Sunday, October 08, 2006

Continuity with the past?

Did anyone have a chance to watch the Novus Ordo Latin Mass from Saint John Cantius on Saturday on EWTN?

I saw its encore presentation that evening, and feel that it was very much what the reformers envisioned in the mid-sixties; ad orientem, rich vestments, schola, worthy sacred vessels, torch bearers, readings and homily in the vernacular, communion at the rail, no rush, prayerful continuity with the past.

Am I a dreamer?

Comments please.



Blogger Sorka said...

Unfortunately for me, I don't get EWTN on my tv so I was unable to see this mass. Tell me, was the priest facing the people or was his back to them? Just curious. I have a idea about ad orientem but my Latin is horrible rusty.

I would however like to hear why you think reception of the Eucharist at the communion rail to be a good thing. My Latin may be bad but my church history is not and the genesis of the altar rail certainly is not in keeping with its later purpose.

I remember having a conversation with a traditionalist who was complaining about the lack of the altar rail. I asked her what was so special about it and she said "Well, the red velvet cord of course!" Being a bit surprised, I asked her what the cord was for and where did it go for I had never seen one. She smiled brightly at me and said in a tone reserved for a moron "Why it was the gate to the sanctuary and it was to keep the devil out!"

Riiiiigggggggghhhhtt. How silly of me not to recognize the devil is defeated by red velvet cords!

I imagine what you might have to say about the glory of the altar rail but I won't assume it. Instead, I will simply say that I have always received the Blessed Sacrament with deep sense of humility and awe..standing upright.
In fact, if we were to institute a rail today I would be humiliated by my current inability to kneel due to my knee injury. But hey, I digress.
I really do wish I had seen this so I could comment further.

12:16 AM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

There is no separate altar table at St. John Cantius; just the original altar. Therefore, Masses are celebrated with all (laity and priest) facing the East--or maybe symbolic East. since I do not know the orientation in this particular instance.

The ad orientem position is understood as prayer directed toward the Father in hope-filled expectation of the Second Coming of Jesus, where scripture states He will return from whence He departed.Listen carefully to the Eucharistic Prayer and you will notice its verticality. In my estimation, priest and lay facing each other renders the EP a horizontal dialogue turned into itself. (Strictly my opinion.)

The priest-celebrant was "miked". Every word was heard. He faced the assembly at the appropraite times as indicated in the Roman Missal of Paul VI -- at the Orate Frates (Pray, brethren...), and at the Ecce, Agnus Dei (Behold, the Lamb of God...).The sacred host and precious chalice were elevated above the priest-celebrant head, so that all could adore the Eucharistic Lord.

I noticed that some received communion in the hand.Most did kneel. There were some folks standing at the rail to receive. Remember, the option is up to the communicant.The rail,and the rood screen in the West, the iconostasis in the Eastern Church, serve to mark the sancturary or the Christian Holy of Holies.

I could go on. Someday, I'll put together several posts of catechetical material with this theme.

Sorka, I appreciate your deep faith and probing questions. They make me very grateful that the Lord has touched you in such as profound manner.

The velvet rope comment is both funny and sad. I hope it was said in jest. Traditionally, the Sanctuary lamp would be placed above the center of the rail at its opening. This was to mark the symbolic place where Heaven and Earth met. Maybe that's where the keeping the devil away comment finds is genesis.

1:24 AM  
Blogger Sorka said...

No, red velvet rope comment was said to me in all seriousness.This very vocal woman missed the red cord because of the very reason she stated to me. There was no mention of Sanctuary lamp. It was all that silly piece of velvet against the Evil. I agree that the reason you listed may well have been its genesis.

I do believe that the Sanctuary lamp got its start much later in our churches than the altar rail.

Its good to know that I was on the right track with "ad orientem". Maybe my Latin isn't as bad as I thought it was. I will have to respectfully disagree with you over its importance. I simply do not believe we can limit the direction, even symbolically, of the Holy Trinity. Since I believe that the prayers of Mass are said to God and along with the laity, I think a face to face conversation makes more sense. It does not seem to make sense to me that I stand behind you as you act as the spokesperson to God but that we all stand together as one body as we have a sacred dialogue/prayer before our God.

This is fun, certainly helps me to think "out loud" so to speak before I speak to my RCIA people. Thanks!

6:47 AM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

I watched it and enjoyed it. If all Novus Ordo were like this, then I wouldn't have a problem with the New Order of the Mass.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am always a bit concerned when I hear about -- or see -- communion being received directly onto the tongue. I know you said that it is the option of the recipient. (Gracious.) However, it could be a bit germy, if you think about it. In this day and age, I think we have to all be carful about communicable diseases. (Flu shots aren't always available; some people go to Mass even when they are ill and contagious.) This is especially true for the very young, the elderly and for people with weakened immune systems (such as those who are undergoing treatments for cancer)...The same is true for the sign of peace which occurs before Holy Communion. People sometimes sneeze, cough and sputter into their hands -- and later extend it to shake your hand for the sign of peace. With your hand, you then receive Holy Communion. ... If you are a parent, this goes against what most parents teach their children: wash your hands before you put food in your mouth (with those hands). ...Thank you for your time.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

St. John Cantius is my parish, and while most people at the Normativa Mass kneel, some do not, and that's okay.
Kneeling is the ultimate sign of adoration, and when Our Lord humbles himself to come to me, kneeling just 'feels right' to me.
But you won't be turned away by my priests if you stand - to do so would to violate Church instruction and be horribly uncharitable. Conversely, in Orange County, CA, and other places, people HAVE been turned away for attempting to kneel to receive the Blessed Sacrament.

9:08 AM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you so much for your responses.

Your concern is valid though
when the priest administers communion on the tongue, his fingers never touch the person, the host is "dropped" on the tongue. Additionally, if done properly, the priest should wash his hands prior to Mass. The lavabo helps a bit too.

It is my practice to sanitize my hands with a gel sanitizer before Mass. I have asked that all Ministers of Communion do the same. I have installed a dispenser in the sacristy for this reason.

I too worry about communicable diseases. The sharing of the common chalice has concerned me for years. I hope Ministers of Communion are doing a good job of purification after each communicant. Some diocese around the world suspend the practice during epidemics...something to think about.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

I ride public transportation in Chicago.
I work in the world's busiest airport, with flights coming in from all corners of the world all day.
I eat in restaurants, where a complete stranger, perhaps a psycho, prepares my food in private and sets it in front of me.
If I get the plague from Holy Communion, I'll die a happy woman. (Father: White martyrdom?)
I'd rather take the chance on that than on some Satanist taking it in his hand for a Black Mass, or to be sold on eBay, as has happened.
It's not 'gracious' to allow reception in the hand; it's Church law.
Therefore, we abide.
Having a priest drop Our Lord on my tongue is not nearly as upsetting as the person next to me grabbing my hand during the Our Father, right after they sneeze, as has happened at parishes other than my own.
Just my two cents.

7:23 PM  

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