Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dominican Altar Cards

I thought that some of our readers might be interested in seeing a lovely set of "Neo-Gothic / Fra Angelico" altar cards that are in the Western Dominican Province House of Studies, Saint Albert the Great Priory in Oakland. They usually grace the Sacristy, but are occasionally used at the high altar, most recently for the Solemnity of St. Albert the Great this year. The cards were calligraphed and the miniatures painted by two cloistered nuns of the Dominican Monastery in Menlo Park California for the dedication Mass of the chapel in 1948. Here is a picture of them on the high altar as it was dressed for the Solemnity:

The two smaller candles flanking the large six in this photo are the Sanctus Candles used at that Mass. Here is a closer image of the main card:

Two Fra Angelico angels grace the sides; in the bottom center is the old Coat of Arms of the Province of the Holy Name, the Western Province. In the top roundels, from left to right, we see St. Albert the Great, patron of the House and of natural philosophy; an angel; St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of theology; St. John and Our Lord at the Last Supper; St. Raymond of Penafort, the patron of Canon law, contemplating the Cross; another angel; and, finally, and St. John of Gorkam, who was martyred by the Calvinists in the Low Countries for bringing the Eucharist to Catholics in prison for their faith. The selection is very suitable for the House of Studies as it includes the patrons of theology, philosophy, and canon law, the major disciplines studied there. The other images are chosen because of their links to the Eucharist. Here is the Lavabo card:

In the left roundel , you can see St. Hyacinth of Poland, who carries a statue of the Blessed Mother, as he did when leading the Polish Dominicans to safety during the Mongol invasions. To the right is St. Vincent Ferrer, the great preacher, who was heard by people in their own languages--thus the fire of the Spirit of Pentecost over his head. In the center quatrofoil, St. Dominic mediating on the Cross. Those with sharp eyes will notice the the Dominican form of the Lavabo psalm is shorter than the Roman. Finally, here is the Last Gospel card:

To the left, we see St. Pius V, the reformer of the liturgy and pope of the Battle of Lepanto. As this victory over the Muslim invaders was through the intercession of our Lady of the Rosary, the Virgin and Child are in the center. Last, to the right, is St. Peter of Verona, also known as St. Peter Martyr because he was murdered by Cathar heretics in 1253. He is shown in his traditional form, reminding the friars to keep the Silence. Those with a very sharp eye will notice a tiny error in the punctuation of text of John's Gospel: it is the Roman form, not the Dominican. For more on this see my posting here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dominican Missa Cantata of St. Albert the Great, 2008

On November 15, 2008, at Saint Albert the Great Priory, the Western Dominican Province House of Studies, a Missa Cantata according to the Dominican Rite was celebrated on the occasion of the installation of the new Master of Sacred Theology, who was the celebrant. Photos of this Mass have been posted on the photographer's website, the Western Province Website, and at the New Liturgical Movement.

For the convenience of our readers, and others interested, I have collected these here in one place and provided a short commentary. The first image shows the high altar of the beautiful chapel of the House of Studies.

The next image shows the celebrant and Bro. Ambrose Sigman, O.P., the senior acolyte, and Bro. Gabriel Mosher, O.P., the junior acolyte, waiting for the schola to being singing the Officium, "In Medio." They are standing in the passage way past the side altars leading from the sacristy into the Chapel.

Here are the community and visitors gathered in the choir stalls as the chant of the Officium begins. With the black cappa in the front row, opposite side, can be seen Fr. Gerald Buckley, O.P., the prior of St. Albert the Great Priory. In the blue Yale gown is Fr. Gerald Fogarty, S.J., Prof. of History at the University of Virginia, a colleague of the new S.T.M. Next to him is Donald Prudlo, Asst. Prof. of History at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, a former graduate student of the new S.T.M.

The celebrant and servers have here reached the high altar and are genuflecting before the Reserved Sacrament. You will notice that the celebrant still has his amice-covered capuce up, as a secular priest would still have on his biretta at this point. As the two servers are not ordained they wear the surplice under the shoulder cape of the capuce.

The celebrate as here returned from spreading the corporal and placing the chalice on the altar. With capuce down, he has begun the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. During these prayers the servers turn in, as they would at Solemn Mass, and make the responses.

The priest has ascended to the altar, kissed it, and moved to the book. He is reciting the Officium quietly as the schola finishes it. The servers have swung to the side of the altar where the book is for the Officium and Kyrie, as they would with the major ministers at Solemn Mass.

