Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Announcement of Movable Feasts at Epiphany

On Epiphany, after the reading of the Gospel, the traditional announcement of the movable holy days of the church year may be made in the following form:

"Dearly beloved brethren, ye shall know that as we have rejoiced in the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, so there is announced to you by the mercy of God the joyous observance of the Resurrection of the same our Savior:

January 20th is Septuagesima Sunday.

On February 6th, Ash Wednesday begins the most holy season of Lent.

On March 23rd, we shall celebrate with great rejoicing the holy Easter Festival of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May 1st is the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

May 11th is the Feast of Pentecost.

November 30th is the First Sunday in the Advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be honor and glory, world without end. Amen."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Preface and Proper Preface.

Others, especially Fr. Eckardt on his Liturgy Seminar, have addressed the Hymn of the Day, the Sermon, the Prayer of the Church and the Offertory. I will move directly to the Preface and Proper Preface.

The text of the Preface presents a curiosity.

In Latin, it reads Vere dignum et justum est, aquum et salutare,...

In German, it reads Es ist in Wahrheit würdig und recht, billig und heilsam,... or Wahrhaft würdig und recht, billig und heilsam ist es,...

All of the Englich liturgies with which I am familiar render this It is truely meet (good), right and salutary,... I welcome your comments on this point.

Concerning the Proper Preface, I offer the following:

I do agree with Fr. Eckardt that the Proper Prefaces for the seasons have suffered lack of uniformity. I disagree with Fr. Eckardt regarding the divisions of the lengthy Trinity season. Although sub-dividing Trinity Tide into St. John's Tide, St. Laurence Tide, and Michaelmas Tide, may have historic precedent, it has not been done since 1570. In addition, the trend to number Sundays after (in) St. John's Tide and St. Laurence Tide and after Michaelmas, seems innovative.

The seasonal Proper Prefaces also suffer when, following the understanding that every Sunday is a little Easter, a proper Sunday preface with Easter overtones is used during Trinity Tide whenever the historic preface seems to have been suppressed.

I have listed the historic Proper Prefaces, including a few that do not appear in TLH, in the Orde Missae on LexOrandi.

Here again, I welcome your comments.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is the only creed confessed during the Mass. The historic rubric omits the Creed "on ferias, and even on many saints days." It is, however, always said on Sundays, and on many principle feasts.

The use of the Anathasian Creed on Trinity Sunday, in place of the Nicene Creed, is contrary to this rubric. In this case, the Anathanasian Creed may be used a the first (OT) reading. Otherwise, it is properly used as a reading at Matins on Trinity Sunday.

The historic rite places the sermon or homily between the Gospel and the Creed. Common usage places the Creed immediately after the Gospel. I would suggest that the placement of the Creed is a matter of local custom.

Since the Gloria in Excelsis, the Creed and the Sanctus share a common dignity; the rubrics direct that everyone faces the (liturgical) East when the Creed is recited.

In those places where the Creed follows immediately upon the Gospel, especially when the Gospel has been read in procession, it is contrary to the rubrics to intone the Creed while the procession is returning to the altar, and while the celebrant is facing the congregation. The sub-deacon returns the book to the celebrant. After the ministers have returned to their usual places, only then it the Creed to be intoned.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Holy Gospel

Before the reading of the Gospel, the deacon kneels at the center of the altar and asks for a blessing. The celebrant blesses him saying, The Lord be in your heart and on your lips, that you may worthily and rightly proclaim his holy Gospel, in the name of the Father, and of the Son + , and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The sub-deacon and deacon go to the place where the Gospel is to be read. The deacon carries the book, then gives it to the sub-deacon to hold while he reads. The usual manner of announcing the Gospel is The Holy Gospel according to St. ______, the ____ chapter. As the deacon begins this announcement, he makes the sign of the cross with his right thumb upon the first word of the text. As he continues, he makes the same sign, in the same manner, upon his forehead, his lips and his breast.

Another manner of announcing the Gospel is The Holy Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to St. _____. In the historic rite, the gospel is announced as either The beginning of... or The continuation of... the Gospel according to St. ____.

Historically, before the Gospel is announced, the deacon intones The Lord be with you. And the congregation responds And with your Spirit. The Gospel is then announced in the usual manner, to which the congregation responds Glory be to you, O Lord. At the conclusion of the reading, the congregation responds Praise be to you ,O Christ.

It would not be inappropriate to conclude the reading by saying The Gospel of the Lord. (Notice that this phrase is not preceded by This is.)

Historically, when the book is returned to the celebrant, he prays (in a low voice) By the words of the Gospel may our sins be purged away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Old Testament/Epistle

In the historic Western rite, it is the norm to have only two readings at Mass. The first reading may be from the OT, the Epistles, the Acts of the Apostles or the Revelation. The use of three readings, as is common today, is derived from the Masses of the Ember Days. The Ember Days are the historic days for ordinations; therefore, additional readings were included in these Masses.

I agree with Fr. Eckardt that Piepkorn's declaration that the first reading must always be called "the Epistle" is confusing. This is also at odds with the historic rite. Unless the reading is from the epistles, it is referred to as a reading or lesson.

The OT/Epistle is read by the sub-deacon. Before reading, the sub-deacon receives a blessing from the celebrant. Unlike the deacon at the Gospel, the sub-deacon does not request a blessing. The celebrant, without saying anything, blesses the sub-deacon with the sigh of the cross.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Salutation & Collect

Concerning the Salutation and Collect, I agree with Fr. Eckardt's remarks in his Liturgy Seminar blog. The gestures made at the salutation are quite appropriate when there are assisting ministers at the altar.

