Sunday 9 June 2024

Sunday within the Octave of the Sacred Heart - Third Sunday after Pentecost


The Sunday within the Octave of the Sacred Heart, the third Sunday after Pentecost, is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The structure of the Office is as last Sunday. The Gospel pericopes from St. Luke have the parable of the shepherd going after one sheep missing from his hundred strong flock.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Unus militum etc were sung, not doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 115, 127 & 147. The chapter was of the Sunday and the Office hymn was En ut superba criminum, as on the feast. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the Octave and of SS Primus & Felician. The Suffrage was omitted. At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung and Te lucis was sung with the Doxology and tone of the Octave. The Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Cor Jesu amore nostri vulneratum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn is Auctor beate saeculi, both as on the feast., In the first nocturn the antiphons from the feast, Cogitationes etc are sung, not doubled, with Pss. 32, 35 & 40 and the lessons are a continuation of the First Book of the Kings. The responses are of the Octave. In the second nocturn the antiphons Rex omnis terrae etc are sung with Pss. 46, 60 & 93. The lessons are from the Encyclical of Pius XI in 1928 that, inter alia, gave the feast an Octave. In the third nocturn the antiphons Qui diligitis Dominum etc are sung with Pss. 96, 97 & 107. The homily is from St. Gregory on St. Lukes Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons Unus militum etc are sung, again as on the feast but not doubled, with psalms 92, 99, 62 Benedicite & 148. The Office hymn is Cor, arca legem continens. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the Octave of the Sacred Heart and of SS Primus & Felician. The Suffrage is omitted.

At the Hours the hymns have the Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui Corde fundis gratiam etc. The antiphons from Lauds are sung in the normal sequence at the Hours. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii). In the short responsory the versicle Qui Corde fundis gratiam is sung. The lectio brevis is of the Sunday, Deus autem.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave, the third collect is of SS Primus & Felician. The Creed is sung and the preface is of the Sacred Heart.

At Vespers the antiphons Unus militum etc are sung, not doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 115, 127 & 147. The Office hymn is En ut superba criminum. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of St. Margaret of Scotland and of the Octave. The Suffrage is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave of the Sacred Heart has been abolished. The liturgical colour of the day is green. There are no commemorations at either Vespers. Mattins is is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there are no commemorations. Mass has a single collect and the preface of the Trinity.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday 2 June 2024

Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi

Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi, the second Sunday after Pentecost, is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is white, the colour of the feast and Octave.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms of the feast of Corpus Christi, Sacerdos in aeternum etc, were sung, not doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 115, 127 & 147. The chapter was of the Sunday, the Office hymn, Pange, lingua, as on the feast. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were of the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the Octave and of SS. Marcellinus, Peter & Erasmus. The Suffrage was omitted being within an Octave. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the melody and Doxology of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui natus es de Virgine, Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula. The Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem adoremus dominantem Gentibus: Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem. The Office hymn is Sacris solemnis. The antiphons and psalms are as on the feast of Corpus Christi but the antiphons are not doubled.  The lessons are proper to the Sunday. In the first nocturn these are taken from the First Book of Kings. In the second nocturn they are taken from a sermon of St. Chrysostom to the people of Antioch and the homily in the third nocturn is from St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons are those sung on the feast of Corpus Christi, Sapientia etc but they are not doubled. The chapter is of the Sunday, the Office hymn is Verbum supernum prodiens as on the feast. The antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are of the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the Octave and SS Marcellinus etc. The Suffrage is omitted.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung to the same tone as on the feast of the Nativity of the LORD (there of course being a deep link between the Incarnation and Corpus Christi) with the Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria etc. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), the versicle in the short responsory is Qui natus es for the feast and Octave, the short lesson is Filioli mei, of the Sunday.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Octave, the third collect is of SS Marcellinus etc. The Creed is sung and the preface is of the Nativity.

In Collegiate and Cathedral Churches a Mass of the feast of Corpus Christi is sung after None with Gloria, the second collect of the Sunday etc, the Sequence Lauda Sion, Creed, preface of the Nativity and last Gospel of the Sunday. After this a Procession is made as on the feast. Likewise in those countries where the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi is observed on the Sunday following the feast Masses are of the feast with a commemoration of the Sunday.

