Liturgy in Collegeville: From the Archives – Part XXXVIII

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

January 19, 1967

Present: Fathers John, Michael, Aelred, Daniel, Rhaban, Simon, Brice, Bruce; Brothers Gerard and Dominic; Mr. William Churchill.

The first half of the meeting was spent on unresolved business of the January 11th meeting. It was decided to keep two acolytes at the Divine Office for the present. Regarding who should read at Mass and who should acolyte and read at Office it was agreed that a sign be posted for volunteers from the whole community and that all readers would be subject to the approval or disapproval of a board of five community members including: Frs Dominic, Daniel, David, Carl and Brother Louis. The committee would vote on each new reader’s performance and either accept or reject him. If the rejected one still would like to read, he could seek help from one of the five mentioned above or anyone else and try again after passing an audition before the committee.

It was suggested that the problem of poor lighting under the balcony be solved by an electrical technician, not the Liturgy Committee.

The question of the placement of Vespers when Matins is prayed before the evening meal was resolved as follows: 12:00 noon—Sext-None, 3:00 p.m.—Vespers, 5:15 p.m.—Matins.

It was decided that during the Septuagesima season all Alleluia’s, including those printed in the psalmody, be skipped.

It was moved that the table prayers be shortened. One way suggested was simply to have the Heb say the “Bless us O Lord” and “We give you thanks” before and after the meal, respectively. The resulting vote was: affirmative 3, negative 7. The second motion read that the noon prayer be left to the Heb as to type—allowing for “Bless us, O Lord” etc. It was felt this would allow an avenue for creativity, for relevant and extemporaneous prayer. It would provide an opportunity for prayer to come from the heart and head, and not off a card. The resulting vote: affirmative 8, negative 2.

One last item was that Fr. Nathan be commissioned to make signs indicating the hours and times of the Divine Office and welcoming visitors and students to participate. These would be posted outside near the entrances of the church. It was also suggested that maybe some monk should stay in the nave to provide books and directions for lay participants. These would alternate from week to week.

The second half of the meeting dealt with “Proposed Modifications in the Celebration of Matins and Lauds.” #1 was unanimously approved. #2 was unanimously approved, if the hymns were to be recited as at present, and the present hymnals used. #3 was unanimously approved. #4 was voted on in three parts: combination of lessons, absolution, Our Father. All three were unanimously approved. #5 was voted on in two parts. It was thought best to leave part 1, regarding the manner of reciting the psalms, as flexible as possible, therefore not to stipulate how many ought to be read, or how to be handled, etc. Part 2, regarding the non-division of psalms with a doxology was unanimously approved. Therefore, in conclusion, the whole proposal was unanimously approved by the Liturgy Committee with the minor stipulations for #’s 2&5.

Father Aelred pointed out that Father Godfrey, who was absent, did not approve of uniting the lessons into one and dropping two of the responsories. Others expressed that a great majority of the complaints regarding the present structure of Office from all parts of the community were precisely on this point, that the lessons should be combined and not broken as at present.

Unresolved matter: What parts of the Office should be sung?

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