Thursday, May 24, 2012

1962 EF Mass

The Immaculate Friars have, in the last few years, gone over to the Extraordinary Form of Mass, but strictly 1962; and this, combined with their recent move to it (last time I was in Florence, their Masses were in Italian, but ad orientem), and some local curiosities, made attending their Mass devout but ever so slightly distracting.

For a start, one of their sisters played the organ very nicely before Mass - however this was to accompany another dear sister, who is perhaps not well suited to singing solo: and this well-meaning duet recurred at the offertory, after communion (when I recognized Ubi caritas "in a most unfortunate disguise") and after the end of Mass.  It would have been far preferable to just have the organ, as was in fact done during most of the Canon - including at the Elevations, when really it should have fallen silent; of course, this was doubtless done out of pure good will.

This Low Mass avec voix seule et orgue was a dialogue Mass, and one in which the congregation even said the whole of the Gloria in excelsis, Sanctus and Agnus Dei with the priest - which is allowable, of course, being one of the envisioned grades of dialogue Mass, but unusual.  At least the Lord's Prayer was reserved to the celebrant until the usual response.

Most notably, it was a Low Mass in which the very late pre-conciliar rubrics about when to sit, stand and kneel were observed (as hardly ever happens in Australia and elsewhere I've been - when I was younger and even more foolish I insisted on following those rules of posture once or twice when no one else did, until pity was taken on my idiocy and I was disabused of that particular type of pedantry): so we all stood when the priest went up to the altar, just as if it were a High Mass, and did likewise at the Preface, Pater noster and Postcommunion. There was also some cross-contamination from the Ordinary Form, for the congregation didn't kneel till after the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, whereas from all I recall in the traditional Mass one kneels before both.

The server came down to the lectern and read the Epistle in Italian (the priest remained at the altar, and I assume he read it in Latin); later, after the celebrant read the Gospel in Latin at the altar, he then removed his maniple and came down to the lectern to read it again in Italian, before giving a fervent and lengthy sermon (he seemed to be rather in favour of our supernatural elevation by the power of the Holy Ghost, as a Catholic ought be).

Finally, the celebrant, being a very short fellow, and offering Mass at a grand and elaborate altar with a very high mensa and an even higher tabernacle, needed the assistance of the server at Communion - the latter brought to the altar a large box for him to stand on, so he could retrieve the ciborium!  The Lord moveth in wondrous wise indeed at Ognissanti in Firenze.

Mass, by the way, was in red vestments, and one of the friars helped me by telling me it was the Common of Martyrs in Paschaltide that was being used, but I didn't find out what saint or saints was being commemorated - perhaps a local feast?

Low Mass with sermon took 50 minutes: it didn't seem at all slowly celebrated, so the sermon must have been lengthy indeed.


Blackfriar said...

Since you are in Italy, what are you doing hanging around Florence for the feast of a saint so obscure that you don't even know his name, when you could have been in Bologna to celebrate the feast of the Translation of our Holy Father Dominic ... and experienced a jolly serious earthquake to boot?

- Martin OP

Joshua said...

Dear Father,

In the interests of brevity I forbore to mention that, ere I heard Mass at Ognissanti on the 24th, I joined the Dominicans at Santa Maria Novella for Lauds (said in Italian) in honour of Holy Dominic's Translation. Better still, being en route that evening from Florence to Milan (and thence to Paris), my train stopt at Bologna station, and I made a nod in the general direction of his sainted remains, paying the Father of all Blackfriars a spiritual visit, as it were. So there!

(In the afternoon I attended Vespers at the Benedictine monastery of San Miniato al Monte: the brethren being sadly few in number and mainly great in age, the chant was a bit bewildering, I think they were celebrating first Vespers of St Zenobius, but I could be wrong.)

Blackfriar said...

Ah well, I suppose you must be forgiven then ...