At Vespers the antiphons Sacerdos in aeternum etc, are sung, not doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 115, 127 & 147. The chapter is of the Sunday and the Office hymn is Pange, lingua. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of the following day within the Octave. The Suffrage is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi, and the Octave itself, have been abolished and the second Sunday after Pentecost is celebrated as a 'green' Sunday. There are no commemorations at Vespers. Mattins is stripped down to a single nocturn of three lessons with the invitatory and antiphons of the Sunday. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is a single collect. At Vespers there are no commemorations.
 
Image: Missale Romanum, 1572,  Antwerp

Sunday 26 May 2024

Trinity Sunday


The feast of the Most Holy Trinity is now a Double of the First Class having been raised to that rank in the reforms of 1911-13. Prior to those reforms it was a Double of the Second Class and before that a double. Its origin appears to be as a local feast that originated in Liege in the tenth century with its celebration spreading in northern France and England. The Franciscan John Peckham revised the texts in the thirteenth century. In many local rites (and e.g., in the Dominican rite) Sundays were counted after Trinity rather than Pentecost, as indeed they still are in the BCP. The first Sunday after Pentecost is commemorated in the Office and Mass. The feasts of St. Philip Neri and St. Eleutherius are omitted in the universal calendar this year.

Yesterday afternoon first Vespers marked the beginning of the Summer (Pars Aestiva) volume of the Breviarium Romanum. The antiphons Gloria tibi Trinitas etc were sung, doubled, with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 and 116. The chapter, O altitudo, and Office hymn, Jam sol recedit, will be used at Vespers on Saturdays for all the Sundays after Pentecost. The antiphon on the Magnificat, Gratias tibi, Deus etc, and the collect were proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the first Sunday after Pentecost was sung. After Vespers the antiphon Salve Regina etc was sung for the first time this year. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper, Deum verum, unum in Trinitate, et Trinitatm in Unitate, Venite adoremus. In the first nocturn he antiphons, Adesto, unus Deus etc., are sung, doubled, with psalms 8, 18 & 23. The lessons are taken from the sixth chapter of the Prophet Isaiah. In the second nocturn the antiphons, Te invocamus etc., are sung, doubled, with psalms 46, 47 & 71, the lessons are taken from the Book of Bishop Fulgentius on faith. In the third nocturn the antiphons Caritas Pater est etc are sung, doubled,  with psalms 95, 96 & 97. The homily is from St. Gregory Nazianzen. The ninth lesson is of the first Sunday after Pentecost. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons, Gloria tibi, Trinitas etc., are sung, doubled, with the Dominical psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The Office hymn is Tu, Trinitatis Unitas. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Sunday is sung .

At Prime the festal psalms are sung, 53, 118(i) & 118(ii) with Quicumque, the Athanasian Creed, under the antiphon Gloria tibi Trinitas. The lectio brevis is Tres sunt and the Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. Before Mass at the sprinkling of lustral water the antiphon Asperges me returns. The Mass is proper, Benedicta sit. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday, the Creed is sung, the preface is that of the Most Holy Trinity (used for all Sundays not having a proper preface after 1759), and the last Gospel is of the Sunday.

At Vespers the antiphons Gloria tibi, Trinitas etc are sung, doubled, with the Sunday psalms. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. Bede and of the first Sunday after Pentecost.  At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' so much has been excised from the Breviary that four volumes are no longer needed. The 'Pars Altera' of the two volumes begins today. There is no commemoration of the first Sunday after Pentecost at Vespers, Mattins or Lauds. The eighth lesson is split into two to make a ninth lesson for the feast. At Prime Quicumque is sung on this Sunday alone in the 1962 rite, the lectio brevis is Dominus autem dirigat. At Mass there is no commemoration of the Sunday and therefore no proper last Gospel. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Dominica Pentecostes - Pentecost Sunday


The feast of Pentecost, or Whitsun - as it is known in English speaking lands from 'White Sunday' most likely a reference to the white albs the newly baptized at the Vigil would wear - is one of the greatest feasts in the Liturgical Year ranking next only to Pascha and, like the Queen of Feasts, is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the first order. The liturgical colour of the feast and its Octave is red. The feasts of St. Peter Celestine and St. Pudentiana are omitted this year in the Universal Calendar.

