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.