Last Saturday, March 17, His Excellency Bishop Alexander Sample of the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan conferred Ordinations to the Diaconate at the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska according to the Extraordinary Form. This is the first time since the liturgical reforms of Vatican II that a reigning Michigan bishop has employed the classic rite. In an interesting sign of the times, this event barely received any publicity.[Comments? Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns are available at www.stjosaphatchurch.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for March 25, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]
Readers may recall that Bishop Sample celebrates the Tridentine Mass publicly every month at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. A well-known YouTube video of a homily from one of these Masses has been posted on YouTube, wherein His Excellency elaborates upon the attractiveness of the Extraordinary Form. It would be fitting for all of us to offer a prayer of thanks for Bishop Sample’s example and quiet advocacy of traditional liturgy.
The Pre- and Post-1955 Ceremonies of Holy Week
Reports have been emanating from the International Federation Una Voce and other sources that the Pontifical Commission Ecclésia Dei has embarked upon a process to make some updates to the 1962 Missal. We can safely assume that those changes will include the addition of new Saints to the Calendar and Propers, and new Prefaces, both of which were envisioned by Pope Benedict XVI in Summórum Pontíficum. Speculation has arisen that also under consideration is a return to the traditional ceremonies of Holy Week.
Most of those reading this column either have no recollection of pre-Vatican II days, or remember the Mass as celebrated from 1955 onwards. Not well-known is the fact that the set of liturgies for Holy Week was changed in 1955 by some of the same Roman authorities who would later create the Ordinary Form. As such, it is often argued that the 1955 Holy Week was the first major act of reform to the Holy Mass, the process of which accelerated after Vatican II. Indeed, the 1962 Holy Week ceremonies have much in common with their Ordinary Form counterparts.
There are historical and theological arguments in favor of restoring the old Holy Week. Liturgical historian Gregory DiPippo explains many of these in a detailed set of posts on the differences between the pre- and post-55 rituals for The New Liturgical Movement blog. Google “Compendium of the 1955 Holy Week Revisions” to see the articles. While the entire list of differences goes beyond the space available in this column, a few notable details are worthy of mention:
Palm Sunday: The palms are blessed on the altar pre-55; on a freestanding table facing the people post-55. The vestments for the Procession with Palms are violet pre-55; red post-55. A prayer at the end of the procession has been added, facing the people. The Passion of St. Matthew has been truncated. At a Solemn High Mass, deacon and subdeacon wear folded chasubles pre-55; dalmatic and tunicle post-55.
Holy Thursday: The Collect at the end of the Washing of the Feet is to be prayed facing the people post-55. The Creed has been omitted.
Good Friday: The priest and deacon and subdeacon wear black chasuble and black folded chasubles pre-55, and black and violet chasuble and dalmatics post-55. The Passion of St. John has been truncated. The Solemn Prayers are prayed at the Epistle side of the altar pre-55, and at the center of the altar post-55, with the novel placement of the missal at the center of the altar. The Pater Noster before Holy Communion is recited by all present post-55, while sung by the priest alone pre-55. Holy Communion is received only by the celebrant pre-55, but is distributed to the faithful post-55.
Easter Vigil: At a Solemn High Mass, deacon and subdeacon wear folded chasubles pre-55; dalmatic and tunicle post-55. Twelve Old Testament readings are read pre-55; four post-55. The Blessing of the Baptismal Font is done after the Old Testament readings pre-55; in the middle of the Litany of the Saints post-55. After Holy Communion, First Vespers of Easter are sung pre-55; an abbreviated Hour of Lauds post-55.
Most currently-in-print hand missals contain the post-55 Holy Week, but three notable ones do not: The Fr. Lasance Missal, the St. Andrew Missal, and the St. Joseph Missal, all reprints of pre-55 editions. This can be an advantage if you are interested in reading the pre-55 texts, but a disadvantage if you want to use these missals to follow our Holy Week liturgies. Of course, Propers Handouts will be provided to help everyone follow the 1962 ceremonies regardless.
The vast majority of Extraordinary Form Mass sites follow Vatican directives and celebrate the 1962 Holy Week, but there are reports that the Institute of Christ the King and others have secured permission to celebrate the pre-55 Holy Week in certain locations. The (Protestant) Anglican St. Clement Church in Philadelphia also celebrates the pre-55 Holy Week; we mention this because their web site has extensive photos of the pre-55 ceremonies, not often seen elsewhere.
One of our readers raised an interesting semantic question: Is it accurate to refer to the 1962 Holy Week as “Tridentine”, when in fact there are substantial departures from the Holy Week codified at the Council of Trent? This is one case where the term “Extraordinary Form” might be more appropriate, as it is less date-specific. Practically speaking, however, “Tridentine” terminology has to suffice, as it has come to represent an entire category of liturgy. After all, most of us are comfortable with the terms “Chinese” food and “Kentucky” Fried Chicken, too, despite the inaccuracy of those terms.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
Mon. 03/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Tue. 03/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Feria of Passion Week)
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Tridentine Community News (March 25, 2012):