Monday, November 24, 2008

Liturgy 102: A Primer for Those Interested in the Extraordinary Form

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St Agnes Parish is gearing up for their first Extraordinary Form Latin Mass, next Sunday, November 30, the First Sunday of Advent. Father John Ubel has written a two part primer on the old form of the Mass in the parish bulletin.

See "Liturgy 101: A Primer for Those Interested in the Extraordinary Form" Here


As we continue our preparations for the implementation of the Extraordinary Form (1962 Missale Romanum), I wanted to give you a few more examples of some of the similarities and differences between the two forms:

  • In the EF the idea of more congregational singing was being explored and implemented at varying degrees, including the Sanctus, Agnus Dei and others, as well as the Et cum spiritu tuo. One major difference is that currently we are used to singing the Pater Noster, but in the 1962 EF, the priest chants it alone until the final, sed libera nos a malo. This will represent a change.

  • Another change you will notice is the silent Canon. Generally, when the Chorale is in session, we make use of a silent Canon (Eucharistic Prayer), but the EF is always a silent Canon; the words of consecration will likely only be heard by those nearest the altar; the Nobis quoque peccatoribus will be heard by all.

  • The rubrics call for several levels of one‟s voice. Many of the priest's prayers are said silently or in a low voice. This is where the "side by side" English-Latin Missals or booklets can be helpful in following the Mass. The editions note where you may wish to join the server in various responses to the prayers, and when to sit, kneel or stand.

  • The Domine, non sum dignus is repeated three times instead of just once in the OF [Ordinary Form].

  • The communicants do not say “Amen” when receiving the host, and in 1962 there was not the option of receiving Holy Communion in the hand. The priest or deacon recites a longer formula for Communion than the current “Corpus Christi” of the OF.

  • The priest sings the Ite, Missa est (not the deacon) before the final Blessing. He then immediately goes to the Gospel side of the altar for the final Gospel from John 1:1-14. This “last Gospel” dates from the XVIIth century.
The liturgical Year is different in its nomenclature. This will present us some challenges, and quite frankly for the Ecclesia Dei Commission as well. For example, will there be a move towards picking one date for the Feast of Christ the King, for they differ in the two calendars? What about Epiphany Sunday (only on January 6th in the old calendar, etc.)? Time after Epiphany and Time after Pentecost are terms used in the EF that are rich in history and have been replaced by Weeks in Ordinary Time in the OF.

For a few weeks before Lent, there is a preparatory period in the EF in which the priest wears violet but yet it is not Lent. We will be switching out vestments and tabernacle veils in some cases between Masses! The vestments are the same, but with one addition in the EF. The priest wears a maniple, a small band of cloth worn around his left forearm, removed only during the homily. Originating in the 8th -9th century, it was used to wipe the brow of the priest on a hot day, it came to symbolize the sorrows, the „vale of tears‟ borne by the priest in his ministry.

Those are some of the key similarities and differences. The EF will be celebrated on the 1st, 3rd and (occasional) 5th Sunday of the month, while the OF will be celebrated on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. It may take some time to assimilate all the changes, but I am convinced that they will be fairly manageable for our people, and the riches of the Church‟s liturgical tradition will be readily manifest in its fullness.


Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. John L. Ubel
Pastor, Church of St. Agnes
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