Yesterday, after None, the beautiful and splendid ceremonies of the Vigil of Pentecost were celebrated with its six prophecies, blessing of the font, litany of the Saints and Vigil Mass. Some fine photographs of the rite can be found here. In the afteroon first Vespers of the feast were sung with the solemn tone of Deus, in adjutorium which is also used at Mattins and at Lauds. The antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc were sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. During the singing of the hymn, Veni, Creator Spiritus, all knelt during the first verse. All hymns of the feast and Octave have the Doxology Deo Patri sit gloria, Et Filio, qui a mortuis, Surrexit ac Paraclito, In saeculorum saecula. Veni Creator is sung in tone 8, the other hymns of the Office in tone 1. At Vespers there were no commemorations. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted for the Octave.

Mattins for the feast, and Octave, is like Pascha in only having a single nocturn of three psalms and three lessons. The invitatory is Alleluia, Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, Venite adoremus Alleluia. The Office hymn is Jam Christus astra ascenderat. The antiphons Factus est etc are sung with psalms 47, 67 & 103. The lessons are from a homily of St. Gregory the Great on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons, Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc, are the same as at Vespers and are sung with the Dominical psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The Office hymn is Beata nobis gaudia. There are no commemorations.

At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) under the antiphon Cum complerentur. In the short responsory the versicle Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, alleluia, alleluia is sung. The short lesson is Judaei quoque. At Terce instead of the usual hymn Nunc Sancte nobis the hymn Veni Creator is sung as it was at the third hour the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles, as at Vespers the first verse is sung kneeling.

At Mass the Vidi aquam is sung for the last time this year and the aspersion takes place with Baptismal water taken after the blessing of the font yesterday morning. The Gloria is sung and there is only one collect. After the Alleluia the beautiful sequence Veni, Sancte Spiritus is sung. The Creed is sung. The preface, Communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper to the feast and used throughout the Octave.

At second Vespers the antiphons Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes etc are sung, doubled, with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 113. The Office hymn is Veni, Creator Spiritus. The versicle and response and antiphon on the Magnificat are proper to second Vespers. There are no commemorations. The feast of St Bernardine of Siena is omitted this year in the Universal Calendar.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the magnificent ceremonies of the Vigil have been entirely abolished - no doubt as they would remind the faithful of the traditional form of Holy Saturday - although the Hanc igitur of the Mass of the Vigil still retains the clause '...on behalf of these whom Thou hast vouchsafed to bring to a new birth by water and the Holy Ghost..' even though the ancient baptismal rites have been abolished. At Compline and at the hymns of the Hours, except Terce, the ordinary Doxology is sung. The antiphons at the Little Hours are doubled.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday 12 May 2024

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension


The Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The theme of the great feast of the Ascension continues with most of the texts coming from the feast. However, unlike on the feast itself, the antiphons at the Greater Hours are not doubled. The Gospel pericopes from St. John contain the beautiful words of the LORD promising the gift of the Paraclete.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons for the feast, Viri Galilaei etc, were sung (not doubled) with the psalms of the feast (Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116). The chapter was of the Sunday, the Office hymn was of the Ascension, Salutis humane Sator, and the antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were proper to the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the Octave and of SS Nereus & Companions. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross was omitted due to the Octave. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Ascension Doxology Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui victor in caelum redis etc, but the Dominical preces were omitted because of the Octave.

At Mattins the invitatory, hymn and antiphons, Elevata est etc., are as on the feast, but the antiphons are not doubled. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the First Epistle of St. John, the responsories are of the feast. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon on the Ascension by St. Augustine and the same Father provides the third nocturn lessons reflecting on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds all is from the feast, but with the antiphons not doubled, except the chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus and collect. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of SS Nereus & Companions and of the Octave.

At the Little Hours the hymns are sung with the melody and Doxology of Ascension. At Prime the festal psalms (Pss. 53, 118i, 118ii) are sung rather than the Dominical ones (117, 118i, 118ii) the short lesson is Si quis loquitur. The Dominical preces are omitted due to the Octave etc.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of SS Nereus & Companions, the third collect is of the Octave. The Creed is sung, the preface and communicantes are of the Ascension.

