Page 8, 18th July 1941

18th July 1941
Page 8
Page 8, 18th July 1941 — Active participation by the people in the Mass, interest in

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Locations: Chicago, St. Louis


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Active participation by the people in the Mass, interest in

the liturgy generally—what has happened to it during the war ? England used to lead in the liturgical movement, has the war stunted its growth ?

Meanwhile America has had its first National Liturgical Week at Chicago, soon it will have its second. Why do we lag behind ?

America Shows Us How To

Pray The Mass From a Special Correspondent

RECENTLY Mr. P. F. Anson reviewed the American book of Chicago's First National Liturgical week, but as this publication will be for some time inaccessible to people in Great Britain, our purpose here is to summarise its contents.

First Things First

The Chicago Week was significant

for its " downrightness," for the determination of hard-headed Americans to put first things first, for their refusal to waste time discussing niceties. of ritual detail, and for the consequent absence of high blood pressure arguments on the correct length or sur plices. Its subject was: " The Living Parish: the Active find Intelligent Participation of the Laity in the Liturgy."

The Bishop of Springfield said in his opening sermon: " The parish is the primary unit in which all liturgical activity emanates. it is the focal point of Catholic Action, Catholic Life, and Catholic Liturgy. IA realm Is the spirit. ual. It is the centre and soul about which all Liturgy evolves."

The difference between " parochialism " and " parish consciousness " was stressed by all the speakers, parochialism being narrow, insular, isolationist, and a breedingground for uncharitableness; parish consciousness (the ideal thing) emanating from a thorough acquaintanceship with the doctrine of the Mystical Body, making !latishioners see themselves as a " definite Mystical Body in miniature," members of " a living and self-begetting organism."

Lesson for Britain

Here is some timely comment on the marked tendency towards " parish consciousness" to Sc met with particularly in the most Catholic parishes of Britain's congested industrial areas. Criticism of an alleged lack of solidarity with the rest of the diocese of such parishes is often heard, but parish priests in relating their experiences at Chicago showed that wheo " parish consciousness " in such parishes in America is marked by assiduous attendance at, and fervent interest ix', the Mass. Holy Communion and Eucharistic Devotions, the foundations are well laid for an advance along lines of Liturgical Revival, granted, of course, that the parish priest is zealous, but wise, not allowing others to rush him. All readers of Orate Fraires know Mgr. Hellriegel, one of America's foremost champions of the Liturgy. His comments at Chicago are revealing, his pleas stirring. He said " Do away with slovenliness and

routine in the Sanctuary ! Back to a holier and worthier celebration of the Holy Sacrifice ! Back to the Sunday High Mass, fifty-two times a year I Back to an active participation by every member of the parish in the prayers and chants of the Church ! Back to a more eartfest preparation and a more joyful announcement of the living Word of God I Back to the homily' ! Back to the San. day and feast-day Vespers! That Peoale don't come Is no argument. Vespers (or Compline) are sung for the glory of God, and some of God's children will always come. Back to our cassock and surplice for the administration of the

sacraments to the sick 1 The time has come for the ' embryo' of the stole put over the civilian coat to make room for vestments that tire a worthy ' frame around God's picture.' In short: Back to a scathe corn EccIesia for the purpose of restoring true Catholic parochial life in the cell of Christ's Mystical Body, the parish I"

Sunday Man

Speakers at the Chicago Week touched upon the vexed question of attendance at the Sunday Parochial Mass. It will be recalled that some Anglican churches arrange for a parish Eucharist with breakfast in the adjoining hall at 9 on Sundays, and it was suggested that the parochial High Mass should ba at 9, so as to allow for fasting. Failing that, every family should arrange for one member to be present at the High Mass when celebrated later in the morning, at 11 or 12.

The ideal 'type of Parochial Mass, according to Dom Damasus Winzen, 0.S.13., formerly of Maria Lgach Abbey, Germany, was the Missa Cantata. with one priest, lector, sehola, and people singing the people's parts. This, in the Roman way, has the original and roost common way of active participation by the laity. The Epistle is recited by the lector in English while the priest reads it in Latin, and at the two Mementos the names of those for whom the Mass is being offered are also called out by the lector.

"We can bring about congregational singing," remarked a priest. " It will be easy enough where you have a parochial school. You can even start training the Sisters if necessary. I did it for nine years every day half-an-hour, children and Sisters."

Example of Westminster

Another priest's experiences when present at the singing of the Credo at High Mass in Westminster Cathedral make Inc wish I had been there at the sante time. 7 have often been at the Cathedral myself, but have never come away so impressed as he. He said: " I remember attending a High Mass in Westminster Cathedral. The choir performed beauti. fully, and I was duly edifier!: butt then came the Creed. and the entire vast congregation joined in with a will and almost raised the roof. It nearly swept me off my feet, all the ',lore so since it was AO unexpected."

A parish priest told the Chicago audience how on great festivals he has an " Introit Procession " before the High Mass, when the whole psalm indicated in the Introit is sung interspersed with the verse in refrain, while at Christmas, Epiphany and Faster, servers enter the church before Mass clad a% shepherds in search of the Divine Babe, or as kings bearing their offerings, or carrying between them a figure of the Risen Lord. He explained the addition of such ceremonies with the words: sentire cam Erclesia.

Regarding Missa Recitata, a subject much discussed at Chicago, it is well to remember

what Doris Gaspar Lefebvre has " Dialogue Mass is not the perfect type of Mass worship, hut is thc perfect type of participation that is possible in Low Mass as we now have it." The ideal is, of course, the eongregationally Sung Mass. But at quite a number of places in the United States, as in Cleat Britain, too, Missa Recitata has now come to stay.

Thew are a number of variations according to diocesan regulations and established local custom, and it is interesting to learn that a St. Louis priest has four boys in cassock and surplice at the daily Mis,a Recitata reading into the microphone of his large church one or other of the parts of the Proper of die Mass. Their place is taken by men on Sundays. The offertory procession when people bring to the priest the hosts they are to consume later at the Mass is often held at the church, too.

More next week.

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