Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part V

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

Oct. 2, 1963

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

Father John began the meeting with the observation that he had heard many unfavorable reactions against the solemnized Low Mass, that is, the Mass celebrated Sunday, Sept. 29. He said that it would seem that the liturgy committee must consider whether or not it would be advisable to switch back to the Solemn High Mass as the form of Mass to be used on Sundays. After he had asked the committee for their views on this matter, and after it was decided to have a solemnized Low Mass at least for next Sunday, Oct. 6, Fr. Aelred stated that his College liturgy class liked the solemnized Low Mass very much. Fr. Adam said that in every community there will be some who dislike the views of a committee for various reasons. The question would be as to how we could overcome these reactions. Papers instructing the community would be one way.

Fathers Aelred, Daniel, Wenceslaus, and Bro. Gerard thought that we should not take these protests too seriously. Many of them stem from a lack of understanding on the part of the complainers.

Father Aelred said that the Gradual, Alleluia, and Communion could be improved. He further remarked that his students did not like the translation of the Gloria in Our Parish Prays and Sings.

Father Gerard mentioned that many members of the community, who were not in the habit of doing so, remarked that they liked the High Mass on Oct. 2, the Feast of the Guardian Angels.

In answer to Father Leon’s question concerning the simplification of the solemnized Low Mass by such measures as dropping the verse after the Alleluia, Fr. Aelred said that the reason for maintaining the verse after the Alleluia is to teach our students “structured” liturgical participation.

Father Camillus was asked about the students’ reaction to the solemnized Low Mass of Sept. 29. He said that in general it continued to be good, but that the celebrants should probably explain elements in the Mass such as the “oratio fidelium.” He also thought that there should be period of silence in the singing that accompanies the distribution of communion so that the students would have some time for individual silent prayer. It was generally agreed that this would be desirable, and Fr. Adam was asked to take care of the selection of suitable communion song.

An important matter of the committee’s discussion was the English table prayers which had been translated from Latin by Father Aelred. Fr. Aelred thought it desirable to suppress 3rd person verb forms and 2nd person plural forms, but to keep 2nd person singular forms, since we have them in such prayers as the Our Father (Thy Kingdom come…) Nor would the simple substitution of modern 2nd person singular forms be good English, since we don’t say, “These Your gifts…”

The entire committee favored having None before lunch, and the shortened form of meal prayers after lunch with the full form to be said after supper, which is our major meal. The shortened form of meal prayers after lunch would allow the clerics more time for recreation. With the help of clerics, a new translation of the table prayers undertaken by Father Aelred could be multilithed and be circulated among the community shortly.


  1. It is interesting to me that the reaction to the negative comments on the “Solemnized Low Mass” was not “Hmmm… maybe we should rethink this,” but “well, there are always complainers” and “I guess we need to educate them more.” I know that both of these are often my own reaction to complaints about the liturgy, but I do wonder if they are not more than a bit condescending and dismissive.

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #1:
      I think innovation in a system (wanted by a few, whether with good judgment or not) is always met with some initial resistance (again, whether with good judgment or not). Some discernment is needed to sift positive from negative innovations. That’s the basis on which one hopes the innovators would respond to the resistance – receptively listening when it’s sound, courageously moving forward when it’s not. But how to tell, early on, when it is which…?

      I don’t know enough about Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (5th edition, 2003), to know how it addresses those questions – and the right relation of innovators (2.5%) and early adopters (13.5%) with the early majority (34%), late majority (34%), and laggards (16%). I figure someone must have done a Rogers-type analysis of the diffusion of liturgical innovations (either just the postconciliar period, or also including the earlier 20th century liturgical movement).

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