Tomorrow Pope Francis will commemorate the first Italian Mass by a pope, actually Blessed Pope Paul VI at an Italian parish for the First Sunday of Lent, March 7, 1964.
But was it really all Italian? We know for a fact it was not and could not be the Roman Missal of 1970. It had to be the Roman Missal of 1962 but translated into Italian for this celebration. It had to be similar to the English Roman Missal of 1965 in the USA which was still the Tridentine Mass albeit with some minor adaptations or simplifications.
So in 1964 did Blessed Pope Paul VI pray aloud the mandated by rubrics, the quiet parts of the Mass, meaning the private prayers of the priest to include the Roman Canon in Italian or Latin???????
Certainly, I suspect the Collects, Scripture Readings (from the EF Lectionary at the time) and preface were in Italian. Was the pope's Dominus Non Sum Dignus? Was the People's Dominus Non Sum Dignus in Italian or Latin?
Was this a sung Mass or a spoken Mass? How well did the congregation participate in this Mass? Is there any record or recording of this Mass, the filming of this Mass? Oh, so many questions.
Please note that in 1964 in this Italian parish Church, Blessed Pope Paul VI faces the congregation for Mass but has the beloved traditional altar arrangement, although modified by lower candles and crucifix on the altar, what has come today to be called the "Benedictine altar arrangement."
My comment first: (Please note in the reporting the pre-Vatican II papal triumphalism concerning what Vatican II had decided and how this would bring Utopia to the Church! Only a few years later, Blessed Pope Paul VI would be chastened as he met the ugly reality of what was happening to the post-Vatican II Church and the vernacular liturgy that was to bring Utopia!
Radio) On Saturday March 7th, Pope Francis travels across Rome to mark
fifty years since an historic event for the Catholic Church took place
in the Roman Church of 'Ognissanti'.
It was the morning of the 7th of March 1965, the first Sunday in Lent
of that year when in this very same Church Blessed Paul VI celebrated
Holy Mass for the first time in the vernacular rather than in Latin, as
was the custom at the time.
Listen to a programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick:
"As you witnessed this morning", he
said on this occasion, “the spoken language has officially entered the
liturgy in all parishes and churches. Across the world this date marks
the first time a new way of praying, of celebrating Holy Mass has been
inaugurated. It’s a great event, one that will be remembered as a new
commitment in the great dialogue between God and man".
This event came as the direct result of the discussions of the
Council Fathers during the Second Vatican Council. One which had been
called for by Saint John XXIII on January 25th 1959 and was to meet for
about ten weeks from 1962 to 1965 in the autumn of each year.
But as John XXIII was soon to pass away in June 1963 it was Blessed
Paul VI who found himself with the task of taking on this Council,
bringing it to an end and finally implementing the Council documents.
Documents such as the first one, the Constitution on the Sacred
Liturgy, in Latin ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’ of December 4th 1963 which
was approved at the end of the second year of the Council. In
this programme you can listen to the sound of the result of that
overwhelming majority vote that took place in Saint Peter’s Basilica as
well as to the words of Paul VI which followed in Latin.
But getting back to the Church of ‘Ognissanti’ Pope Francis visits
Saturday, Paul VI specified how on that day his hope was that novelty which he described as a great liturgical reform would bring about an authentic spiritual renewal in the Church.