Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tridentine Community News - The three Masses of All Souls Day; Bination and Trination; Side alters; TLM Mass schedule

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (October 23, 2016):
October 23, 2016 -- Twenty-third Sunday After Pentecost

The Three Masses of All Souls Day

Continuing a local tradition of devotion to the Poor Souls in Purgatory, for the ninth year in a row we will hold a special evening of prayer for the faithful departed at which the Three Masses of All Souls Day will be offered. It will take place at Windsor’s St. Alphonsus Church on Wednesday, November 2. It is a great act of charity for those of us on Earth to pray for the Souls in Purgatory on this important day in the Church calendar. Indeed, a Plenary Indulgence may be gained by those who visit a church on All Souls Day and pray an Our Father and Creed in the church.

At 6:00 PM, two Low Masses will be celebrated simultaneously celebrated at the two Side Altars of the church, a rare opportunity to see Side Altars in use. Then, at 7:00 PM, a Solemn High Mass with Deacon and Subdeacon will be celebrated at the High Altar, to be followed by Absolution at the Catafalque in commemoration of all faithful departed. The St. Benedict Tridentine Community Choir will sing Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem Mass.

Bination & Trination

Under normal circumstances, Monday through Saturday, a priest is permitted to celebrate no more than two Holy Masses. The celebration of two Masses on the same day is called “bination.” On Sundays and Holy Days, a priest may celebrate three Masses (“trination”) if he has the permission of his bishop or because of necessity, which is increasingly become the norm in these days of scarcity of priests.

As with many other laws of the Church, this limitation makes common sense. Priests should celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with attentiveness and devotion. The more Masses that a priest must say on the same day, the greater the possibility that he may lose focus and concentration. Holy Mass must not be celebrated distractedly, absent-mindedly, or in a bored fashion.

All Souls Day is the only non-Sunday, non-Holy Day in the Church Year on which a priest is permitted to celebrate three Masses. This permission is a vivid symbol by which Holy Mother Church encourages us to pray for the Souls in Purgatory. The Tridentine Missal contains three distinct sets of Mass Propers to be celebrated, should a priest be able to celebrate all three Masses. Note that no matter how many Masses are celebrated, the faithful may receive Holy Communion at no more than two Masses per day.

At 6:00 PM, the Second Mass of All Souls Day will be celebrated at the left Side Altar, while the Third Mass of All Souls will be offered at the right Side Altar. At 7:00 PM, the Solemn High Mass will be the First Mass of All Souls, as the rubrics require the Sung Mass of the day to be the First Mass (“First”, “Second”, and “Third” referring to the Mass Propers set, not the sequence in which the Masses are said). The celebrant of the Solemn High Mass will binate, while the priest who will serve as Subdeacon at the Solemn High Mass will not binate, because the Deacon and Subdeacon at a Solemn High Mass are not concelebrants. Indeed, they may not be priests at all but rather lower ranking clergy.

Side Altars

Many churches built prior to 1965 incorporate one or more Side Altars. Today, these altars serve mostly devotional purposes. At St. Alphonsus Church, the right side altar is devoted to our Blessed Mother. The left side altar is surmounted by a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but underneath the altar are relics and an effigy of St. Tegulus, a third century Roman martyr [pictured below]. Those Side Altars had and still have a primary purpose: To host the celebration of Holy Mass.

Mass may only be celebrated on an altar containing consecrated relics. Those relics are contained within an altar stone, placed in the middle of the altar. In fact, the altar stone itself is actually the “altar”, whereas the table surrounding it is properly termed the “mensa.” Most of the Side Altars in our local churches contain altar stones.

Each Side Altar also contains a functional tabernacle. The purpose of these tabernacles is not to serve as a primary repository for the Blessed Sacrament; that function is reserved for the main tabernacle on the High Altar. Rather, these tabernacles 1) can temporarily hold a ciborium with Hosts consecrated at the Mass celebrated at that altar until those Hosts can later be transferred to the main tabernacle; 2) can contain pre-consecrated Hosts to be distributed at a Mass celebrated at that altar; 3) can contain pre-consecrated Hosts needed for distribution at major event Masses that fill the church; and 4) can serve as temporary repositories when the High Altar tabernacle must be kept empty, such as during construction or on Good Friday.

Every priest is encouraged to celebrate one Mass per day. In the era when there were multiple priests assigned to a parish, and the parish may only have had one public Mass per weekday, the Side Altars were the places where the other priests in the parish would celebrate their daily Masses, often at the same time as Mass was being celebrated at the High Altar. Nowadays, one generally sees this happening only at churches with an abundance of priests, such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome; the Brompton Oratory in London, England; and at liturgical conferences.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 10/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Raphael the Archangel)
  • Tue. 10/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Ss. Chrysanthus & Daria, Martyrs)
  • Sat. 10/29 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Saturday of Our Lady)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for October 23, 2016. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

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