Friday, November 12, 2010

The Hermenuetic of Continuity Applied at a Local Wedding

Tridentine Community News (November 7, 2010):
Weddings in the Extraordinary Form are no longer a news item. St. Josaphat, Assumption-Windsor, Sweetest Heart of Mary, and St. Joseph Churches all host Tridentine Nuptial Masses on a reasonably regular basis. On Saturday, October 30, however, a different kind of Latin Mass wedding was held.

Many of our readers know Matthew Meloche. From 2004-2007, Matthew was the Music Director of the Windsor Tridentine Mass and the principal substitute organist at St. Josaphat. In 2007 Matthew was appointed the full-time Music Director at Holy Spirit Parish in Columbus, Ohio. Matthew and his bride Kathryn Kitzmiller chose Detroit’s St. Joseph Church as the site for their wedding. It was an appropriate location for Kathryn’s family from Ohio and Matthew’s family from Canada, and it had a pipe organ suitable for the music Matthew chose. St. Joseph also has a liturgical tradition which Matthew wanted to be a part of, that of Novus Ordo Masses celebrated in Latin, in the most traditional manner possible.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has on several occasions spoken of the need for a “Hermeneutic of Continuity” between the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms of Holy Mass. By this he means that the Ordinary Form should demonstrate a lineage to its roots in the classic Roman liturgy. This wedding did exactly that. Rubrics of the Ordinary Form were followed precisely as in the Missal. If something was unclear or unspecified, the Tridentine custom was maintained. While there were characteristics unmistakably from the new rite, such as the presence of a concelebrant and the inclusion of Prayers of the Faithful, it might surprise some of our readers to see just what is possible and permissible in the modern liturgy:
  • Celebration of the Mass ad oriéntem at the High Altar

  • Celebrant and concelebrant wore Roman “fiddleback” vestments, maniples, and birettas

  • Introit, Offertory, and Communion Antiphons chanted by the choir from the 1974 Graduále Románum

  • Chanted Opening Prayer, Prayer Over the Gifts, Preface, and Prayer After Communion

  • Chanted Kyrie, Glória, and Credo (the latter because Sunday Propers were chosen for the 5:00 PM Mass time)

  • Readings set to Gregorian Chant, one in English, one in French, and the Holy Gospel in Latin.

  • Eucharistic Prayer I, the Roman Canon

  • Holy Communion distributed at the Communion Rail

Fr. Peter Hrytsyk celebrated the Mass. Choir members and altar servers from Assumption-Windsor and St. Josaphat supported the liturgy. The music was directed by Matthew’s predecessor and successor in Windsor, Wassim Sarweh.

In 1998, then-Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned in a speech that the average Catholic would find far less difference between the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form celebrated as this wedding was, than between such a Mass and the Ordinary Form as typically celebrated in Western countries. Indeed, the experience, while in many ways different from the Extraordinary Form, was not all that different rubrically. If we exclude content differences in the texts of the Mass and focus on the externals only – which are what most people will remember from the Mass – there were many similarities. So many so, that a priest in attendance asked, “Is this what they call a ‘Tridentine’ Mass?”

All Souls Day Report

Thanks be to God, the special All Souls Day program at Our Lady of the Assumption Church this past Tuesday evening was the best-attended event in the history of the Windsor Tridentine Mass: Approximately 350 of the faithful turned out. Fr. Patrick Bénéteau celebrated the Second Mass of All Souls on the Sacred Heart side altar (pictured), Fr. John Johnson celebrated the Third Mass on the Blessed Mother’s altar, and Fr. Peter Hrytsyk celebrated the Solemn High (First) Mass on the High Altar, with Frs. Bénéteau and Johnson as Deacon and Subdeacon, respectively. Special thanks are due to Fr. Peter and Alex Foley for obtaining the new solemn black vestment set; to Barry and Susan Rafferty for preparing the church, refurbishing the side altars and obtaining and framing altar cards for them; to Sharon Moody for publicizing the event; and to Diane Begin for making three layers of altar cloths for the side altars.

St. Albertus Mass Tridentine Masses This Week

This Sunday, November 14 at noon, St. Albertus Church will hold its next quarterly Tridentine Mass. The celebrant will be Fr. Lee Acervo. A reception will follow Mass in the rectory.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for November 7, 2010. Hat tip to A.B.]


Herr Roister-Doister said...

Nein! Nein! Nein! HermenEUtic, bitte!!

Sheldon said...


I think the lesson from this post is one that is drawn from the sentence: "So many so, that a priest in attendance asked, 'Is this what they call a ‘Tridentine’ Mass?'"

In other words, if a contemporary priest can mistake a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated ad orientem in Latin for a 'Tridentine' Mass, then the gap between the Novus Ordo in Latin and the Novus Ordo in English as generally celebrated is LARGER in the experience of contemporary Catholics than the gap between the Novus Ordo in Latin and the 'Tridentine' Mass. What does this tell us? It tells us that the Catholicism of contemporary Catholic experience is far more remote from that of that of Catholics before the Rebellion of the 1960s than anyone suspected, and that the Holy Father's "hermeneutic of continuity" is all but a hopeless cause for most American Catholics.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

They are so goofy for concelebration these days, I wonder why this priest felt so out of place.

Perhaps he missed the small talk and tittering jokiness of the English NO. Capite uxorem meum, si placet -- no! it just doesn't work! Not near enough bastion-razing.

Now if it were an EBONICS NO, that would really be something to cheer about.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the bride slept with my husband while I was pregnant a few years ago (the first time they met even). Hopefully she's changed and they have a wonderful life together.