end of the homily, "We often expect so much from God, yet expect so little from ourselves." Indeed!

It was nice to see you again, too.

Henry said...

The last time at an EF Mass I heard the Passion chanted in full Gregorian chant by 3 clerics, it took 39 minutes. But then the priest in the pulpit said he trusted no one would object if he did not repeat the Gospel in the vernacular.

Anonymous said...

I hear that the 5pm Mass didn't have the chanting, rather it was spoken.
If chanting by the non-ordained is going to be the tradition, then next year I'll go to the 5pm Mass.

Just my two cents worth, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

"...dignity, care, and flare." That sums up the issue with post Vat II liturgy. What you seem to have done is merged the dignity and humility of the EF with the accessibility of the OF.

How did you come for this formula? Have you been collaborating with other priests/bishops? What does you bishop think of this?


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The rubrics allow for the passion to be divided in parts sung or spoken and by lay people including the narrator, speaker and the congregation or chorus parts, so either way it is sung or chanted lay people can and do it. And for difficult chanted versions even the part of Jesus may be sung by a lay cantor.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

ECG, our Schubert EF mass was done with dignity, care and flair too!

Marc said...

Father, if you can, would you please provide the citation for the documents you contend allow for lay people to proclaim the Gospel at Mass or, in this particular instance, the part of Christ during the Passion? I have looked, but I cannot find anything supporting your contention that this is allowed.

As for me, I'm glad I drove to Atlanta for Mass - I would have been quite tempted to get up and leave when I saw this "flair". I hate to be so negative about this stuff, but we aren't just making this up as we go along - this isn't about making the liturgy "pretty" for God.

Anyway, at the Mass I attended, the Passion Gospel was chanted in Latin by two priests and a deacon (vested as one priest and two deacons for the Gospel, but as priest, deacon, and subdeacon for the Mass). That is quite complicated in the Tridentine Rite as everyone has to change vestments because of the complicated rules about who can read the Passion.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The rubric is in the Roman Missal both Latin and English versions for Palm Sunday. It maybe said in parts, and if possible (direct quote) the priest takes the part of Christ. At the pope's Mass yesterday three deacons read the Gospel. The pope did not take the part of Jesus nor any of the many priests there. But the choir sang the chorus parts. In the past, last year, the deacons sang the gospel beautifully but spoke it this year. Traditionalists do not create goodwill by bringing ef rigidity to the approved rubrics which are in plain sight of the OF liturgy.

Anonymous said...

"Traditionalists do not create goodwill by bringing EF rigidity to the approved rubrics which are in plain sight of the OF liturgy."
Thank you for this comment and your comment at the end of your post about the beauty of BOTH the EF and the OF. I don't like attending the OF in our town because the celebrant blows way too much hot air during his very long homilies about how how superior the OF get's tiring. Thank you for your efforts to bring " dignity, care and flair."

Gene said...

RCG, No flares were popped in the Church. The Fire Marshall would never allow it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it possible for one Form to be objectively superior? I ask this in all sincerity. I'd actually like to see this topic treated sometime, especially as regards rubrics and the Order of Mass. Can't one be objectively better than the other, all politics and ideologies aside? I'd really love to read an intelligent argument, but I've yet to find one from either side (let it be known that I favor the EF by far).

Anonymous said...

"Traditionalists do not create goodwill by bringing EF rigidity to the approved rubrics which are in plain sight of the OF liturgy."

I guess the Church Councils, Popes, and Doctors were wrong for all those centuries about the necessity of rigid adherence to the rubrics (under pain of mortal sin - which is still true for priests offering the Tridentine Mass, by the way). I'm glad we have these modern priests and bishops who were able to straighten that out for us.

What happened in the Old Testament when the priests played fast and loose with the rules? They were struck dead in the spot. Same God today as in the Old Testament and as in 1950, 1650, and 550,


Gene said...

