25 June 2008

The Holy Father's Gifts to the Church (so far...)

I just read an article from February 2006, just a few months after the ascension of Benedict to the Throne of Peter. The article details an interview with Cardinal Arinze, the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship. Cardinal Arinze assured the interviewer that Pope Benedict would correct liturgical abuses with "firm teaching and a gentle manner." So let us look at what the Holy Father has given us in terms of the liturgy, so far.

This year's Corpus Christi Mass in Rome saw all those receiving Holy Communion from the Pope taking the Host on the tongue, while kneeling. Today I learn that all future papal Masses will be this way.

With the removal of the former papal MC, and the more traditional Msgr. Guido Marini being brought in as his replacement, we have seen more traditional vestments (even a 'Fiddleback' chasuble from this past Good Friday!) and the "Benedictine altar arrangement" with seven candles and a large, central crucifix on the altar.

Here is the Good Friday Veneration of the Cross. The Holy Father is vested in a beautiful alb and most beautiful Roman 'fiddleback' chasuble. The deacons are in very nice dalmatics, and Msgr. Marini (on the right) is in a surplice very typical of him, with nice lace.

See here the beautiful altar arrangement. There are six tall candles and a tall crucifix in the center. This shows the centrality of the cross. After all, the Mass is the same sacrifice as the Sacrifice of the Cross. You knew that, right? Also, look at that beautiful altar frontal!

Then there was the pastoral staff of the Pope. John Paul II used the modern (in my opinion, ugly) crucifix brought about by Pope Paul VI. After a couple years, this Palm Sunday saw the introduction of an older cross, used by Pius XII. Here is a picture of the Pope with his new pastoral staff. Also, notice that's a pretty nice chasuble and a beautiful alb there.

How could I almost forget! This year on January 13, the Pope celebrated the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord in the Sistine Chapel. Instead of using a modern table-style altar, the Holy Father used the high altar and celebrated Mass ad orientem! This was a Novus Ordo Mass, showing the world that yes, you may celebrate the New Mass facing liturgical East. See the seven candles and the beautiful crucifix? This is how Mass is supposed to be celebrated! Several parishes around the world, including my parish in Virginia, St. John the Baptist, have started celebrating Mass this way. (St. John's actually has all of their Masses ad orientem since last month!)

But most importantly, the most important thing Pope Benedict XVI has given us is Summorum Pontificum. The Traditional Latin Mass is making a slow, but steady comeback into the mainstream. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has said that the Pope wishes the TLM to be a fixture of all parishes, so that all may experience the beauty of this rite. God bless Pope Benedict for all that he has done for the Church!

Do you think I am missing anything? Let me know!

22 June 2008

How Should We Prepare for Advent?

Tom Rinkoski, Director of Faith Formation at St. Augustine's, has an answer- adopt a tree.


You know I'm not kidding... because it's Tom.

I've decided to put the offending paragraph here in case you don't want to read the entire article.

Along the path, choose one tree that exhibits a sense of humor. If you can't find one, try another park. Memorize the place where it lives, so you will be able to return often. Name this tree as a member of your family. Give it your family blessing. It will be your Christmas tree! Promise to visit it as often as possible. Pick up trash around it on each visit. Bring it water during dry summer periods. Read it the poem Emily Dickinson wrote about a tree. Think about this tree while at work. As it achieves family status, take a picture and hang it on the wall next to the high school graduation photos of the kids. Start a web blog about your tree. Maybe next year, it can be featured on your Christmas cards!

*Whistles* So, forget the traditional route like retracing the lineage of Jesus with a Jesse tree, or singing hymns such as Veni, Veni Emmanuel. Here's a better idea. Waste time and gas to go to one or several parks to find a "humorous tree." Then, assign to that tree a rational soul by making it a "member of your family." Make yourself an idiot by reading a poem to this tree, and scare your neighbors by putting a picture of it on your wall. Dang.

12 June 2008

Good Liturgical News from the World

I'd just like to share a few pictures with y'all today. These pictures are from The New Liturgical Movement, a blog that every tradition-minded Catholic should check frequently.

The first two photos are a before and after the parish priest's renovations.

Before: Notice the tiny table style altar, which seems to be overtaken by the reredos. Also, the altar is up high on that step so ad orientem Masses would be difficult. Now with a little renovation...

After: Six tall candles and a tall crucifix (the "Benedictine arrangement") are placed on the altar, which is now in the traditional... altar form. The crucifix is now the center of attention. This is important for our worship, because the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the sacrifice of Calvary! This arrangement takes the attention off of the priest, and serves as an intermediate step before introducing ad orientem Masses (where the priest and people face the same way- towards the cross.)

These next three photos are from Santissima Trinita dei Pelligrini (Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims). This is the FSSP's parish in Rome. As most of you know, the FSSP is a congregation of priests that celebrates the Traditional Mass and sacraments.

The first Solemn High Mass- look at that beautiful painting and those reliquaries and...
THE CANDLES!!!! The candles are 8 feet high and the candlesticks 6 feet high.

If we could only see more of this.... ahh.

01 June 2008

Two blog suggestions

This is just a short plug for two blogs that belong to two friends of mine.

De ProfĂșndis- Anthony Piferrer, a student at UF and his writings on the Church.

Assenting Catholic- Gerald Lamb, a graduate of Francisan University, writes on theology, politics, history, philosophy, sports, or anything else.

Make sure you check them out!

In Jesus and Mary,