Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part III

Pray Tell is running a series on the liturgical history of Collegeville. The sub-series “From the Archives” reprints some of the Liturgy Committee meeting minutes from 1963 to 1969. This sub-series is a behind-the-scenes look at liturgy in Collegeville during and immediately after the Second Vatican Council.


The next two records from the Liturgy Committee:

Minutes of the Liturgy Committee

Sept.17, 1963

Present were Fathers John, Daniel, Godfrey, Michael, Gerard, Camillus, Wenceslaus, Leon, Fr. Adam, and Bro. Gerard.

The outline for the solemnized Low Mass for Sept. 22 was completed. The committee agreed to use only Our Parish Prays and Sings, no sheets, for simplicity.

Further discussion of reactions to the “missa cum deacone” [sic] were put off for a future meeting.

A discussion of possible adaptions of daily liturgical program was begun. The committee agreed to suggest to Father Abbot that the table prayers be in English, and that the Angelus (which had been introduced only comparatively recently, under Abbot Alcuin) be recited in English or eliminated and instead said privately on the way to the refectory. For Benediction it was suggested that English be used up to and after the Tantum ergo. Some members of the committee thought that Benediction should be eliminated on Saturday night, in order that the prayer-life of the community be simplified.

It was suggested that Father Abbot be the celebrant of the Mass for Sept. 22.

The major portion of time was spent in completing the outline for the solemnized Low Mass described in the minutes of the previous meeting, Sept. 16.


Minutes of the Liturgy Committee

Sept. 20, 1963

Present were Fathers John, Daniel, Godfrey, Michael, Camillus, Wenceslaus, Leon, Fr. Adam, and Bro. Gerard.

Father John said that the Abbot preferred not to have the Mass on Sept. 22; he also mentioned that Father Abbot would present the points discussed Sept. 17 by the committee to the community on Sept. 24 at 4:30 pm.

The main topic of discussion at this meeting was the possibility of participation by the Brothers in the daily conventual Mass of the monastery. Father Godfrey said that whereas no one would dare suggest keeping the Brothers from eating with us in the refectory, yet we do not allow them to participate with us in the Eucharistic banquet. Bro. Gerard mentioned that for most of the summer the Brothers had discussed the possibility of coming up for conventual Mass. Fathers Augustine, Michael, and Richard had talked with them about this previously, in the way of conferences.

The reaction of the Brothers hinged on whether or not the clerics could share with them the burden of serving the Fathers’ Masses. If the hour of rising were pushed back to 5:00 am or later, the Brothers and clerics could take turns serving one shift of Masses, and the students could serve the second shift. If a third shift were necessary, it was suggested that the prefects, who wished to do so, say Mass at 10:30, or that temporary altars be set up. Father Wenceslaus mentioned that two other points might merit consideration here. One is the wish expressed by many of the younger Fathers that permission be given them to communicate at conventual Mass occasionally. In this way they would have the possibility for a fuller participation in the conventual Mass than at present. It was felt that perhaps Father Abbot could have the conventual Mass once a week, or on the major feast days, and that those Fathers who so wished could receive communion from the hands of their spiritual Father. Before any such thing could be done, however, the committee agreed that it would be necessary to hold conferences on this for the community. Not only the possibility of priests’ communicating at their conventual Mass, but also the topic of concelebration should be discussed, so that the community would understand the issues being discussed at the Second Vatican Council.

The other point considered worthy of discussion in conjunction with participation at the conventual Mass would be to have the conventual Mass at such time when more members of the community could participate in it, and eventually communicate at it, such as the college prefects. These points, however, did not seem as urgent as the question of the Brothers’ participation in daily conventual Mass and hence were reserved to later meetings of the liturgy committee.



  1. Just out of curiousity, how many ‘brothers’ were there in 1963, and how many ‘fathers’? How does those numbers compare to those of today?

    1. @Tony Phillips – comment #1:
      83 priests and deacons, 41 brothers, 8 novices and juniors in the most recent ordo. Don’t know what it was then but I’ve heard that the community peaked at c. 400 around then.

  2. Wow, that’s some liturgy committee. Presuming Fr. Godfrey Diekmann, Fr. Michael Marx & Fr. Daniel Durkin. Who are the others? Fr. John? Fr. Adam? Fr. Camillus Talafous? Fr. Wenceslaus Plotnik?

    1. @Lisa Tarker – comment #2:
      Lisa, Yes, those are all the names. Fr. John Kulas. I don’t know who Fr. Adam is. Fr. Camillus Talafous is now known as Fr. Don.

  3. Are the priests of the Abbey permitted to say a “private Mass” before or after the conventual Mass? (I know there is a new name for “private Mass”, but I can’t think of it right now.)

    I always wondered if priests would benefit more by saying daily Mass by themselves, at least occasionally. I understand that a concelebrated Mass confers the same grace as a Mass celebrated by one priest. Still, I could see a number of reasons why a priest would want to say Mass separately. Perhaps he has a special intention on which he would wish to focus. Or, perhaps he would want to celebrate a commemoration that is not celebrated at the conventual Mass. Perhaps he might wish to say Mass for the Holy Souls (I realize that the Ordinary Form discourages the celebration of something akin to the ‘low requiem Mass’ in the EF, but I suppose it’s possible.)

    A question for priests: do you sometimes wish you were saying Mass “alone” instead of concelebrating?

  4. I can’t speak for St. John’s, but I know of a number of monastic communities (including Solesmes) where at least some of the priests celebrate Mass with only a server (and whatever guests happen to show up) in addition to concelebrating at the conventual Mass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *