Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam

To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Posts Tagged ‘liturgy’

Octave of Pentecost

Posted by james0235 on May 24, 2010

“After Easter, the Solemnity of Pentecost is the second most important day in the Church year.”

Bishop Peter J. Elliott, Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year 325

If Pentecost outranks Christmas on the Liturgical Calendar (or,  I know it might be argued, is equal to it) then why is it that Christmas has an Octave but Pentecost does not? It appears that even the pope who approved the elimination of the Octave of Pentecost had no idea what was going on. Fr. Z explains what a Liturgical Octave is and tells the story of the Octave of Pentecost in a podcast found here.

On the older Liturgical Calendar the Octave Day of Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. This is always a great time of year to re-familiarize yourself with what the Catholic faith teaches us about the Holy Trinity:

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”. The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin”.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 234


The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God”. To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 237


and it is a great time to recite the Athanasian Creed.

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Asperges Me

Posted by james0235 on May 23, 2010

In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite the priest sprinkles holy water on the people before the principal Mass on Sundays. Beginning on Pentecost the Antiphon that is sung at this time changes from the Vidi Aquam to the Asperges Me.  These Antiphons can be used as part of the Rite of Sprinkling before Mass in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. When the Rite of Sprinkling is used it replaces the Penitential Rite in that Mass.

On Sundays, especially in the Season of Easter, in place of the customary Act of Penitence, from time to time the blessing and sprinkling of water to recall Baptism may take place.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal 51

Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor,
Lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

You will sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop and I shall be cleansed
You will wash me, and I shall be whitewashed more than snow is.
Pity me, O God, according to Your great mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and always shall be in ages of ages. Amen.


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Ascension Thursday Sunday

Posted by james0235 on May 13, 2010

Once again Ascension Thursday Sunday is upon us. Despite the Ascension of the Lord occurring exactly 40 days after the Resurrection many U.S. bishops insist on transferring it to the 7th Sunday of Easter, the Sunday before Pentecost – 43 days after we celebrate the Resurrection. In the U.S. only those dioceses located within the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia celebrate the Ascension Thursday instead of Ascension Sunday.

It is not a question of if it is permissible to transfer the Ascension to the following Sunday – the Code of Canon Law gives this authority to the Episcopal Conference with the approval of the Holy See (Code of Canon Law 1246) – rather the question is why would the bishops wish to do this? Does anyone truly benefit spiritually from having one less Mass to attend on a weekday once a year?

But, even though most U.S. dioceses will not be celebrating the Ascension today those parishes offering the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, permission for which was affirmed for all priests of the Roman Rite in Pope Benedicts XVI’s Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, will be celebrating the Ascension today, regardless of what the rest of the diocese is doing. The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has confirmed that this is permitted.

So ends my annual rant on Ascension Thursday Sunday.

There is a rubric after the Gospel in the 1962 Roman Missal, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, that reads as follows:

After the Gospel of the High Mass, the Paschal Candle, figure of the risen Christ, is extinguished; it is removed after Mass.

So, immediately after we hear of Christ’s Ascension into heaven:

“…And the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into Heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God…” (Mark 16:14-20)

the Easter Candle, the symbol of Christ’s presence which has been in the Sanctuary since he arose from the dead at the Easter Vigil, is extinguished. This beautiful little ceremony is, of course,  used in those parishes using the 1962 Roman Missal. But, it works a bit differently with the 1970 Roman Missal, the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in use in most parishes:

The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After the Easter season the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistry, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from them. In the celebration of funerals, the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season.

Congregation for Divine Worship, Pascahele Solemnitatis 99

The Easter Candle remains in use until Pentecost, the end of the Season of Easter rather than the Ascension when Christ is no longer with us.  Unfortunately, I think that we really lost some amazing symbolism with the loss of that rubric.


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Purification, Presentation, and the Churching of Women

Posted by james0235 on February 2, 2010

Today, the 40th day after Christmas, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This Feast has a very solid biblical foundation:

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

(Luke 2:22-24)

On the 40th day after giving birth the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the temple to offer a sacrifice in accordance with the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:1-8). She didn’t offer this sacrifice because she was actually made unclean by the birth of Christ but rather it was in order to fulfill “the prescriptions of the law of the Lord” (Luke 2:39). In imitation of this event in the 4th century the Church instituted the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be celebrated on the 40th day after Christamas, February 2nd, every year.

