Monday, April 6, 2015

Launceston Easter Sunday EF Mass

Fr Suresh again came North to celebrate our second monthly Missa cantata. While some were absent (it being Easter, and holiday time; and also I forgot to advertise it in the parish bulletin, though it was mentioned in the diocesan paper), we still had an attendance of about twenty, which bodes well for the future once it becomes better known.

(Next month, by the way, the Mass will be held at 5 pm on the second Sunday, that is, on the 10th of May, owing to various reasons.)

Having rehearsed with the choir, I then got ready to serve Mass (and to sing along, when not otherwise occupied). Mass began at 6:05 pm and concluded at 7:05 pm. As always, Fr Suresh preached a stirring sermon. After the Mass, we all went through to the adjoining parish centre for a light supper, preceded by the blessing of eggs and bread (the texts of which luckily were appended to the main contents of the missal).

As before, we sang the Messe Royale, accompanied on the organ. Since the propers of Easter Sunday are beyond my competence (apart from the Sequence), I set their texts to psalm-tone 1, with alleluias set to the music of the Messe Royale Kyrie. At Offertory, a few verses of O filii et filiæ were sung, and after Mass, the simple Regina cæli, before concluding with the rousing hymn "By your kingly power, O risen Lord," by James McAuley.

Here are the simplified propers as sung; I seem to have left out the second-last letter in alleluja for some reason…

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

I was blessed to attend the Easter Vigil at the Launceston Carmel, ably celebrated by Fr Paul, a worthy and learned Dominican, and a long-standing friend of mine since Melbourne days; he was assisted by Brian, the usual server there, who looked after the thurible and incense also. The good nuns there believe in doing the Vigil properly: all the readings are read, and the Mass of the Resurrection begins in the middle of the night.

For the record, the liturgy began at 11:00 pm, with the blessing of the new fire (symbol of the Creation ex nihilo) and the lighting of the Paschal Candle (symbol of Christ, the Light who shineth in the darkness). Fr Paul chanted Lumen Christi thrice; thrice we replied, Deo gratias, and lit our small candles from the one source of light. He then sang the Exsultet, that marvellous homiletic canticle, one of the richest still-used pieces of mystagogical catechesis, fit to be compared with the Easter Sermon of St John Chrysostom, and the Carmen Paschale of Melito of Sardis.

At 11:20 pm, the nuns, from within the screen on their side of the chapel, then began the seven readings of the Vigil, interspersed with psalmody, and Father's chanting of the collects following each; this took 45 minutes all told.

Just after midnight, at 12:05 am, we all joined in singing the Gloria in excelsis (Mass I, Lux et origo, for Eastertide - how appropriate a title), and thus began the Mass, with chanted collect, reading of the Epistle, singing of the triple Alleluia with Psalm 117, and the Gospel of the Resurrection. Father's homily – a reflection on the mystery of Christ's descent to Sheol, and his triumph over death – began at 12:15 am. Aptly he compared the mystery whereby Christ is truly risen, but his triumph is still hidden, to the self-oblation of the Carmelite nuns, who live an enclosed life of prayer and penance, striving to indeed confess their lives hidden with Christ in God.

At 12:25 am, the Easter water was blessed, our baptismal vows were renewed, and then – a ceremony special to Carmel – the nuns all renewed their religious vows, before we were aspersed.

The offertory began at 12:35 am. Father chanted the Prayer over the Oblations and the Preface; after the Sanctus (Mass I), he began the Roman Canon, including all the saints and all the repetitions of "Through Christ our Lord. Amen." – a very important Christological confession, whose unwise omission reveals a basic incomprehension of that great prayer. He even chanted the central part, including the Consecration. Similarly, the doxology, the Lord's Prayer and following prayers were chanted, down to the Agnus Dei (Mass I). After the nuns, we were able to come forward to make our Easter Communion, uniting ourselves to the Lord who has conquered sin, Satan, death and hell. Mass concluded with the usual sung prayer, solemn blessing, and dismissal with double alleluia, before the final hymn at 1:10 am.

After Mass, it was great to wish a happy Easter to Fr Paul before I drove home; I extend the same Easter greeting to all readers.

Christ is risen: He is risen indeed.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Those Not Prayed for on Good Friday

The Solemn Intercessions on Good Friday, both OF and EF, pray for the following:

1. For Holy Church;
2. For the Pope;
3. For all orders and degrees of the faithful;
4. [EF 5.] For catechumens;
5. [EF 7.] For the unity of Christians [Previously, For Heretics and Schismatics];
6. [EF 8.] For the Jewish people [For the Conversion of the Jews];
7. [EF 9.] For those who do not believe in Christ [Previously, For the Conversion of Pagans];
8. For those who do not believe in God*;
9. [EF 4.] For those in public office [Previously, For the Roman Emperor†];
10. [EF 6.] For those in tribulation [For the necessities of the faithful].

* The growth of atheism has necessitated the addition of a prayer for atheists.
† There having been no Holy Roman Emperor since 1806, it was understandable that this prayer – long omitted (though I have seen it prayed for Queen Victoria, in a 19th C. Holy Week book, and I assume it was still used in Austria-Hungary until its collapse) – was replaced by a prayer for all those in civil office.

But who is not prayed for? The faithful departed, those who have died.

Furthermore, while even in the last pre-Conciliar order of service, the Libera nos still asked for the intercession of the Saints, that phrase was deleted in the Novus Ordo.

A petition could well be added, therefore, in private, somewhat after this fashion, using the Collect for the Living and the Dead, plus a modified form of the matching Secret, turned into an introductory petition, thus:

Oremus et pro vivis et defunctis: ut Deus, cui soli cognitus est numerus electorum in superna felicitate locandus, intercedentibus omnibus Sanctis suis, universorum, quos in oratione commendatos suscepimus, et omnium fidelium nomina, in beatæ prædestinationis libro adscripta retineat.
Flectamus genua.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vivorum dominaris simul et mortuorum, omniumque misereris, quos tuos fide et opere futuros esse prænoscis: te supplices exoramus; ut, pro quibus effundere preces decrevimus, quosque vel præsens sæculum adhuc in carne retinet, vel futurum jam exutos corpore suscepit, intercedentibus omnibus Sanctis tuis, pietatis tuæ clementia omnium delictorum suorum veniam consequantur. Per Dominum nostrum, Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivat et regnat in unitate Spiritu Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. R. Amen. 
(Let us pray for the living and the dead: that God, to whom alone is known the number of the elect to be placed in supernal happiness, through the intercession of all his Saints, may retain written in the book of blessed predestination the names of all who have been recommended to our prayers, and of all the faithful.
(Let us pray.
(Let us kneel down.
(Almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over both the living and the dead, and hast mercy on all, whom thou foreknowest shall be thine by faith and good works: we humbly beseech thee, that those, for whom we have resolved to make supplication, whether the present world still holds them in the flesh, or the world to come has already received them out of the body, may, through the intercession of all thy Saints, obtain of the goodness of thy clemency pardon for all their sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.)

This is lengthier than the other intercessions, but does sum up them all, and prays, beseeching the prayers of the Saints, for all the dead, as well as all the living. Thus it seems to me we should pray on Good Friday, when Christ died to save all.