I already posted this video but our hawk eyed permanent deacon here emailed me saying that St. Joseph Church was featured briefly in the video. I had missed it, maybe I blinked my eyes.
So tell me if you saw our glorious Saint Joseph Church here. Of course you have to look east to see us!
Well, I missed it the second time, too. Anyway, I would like to see a survey on the extent to which Pope Emeritus Benedict has influenced liturgical orientation. He recommended an altar cross as the first step, to be followed later by complete reorientation.
I think the historically honest, pastorally balanced approach is to move beyond the extremes found in the two Roman forms of Mass, and towards versus populum for the Liturgy of the Word, and ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Do the seminarians of your diocese visit your church, and if so, what do they think of what your liturgical innovations?
I think the seminarians I have (I currently have one from Rome for a pastoral year and I've had newly ordained parochial vicars for the past 10 years) have appreciated the care we take with the Liturgy here.
I do not think we are extremists by any means although some others in the diocese might think so and some might even say we are divisive. It simply isn't true.
We celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass as most parishes do; we have lay lectors, girls servers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion as well as the chalice extended to the laity at each and every Mass.
Of course not everyone avails themselves to an EMC or to the Chalice. I don't think anyone would say this is divisive but I suspect it is.
For the past three years we have celebrated our Ordinary Form 12:10 PM Mass ad orientem but only for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Opening and closing rites are at the chair and the Liturgy of the Word as is normal for the Ordinary Form.
I have placed kneelers for those who choose to kneel for Holy Communion and I have written instructions attached to our missalettes than indicates standing is the norm in the USA, kneeling is the exception, the choice is the communicants'.
I suspect this would be seen as divisive in some higher places but no one has asked me to stop this practice. No one is forced to stand or kneel.
The only thing that my current bishop called me on was when we went to intinction. Although it is an option in the USA adaptation of the GIRM and clearly so and even though for conclebrating clergy in Rome at the Vatican it is the clear option and when the Holy Father Francis distributes under both kinds to the deacons and the laity at First Communion and the Easter Vigil it is by way of intinction, our Bishop asked that we go back to the more common practice. While I disagree with his reason I did not fight it but said yes immediately. He is the primary liturgist of the diocese. I took a promise of obedience even when I disagree with this, that or the other. I'm a faithful Catholic and priest, though still a miserable sinner!
It is shown in the brief section on Mass facing the congregation and it was when we had our annual clergy conference here the Second Week of Easter, so the old high altar is decorated for Easter with palms and lilies and all the priests of the diocese are concelebrating with Bishop Hartmayer, I am to his immediate left, the leftwinger I am.
Of course the lunatic fringe thinks I'm a lunatic for celebrating the EF Mass each Tuesday at 5:00 PM as a Low Mass and as a High Mass the first Sunday of each month at a special time of 2:00 PM. We average about 20 for the Low Mass and between 60 to 100 for the High Mass, although 100 is pushing it.
If that Mass which we've had since about 2007 had any where near 125 to 150 or more attending, I would have moved it to the 12:10 PM time slot and each Sunday. It just hasn't had that kind of appeal in the parish and a goodly number who do come to the 2:00 PM aren't parishioners. It is not right to change a well attended OF Mass to an EF Mass when the vast majority of the OF Mass people at that Mass have not request nor do they desire the EF Mass. They do not and did not question the ad orientem Liturgy of the Eucharist and in fact we have seen this Mass increase in attendance.
I think you are very wise in your liturgical decisions, Fr. McDonald, and you're a good example to confused priests.
Your EF schedule is sufficient to keep the OF Mass grounded in tradition, while acknowledging what I, too, have found: that few Catholics are interested in the EF Mass at this time.
You're also wise not to disturb your bishop. Liturgical law makes it clear that intinction requires no permission from the bishop, but we all know that canon law and liturgical norms mean only what the local bishop says they mean. So be it.
More importantly, I think that by placing your primary focus on the Lord and His people, rather than on even the more useful rules and rites, you exemplify the best tactic for our present time. If rules and rites need reform, then the Holy Ghost will lead us there when we're ready to listen.
Thanks for being a good example and a good priest.
My only gripe, as such, is that your schedule is not very conducive to attendance. I like early Mass, though.
I was surprised at how emotional people got over not haveing the Cup for communion. I think this is a sign of poor education. But so is versus populum.
In your masthead photo, Fr. MacDonald, I do not see the little canopy that was placed on the priest's chair on, I think, Bishop Hartmayer's first visit to St. Joseph.
Why have you chosen not to install it for his subsequent visits?
It has to be bolted onto the back of it and it was stored somewhere and the one who made it and put it on for us isn't able to do it anymore and we've forgotten where it was stored? It was kind of ugly too?
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