Monday, December 17, 2007

Liturgical Changes at Griswold

The last few months, at the North American Mother House for the Franciscans of the Immaculate in Griswold, CT have been marked with great excitement, ever since the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross when the extra ordinary form of the Mass (Traditional Latin Mass or TLM) was celebrated with great solemnity by Fr. Peter Fehlner, who, following the Mass in the sacristy turned to the Acolytes and commented joyfully “that is the Mass that St. Peter celebrated”. The following day Fr. Angelo Geiger celebrated a beautiful low Mass and the momentum and zeal for the TLM has been growing rapidly ever since.

With the visitation of our Most Reverend Father Founder and Minister General, Fr. Stefano Manelli, came the news that he desired the novices to be proficient in serving the TLM as soon as possible. Of course, this news was received with great enthusiasm on the part of the novices who were given a few days a week to learn the detailed rubrics of serving it. Currently, the Griswold friary offers the TLM periodically, but with ever increasing frequency especially on Wednesdays for the 5:30 St. Joseph Mass, and for the evening Masses on feast days in honor of Our Lady. Diligently, the friars are preparing to celebrate a Missa Cantata (a Sung High Mass without Deacon and Sub-Deacon) with great solemnity for Christmas Eve Mass. To ensure that the Mass is offered with the greatest dignity and reverence as it has been passed down to us by Holy Mother Church, a careful study and preparation has been undertaken to learn the detailed but beautiful rubrics for the varying degrees of solemnity for which the Mass can be offered. Thankfully, we have had wonderful resources at our disposal and owe special thanks to the Society of St. John Cantius through their web site Sancta Missa, as well as receiving hands-on guidance from The Saint Gregory Society in New Haven, CT which is dedicated to preserving the TLM and has been doing so for over 20 years.

All this excitement about the liturgy has spilled over to the ordinary form of the Mass (Novus Ordo) inspiring our Father Guardian, Fr. Ignatius to announce that all Masses at the friary will be celebrated Ad Orientem (when the priest faces east, with the people, toward Our Lord in the tabernacle). There has also been an increasing number of Novus Ordo Masses offered in Latin, including our Sunday liturgy. Currently, the friars are working towards developing a schola choir to sing the Gregorian Mass parts for the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass. Also we are implementing the long planned switch to Latin for our community prayers at the Griswold friary, such as meal prayers, visitation to the Blessed Sacrament, and a daily Rosary.

For all this excitement we sincerely say Deo Gracias, Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, and Praised be Jesus and Mary, now and forever.



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