Friday, July 20, 2012

Dominican Rite Masses in the Near Future

I am pleased to announce that there will be a Dominican Rite Missa Cantata on the traditional date of the Solemnity of St. Dominic, August 4, at St. Patrick's Church in Columbus, Ohio.  The announcement flyer is to the right.

I will also remind our readers that this there will be a Dominican Rite Low Mass in our Western Dominican Province at the Holy Rosary Church in Portland at 8:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month; this year the Solemnity of St. Dominic, and, as usual each Sunday, a Dominican Rite Mass at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage AK, although, as it is summer, this will be a Low Mass, not a Missa Cantata.

I thank in advance any friars who have information on other Dominican Rite Masses this summer for sending me notice so that I can publicize them. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Liturgical Color at Dominican Rite Masses

A recent inquiry to me from a priest in the Dominican Eastern Province about whether he could use purple instead of (the unavailable black) at a Dominican Rite Requiem Low Mass, moved me to do some investigation about historical Dominican practices. The result was something of a surprise, and nothing about it is found in Bonniwell's history of our Rite.  And it confirmed that Dominicans can use purple at when the Roman Rite requires black, even without necessity.  Although, I would recommend because of admiratio populi that black be used in such cases.

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 goes back to Humbert: "Violet may be used in place of black." This odd provision 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.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dominican Rite Mass, Cracow, Poland, July 1, 2012

Thanks to communications and help from Dominika Krupinska, a member of the schola that sang for the Mass, I am pleased to present a report on the Dominican Rite Missa Cantata celebrated in Cracow, Poland, on Sunday, July 1st, 2012, the Solemnity of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The celebration of this Mass, of which photos follow below, took place in the small Gothic style church of St. Giles at the foot of Wawel Hill (the seat of Polish kings), which has belonged to the Dominicans since the canonization of St. Hyacinth in the XVI century. The music for the Mass was led by the Schola Gregoriana Silesiensis of Wroclaw, directed by Mr. Robert Pozarski

The celebrant was a Polish Dominican, Fr. Lukasz Misko, O.P., who has worked in the Western Dominican Province of the U.S. for several of years. He learned the Dominican Rite while assigned to Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage AK, where the Missa Cantata is celebrated very Sunday of the year at 4 p.m.  Fr. Lukasz will return to the Western Province in the fall and be assigned to Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle WA, where the Dominican Rite is also regularly celebrated.

As the schola carefully distinguishes between Sacred Liturgy and Concert Performance, every attempt was made to allow congregation participation in the music, and to help comprehension of the prayers and lessons.  A beautiful booklet hand-missal was prepared containing all texts in Latin and Polish and the music of Mass.  I understand, in the words of Dominika that "The church was full of music. It was a real Missa Cantata!"  A copy of the program can be downloaded here.

This Mass is only part of the revival of the Dominican Rite in Poland. At the Song of Our Roots Festival in Jaroslaw each summer the Dominican Rite Divine Office of Matins-Lauds and Vespers is sung regularly by those attending. Thus Dominican chant is gaining popularity among chorale singers and those devoted to traditional and ethnic music all over Poland.


The Asperges
(The cope is not worn for this ceremony in the Dominican Rite)

The Prayer Actiones Quaesumus
(Recited by the priest before descending for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.)

The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar
(Note the servers with candles)

The Gloria
(Intoned at the center of the Altar in the Dominican Rite, ministers will then swing right)

The Epistle
(Note the number of people present)

Preparation before the Gospel
(You see the servers with candles and the thurifer and boat-bearer)

The Homily
(by Lukasz Misko, O.P., from the wall pulpit of the church)

The Elevation

Ecce Agnus Dei before Holy Communion
(The Ecce was not originally part of the Dominican Rite
but was added from the Roman in 1961)

The intention for the Mass was for God’s blessing for people and groups promoting the revival of the Dominican Rite in Poland. Some 100 attendants from Cracow, Warsaw and Wroclaw were present for the Mass, some traveling 300 km to participate. It is expected that, when Fr. Lukasz comes to Poland for his vacation next year, this event will be repeated.

I thank Dominika Krupinska for help in preparing this report.

Dominican Rite News from Poland

Over the last few months, I have been working (long distance) with Dominika Krupinska of the Dominican Chant Schola Gregoriana Silesiensis (directed by Mr. Robert Pozarski), and with Polish friars, helping them to begin public celebration of the Dominican Rite in Poland. I intend to publish a post on this Mass in Poland presently. Not only has the first Missa Cantata now been celebrated, they have now established a website (in Polish) dedicated to the Dominican Rite:

Ryt dominikan'ski: tradycyjna liturgia Zakonu Kaznodziejskiego has a number of interesting articles and posts. Even those who do not read Polish will find nice images and photos there. As a Western Dominican, I am honored to see that the website's banner shows one of the Solemn Dominican Rite Masses celebrated at Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle, a ministry of the Western Dominican Province.  This banner is reproduced at the beginning of this post.  The next Dominican Solemn Mass here in the West will be at Blessed Sacrament Church will be at 7:00 on August 8, and will be sung by the Tudor Choir. More information about the music and driving directions to the church may be found at the Tudor Choir site.

I will also mention that this coming Saturday there will be a Dominican Rite Low Mass at our Holy Rosary Church in Portland at 8:00 a.m., and, as usual, a sung Dominican Rite Mass is celebrated at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage AK, every Sunday at 4:00 p.m.