Monday, September 26, 2011

Missa Lecta in full Dialogue with Music on the Feast of Christ the King

Update: We are very pleased that over 75 people attended the Mass at St. Mary Immaculate.

If we fully implemented the desire of St. Pius X and the liturgical documents of his successors Pius XI, Pius XII and Benedict XV, what would the Missa Lecta, the Read Mass more commonly referred to as the Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite look like?

The norm for celebrating the Mass is to be Solemn (Missa Solemnis) with Deacon and Subdeacon. If this is not possible then a Sung Mass (Missa Cantata) is the exception and if no music is available it is a Missa Lecta or Read Mass, more unfortunately referred to as "Low" Mass, as if any Divine Worship could ever be considered, "low."

Between 1903 and 1958 significant liturgical documents were issued in harmony with the great Saint's desire to see the laity take full and conscious actual and active participation in the liturgy to develop their own personal holiness. This participation is to be internal and external and involves understanding not only the words of the liturgy through our translations in the Missal but what they mean and what each liturgical actions signifies. The "spectator" role of the Catholic in the pew was to come to an end. While the rosary and devotionals are important, their place in the Mass was not correct. "Don't pray at Mass, pray the Mass...Don't sing at Mass, sing the Mass!' These were the words of St. Pius X!"

There was an ignoring of the documents issued by the Sacred Congregation of Rites and the Popes who agreed with the Liturgical Movement to change not the Mass, but how we approached the Mass. I believe that the consistent lack of obedience to Rome lead to the direct takeover of the liturgical extremists who have wreaked havoc on the Church's patrimony for the last 45 years, an extremism which is only know dissipating.

Some devotees of the traditional liturgy will accuse what you will read below as heresy or an abuse or some improper influence of the Novus Ordo on the Usus Antiquior.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Roman Missal of 1962 was issued with the addition of St. Joseph to the Canon, the elimination of the Confiteor before Communion (where in place, it could continued) a change in the Good Friday prayer and some other minor changes some modification and simplification of the rubrics.

Most parishes did not purchase a new 1962 Altar Missal, they simply wrote in the name St. Joseph and taped over the old, the new Prayer for the Jewish People; in fact, I have one of these. By the time they might have gotten around to actually obtaining a new 1962 Roman Missal, the 1965 edition was issued which was necessary to purchase and a few years later, the Novus Ordo was promulgated and the opportunity for true liturgical development to the Usus Antiquior lay hidden and virtually unknown, until now.

While the desire to "sing the Mass" clearly included the Gregorian chant Propers and the entire Ordinary as this is the fullest expression of the liturgy (as it is also in the Novus Ordo Missae) this was not and is not always possible. Many priests and parishes may wish to move forward and include the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as a regularly scheduled Mass in the weekly schedule. The ability to undertake the Mass in all its ceremonial and musical completeness may not be possible. This represents an optional along hte way.

According to the 1962 rubrics and the more recent Universae Ecclesiae, here is what you will experience at this Mass in the Extraordinary Form:

  • Organ: Prelude & Fugue in D Minor -- J.S. Bach
  • Processional Hymn: CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS
  • Prayers at the Foot of the Altar (All)
  • Introit: Dignus est Agnus (Priest)
  • Kyrie from Gregorian Mass VIII--Missa de Angelis (sung by all)
  • Gloria (recited by all)
  • Epistle in English with the response by all, Deo Gratias
  • Graduale: Dominabitur (Priest)
  • Alleluia: Postestas eius (Priest)
  • Gospel in English with all responding in Latin to its introduction and conclusion, Laud tibi, Christe
  • Homily
  • Creed (recited by all)
  • Offertory: Postula (Priest)
  • Hymn: LORD, ACCEPT THE GIFTS WE OFFER
  • Sanctus from Gregorian Mass VIII--Missa de Angelis (sung by all)
  • Pater Noster (recited by all)
  • Agnus Dei from Gregorian Mass VIII--Missa de Angelis (sung by all)
  • Jesu Rex Admirabilis -- G.P. da Palestina
  • Hymn: LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE
  • Communion Antiphon: Sedebit (Priest)
  • Last Gospel responses
  • Recessional Hymn: TO JESUS CHRIST OUR SOVERIGN KING
  • Organ Postlude: Te Deum -- M.A. Charpentier

St. Mary Immaculate, Richmond Hill
Yonge Street
Sunday, October 29, 2011
Pre-Mass talk on the rubrics 6:30 PM
Holy Mass at 7:00 PM

