Cleansing Fire

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Traditional Requiem High Mass at OLOV/SJ

November 5th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

(See excerpts from the All Souls Day Mass HERE)

(Click on pictures to see clearer images.)

A requiem high Mass in the Extraordinary Form was celebrated last Friday, All Souls Day, at Our Lady of Victory/Saint Joseph Church in downtown Rochester.

The Mass, as my mother would have said, was “beautiful”. Mom certainly had some aesthetic sensibilities –she loved decorating the home- but she had no real formal training in design or knowledge of fine art. I don’t recall her having much knowledge of classical music, either, but she did enjoy familiar classical selections. But, I doubt she had in her mind the elements and principles of design when she referred to a Mass as beautiful.

We have discussed this idea of beauty regarding liturgical art in several past posts. Mom, I don’t think, ever tried to conceptualize what she meant by a “beautiful Mass”. She never explained it but I think the family always knew what she meant; the Mass was Catholic in its fullest sense; it was full of grace –of beautiful sounds, movements, smells, reverence, and infused with a sense of the sacred; it was uplifting; it was as if you were in heaven with the angels. It was Catholic; it was beautiful! Not necessarily elaborate and rich in ceremonial, but Catholic.

The All Souls Day Mass at Our Lady of Victory/Saint Joseph, however, was rich in ceremonial and music.

We can discuss the theology and doctrines of the Mass and explain this and that aspect of the liturgical celebration -the symbolism and typological constructions. Those things are part of a full understanding of the meaning of the Mass. But, the Mass is not really understood to our spiritual benefit unless it is also “enjoyed”. I don’t mean enjoyed as in “entertained” but rather “in-joyed” as in lifted up and filled with spiritual joy and transcendent happiness. That can happen at a very simple reverent celebration of daily Mass as well as at a “pull out all the stops” high feast day Liturgy. And, to a certain extent, is dependent on the predisposition of the individual participant, I suppose.

But, it is the elaborated ceremonial that most often results in the exclamation, beautiful!

I was talking with a man on Sunday who, as a member of the congregation, participated in the All Souls Day Mass on Friday. There were several times during the Mass, he recounted, when he was nearly reduced to tears. The Beautiful is profound and moves deeply; it draws us in and engages us at a very deep level. Can there be any doubt the man was actively participating even though, for the most part, he and the rest of the congregation were only, except for some responses, watching and listening (and sitting, standing and kneeling)?

The musical setting of the Mass was Gabriel Faure’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 performed by the parish’s choir and student singers and instrumentalists from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. Probably the most popular or familiar selection from Faure’s Mass setting is the Pie Jesu. The music, alone, of Faure’s Mass can bring tears to a listener’s eyes but when combined with the ritual of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in the context of All Souls Day, well… it is almost overwhelming.

The Requiem High Mass on All Souls Day at Victory was profound and, as my mother would have said, beautiful!

Mom was devastated when the Traditional Latin Mass was ripped away from her and replaced by hootenanny Masses. I’m sure she was part of last Friday’s All Souls Day Mass at Our Lady of Victory/Saint Joseph Church –as a joy filled beneficiary.

Incidentally, it was a packed church at Victory last Friday night.

(See excerpts from the All Souls Day Mass HERE)

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4 Responses to “Traditional Requiem High Mass at OLOV/SJ”

  1. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Beautiful

    A Beautiful Mass

    Full Of Grace

    Sacred

    In Heaven With The Angels

    It Is Catholic.

    It Is Rich In Ceremonial And Music.

    The Mass Lifts Us Up And Fills Us With Spiritual Joy And Transcendent Happiness.

    Beautiful

    How I wanted to be there on All Souls Day. Alas, I missed it.
    But, I know what you mean, Bernie. Whether or not a mass is rich in ceremonial and music or
    “not necessarily elaborate and rich in ceremonial, but Catholic”, the source and summit of the Christian life is beautiful, full of grace and the sacred. When a Mass is Catholic it brings heavenly worship to earth and lifts us up to the transcendent who is incarnate and fills us with joy. Can the beauty of Mass be explained any more profoundly and simply than to assert THE MASS MAKES JESUS CHRIST PRESENT?

    This great post by Bernie lifted my heart up and reminded me to sing: KEEP IN MIND THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS DIED FOR US AND IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD; HE IS OUR SAVING LORD; HE IS JOY FOR ALL AGES.

  2. avatar raymondfrice says:

    Nice to see some valid diversity in the Church today.

  3. avatar Thinkling says:

    This event was picked up by New Liturgical Movement, and this link by Big Pulpit.

  4. avatar snowshoes says:

    Bernie,

    Beautiful! Can you help me with my memory of “high Mass”? I was in grammar school when the vernacular Mass came in, and I have since attended a few “Low Masses”, which are pretty close to what I recall as low Mass that we would attend on Sundays. But the “high Masses” I’ve seen on TV don’t look anything like the high Mass we used to attend at church. Every Sunday, one of the Masses would be “High Mass”, but it would be pretty much the same as Low Mass, except for all the candles would be lit. We never had a deacon, subdeacon, etc., just altar boys to assist the priest. But then my memory may be faulty. Was there a High Mass Lite for parishes without the requisite clergy? Thank you for your help. God bless.


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