Marc, ...half full or half empty? I am a perfectionist, having long years in a very traditional martial art that demands great precision and care and having spent many years as a Protestant studying and preaching a highly structured and analytical Calvinist dogmatic.
I, too, would like a meticulously celebrated Mass that was flawless and pristine. However, the TLM having been shelved in seminaries for years and only recently revived makes it difficult for Priests like Fr. MacDonald to just jump right in to a flawlessly celebrated Mass. He has received very little help or encouragement from either Bishop, has had to listen to a disappointing amount of bitching from parishioners, and has kind of pulled himself up to the TLM and a renewed OF by the liturgical bootstraps. I am thankful that, flaws and all, he has brought us the TLM and that he is making the effort to dignify the OF through adapting EF dignity to it.

Now, if Fr. was merely sloppy or careless I would be concerned. But, he is clearly neither of those things and brings a passion and love for the Church and her liturgy to the Mass. So, for me, some of the oversights or imperfections are not an issue as long as he is moving forward toward a more flawless Mass celebration overall...."my strenght is made perfect in weakness."

I know that you are actually a strong supporter of Fr. and his efforts, and you have forgotten more about liturgy than I will ever know. But, please do not allow your passion for the Mass and your very correct insistence on propriety to make you impatient and become a kind of "legalism." Your kind of zeal and self-less contributions to St. Joseph's are a part of why this is such a wonderful parish. Don't reason yourself into "scrupulosity," with all of its venial implications.

PS You can chastize me later over coffee...LOL!

Anonymous said...

"At the pope's Mass yesterday three deacons read the Gospel. The pope did not take the part of Jesus nor any of the many priests there."

Of course, it is perfectly permissible for three deacons to chant the parts of the Passion Gospel, just as it is permissible for a deacon to chant the Gospel at any Mass. It's said that this is the sole reason St. Francis wished to be ordained a deacon, so he could chant the Gospel at Mass.

I agree with you, Fr. McDonald, that the flexibility of the OF is an advantage, providing that it does not degenerate into the optionitis that Pope Benedict himself has decried as a prime source of the disintegration of the liturgy (as he called it) in recent decades,

I personally believe that the option to allow reading of the Gospel by laity is one of those "if possible" loopholes in the OF norms that must be closed if the "mutual enrichment" of the OF by the EF is to achieve its general re-sacralisation. Even if in this particular instance, your Palm Sunday Mass was obviously a most reverent and sacral liturgy.

Marc said...

Gene, thank you for the compliments. I am a huge supporter of Fr. McDonald, as he knows. I also love to discuss the liturgy (and everything else about Catholicism), as he also knows.

I hope, Father, that you will keep in mind that I am never trying to attack you. I ask these questions and think about these things because they are interesting to me. The Liturgy fascinates me. It is to my own fault that I have taken the time to study it in such depth because I cannot attend the Novus Ordo without seeing its flaws or recognizing even the most minor abuse.

Gene, as for the Tridentine Mass at St. Joseph, I would point out that Fr. McDonald has said that he deliberately omits the roboticism at that Mass. Based on my study of the Mass, I believe firmly that he is wrong in doing so. I tell him that out of charity and he disagrees with me (that is his prerogative). This does not change the fact that he has done a great thing in brining the EF to St. Joseph. He also continues to do great things in striving to make the OF a more fitting offering to God. There are going to be missteps here and there (as I believe this Gospel chanting by laypeople was). However, unlike many priests who do these things out of malice and hatred of the Church, Fr. McDonald does them in an effort to increase reverence. I support that idea, but I disagree sometimes with the means used. We must be consistent - we want the rules to be followed. We cannot break the rules ourselves and argue that the liberals should follow them.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is only with the the passion Gospels on Palm Sunday and Good Friday that the parts are divided either with three deacons, three readers or three cantors and in addition, the chorus parts taken either by a choir, schola or the congregation. What is odd about the Passion Gospel proclamations is that the rubric states explicitly that if possible the part of Jesus is taken by a priest (even though we all know that a deacon can read the Gospel ordinarily and always reads the words of Jesus.) There may well be a flaw in the legislation of the rubrics. Certainly that is possible just as it is possible for some of the rubrics in the EF Mass to be flawed too!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have been there to experience (at any of the Masses) Palm Sunday at St. Joseph.

This beautiful place played such an important part in my conversion. I traveled to Macon on an early Sunday morning in late-July for a trip to Barnes and Noble and Bass Pro Shop. On a whim, I decided to attend early Mass (it was very moving – to say the least). Plus, Father Dawid’s homily cut a bit too close for comfort. This was the singular event that forced me to stop sitting on the fence. That Monday, I sought-out my local parish and made plans to begin RCIA. I will be confirmed this Saturday.

I have plans to attend the Latin Mass at 1pm on Eater Sunday (it will be a mad dash to Macon after dismissal from my parish).

I cannot wait!

Marc said...

I am really interested to read the thing you are referring to in your Missal. Unfortunately, the new Missal must be proprietary because you cannot read it for free online! Crazy!

I cannot find what you're referencing in the GIRM, on which the rubrics in the Missal would be based. I wouldn't think the Missal itself is authoritative because the publishing company might have added that part in.

I've finally found what I thought existed: a document that discusses this particular day's liturgical norms. The document is called Paschalis Sollemnitatis and it was promulgated by the CDF in 1988. There may be a later document that changes this, but if there is, I cannot find it.

Here's what it says:

"33. The passion narrative occupies a special place. It should be sung or read in the traditional way, that is, by three persons who take the part of Christ, the narrator, and the people. The passion is proclaimed by deacons or priests, or by lay readers. In the latter case, the part of the Christ should be reserved to the priest.

The proclamation of the passion should be without candles and incense; the greeting and the sings of the cross are omitted; and only a deacon asks for the blessing, as he does before the Gospel. [37] For the spiritual good of the faithful, the passion should be proclaimed in its entirety, and the readings that proceed it should not be omitted."

It is fascinating to me that the CDF took the time to actually write this all down and yet, it is quite difficult to find on the internet! Presumably, the lectionary would come into play in interpreting this rule as well, but I cannot find an official version of that online.

(I would note that this document says that for Good Friday, the norms for Palm Sunday apply, as well!)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The new missal in English has many different rubrics for Holy Week compared to the missal just discarded; it is the most up to date and the most accurate to what the Latin edition is, which its revised edition came out in 2002. For example, the new translation of the old "Bow your heads for God's blessing" that the deacon use to say is now, based on an accurate translation of the Latin in the 2002 edition, which does not have the word "head" in it, now the new English translation reflecting this fact is "Bow down for the blessing!" Which do you like the best?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Congratulations on your reception into the Church at the Easter Vigil. By all means come to our Latin High Mass Easter Sunday if your family commitments don't prevent you!

Marc said...

Ha! I love that "Bow down for the blessing"!

Here's a question: Are the rubrics in the new Missal you have there the same rubrics printed in every version of that Missal? That is, are the rubrics part of the Missal or are they the product of the publishing company putting together the various documents setting forth the rubrics?

Some other questions raised by this discussion: Will the CDF have to promulgate new documents to coincide with the new Missal? The question is then: Is this a new translation of the 1973 Roman Missal and therefore not a new Missal, properly speaking, or is it a new edition of the same Missal? What sort of resources does the Diocese provide to priests in order to help them understand which rubrics apply in these situations?

