Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part XXXIII

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

August 18, 1966

Present were Father Abbot, Fathers Daniel, Godfrey, Aelred, Simon, Kieran, Bruce and Brothers Gerard and Dominic.

As regards the calling of meetings in the future, it was approved that any three members of the committee could have the chairman call a meeting of the whole committee within seven days after their request. It was further approved that a senior member of the committee (Father Michael was nominated) present Father Abbot with the minutes after each meeting.

For the present the Sunday schedule will be as follows: 5:30 – Rising; 5:50 – Matins-Lauds – followed by Breakfast; 10:30 – Conventual Mass; 11:50 – Terce-Sext-None; 4:30 p.m. – Vespers; 6:00 – Supper; 10:00 – Compline (in Brothers’ Chapel and in English).

The majority of the meeting was spent discussing Concelebration. Experimentation seemed to be the keynote. Since St. John’s was originally one of six places designated to “experiment” with Concelebration, it was felt more could and should be done. Proposals ran from 0-2 senior concelebrants, placement of them, vestments worn, and the areas of daily variety that could be explored, e.g., the number of senior celebrants in relation to the feast day celebrated. All should stand for the prayer over the gifts (the signal for rising being when the priest extends his hands for the “Let us pray, Brethren). Also the last two concelebrants should purify both chalices. For fuller details see sheet distributed by Fathers Aelred and Godfrey at meeting on Concelebration.

It was hoped that the Deacon continues to assist the priest at the altar unless the celebrant himself choose otherwise, for one of the roles of the Deacon is to assist at the altar.

The idea of having a chanter intone the litany “Lord, have mercy” instead of the celebrant, who would conclude or collect the people’s prayer with the oration, was accepted.

The proposed agenda for future meetings includes: 1) tabernacles, 2) general performance of the psalter, 3) how to achieve better and improved performance in choir, 4) experimentation with the offices of Matins, Lauds, and Vespers.


  1. Why were Terce, Sext, & None combined into a single service, rather than celebrated separately at their proper hours?

    1. @Nick Basehore – comment #1:
      I don’t know for sure since I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure that the monks here had never celebrated these little hours at their proper time since when they came to Minnesota in the 1860s. From the beginning there was a strong focus on pastoral ministry – parishes, schools, publishing, etc. I recall from one abbot’s conference a few years ago that in the 1920s the abbot of St. John’s grouped the offices together even more than previously so that there would be longer periods in the day, I suppose “to get some work done” – I believe prime, terce, sext, and none were grouped together, and I can’t recall if these all were appended to lauds or to vespers.

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