Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part XXVI

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

November 17, 1964

Present were Fathers John, Daniel, Michael, Aelred, Gerard, Brice, Wenceslaus, Leon, Mederic.

Father John stated that the main business of the meeting would be an explanation and discussion of the two Mass formulas prepared beforehand by the subcommittee composed of Fathers Gerard and Aelred. The formulas, as well as the list of proposals accompanying it, will be appended to these minutes for reference.

The basic principle was restated that our efforts are directed towards setting up a viable English High Mass. Until this ideal is possible, we must content ourselves with preliminary efforts. Something closer to the ideal will be possible on March 7; until then adaptations and compromises are necessary, and the formulas are not intended to stifle necessary experimentation.

Community Masses are to be sung; keeping in mind that the St. John’s full community includes students and visitors, the needs and desires of these groups must be considered. At the same time it must be remembered that the specifically monastic community has needs and desires, and these must also be considered.

Following the point by point statement and explanation of the proposed formulas, the committee accepted the proposals with these modifications:

  1. The introit and communion refrain would not always have to be different; a simple refrain could be fitted into a number of different introit and communion settings.
  2. At a conventual hymn Mass, the celebrant reads the Gospel facing straight north rather than at the customary angle or turned around to the choir.
  3. Dialogue versicles by the celebrant, at all Masses, are said versus populum.
  4. The homily is to be preached by the celebrant; those unwilling to preach should not be chosen as celebrants.

It was decided that a detailed list of instructions be drawn up for the celebrant and other ministers, that these instructions be passed out to the interested members of the community, and that a copy be kept in the sacristy for ready reference.

The additional recommendations concerning community celebrations of Mass were discussed. Numbers 1,2,3,4, and 6 were accepted unanimously. Considerable discussion attended #5. The feasibility of continuing the practice of having student lectors was not seen by all. It was suggested that having a student read the lesson when ordained lectors are present in numbers is objectionable. Another mentioned the difficulty of getting students to read—especially if the student reader were to wear vestments. The objections that our not having student lectors could indicate disinterestedness in proper presentation of various groups within the main community was raised and discussed. A further objection that having clerics serve as lectors at all Masses could lessen their ardor was countered by the unanimously accepted suggestion that cleric lectors prepare the reading beforehand and “practice” in Fr. Daniel’s presence. It was further agreed that we should enforce that part of the Rule requiring that only certain persons do public reading. This would have repercussions on reading in the refectory and on acolyting for the Divine Office. A vote of 7-1 decided that the use of student lectors at Sunday community Mass be terminated. The rest of proposal #5 was unanimously accepted. The above changes go into effect November 29, 1964.

Proposal #7 was not discussed in lieu of settling another matter, the incensations at Vespers. The committee decided to simplify this by having one incensation each for the a) ministers at the scamnum, b) the choir as a unit, and c) the congregation in the nave.


    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #1:
      I do not remember seeing them when I went through the folder. Unfortunately, there are many documents mentioned in the meeting minutes that are not found in the folder in the archive. They might exist somewhere, but I did not come across them. Sorry, they would be nice to have.

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