I would add the following to his remarks regarding the Collect: If a commemoration is made of another feast, the collect of that feast is added after the collect of the day. A description of commemorations is posted at LexOrandi.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Kyrie & Gloria in Excelsis

The celebrant stands at the midst of the altar, facing it, and sings (or speaks) the Kyrie with the congregation.

The Latin rite continued to sing the Kyrie in Greek. Historically, this is one of only two places where Greek has been retained in the Latin rite. The other is the use of Greek and Latin at the Tres Hagion in the Good Friday liturgy.

We are accustomed to singing the Kyrie in a three-fold manner. It may also be sung in a nine-fold manner. In this form, the "Lord, have mercy...," is sung three times; "Christ, have mercy..., three times; and "Lord, have mercy...," three times.

If sung or spoken in either the three-fold or nine-fold manner, the petitions may be sung in alternation with the celebrant.

The Gloria in Excelsis is also intoned by the celebrant at the midst of the altar.

The Gloria, the Creed and the Sanctus enjoy equal status in the liturgy. When Mass is celebrated with the assistance of a deacon and sub-deacon, the rubrics indicate that these ministers move to stand beside the celebrant at the altar when they are sung. At all other times these ministers remain in their appointed places.

The historic rite indicates that the Gloria in Excelsis is to be sung at all Masses, excluding only those which are celebrated in violet or black vestments.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Incensing the Altar

When Mass is celebrated more solemnly, it is customary to incense the altar during the Introit. This may be done while the choir is singing the Introit, or after the celebrant has finished singing the Introit.

A diagram showing the method of incensing the altar can be found in a variety of liturgical books. There is one method for incensing an altar that is against the East wall, and another for a free standing altar. The difference being that the celebrant walks completely around the free standing altar.

Assuming that incense will also be used at the Offertory, only the celebrant is incensed at this time. The celebrant, other ministers and the people are incensed at the offertory.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Preparation & the Introit

The Preparation is actually not a part of the Mass liturgy. If it the custom of the parish to use a separate Confessional Service before Mass, it need not be included.

The Introit is the beginning of the Mass liturgy. According to the historic Western use, the Introit is not begun until the celebrant and ministers have come to the altar. Having made the customary reverence - the celebrant kisses the alter at the midst, and the deacon where he stands at the right of the celebrant - the celebrant (or Kantor, or choir) intones the Introit of the day.

Although local customs may vary, beginning the Introit only after the ministers arrive at the altar is to be preferred, especially if it is customary to incense the altar during the Introit. Everyone will already be in place, able to complete the incensing while the Introit is being sung.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Invocation

The Augsburg Confession states that Lutherans have retained the Mass and the usual ceremonies, insofar as doing so does not compromise the Gospel. Here, then, we begin a step-by-step review of the Mass according to the Lutheran rite. Please note that the ad Orientem position is presupposed in all cases.

The historic rite begins the Mass with this rubric: "The priest, standing at the foot of the alter-steps, and signing himself with the sign of the holy Cross, begins...: In nomine Patris...."

A contemporary usage that has the celebrant facing the congregation and signing them (in the form of a blessing) is contrary to the historic understanding that the priest (and people) are hereby invoking the blessing of the Holy Trinity upon themselves and their participation in the Mass.

(I am curious as to the source and interpretation of this innovation in the Liturgy.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The First Divergence

To paraphrase The Bard, "What's in a word? A word with any other twist would mean the same." (May The Bard forgive me!)

As hymnals have come and gone, we have been bombarded by a constant decaying of the (American) English language. We have equivalent language, politically correct language, theologically neutral language, can't-offend-anyone language, doesn't-say-anything language....and the goes on and on.

This post was published on "The New Liturgical Movement" site, a Roman Catholic site devoted to the historic liturgy, etc. You are encouraged to read it. To do so, click on the title header of this post.

I await your comments.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A New Beginning

Ever since the completion of the Second Vatican Council, the non-Roman churches (e.g. Lutheran) have copied many of the directives established for the Novus Ordo. These include such things as adopting a three-year lectionary, modern (inclusive) languare, revisions of the historic calendar, and departures from the historic ordinary or the Mass.

The Augsburg Confession plainly states that the Lutheran Church has continued to celebrate the Mass, including all usual ceremonies, omitting only those things which would compromise the Gospel. Here, it should be noted, that the historic Mass of the Lutheran Church predates the revisions set forth by the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council.

Following this post, this blog will begin a review of the historic form of the Mass as retained by the Augsburg Confession. Innovations will be dismissed. The historic order and ceremony will be clarified, Questions regarding language will be resolve. Conformity to the Confessions will be encouraged.

But be warned, this blog will always be from the Confessional Lutheran perspective. Some sacred cows may be led to the slaughter. Modernism will surely be disparaged. Do-It-Yourself liturgies and Praise Services will be given no quarter. There may be brief divergences to related topics. Your participation in this blog is respectfully requested. Your comments will be welcomed.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Announcing the Movable Feasts

The Christmas Season ends with the celebration of the Epiphany on January 6. Because the remainder of the Church Year is established by the movable date of Easter, it is customary to announce the Movable Feasts after the proclamation of the Holy Gospel on Epiphany. Paul H. D. Lang, (Ceremony and Celebration, p. 159, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO, 1965)suggests the following form:

"Dearly beloved brethren, you shall know that as we have rejoiced in the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, so there is announced to you by the mercy of God the joyous observance of the Resurrection of the same our Savior:

February 4th is Septuagesima Sunday.

On February 21st Ash Wednesday begins the most holy season of Lent.

On April 8th we shall celebrate with great rejoicing the holy Easter Festival of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May 17th is the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

May 27th is the Feast of Pentecost.

December 2nd is the First Sunday in the Advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be honor and glory, world without end. Amen."