After returning to the center to intone the Gloria, and again swinging to the side as for the Officium and Kyrie, the celebrant here returns to the center, turns to face the community and sings the greeting, "Dominus vobiscum."

He celebrant then returns to the book and sings the Collect. The Collect finished, he reads quietly the first reading (from Wisdom in this case) and the Responsorium (Gradual) and Alleluia. This next photo shows him completing that reading.

As he does these readings, the "cleric," who is in this case a priest, Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, O.P., who teaches theology at Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley CA. You will notice that as a priest he wears the surplice over the capuce cape. In the red Harvard robe, you can see Prof. James Gordley, of the Tulane University School of Law, who has collaborated on publications with the new S.T.M.

Here the two acolytes have arrived with the water and wine to help the celebrant prepare the chalice. This preparation is done during the singing of the Responsorium.

Here is the schola about to begin the Responsorium at the lectern "in medio chori." On a major feast such as the patronal feast of the House of Studies, the chantors should normally be at least four--here you can see there were six. They are from left to right, Bro. John Marie Bingham, Bro. Mark Francis Manzano, Fr. Paul K. Raftery (chaplain at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula CA), Bro. Boniface Willard (who directed the schola), Stephen Maria Lopez, and Bro. Dominic David Maichrowicz. The visiting academics can all be seen in the front row.

Here we see the preparation of the chalice during the intervening chants. The senior acolyte ministers the wine and stands closest to the altar.

Sadly there are no pictures available of the singing of the Gospel by the celebrant. But here is a photograph of the V. Rev. Fr. Richard Aquinas Schenk, O.P., S.T.M., the regent of studies of the Western Dominican Province. As a Master of Sacred Theology, he wears the biretta and ring (not visible here). He is at the ambo and just about to begin his sermon on St. Albert the Great.

Here is the schola again, waiting for the celebrant to intone the Credo.

Genuflection at Incarnatus est in the Creed:

In the Dominican Rite, the Offertory is every simple, the chalice with paten and host on top is raised in a single oblation as the priest recites one prayer, Suscipe Sancta Trinitas.

Here was see the incensing of the altar at the Offertory. The priest has already incensed the gifts with a single crossing and then the top of the Epistle side of the altar with three lifts (Dominicans do not swing the censer, nor do we clank the chains). Here is has returned to the middle and is incensing the cross with three lifts.

The schola is about to intone the Sanctus.

He celebrant is here quietly reciting the Roman Canon.

The Elevation of the Host. The thurifer, Bro. Raymond Bertheaux, O.P., over fifty years a brother, incenses the elevation continuously, as is the Dominican custom. Earlier, during the singing of the Preface, he incensed the servers and community. In our rite the thurifer is present only from the Gospel to the Elevations, even in the Solemn Mass. You can see a lighted "Sanctus Candle" on the Epistle side (there is another on the Gospel side), which the server lighted during the Sanctus.

Closer view of the Elevation of the Host.

Elevation of the Chalice:

Here, during the singing of the Agnus Dei, we see Fr. Anselm Ramelow, O.P., Asst. Professor of Philosophy at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, who is vested in surplice and stole as he will help distribute Communion. Bro. Matthew Augustine Miller stands in front of him.

Communion and the final collects finished, the celebrant recites the Last Gospel, folds the corporal, raises his capuce, and leaves the altar, as we see in this last photo of the Mass:

More on the program of studies and formation at St. Albert's can be found here. I can also post photos of the S.T.M. installation if readers would like them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dominican Rite Mass in Anchorage AK

I am delighted to announce that beginning on December 6. 2008, Mass according to the Dominican Rite will be celebrated every First Saturday of the Month at noon in the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Anchorage, Alaska. This initiative has been undertaken with the full support of His Excellency, Roger Schwietz, Archbishop of Anchorage, as well as that of the Rector of the Cathedral, Fr. Francis Hung Le, O.P. The Prior Provincial of the Western Dominican Province, Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P., has granted permission for celebration under the terms of the Rescript of 1969.

