Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part XI

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. 14, 1963

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

Father John opened this meeting of the committee by stating that the Abbot had received reports to the effect that the Bishop seemed puzzled or displeased with some of our Sunday liturgy. Father Michael remarked that we should not act on these reports until we had a more exact account of what the Bishop had said. Father Daniel inquired if Father Abbot had spoken to the Bishop yet on the topic of our Sunday liturgy, and Father John thought that he hadn’t. The committee agreed with the sentiment expressed by Father Aelred, namely that we have done nothing at St. John’s that is not allowed.

Father Daniel wondered why we had had so many Solemn High Masses during the week. After some discussion of this topic the committee agreed in suggesting that we confine our solemnization of the liturgy on weekday mornings, when Mass is celebrated at 5:45, to the form of missa cantata. Any further solemnization of the Mass at this hour seems psychologically impractical and therefore not meaningful. Further, the form of the missa cantata would permit the reading of the Epistle simultaneously in English, while the Gospel could be read in English after the priest had sung it.

Father Gerard suggested that the Advent Masses be sung because the texts are so meaningful. To this Father Aelred replied that the meaningfulness of the texts was all the more reason for having them in the vernacular. Father Gerard then stated that there would be as much participation at a sung Mass as at the solemnized Low Mass. And it would be direct participation. Further, English hymns could be sung at the beginning and end of the Mass. To Father Gerard’s thought that the singing of English hymns at the beginning of Mass in conjunction with a sung Latin Mass would serve as a good preparation for the sung Mass in English, Father Aelred expressed his disagreement on the grounds that a sung Mass in English will be in English and not in Chant. Father Michael and Daniel expressed the opinion shared by other members of the committee that the solemnized Low Mass is closer in spirit to the future sung Mass in English than the sung Latin High Mass is. Father Michael also stated that theologically indirect participation is full participation; hence the terms “direct” or “indirect” participation say nothing about the fullness of the participation. Father John directed attention to a certain inconsistency: we have a form of solemnized Low Mass on weekdays which does not seem to differ much from the solemnization of the Mass on Sundays, which should be greater, however. Father Aelred thought that the Low Mass on Sundays could be solemnized more than it presently is. He also pointed out the inconsistency of the present liturgically [sic] legislation which allows no sung vernacular at the High Mass, whereas it allows at least readings in vernacular at the missa cantata.

In reconsidering the forms of the Mass for the first three Sundays of Advent, the majority of the committee voted for having solemnized Low Masses on Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, with a missa cantata on Dec. 8. At this latter Mass, however, there should be no opening hymn in the vernacular, since it would be a reduplication of the Introit. It is also suggested that an oratio fidelium be had at this Mass. The committee also agreed that more verses of the hymn should be sung at the end of our daily conventual Mass, provided that the servers go to the lower chapel when the celebrant leaves the altar.

At the end of the meeting Father Gerard said that in substituting a Low Mass for the Sunday sung Mass the committee represented the desire neither of the monastic community, nor of the students, nor of our visitors, to say nothing of the recommendation of the 1958 Instruction, par. 26. Disagreement with this view was expressed, however.

Leave a Reply

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