Pray Tell continues its 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
September 14, 1964
Present were Fathers John, Daniel, Emeric, Michael, Aelred, Brice, Wenceslaus, Leon, Fr. Mederic and Brother Gerard.
After opening the meeting with prayer Fr. John stated that the primary reason for this meeting was the need to adopt suitable action in response to a letter received from Archabbot Rembert, the coordinator of a committee to bring together the liturgical ideas of the American Cassinese and Swiss-American Congregations. We have been asked to submit suggestions along with a poll of the whole community regarding the Divine Office in the vernacular. A questionnaire was discussed and a list of six questions was decided upon.
Discussing the questionnaire, Frs. Daniel and Michael suggested a question dealing with experimentation in choral recitation. Fr. Emeric pointed out the serious need for a careful choosing of the best possible English translation of the Psalms. Fr. Mederic inquired about the possibility of some revision of the present Office, to which Fr. Wenceslaus replied that everything now is provisional because we are probably heading toward a common breviary, the revised Roman breviary, not expected to appear for some time. Fr. Daniel asked whether Fr. Abbot could select a group to experiment with choral Office independently of the main choir. It was noted that some such thing is being done elsewhere, but no conclusive answer was given.
Results of the poll will be correlated with those of other Abbeys and discussed by Archabbot Rembert’s committee which includes Fr. Godfrey (replaced, during his stay in Rome, by Fr. Aelred), Very Rev. Maur Burbach, Fr. Arnold Tkacik, Fr. Aidan Kavanaugh and Very Rev. Damasus Winzen.
Next to be discussed was the Sunday Community Mass. It was suggested by several that beginning Sunday, Sept. 20, the congregation begin to recite the approved English parts of the Mass, with the exception of dialog responses and the Sanctus. Dialog remains in Latin because the celebrant may not use the vernacular until the official change. The Sanctus will be sung in English in preference to its being recited, thus solemnizing the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer. Fr. Leon will see to the insertion of official text leaflets into Our Parish Prays and Sings.
Fr. Aelred objected to the sung Prayer of the Faithful because 1) presently it is unintelligible, 2) singing renders it undue solemnity and 3) this type of prayer is more naturally recited. The committee agreed to having the Prayer read on Thursday (opening day of the school year) and next Sunday.
Fr. Michael remarked that moves to sing Epistles and Gospels in the vernacular according to some inflected form ought to be protested. Such singing detracts from the nature of proclamation required by the sacred texts.
Fr. Brice suggested that hymns and antiphons at Sunday Mass be more regular and less varied to alleviate the problems of the student body faced with learning a new combination each week. He then agreed to handle the choosing of music and any necessary practice and direction for the Sunday Mass.
Fr. John alerted the chaplains to look ahead for feasts when a full community celebration is desirable.
Fr. Leon suggested that something be done to make the “kneeling out” practice more meaningful and less cluttered. Nothing was decided.
Fr. Michael asked about the possibility of having group discussion concerning the practical implementation of the English ritual. The matter will be looked into.