The first celebrant of the Mass will be Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., the associate pastor, who is already well known for his service to the Latin Mass Community in Anchorage . A picture of him vested to celebrate the Mass decorates this posting. The diocesan newpaper, The Catholic Anchor, ran a very well done story on this development in their recent edition. I urge all our readers to read it. It is over all a model of objective and informative reporting. And readers should also note that in order to make these Masses more fruitful to the faithful, the Holy Family Cathedral is offering a Latin class for the Liturgy on Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m., in Holy Family Education Center.

This means that in the Western Dominican Province the traditional Dominican Rite is now regularly available in four places. The others being Holy Rosary Church, Portland OR; St. Francis Xavier Mission, Toledo WA; and San Buenaventura Mission, Ventura CA. Regularly scheduled Masses are also soon to be instituted at Blessed Sacrament Church, Seattle WA (watch the parish website for announcements). Click on the links for contract information to get specifics. As I played a very, very small role in helping prepare Fr. Vincent to celebrate our Rite, this announcement gratifies me very much.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Master of Sacred Theology Installation (11/15/08)

At the request of a reader and as a permanent record of the events, we are presenting here photos of the installation of Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., as Master of Sacred Theology at St. Albert the Great Priory, Oakland CA, the House of Studies of the Western Dominican Province, on the patronal feast, November 15, 2008. If readers would like to consult a copy of the ritual for the ceremony, it is available for download here.

Here is a picture of the chapel prepared for the installation. The Master's Cathedra or Chair is in the center of the presbytery. The altar is dressed from the Missa Cantata that preceded this ceremony. The friars may be seen in the stalls, and there are secular academic vistors in their robes on the left.

Here we see the V. Rev. Fr. Richard Aquinas Schenck, O.P., S.T.M., who conducted the ceremony by delegation from the Master of the Order. He has taken his place in the Master's Cathedra. He wears the insignia of his office, the four-cornered biretta trimmed in purple and the master's ring. You cannot see it but he is also wearing the hood of his highest earned degree, the Doctor Theologiae from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (University of Munich), as is the custom in our province. Fr. Richard is the Regent of Studies of the Western Province and Professor of Philosophy and Theology at D.S.P.T. and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley CA.

He has now been joined on the left by the V. Rev. Fr. Gerald Buckley, O.P., prior of St. Albert's, wearing the insignia for his theological degree from St. Albert's College, now known as the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, the educational establishment of the Western Dominican Province. Representing the prior provincial, he will present the ring. To the right is Fr. Gerald Fogarty, S.J., William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Religious Studies and History at the University of Virginia, a colleague of the new S.T.M. He wears the insignia of his Ph.D. in history from Yale University and holds the biretta for the ceremony. In this photo, we see the new S.T.M. making his profession of the Catholic Faith. You can clearly see the new S.T.M.'s academic hood, that of the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. in medieval history.

In this photo Fr. Richard is placing the ring on the new Master's finger, symbolizing his marriage to Holy Wisdom. To the left one can see Dr. Christine Sundt, of the University of Oregon, who designed the ring and her husband, Richard Sundt, Professor of Art History. Both were the new S.T.M.'s colleagues when he taught at the University of Oregon.

Here are two images of the ring designed by Dr. Sundt and engraved and set by Todd Daniels. To the left one can see the shield of the Western Dominican Province, on the right the stone, an amethyst and the shield of the Dominican Order. The initials of the seven S.T.M.s in the history of the province are on the inside of the ring's band. Initials will be added for future S.T.M.s as they are created.

Here Fr. Schenk has placed the new S.T.M. in the cathedra and is reading the formula of installation:

The new Master rises and receives the Kiss of Peace from the other Master present.

Finally, a photo of the beautiful chapel of the House of Studies, with the new Master giving his Inaugural Lecture, "The Soul You Lose May Be Your Own: Historical Reflections on the Task and Temptations of the Theologian." This lecture will eventually be posted in text and video on the web site of the Western Dominican Province.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Liturgical Colors in the Old Dominican Rite

Recent discussion on the New Liturgical Movement about the proper color for tabernacle veils and antependia at Requiem Masses, moved me to do some investigation about Dominican practices. The result was something of a surprise, and nothing about it is found in Bonniwell's history of our Rite.

Since the edition of 1687 edition of the Dominican Missal produced under the direction of the Master of the Order Antonin Cloche, O.P., Dominican vestment colors have been identical to those of the Roman use. Before that date, however, the practice was different. Use of white, red, and green basically followed the modern Roman use, but there were interesting exceptions. On simplex feasts of confessors, where the Roman use was white, the celebrant had a choice between using yellow or green. This use of yellow for confessors is a well-known aspect of the Sarum Rite.