Where the External Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated on Sunday the Mass of the feast is celebrated with a commemoration, and last Gospel, of the Sunday.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms are as on the feast. The chapter, antiphon on the Magnificat and collect are of the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of St. Robert Bellarmine and of the Octave. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave is abolished having been stripped from the feast in 1956 so today becomes the Sunday after the Ascension. Vespers yesterday were of the feast of SS Philip & James, jettisoned from their ancient observance on the Kalends of May by the reformers. A commemoration was sung of the Sunday. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn, the invitatory and hymn of the Ascension are sung but the psalms are those for Sunday under a single antiphon. At Lauds the psalms are sung under a single antiphon and there are no commemorations. At Prime the Dominical psalms are sung (117, 118i & 118ii) although the short lesson is, perhaps surprisingly, Viri Galilaei for Ascensiontide. The hymns of the Hours do not have the Ascension Doxology. In Mass there is but a single collect. The preface of the Ascension is sung but not the proper communicantes in the Canon. Vespers are of the Sunday, the psalms sung under one antiphon - as on other Sundays after Pascha - there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal.

Sunday 5 May 2024

Fifth Sunday after Pascha


The fifth Sunday after Pascha is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The Gospel pericopes from St. John describe how the LORD tells His disciples to ask for anything in His name after He has ascended to the Father. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week are the Rogation Days of the Lesser Litanies before the feast of the LORD's Ascension on Thursday.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms of Saturday were sung under the single antiphon Alleluia. The Office hymn was Ad regias Agni dapes. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding feast of St. Monica and of St. Pius V. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross was omitted. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Paschal Doxology and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia and the Office hymn is Rex sempiterne Caelitum. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the first Epistle of St. Peter. In the second nocturn the lessons are from the writing of St. Ambrose on faith in the Resurrection and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Augustine on St. John's Gospel on the LORD's words "Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you." The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the Office hymn is Aurora. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration was sung of St. Pius V. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross was omitted.

At the Hours the hymns are sung with the Paschal Doxology. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Pius V. Today there is no third collect. The Creed is sung and the preface is of Paschaltide.

At Vespers the Dominical psalms are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia. The Office hymn is Ad regias Agni dapes. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following Office of St. John before the Latin Gate and of St. Pius V. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted. At Compline Te lucis is sung with the Paschal Doxology and the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers.The Paschal Doxology is not sung at Compline or at the Little Hours. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn. At Laudas there are no commemorations. At Mass there is but a single collect.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Wednesday 1 May 2024

SS Philip & James Apostles

The feast of the Holy Apostles SS Philip and James is a Double of the Second Class and its liturgical colour is red. In Western rites SS Philip and James have been honoured together as the relics of both Apostles were jointly placed in the confessio of the Church of the Apostles in Rome at its consecration in the sixth century. The anniversary of this, the church's dedication in c. 560, is May 1st and so the feast of two Apostles has graced this day in Western Kalendars for nearly fifteen centuries. St. Philip, tradition tells us, was from Bethsaida. He was crucified at Hierapolis in Phrygia. St. James the Less was from Cana and was the first bishop of Jerusalem. St. Paul says (Galatians 1:19) 'I did not see any apostle except James the brother of the Lord'. St. James was cast from the pediment of the Temple on the orders of the Jewish High Priest and then clubbed to death. 


The above photograph, taken by the writer whilst on a research trip to Rome three decades ago, shows the tomb of the Holy Apostles Saints Philip and James in the confessio of the Church. Far better photographs can be found on the Orbis Catholicus Secundus blog where the photograph below can be found with others.


At first Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons proper to the feast, Domine, ostende nobis Patrem etc, were sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter was Stabant justi and the Office hymn was Tristes erant Apostoli. The antiphon on the Magnificat, Non turbetur etc., and collect were both proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast a commemoration was sung of the preceding Office of St. Catherine of Siena.  At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Paschaltide Doxology and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum Venite adoremus and the Office hymn is again Tristes erant Apostoli. In the first nocturn the antiphons Stabunt justi etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 18, 33 & 44. The lessons are from the Epistle of St. James taken from occurring Scripture, Quid proderit, fratres mei, with the responsories from the Common of Apostles in Paschaltide. In the second nocturn the antiphons Ecce etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 46, 60 & 63 and the lessons are proper to the feast. In the third nocturn the antiphons Lux perpetua etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 74, 96 & 98. The Gospel fragment is from St. John and the pericope contains the passage where the LORD tells St. Philip that if he wishes to see the Father to see Him and that in the Father's house there are many mansions. The homily is from St. Augustine. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Domine ostende nobis Patrem etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148. The Office hymn is Paschale mundo gaudium and is sung with the Paschal Doxology. At the Hours the antiphons from Lauds are sung in the usual sequence. The Office hymns have the Paschal Doxology and the festal psalms are sung at the Hours. At Prime the lectio brevis is Scimus quoniam.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass is proper, Exclamaverunt etc. The Gloria is sung, the Creed is sung, and the preface is of the Apostles.

