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 record from the Liturgy Committee:

Minutes of the Liturgy Committee

Nov. 29, 1963

Present were Fathers John, Daniel, Aelred, Camillus, Wenceslaus, Leon and Fr. Adam.

Father Abbot had presented the following MEMO to the liturgical committee:

“I would like to express my reluctance to the use of soloists, especially at the Sunday Mass or at any Mass when he uses the microphone. Even though the melody in this case is not operatic, the performance tends to be. After the high Mass on Sunday I should think that two verses of the hymn would suffice. That the petitions at the Offertory be limited in number. At present they certainly are seemingly endless and not understood.”

On the basis of this MEMO the committee made the following suggestions: ordinarily two verses of a hymn would be sung after Sunday high Mass, but when the hymns are Trinitarian three verses would be sung so that the doxology could be gotten in; it seems better to use one cantor at times for the practical purpose of doing reverence to the “Word,” that is, making it intelligible: the clerics have experimented with three, five, etc. clerics singing together, and the text doesn’t get through; such individual performance, of course, should never become operatic.

Next the committee discussed Father Aelred’s PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE FORMAT OF THE SOLEMNIZED LOW MASS. To the first proposal the committee agreed that a student should read the Gradual after he finishes the Epistle and should structure the reading in such a way that it is clear that it is the Gradual he’s reading. For instance, a distinct pause should be made between the two texts, but not too long. The Alleluia should be done as it has been up to now.

In regard to the second proposal the committee agreed that the celebrant should sit down while the deacon sings the oratio fidelium; the latter should be shorter. The third proposal was also accepted, dealing with a restoration of the offertory procession. Perhaps two students could bring up water and wine and one ciborium, to be received by the acolytes. Table could be in the center. Two ushers with collection baskets could come down with the two students. Acolytes would meet them at the top step. The chalice would be placed on the credence table at the beginning of Mass and then brought by the deacon to the altar after the Credo while the students were bringing the cruets and ciborium. A suitable hymn in English could be used here for the offertory chant. Fr. Adam said that there were a lot of such hymns in “Our Parish Prays and Sings.” The fourth and fifth proposals were also endorsed by the committee.

The minutes of the meeting of October 29, 1963, were referred to in regard to having a suitable chalice put at the disposal of the celebrant who does not have a nice one of his own.

When the Prior or the Subprior read the Gospel in the Abbot’s absence it was suggested that the missal be kept on the reader’s stand; the acolytes should go along with the Prior and Subprior to increase the dignity of the function; the position of this reading would be from the predella.

The selection of hymns for the Introits of the next two Sundays was discussed; it was also suggested that a simpler Alleluia be used.