How very complicated this all is for priests as you guys don't have nearly the time I have to track down these obscure documents and compare what should or should not be done!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Every new Roman Missal in English has to be exactly the same in content. Keep in mind that this missal is a translation of the revised Latin Missal that came out with much fanfare in 2002! I have that missal too and will use it on Easter Sunday's Latin High Mass! So everything in the new missal, including the rubrics and translation comes from the 2002 Latin missal not any earlier edition of it. The only adaptations are the ones of bishops conferences (in our case the USA) which the Holy See has approved. Each nation has its own adaptations approved by the Holy See. I would say that it is a direlection of duty for a priest today who speaks, reads and writes English, not to have read the General Instruction which was placed on line in 2003 by the Bishop's Conference and had to be implemented in 2004 (I had to do it at St. Joseph when I came here in July of 2004) and then not to read what is in plain sight in the new English Missal that has all the up to date rubrics, general instructions etc.

Anonymous said...

I am about ready to propose for learned and pious consideration here the rule that, for best liturgy, nothing that is optional is to be done, and specifically that any listed alternative to an "if possible" recommendation is to be strictly avoided.

Fortunately, this rule would apply only to the OF, the EF rubrics having been so carefully refined for centuries that they need no such qualification.

Seriously, the question parishes all over face is how to get around the fact that the present OF options leave loopholes for all manner of both reverent (at St. Joseph's Macon) and irreverent (elsewhere) experimentation, and with the present ill-formed generations of priests practically guarantee the chaos and liturgical disintegration that is the norm rather than the exception.

Marc said...

Here's my problem with all these discussions we have on this blog:

We all recognize that there are problems with the Novus Ordo Missae to one degree or another. Well, you know what, there is a perfectly good Mass without any problems, having been refined for centuries (as Henry pointed out). Here's how to solve the problems with the Novus Ordo and to eliminate the headaches of trying to make it reverent: say the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, as the Holy Father has allowed.

That solves all the problems with the Novus Ordo! No need to discuss options or doing this or that to make it better! Done! Easy, easy!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, that simply isn't going to happen as it would tear the Church to sunder and no pope want to create more division in the Church than we already have. However, you will in the future have the right to go to an EF parish as my clairvoyance tells me that the SSPX will return to full communion with the Holy See through an SSPX Ordinariate, but maybe called something else, and that the parish in Atlanta which is exclusively EF will come under this Ordinariate and other parishes will crop up, maybe in Macon to which you will be free to choose it as an exclusive parish for all things EF--this is my clairvoyance speaking. However, just as former Anglican who want to be Catholic may want the Catholic Ordinariate Mass here in Macon, I can't provide that, so they'll have to make due with the ordinary form of the Mass we have at St. Joseph until the Anglican Ordinariate forms a parish here under their own Apostolic Administrator. Do you see the similarities? But with the SSPX, the Bishop of the future parish in Macon would not be the Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, but rather the bishop of the Ordinariate for our location. Does that make sense? But Marc, the SSPX system I describe is only going to appeal to a very small minority of Catholics in the entire USA, you have to understand this truth.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do think the SSPX is gearing up for a reconciliation. I believe the term you are looking for is "personal prelature," rather than ordinariate. Currently the only personal prelature in existence right now is that of the Opus Dei. The SSPX could be made a Society of Apostolic Life, but since they have bishops, this would not work methinkgs.

Marc said...

Pope Paul VI didn't seem to mind the division he caused when he changed the Mass all of a sudden!

I think your clairvoyance might be off with this stuff. There is no way the FSSP and the SSPX are going to reunite even if the SSPX are given personal prelature status (which I pray they are).

The SSPX will surely be removed from the normal diocesan structure, a structure that has oppressed the FSSP in many cicrumstances. Thankfully, the SSPX does not and refuses to operate under that oppression!

Anyway... that wouldn't really change much as I could drive up there as it is. My problem is that I don't want to drive! I suppose the situation could result in the SSPX coming to the Savannah Diocense (I say SSPX because I don't think our bishop is going to be inviting the FSSP any time soon - the SSPX doesn't need to be invited).

I recognize it is true that Traditionalists are a minority. I am actively workig to convert people, though, and so are many others!

Gene said...

Would you different Anonymi please give yourselves some distinguishing designation to allay the confusion as to who is saying what...