Thursday, March 3, 2011

Deepening Respect for the Eucharist and The Eucharistic Sacrifice

In his Chrism Mass sermon of 2009 (find in here) His Grace Archbishop Buti Thlagale called on the faithful of the Archdiocese to deepen respect and reverence for the Eucharist and the Eucharistic sacrifice.

The re-introduction of the Extra-ordinary form at the Cathedral provides a continuous living sermon on these important themes. As his Grace points out “External gestures help to condition our internal spiritual attitude towards the Holy.”

It may be instructive to highlight a number of His Grace’s points (they follow in italics) and illustrate how the Extra-ordinary Form gives special expression to these.

Altar rails that have been dismantled, thus we no longer kneel when receiving the ‘Body of Christ’.

The altar rails are used during the Extra-ordinary form as this is the norm. Altar rail coverings have been introduced and the faithful encouraged to place their hands under these cloths. Communion is always distributed using the communion plate to prevent the loss of any the smallest particle of the Sacred Host.

Many no longer genuflect, not even a bow that acknowledges the presence of Christ in the tabernacle.

During the Extra-ordinary form the priest and servers perform numerous genuflections. For example, during the Solemn mass (after the consecration) the celebrant and master of ceremonies genuflect whenever the chalice is uncovered. The servers genuflect whenever they cross in front of the altar and all genuflect during the consecration and elevation of the Sacred Species.

All genuflect both during the Creed and the last gospel when “Et incarnatus est” is said.

These genuflections assist the faithful in realizing the sacred nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

We have abandoned silence and a prayerful atmosphere in the church.

The aspect of the Extra-ordinary form most commented on by the faithful is that they feel they have time to pray when the Extra-ordinary form is celebrated.

Formational materials for the Extra-ordinary form have emphasised the importance of Holy water as a sacramental and its role in preparing us for Mass when we make the sign of the cross while entering the church.

The law of the Eucharistic fast is also mentioned in all formational materials as is the need for the communicant to be in a state of grace.

It would be ideal if priests could once more pray while they vest in the sacristy. This practice would reinforce the culture of silence and a proper preparation for Holy Mass.

As this is mandated in the Extra-ordinary form the priest has to do this. We have noted that this has indeed reinforced a culture of silence and proper preparation, even in an extremely busy sacristy such as the Cathedral’s.

It is most edifying to see the priest praying with altar-servers in the sacristy before and after Mass. Silence in the sacristy is also conductive to an atmosphere of prayer. Such a practice stays with the altar-servers long after they have graduated from the sacristy. Some sacristies regrettably are like a market place. No prayers are said.

Of their own initiative the servers began prayers before and after Mass in the Extra-ordinary form. This is done every Sunday on which the mass is celebrated with all 11 servers participating.

It would equally be ideal to restore for the lay faithful, prayers before the Mass and prayers of thanksgiving after Mass. Such exercises would help us to focus on the “real presence” of Christ who has been received during Mass.

While this has not yet proved possible, the Extra-ordinary Rite does provide ample time for the faithful to silently prepare themselves for communion while the priest is saying his preparatory prayers and to make a thanksgiving while the rest of the faithful receive.

Faithful used to making a traditional thanksgiving i.e, prayers of Adoration, Contition Thanksgiving and Petition report that they have ample time to do this during the communion and the ablutions.

The pew missalettes contain a number of prayers for the faithful to say both in preparation and thanksgiving. This has proved slightly problematic as the faithful are so happy with these prayers that Fr. Shaun is asked if they can take a missalettes home to be able to use these prayers. While this is wonderful, it does mean that we constantly need to print more missalettes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Golden Jubilee of the Cathedral of Christ the King: The preparations

Regular readers will recall that the big event for us in 2010 was the 5oth Annivesary of the Consecration of the Cathedral.

This is the first in a series of three posts dedicated to the event.

Part 1: The preparations

Tomorrow is the big day. When you smallest action can make a difference you better pray!!

Thurifer gets into the swing of things.

Some altar boys move faster than light.

Jube Domne Benedicere and a few last minute instructions

Fr. Shaun commissioned some beautiful new cloths for the Altar rail.

Constance Kayombo, Sacristan, gives the flowers one last look over.

Not quite the orginal six giant brass candlesticks commissioned for the consecration in 1950. But an attractive substitute. Of the original six only three are left. Our fondest wish to have the missing three candlesticks re-cast.

While last minute rehearsals are going on in the Cathedral and preparations are taking place
in the sacristy .... the ladies tackle the hall for the luncheon

When you have dozens of tables to prepare even the smallest pair of hands can help lighten the load.

As the luncheon was a fund-raiser we needed lots of prizes.

The cakes have arrived!! The cakes have arrived!!!

Dozens of cakes were baked for the luncheon after the mass.

Each cake had a picture of the Cathedral on it.

Folding hundreds of Proper sheets requires quite a few hands.

Thank You, Una Voce Orange County without your on-line propers we wouldn't know what to do.

Many thanks to all for your hard work.

Photo Credits: (as usual) Catherine Cordeiro

TLM in the presence of the Relics of St Therese of Lisieux

On the Saturday morning (of the 9th July 2010) prior to the all-night Vigil in the presence of the Relics of St Therese a Traditional Latin Mass was celebrated.

The Relics in front of the Altar

Fr. Shaun Mary von Lillienfeld preaching on the virtues of St. Therese

The Canon of the Mass

Young and old attended Mass on a cold Winter's morning

Wishing you a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

You will see that I have got quite a few new articles up on the blog that cover the last six months of the year.

The TLM at the cathedral continues to grow under the guidance of Fr. Shaun Von Lillienfeld.

Our biggest challenge in the last half of 2010 was preparing a large cadre of servers to be able to serve the Missa Cantata in the more solemn form.

The hectic training schedule has meant that I have had little time to dedicate to the blog and efforts to promote the Mass other than at the cathedral.

The one disappointment of 2010 has been the difficulty of organizing masses in locations other than the three locations (Jhb, PE and Lamberts Bay) that we started 2010 with.

In 2011 we are hoping, on a country-wide basis, to increase the general awareness of the TLM both among the clergy and the laity.

It is my hope that this will lay a foundation, that in subsequent years, will lead to us having the TLM offered in more locations.

A number of projects are being planned for 2011 and I am hoping that everyone who supports the TLM will help us to ensure the success of these initiatives.

God Bless and all the best for 2011.