Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part XXI

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.

Next entries in the Calendar of Events:

July 10, 1964: At a quasi-pontifical Mass Father Abbot invests thirteen novices. Ferial Vespers are sung rather that first Vespers of St. Benedict since the feast of our holy father is now a second-class feast.

July 11, Feast of the Solemnity of St. Benedict: At 9:30 a.m. Father Abbot celebrates a quasi-pontifical Mass during which Fathers Celestine Kapsner and Method Powoll celebrate their Golden Jubilee of Profession. Seven clerics make solemn vows while eleven novices make their triennial vows.

The entire rites are simplified and English is used for the first time at St. John’s.

July 15: Those receiving Holy Communion at the Conventual Mass now place their particles for Holy Communion into two ciboria placed on a table at the entrance of the Choir. At the Offertory these are brought to the altar to be consecrated. After Communion the celebrant consumes the extra particles.

July 25: The first concelebrated Mass is offered in the Abbey Church. St. John’s Abbey has been selected as the only group in this country by the Post-conciliar Commission on the Sacred Liturgy. This is on an experimental basis. Reports will have to be made periodically to above mentioned Commission. Father Abbot was the chief celebrant at the concelebration.

The next record from the Liturgy Committee:

Minutes of the Liturgy Committee

June 1, 1964

Present were Father Abbot, Fathers John, Daniel, Godfrey, Michael, Gerard, Aelred, Camillus, Wenceslaus, Leon, and Bro. Gerard.

The first matter discussed was whether there is a causa sufficiens for having only one Vespers in our funeral liturgy. The committee arrived at the following recommendation: because of the inconvenience of having two Vespers together and the consequent anomaly in liturgical prayer leading to discontent and complaining in the community, it seems that there is a strong causa sufficiens for commuting Vespers of the day into Vespers of the Dead, which would be sung.

The other recommendation, which took up the greater part of this meeting, was that every priest who wants to should be allowed to receive communion at the conventual Mass. The discussion of the committee that led to this recommendation is substantially the same as the contents of the paper, “Priestly Piety and the Mass,” which was prepared by Fathers Godfrey, Michael, and Aelred in the name of the committee. The paper was requested by Father Abbot, because he felt that the recommendation of the committee involved a major change, for which the community must be prepared as much as possible.

As to the question of receiving communion from freshly consecrated ciboria, it was thought that this would constitute no problem for daily conventual Mass.

It was pointed out that the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in three places in the Abbey church, besides in the Abbot’s chapel. Many members of the committee stated that this was liturgically inappropriate, without further expounding the reasons why. It was thought that Father Abbot should discontinue reserving the Blessed Sacrament in his chapel.

Further recommendations were that the homily be preached by deacons during the summer—Father John said that this already decided; that we be quite sparing on High Masses during the summer; and that there be one or two more meetings before the summer dispersal.

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