This Feast had 3 emphases:

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin (Leviticus 12:7),

The Presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22),

and the recognition of Christ as the light to the Gentiles by the prophet Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)

In the revisions to the liturgy following the 2nd Vatican Council this feast was renamed the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Purification of the Blessed Virgin and the recognition of Christ as the light to the Gentiles (represented by the  blessing of candles which are then carried in procession before the Mass) seem to have been de-emphasized slighltly while the Presentation of Christ in the Temple has been emphasized. But, all of these aspects of the Feast are still quite evident in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite.

In addition to the Mass we see these aspects of the Feast also displayed in the devotions of the Church. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the 4th Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. Simeon’s proclamation of Christ as the light to the Gentiles (Luke 2:29-32), known as the Nunc Dimittis or the Canticle of Simeon, – is prayed every night in the Liturgy of the Hours in the Office of Compline (Night Prayer). And the idea of a ritual purification after childbirth can still be seen, albeit quite rarely, in a very beautiful ceremony known as the Churching of Women.

The Churching of Women is performed soon after childbirth. Ideally it was given as soon as a woman was able to return to Church for the first time – which does not necessarily mean the following Sunday. Remember that the care of infants does excuse one from the obligation to attend Mass (CCC 2181). The Churching, also called the Blessing of a Mother after Childbirth in the Roman Ritualone of the Liturgical books of the Roman Rite, was both a blessing given to a new mother and it was an opportunity for the new mother to give thanks to God for the birth of her child. While it is not actually a ritual purification – the Church does not teach that childbirth makes a woman ritually unclean – it is inspired by the purification rituals that the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorates.

The beautiful prayers of the Churching of Women can be found here.

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Ave Regina Caelorum

Posted by james0235 on February 2, 2010

Beginning at Compline on the Feast of the Purification (also known as the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord or Candlemas) the seasonal Marian Antiphon changes from the Alma Redemptoris to the Ave Regina Caelorum. This Antiphon is used until the Triduum.

Ave, Regina Caelorum,

Ave, Domina Angelorum:

Salve, radix, salve, porta

Ex qua mundo lux est orta:

Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,

Super omnes speciosa,

Vale, o valde decora,

Et pro nobis Christum exora.

Hail, O Queen of Heaven enthroned.

Hail, by angels mistress owned.

Root of Jesse, Gate of Morn

Whence the world’s true light was born:

Glorious Virgin, Joy to thee,

Loveliest whom in heaven they see;

Fairest thou, where all are fair,

Plead with Christ our souls to spare.

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Countdown to the Incarnation

Posted by james0235 on December 17, 2009

Advent has been described as a countdown to the Incarnation and this is very evident, even if not well known, in the Liturgy of the Roman Rite. The first example of a countdown can be seen in the O Antiphons. These Antiphons are prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours at Vespers in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite beginning on December 17th. And with the release of the 1970 Roman Missal they are prayed in the Mass of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I have previously written quite a bit about this here.

A lesser known countdown to the Incarnation can be found in the Gospel readings for the Sundays of Advent in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite – the 1962 Roman Missal.

The Gospel readings follow a reverse chronological order. We begin on the 1st Sunday of Advent with Luke 21:25-33 where Jesus tells his disciples about his second coming. On the 2nd Sunday of Advent we move back in time to Matthew 11:2-10 where the disciple of John the Baptist ask Jesus if he is the Messiah they have been waiting for. On the 3rd Sunday of Advent we go even further back to John 1:19-28 where John announces that he is not the promised Messiah but rather the precursor. And finally on the 4th Sunday of Advent we have Luke 3:1-6 where John’s mission as the precursor of the Messiah is shown as being foretold by the prophets. (This Gospel is used in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite on the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C.)

And when we finally reach the Incarnation we cease our countdown and begin to move forward. The Gospel for the Vigil Mass of the Nativity, Matthew 1:18-21, shows us the angel Gabriel announcing to Joseph that his wife has conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Midnight Mass, Luke 2:1-14, details the birth of Christ. The Gospel of the Mass at Dawn, Luke 2:15-20, gives us the story of the shepherds journeying to see Christ in the manger. And finally the Gospel reading of the Mass during the Daytime, John 1:1-14 is that famous passage that tells us that “the word (who) was in the beginning with God…was made flesh.”  This “last Gospel” also is read at the end of almost every Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Now, how cool is that?

