Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part XXX

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 30, 1965

Present were Fathers Daniel, Godfrey, Emeric, Michael, Kieran, Austin, Bruce.

[As with the last minutes, the items discussed are arranged topically].

Problems With Communion

Type of breads to be used. Fr. Emeric has seen Fr. Abbot and Fr. John and arrangements have been made to buy whole wheat altar breads for general use. They will cost slightly more than the present four breads.

Sunday Conventual Mass. Fr. Emeric questioned a situation of the previous Sunday when he was celebrant: Why were only two ciboria consecrated at the Conventual Mass when there are four communion stations (plus the predella). The reason given was that the number of hosts in the tabernacle at that time came from a gradual accumulation due to overestimation of the number of people at the Sunday Mass. Different means of being more exact in estimating were discussed, e.g. stationing people at the door to place the breads in the ciboria, counting people as they entered church, etc.; none of which met with enthusiasm. It was then suggested that enough ciboria be consecrated on Sunday to take care of the number of stations used, and that the remainder be used during the week. It was thought that if hosts are going to be consecrated for Mass on any one day, Sunday should receive prominence. [Subsequent to the meeting, Br. Dominic mentioned that the Prep students do use a considerable number during the week, which alleviates some of the problem].

Daily Conventual Mass. Fr. Kieran suggested an additional communion station for the Brothers, out of consideration for the older members of the community. Favored by all.

Concelebration

Suggested rubrical changes. It was suggested that the gesture made during the narrative of the institution be dropped since it is optional. [However, the gesture at the Hanc Igitur is symbolic of an epiclesis—the calling down of the Spirit to bless and consecrate the gifts—and as such ought to be retained]. Someone suggested that at daily Mass, the seniors enter the church first so that the problem of seating may be solved. [It is now necessary for the junior priests to count—or miscount—the number of concelebrants in order to determine their places]. It was also suggested that the second chalice should not be prepared by a priest, least of all the senior, but by a deacon. A discussion followed on this point centering about the problem of whether or not to vest another deacon just to do that job. It was decided that Occam’s razor, viz., that “beings are not to be multiplied without necessity,” would apply in this case. It was suggested toward the end of the meeting that the concelebrants might stay and sing a verse of the concluding hymn. Since time was short, there was no positive comment on this point.

It was suggested that concelebrants take their place in the choir rather than in the sanctuary, and that the recitation of part of the Canon by four priests be dropped. This would tend to de-emphasize the strictly clerical role, making the Mass more of a unified experience for those other members of the community in attendance. Retention of the fractio was recommended as being symbolically significant.

Sunday Conventual Mass. Father Emeric favored the Sunday Mass being concelebrated by the prefects and those fathers who are home for the weekend. He had no information as to how many prefects would want to do this, but it was urged that if this is to take place the number should be few. At the same time, Father Emeric thought that, in his opinion, the Sunday Mass is moving more and more away from the students, making it difficult for participation. He mentioned especially the singing of the Our Father, and the polyphony during the Lord, have mercy and Lamb of God. It was thought that perhaps it is too early to judge, since the students have sung the Mass only three times.

Concerning concelebration, it was mentioned that this could be a problem for the college students—and the rest of the community, the clerics being mentioned in particular. It was explained that the priests have no other alternative if they wish to celebrate Mass in a communal way due to the wishes of the Bishop. Patience was urged. This form of participation, it seemed generally agreed, when oft repeated, does present the danger of “overclericalization.” It was felt by Fr. Godfrey that the Bishop would not object to concelebration in public at this date (although others were not so sure), because the reason of his earlier objection was the fear of scandal due to its novelty. By now, the rite has become more or less a common occurrence and has lost its novel character. It was agreed that we should not ask the Bishop, since the granting of this permission is within the Abbot’s competence. Father Godfrey agreed to ask Father Abbot about this matter when he sees him.

2 comments

  1. The Brother and clerical student seem to have disappeared from the liturgy committee. The tenor of the committee seems to have shifted from primarily rubrical concerns to how a monastic COMMUNITY can best celebrate the liturgy. The concern not to overly clericalize the liturgy was surely a fruit of the council.

  2. #1 I agree with your last sentence and have really enjoyed seeing this move played out with each of these reports of minutes. The insights of these committee members are an inspiration to me.

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