Saturday, September 10, 2011

St. Lawrence the Martyr -- Scarborough's New Home for the Traditional Latin Mass

Fifteen years ago, under the former indult of Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, the usus antiquior found a home in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough and just a stones throw from St. Augustine's Seminary. For a short-time in 2008-2010 this was the home of the Toronto Apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

The Mass in the Extraordinary Form at this Church was always a struggle. While 1:00 in the afternoon was not the best time, it was not the biggest obstacle to growth. The location was out of the way and hard to reach on public transit and parking was non-existent. Moreover, what was lacking was a clear sense of parish life and community which was common with the old "indult" situation. The people of St. Theresa parish had little to zero to do with the strangers that came for the Latin Mass at 1:00 and vice-versa. I can recall even one Sunday as Schola Master that a visiting priest, was literally yelling at us to get out so he could "perform a baptism."

Thankfully, those days are now over.

After the departure of the Fraternity of St. Peter, a diocesan priest was appointed as Chaplain to this congregation in addition to his regular parish duties in Richmond Hill, 45 minutes away.

In July, the Archdiocese of Toronto made its annual pastor changes. From St. Elizabeth Seton in Newmarket to St. Lawrence the Martyr in Scarborough came a Pastor friendly to the traditional Mass. So friendly in fact, that every Friday night and Saturday morning, the Mass was celebrated at his former parish by the priest who served long at St. Theresa and still celebrates every Sunday at St. Patrick's in Schomberg. St. Lawrence the Martyr on Lawrence Avenue is only about a ten minute drive from St. Theresa's. With this it the Archdiocese of Toronto saw the light and the the priest from Richmond Hill is now based at St. Lawrence the Martyr as well.

Now, in addition to the Toronto Oratory Church of St. Vincent de Paul west of Yonge Street the people who desire the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the east end of Toronto now have a welcoming Pastor, a beautiful church, a resident priest, parking, public transit, a church hall and can truly become part of a parish community something so desperately lacking previously at St. Theresa Shrine.

The Mass at St. Lawrence the Martyr is Sundays at 1:00 as well as a weekly schedule. The Sunday Mass is celebrated as a Missa Lecta or Read Mass; what is frequently referred to as Low Mass. However, there is music provided, though not the complete Ordinary and not the Propers as this is not a Missa Cantata (Sung Mass) commonly referred to as a High Mass.

According to the most recent rubrics from 1962, music for the Missa Lecta is permitted in the following manner.

Processional: Organ or a hymn in Latin or English
Kyrie; but it must be a short setting
Offertory: Organ or a hymn in Latin or English but it must reflect sacrifice or offering.
Sanctus ; a short setting
Agnus Dei, a short setting
Communion: Organ or a hymn in Latin or English but it must be oriented to the Eucharist or thanksgiving
Recessional: Organ or hymn in Latin or English


St. Lawrence the Martyr was built in 1960 and is the last of an era. Looking at the church's exterior one can see that the Italian residents of this part of Scarborough used a design that they would have known from Italy. Yellow brick, red tiled roof, two towers; it is clearly the most beautiful church east of the downtown. Along with St. Benedict's in Etobicoke, it is one of the finest churches built in the Archdiocese of Toronto in the post-war period. As in any Italian parish, expect beautiful and abundant statues and lots of terrazzo and marble. While if one looks carefully at the floor of the sanctuary the design shows where the High Altar once stood but don't let that dissuade you. The Tabernacle is in the middle on a beautiful Altar of Repose.The new sanctuary floor blends wonderfully with the original terrazzo, the colours and marble are uniquely blended. The Altar of Sacrifice is of marble and solid and of exquisite design with a matching Ambo or Pulpit of dignity and beauty. The acoustic is lively, very lively and there are some interesting notes on the matter regarding the new organ.

The Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins is deserving of the prayers and thanks of those who desire to worship in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in this part of Toronto as does the most welcoming Pastor, Father Roy Farrell. The parish is also assisted by Father by Associate Pastor, Father Ion Bolog with Father Steven Szakaczki as Chaplain for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and Father Liam Gavigan, In Residence.

St. Lawrence the Martyr Scarborough is located at 2210 Lawrence Avenue East between Birchmount Road and Kennedy Road.

The Mass schedule is:
Sunday 1:00
Monday-Wednesday 11:00
Thursday-No Mass
Friday: 7:00 P.M
Saturday: 10:00 A.M.

(weekday Masses are subject to change or cancellation depending on funerals and the availability of the priest)