The use of green assimilates, at least in the time after Epiphany and Trinity, simplex feasts to the ferial. This is not surprising, as the Dominican Rite of Humbert (1256) and the middle ages resisted the early modern practice of introducing so many saints' days and raising them in so much rank as to erase the ferial office and even that of Sundays (as was generally the case before the Pius X calendar reform). Indeed, the number of feasts above simplex was very limited in the ancient Dominican liturgy, even Apostles were only semidoubles. Although I cannot find any rubric on it, I suspect that the use of the ferial color was also at least an option on feasts of three lessons. In the 1200s and 1300s confessor feasts with yellow vestments included, among others, Gregory the Great, Benedict, Ambrose, Bernard, and Francis. All were only simplex feasts. It is also interesting that the vestment for the "highest feasts" was to be "the best one," but "a violet vestment cannot be used on Easter, nor a white one on Pentecost, nor a red one on Christmas."

Another surprise is the following rubric in the 1868 Ceremonial that does seem to go back to Humbert: "Violet may be used in place of black." This odd phrase speaks to a thirteenth-century development underway in Humbert's time. Innocent III forty years earlier had spoken of the liturgical colors as only "white, red, green, and black." But he mentions that violet has come into use in certain places. This Dominican rubric seems to reflect that older practice of using black not only for Requiems, but also on all other penitential days. So the friars had the option of conforming to the local use of violet during Lent, Advent, and Ember Days, where this had happened, but the assumption was they were still using black on those days as Innocent had considered normal. In 1869, of course, this rubric would also have permitted violet in place of black at Requiems–a practice that seems to have existed even in the Roman Rite in some places up to that time. Lest there be any confusion as to what the current Dominican practice was, the Caeremoniale of 1869 explicitly states that since the promulgation of the Cloche Missal these old rubrics completely abrogated and not to be followed. That they had to say this causes me a bit of suspicion. Were some Dominicans still following them? Perhaps the nineteeth-century French yellow chasuble decorating this post belonged to some French Dominicans?

The question of the interchangeability of black and violet brings up the issue of what color the paraments would be at a Requiem Mass if the Blessed Sacrament were reserved on the altar. Here what the Caermoniale of 1869 says and does not say is very interesting. About the tabernacle veil we read the following: "The exterior of the tabernacle is to be decently covered by a canopy (conopaeum). The canopy is to be of cotton, woolen, or hemp cloth, and to be white in color or, better, matching the color of the office of the day." The form of this rubric (which is not in Humbert) suggests to me, at least, that the specification "cotton, wool, or hemp" (gossypio sive lana sive cannabe), instead of "silk" (serica), is quite ancient and that the use of material matching the vestments, which would have been in silk, is later. Notice there is nothing to exclude use of any color of the day, including black. And I was unable to find any rubric to forbid a black conopaeum.

So, as of 1869, there was no formal rule in the Dominican Order against use of black tabernacle veils or black antependia on an altar with a tabernacle. But I suspect this was not the practice because of a related rubric. This involves an altar on which there is on-going Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. In that case, the altar paraments are all to be white, "even if that does not match the color of the vestments for a Mass being celebrated at it." This, of course, concerns Mass in the Presence of the Sacrament Exposed. Again, however, nothing is said about violet or black when the Sacrament is not exposed. Nevertheless, although the rubrics are silent, the earlier specification that the conopaeum may always be white, and the association of the Blessed Sacrament with white here, suggests that perhaps the practice in 1869 might have been to use a white conopaeum at Masses using black vestments at an altar with a tabernacle. But finding out what was actually done in our priories will require much more work than I am ready to undertake right now.

As it is my understanding that the debate over use of black or violet antependia at altars with tabernacles in the Roman Rite was only resolved in the mid-twentieth century, I am not surprised about the lack of clarity in the 1869 Caeremoniale. In any case, I suspect in the last century at least, many Dominican parishes probably just followed whatever the local Roman practice was. The medieval rubrics for Dominican vestment color options seem to envision this kind of accommodation to local practice. And I can assure you that not doing something the "Roman Way" can generate unpleasant comments from those who attend Dominican Rite Masses and from those who see pictures of them. The pressure on Dominicans to follow the common practice, alien to our traditions as it might be, will always be great.