Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How to Make Ordinary Look Extraordinary

Don't let the title of this post deceive you.  I don't mean "add more extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion"!  I still remember the initial nightmare of the formal installation of the first five men at the church I attended as a teenager.  They really thought they were extraordinary.  Talk about an "all about them" moment if there ever was one!  But I'll save that for another post.

I read an excellent article from The New Liturgical Movement this afternoon on how to made the Ordinary Form of the Mass (current Missal) seem as sacred as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (1962 Missal), just by sneaking in some elements that seem unique to the Extraordinary Form (but could very easily go well in the Ordinary Form).  And it's something I see periodically from time to time from different priests - not all of the elements from all of the priests in question.  Mind you, I've only familiarized myself with the Extraordinary Form in 1999, when I served four solid (but very happy) years at Holy Name in Providence.  I won't list all the elements the article lists.  I'll let you read the article to get them all (let's be fair to the author(s) of the original post).

I guess the first element I experienced was at Holy Name, in Ordinary Form Masses in the main church.  A bell (I call it the "introit bell") signaled the start of the entrance procession.  That practice is the norm at my current parish, Sacred Heart, as well.

At a couple of parishes of late, including my current parish, there is the "triple ring" of the bells ("Sanctus bells", I believe they are called) at the elevations.  Now, if they were spread out like in the Extraordinary Form, that would be even cooler, I think - yeah, kneel (one ringy-dingy) - elevate (two ringy-dingy) - kneel (three ringy-dingy).

At my current parish, I inherited a nice practice in the Eucharistic Prayer, and we do this almost exclusively at Masses celebrated by the pastor.  There are a number of musical settings of the Mass where there is music for the elevations.  Traditionally, the Sanctus and Benedictus were often sung separately, especially if the music was a choral setting.  In between the two, while the priest prayed the Canon, the organ played softly, whether it be written music or improvised, but would open up once the Host was elevated, and once again when the Chalice was elevated.  Though the Sanctus and Benedictus is a single entity in the current Missal, I play the soft music (I often improvise on chant themes of the day or season), then open up with each elevation (near full organ).  The bells still ring along with the fanfares (three times).  After the Memorial Acclamation, the organ is silent until the concluding Amen.  (Incidentally, this practice is not effective with guitar or piano.  Has to be an organ.)

One tip of the article mentions always using the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I).  I know some priests personally who do say the Canon exclusively, and invoking ALL of the saints listed (even the optional ones in parentheses, et al).  One of those priests also says "Through Christ Our Lord, Amen" in its specified instances (also suggested in the article).

Some priests now actually celebrate the Ordinary Form ad orientem.  Yes, you can do that, you know!  My pastor does that during Lent and Advent.  Unfortunately, our church is small, so at Christmas and Easter, the abundance of flowers takes over the ad orientem space.

Calling to mind another tip in the article, about using "The Lord be with you" --- In the traditional Mass, Dominus vobiscum is said/sung before the orations (Collect, Secret, and Post-Communion).  I once worked for a pastor (RIP) who would say "The Lord be with you" before those prayers in the Ordinary Form.

I'm usually not in the sacristy immediately after Mass (I'm doing a postlude), but I wonder how many people actually act on the suggestion of doing the prologue to John's Gospel (John 1:1-14, known in the Extraordinary Form as the "Last Gospel", which concludes all Masses on Sundays and feasts) en route to, or inside of, the sacristy after Mass.

In the "Mnemonic Principle" paragraph, that is, adding things that no longer exist in the current Missal, like commemorating saints/feasts that no longer exist on the day you're celebrating, I think so much of my own birthday, July 1, which used to be the fixed date of the feast of the Precious Blood.  In the traditional liturgical calendar (you can find this in most hand missals), in addition to the feast/saint of the day, many days also have commemorations of yet another saint/feast).  This is the concept I think of in reading that paragraph.

Another idea would be to reinstate the Dies Irae sequence at the Funeral Mass.  One could chant this during Communion, after the Lux Aeterna.  Or, if you're really brave, go ahead and add it after the Epistle reading, the proper location of said sequence.

Finally, expanding on the Funeral Mass topic, something we do as a rule at Sacred Heart is use the traditional responses to the Agnus Dei tropes unique to Masses for the Dead.  Traditionally, the Sanctus and Agnus Dei for the Requiem Mass (and even the Funeral Mass to this day) are taken from Mass XVIII (the most commonly used Mass chants in Latin, as they come from the Jubilate Deo collection of Mass chants issued by Pope Paul VI in 1974, as well as amongst the simplest chants).  But in the traditional Mass, the two instances of "miserere nobis" is replaced by "dona eis requiem", and the ending "dona nobis pacem" is replaced by "dona eis requiem sempiternam".  I inherited this practice at Sacred Heart, and continue it to this day.  Even the visiting priests I've done funerals with like this.

So many ways one can put the "Holy" back into "Holy Mass".


Quod scripsi, scripsi!

No comments: