Thursday, August 17, 2006

the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

At my parish assignment this summer, with Fr. Bob Ray at St. Jerome in Fairdale and St. Mary in Hillview, I was given the opportunity to plan the liturgy for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was my first time planning a liturgy so the task was a little daunting. Plus, I wanted it to be perfect because this particular solemnity means a great deal to me. I consecrated myself to Jesus, through Mary when I first entered seminary and this solemnity is also the patronal "feast" of the Archdiocese and one of the parishes to which I was assigned. I wanted it to be solemn and reverent and expose the two congregations to the richness of traditional Catholic liturgy that they normally don't experience throughout the year. But, alas, this isn't my liturgy per se, it's not mine to do with as I please. It's the heavenly liturgy in which we participate. At the same time though, we are given the task of doing are part in the celebration to ensure that it parallels the heavenly liturgy as closely as our feeble minds can imagine it while keeping the needs and the faith of the people in mind. At least that's what I think the Mass should be... that was the task I gave myself. And Fr. Ray was very open to my suggestions... actually he indulged me quite a bit! I must admit I was in hog-heaven... excuse the bad pun.

Anyway, here's how the Mass was planned:

First I enlisted Sarah Nettleton, a professional cantor and one of the head cantors at St. Marin of Tours. This is the only parish in the Archdiocese with the indult to say the Tridentine Mass and they have a truly angelic choir. She was very instrumental (excuse another bad pun) in helping me plan the music for the Mass and construct the participation aid so that the faithful could more easily follow along.

Processional Hymn: "Immaculate Mary"
Introit (Latin Chant)
Confiteor (English, recited)
Kyrie (Greek Chant)
Gloria (English, recited)
First Reading
Responsorial Psalm (sung)
Second Reading
Gradual (Latin Chant)
Gospel Acclamation
Nicene Creed
Prayers for the Faithful
Offertory (Latin Chant)
Preparation of the Gifts: "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"
Sanctus (Latin Chant)
Great Amen
Memorial Acclamation (sung)
Agnus Dei (Latin Chant)
Communion Chant (Latin)
Communion Hymn: "O Thou, Who at Thy Eucharist Didst Pray"
Communion Meditation: "Ave Maria" (Gregorian Chant)
Recessional Hymn: "Hail, Holy Queen Enthroned Above"

I wore a cassock and surplice I had borrowed from a friend at seminary (to wear to serve my younger brother's wedding) and enlisted four children from the Philipines who were parishioners and used to traditional liturgy. We had incense at the procession, blessing of the altar and crucifix, the gospel, and the blessing of the gifts and people. And we had torch-bearers for the gospel as well. The only things we didn't have were incense and bells at the consecration (which Father and I agreed wouldn't have worked logistically). In my humble opinion, it was a beautiful liturgy and both parishes seemed to enjoy the experience. My hope is that it maybe enkindled or rekindled an appreciation for Latin, the treasury of Catholic hymnody, and solemn liturgy.

"Sursum corda"
"Habemus ad Dominum"

"Lift up your hearts"
"We have lifted them up to the Lord"

St. John Vianney, pray for us

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