At second Vespers the antiphons Domine ostende nobis Patrem are again sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. The Office hymn is Tristes erant Apostoli. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the following Office of St. Athanasius. At Compline Te lucis is sung with the Paschaltide Doxology and the Dominical preces are omitted.

The 'liturgical books of 1962' plummet to yet another low point today with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. The ancient feast of SS Philip and James has been cast aside until May 11th, the first 'free' liturgical day, expelled from its traditional place in the Kalendar of May 1st by this repugnant accretion to the Calendar. The hymns of the Hours do not have the Paschaltide Doxology.
 
Papa Pacelli's Commission for General Liturgical Reform had discussed making May 1st a Marian feast but settled on S. Giuseppe Artigiano (c.f. minutes of meeting 45; 19 Oct 1954 and 59; 17 Jan 1956 in Giampietro, N., 'Il Card. Ferdinado Antonelli e gli sviluppi della riforma liturgica dal 1948 al 1970', Studia Anselmiana, Rome, 1998). Clearly feasts of antiquity were not considered particularly sacred - but then neither was anything else - so from 1956 the beautiful, albeit relatively modern, feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph - celebrated two weeks ago - and its Octave were abolished.  The irony is that the feast of 'San Giuseppe Comunista' introduced as a Double of the First Class, becoming First Class in the 1960 Calendar revision - the highest rank of feast, lasted less than fifteen years before plummeting to an 'optional memoria' in the 1969 Calendar revision.
 
Considering the liturgical climate of the 1940s and 1950s the feast reflected the general ethos of the reformers. An account of a 'workers' Mass' of the period is a prime example of that ethos and illustrative of the contemporary heteropraxis:

"Permittente Summo Pastore: a case of a bishop's Mass so celebrated in this 'French' manner with express papal permission is provided by the cathedral of Castres, during November, 1944. Our eyewitness account implies that such an experiment was tried in many places. The account is lengthy, but of special interest: It was ten o'clock at night. The cathedral was already full of people, and the crowd overflowed into the street. The whole congregation was composed of workers brought there by their fellow workers. A stage, erected on a level with the Communion rail, extended some distance down the main aisle of the church. As in the Middle Ages our sanctuaries were used for the presentation of religious plays, so tonight a great mystery was to be enacted in front of the altar. All the actors were workers, wearing their work clothes. They moved forward into the glare of the spotlights. The drama began, concerning itself first with the shame of conquered France, its sufferings during the exodus which drove millions of its homeless people into the south, the misery of its prisoners held in Germany for five years, the horror of the bombardments. There, for two hours, the ordeals of a suffering people unfolded before the congregation. The organ music changed into a joyful melody when two carpenters brought to the stage a carpenters' workbench. Next, weavers appeared, placing on this improvised altar three white linen cloths which they had themselves woven. Two miners took their places on either side of the altar, with their lighted lamps like tapers, linking the world of labor with the worship of God. Lastly, came a printer, with a Missal he had printed especially for this occasion. Then Msgr. Moussaron, Archbishop of Albi, entered, garbed in his purple cassock. In full view of the congregation he was robed in his vestments while a priest explained their meaning. When midnight struck, the archbishop proceeded to the temporary altar and, facing the congregation, began the celebration of the Mass. By special dispensation of the pope, this Mass, except for the Canon, was said in French. The effect on the congregation was instant and profound. For many it was as if they were hearing Mass for the first time."

Ellard, G., 'The Mass of the Future', 1948, p.155

Image (top): Detail of reredos by Maesta, WikimediaWikimedia