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A Prayer for True Ecumenism on the Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury

Posted by james0235 on May 28, 2009

O God, Who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, didst vouchsafe to shed upon the English people the light of the true faith: grant that, through his intercession, the hearts of the straying may return to the unity of Thy truth, and that we may do Thy will with one accord. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Collect, Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite

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Clean and Undefiled

Posted by james0235 on May 21, 2009

Vice President Joe BidenI recently came across a quote by Vice President Joe Biden that I found to be quite disturbing. It is something he seems to have said some time ago, all the way back in 2005, and something that apparently every person in the world was aware of but me:

“The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”

(And it appears that Biden’s actual words may have originally been much worse and “cleaned up” by the media.)

Now, this quote came to mind yesterday as I was meditating on a verse from Scripture:

“Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation, and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world. (James 1:27 DRB)

This was the Epistle for Mass this past Sunday, the 5th Sunday after Easter, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This particular verse is also found in other Forms and Rites of the Church.  In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite it is the 2nd Reading in Year B on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time and it is the 1st Reading on Wednesday of Year II in the 6th Week of Ordinary Time. In the Byzantine Rite it is used on Thursday of the 31st Week after Pentecost.

When the Church sets a verse before us in the Liturgy it is generally a good sign that this verse is particularly important. And when the Church sets a verse before us multiple times it is time to pay special attention.

It seems popular among Christians nowadays to want distance themselves from being “religious”. It is all too often viewed as a bad thing. One frequently hears such things as “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual” or  “I’m not religious, I have a personal relationship with Christ”.

But, the Apostle James, guided by the Holy Spirit, shows us that being religious is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact it is intended to be a good thing. We are meant to hold to a religion that is “clean and undefiled” and this religion is an active religion – what Catholics would call performing the corporal works of mercy.

Now, the word “religion” comes from the Latin “religare” which means to “re-bind” or “re-connect“. Our religion is what connects or binds us to our God. And as I began to reflect on what it means to be religious I came to the obvious conclusion that Vice President Biden is indeed a religious person. But, his religion is most certainly not “clean and undefiled”. It is impossible to be “unspotted from this world” when one actively seeks to take the lives of the most helpless of victims – the unborn.

Joe Biden’s pro-abortion views and his support of embryonic stem cell research lie in direct opposition to the Catholic faith he claims to hold. Being pro-choice is actually heresy, the “obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (see Code of Canon Law 751 and Catechism of the Catholic Church 2089). Those who fall into heresy actually excommunicate themselves from the Church (see Code of Canon Law 1364) and those who are excommunicated may not receive Communion (see Code of Canon Law 915 and 1332), which Joe Biden does anyway thus committing the additional sin of scandal (see CCC 2285).

notcatholicSo, Joe Biden is right. He is without a doubt a religious person. But, his religion is not the Christian faith. He makes mockery of the sacraments that Christ entrusted to His Church and instead elevates the sacrament of abortion to the position of being the source and summit of his faith and the thing that binds him to his “god”, the power and the fame that he has chosen to embrace instead of Jesus Christ.

I hope that the Vice President appreciates my defense of his assertations that he is in fact religious. And if he has the slightest bit of integrity he will either repent of his evil beliefs or he will stop misleading people into believing that he is still Catholic.

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Annual Liturgical Abuse Day

Posted by james0235 on April 9, 2009

This is a topic that typically makes some people very angry. And the ones who get angry over this are almost always the ones who are in favor of a particular widespread practice that the Church condemns.

On multiple occasions the Holy See has condemned the practice of washing the feet of women during the Mandatum on Holy Thursday. But each and every year all across the U.S. and Canada it seems that this is done anyway.

The rubrics in the Roman Missal explicitly state that only the feet of men are to be washed during the Mandatum:

Depending on pastoral circumstance, the washing of feet follows the homily. The men who have been chosen (viri selecti) are led by the ministers to chairs prepared at a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers he pours water over each one’s feet and dries them.

The Latin word used in the rubric is even included in the English translation of the Missal.  The word viri means males. This is not the same as the Latin word used in the Creed at “for us men and our salvation he came down from heaven”. The word homines is used in the Creed and it means means “men” in the generic sense of “humans”. The Church chose to emphasize that men means males in the rubric by including the Latin word so as to leave no doubt as to what is required.

Despite the clear desire of the Holy See on the matter in 1987 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (then called the National Coference of Catholic Bishops, I believe) Bishops Committee on the Liturgy released a document which acknowledges that the Missal says only the feet of males are to be washed:

While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men (“viri selecti”)…

Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, Holy Thursday Mandatum, Response 5

However, at the same time the document urges disobedience to this rubric:

In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.

Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, Holy Thursday Mandatum, Response 4

In 1988 the CDW, possibly in response to the dissent of the U.S. Bishops on this matter a year earlier, restates the Church’s position:

The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.” This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

Paschale Solemnitatis 51

And the Congregation for Divine Worship continually clarifies this matter. Anyone who writes to them receives the same response:

the washing of feet is reserved to “chosen men” (viri selecti)

An example of a letter from the CDW on this matter, received in 2008, is below.

mandatum

This particular letter was featured by Fr. Z of WDTPRS in his most recent post on the Holy Thursday Mandatum.

This seems pretty clear to me. Until and unless the Church reverses its position anyone who argues that the washing of the feet of women on Holy Thursday is permitted is only giving their own opinion – an opinion that seems to run contrary to what the Church says on the matter.

Now, there are 2 objections that are typically raised. The first is that the Archbishop of Boston was permitted to wash the feet of women. And the second objections is that it is not always possible to find 12 men to have their feet washed so women must be used as well.

In regards to the first objection the Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston claims that

In August 2004, “at the time of the ad limina visit to Rome, the archbishop sought clarification on the liturgical requirements of the rite of foot washing from the Congregation for Divine Worship, which has the responsibility for administering the liturgical law of the Church,” said an archdiocesan statement released in March. “The Congregation affirmed the liturgical requirement that only the feet of men be washed at the Holy Thursday ritual, which recalls Christ’s service to the apostles who would become the first priests of the Church.”

“The Congregation did, however, provide for the archbishop to make a pastoral decision concerning his practice of the rite if such a decision would be helpful to the faithful of the archdiocese,”

The Pilot; April 1, 2005

This is far from giving Archbishop O’Malley permission to change the rubric. The CDW restates the requirement. And then, according to the Archdiocese of Boston, provided for the Archbishop to “make a pastoral decision” on the matter. That decision would have come down to obedience to the Church or disobedience. It is worth noting that the Archdiocese of Boston has never published its supposed “permission” from the CDW. But, nothing here changes the fact that what the Archbishop of Boston decided to do is still in violation of the rubrics.

In response to the second objection it should be pointed out that nowhere does the Church actually require that the number of men having their feet washed to be 12. Neither the rubrics of the Roman Missal itself or Paschale Solemnitatis, the letter released by the CDW, give a particular number. 12 is simply customary.

Now, why only men? The Mandatum follows the reading of the Gospel account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples before making them his priests of the New Covenant. The men whose feet are washed by the priest are symbolically representative of the priesthood which, according to the Church, was reserved to men alone by our Lord. It is not a matter of being sexist or not being inclusive. Anyone who thinks such things really needs to take it up with the Lord himself.

The last thing that I will mention is that the Mandatum is completely optional. If a priest does not like the fact that the Church only permits the washing of the feet of men then the appropriate action to take is not to wash the feet of women anyway in a spirit of disobedience.

Nevertheless, the priest must remember that he is the servant of the Sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal 24

The correct thing to do is to either obey the rubrics or not include the OPTIONAL ceremony at all.

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Videos of the Anglican Use Mass

Posted by james0235 on August 4, 2008

Over the past couple of weeks Fr. Christopher Phillips has posted some videos of the Roman Rite Anglican Use Masses that were celebrated at his parish during the recent Anglican Use Conference. Visit his blog for pictures.

Here are the videos:

Anglican Use Mass concelebrated by 3 bishops

Opening Procession

Requiem Mass

Introductory Rite

Gospel

Offertory

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