Friday, December 12, 2008

Anchorage Cathedral: Feast of St. Nicholas, 2008

We are pleased to present here images of the Dominican Rite Missa Cantata of St. Nicholas of Myra, celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Anchorage AK last Saturday, December 6, 2008. This Mass begins the regular celebration of the Dominican Rite Missa Cantata at the Cathedral, which will be on the first Saturday of each Month at Noon. These Masses will be celebrated by the Dominican Friars of the Western Dominican Province, with permission of the Provincial, the V. Rev. Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P., and the blessing of the archbishop of Anchorage, the Most Rev. Roger L. Schwietz, O.M.I. In the first image we see the celebrant, Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., assistant pastor of the cathedral, vesting in the cathedral sacristy.

Here is a photo of the schola, under the direction of Mr. Tim Main, assembled in the choir loft ready to sing the Officium (as we call the Introit).

Fr. Kelber has here arrived at the High Altar and is opening the corporal. He still has his amice-covered capuce up as the Mass proper has not started. Below the steps we see his two acolytes, Jacob DeZarn and Richard Whitney. Normally, the acolytes would wear surplices, but on major feasts, and here pro causa solemnitatis, they wear albs. In the Dominican Rite the proper attire for servers on major feasts is an alb. You can also see the unlighted Sanctus Candles on the ends of the altar.

Father has here lowered his capuce and descended for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. The acolytes have turned in to make the responses.

Father has now gone to the book to recite the Officium and the Kyrie.

Following the Collect and the Epistle, while the schola sings the intervening chants, the celebrant prepares the chalice. He then proceeds to the "north" end of the altar to sing the Gospel, as we see in this next photo. The acolytes are present with their lighted candles; they have made way for the censer-bearer and boat-bearer, so we have just begun the dialogue before the Gospel. Incense was used at this Mass pro causa solemnitatis, as provided in the Caeremoniale (1866) of the Order. It will also be used at the Offertory and the Elevation. We do not use incense in the processions.

Fr. Vincent preaching his sermon on St. Nicholas.

Here is the Offertory. You will notice that the Host and Chalice are offered together in a single oblation. The acolytes are waiting to wash the celebrant's hands.

The censer and boat have arrived for the incensing of the gifts and altar. It is not the Dominican practice to remove the book during this rite.

Incensing the gifts. This is done with a simple cross, no circular motions are made in our rite during the ceremony, nor do we swing the censer or clank the chains.

Here Father has reached the Communicantes in the Roman Canon as he has now extended his hands (note the position of the Dominican position of his palms). The senior acolyte will soon ring the bell and they will both kneel for the Consecration. You can see that the acolytes have now lighted the Sanctus Candles, which will burn until the Ablutions.

Out of reverence, the photographer was asked not to take pictures during the Consecration. Here we have reached the Per Ipsum at the end of the Canon. The acolytes have been standing since the elevation. It is interesting that there is no minor elevation at the Per Ipsum in the Dominican Rite. The celebrant simply makes the five Signs of the Cross over the chalice.

The Ecce Agnus Dei. This ceremony is a Roman practice and was never part of the Dominican Rite. It was introduced in 1961 when the use of the Dominican Confiteor at Communion was dropped. As the norm is now to celebrate Mass according to the rubrics in force in 1962 (in conformity with the norms for the Extraordinary Form of the parent Roman Rite), it is now part of our Communion preparation.

The servers receive Communion:

The Communion of the Faithful at the steps of the sanctuary. The Cathedral does not have a Communion Rail, but that does not seem to have presented any problems for a reverent Communion.

Another view of Communion. And, no, that was not posed. The people all actually had their hands folded that way without any instruction from the clergy. God bless the parishioners of the cathedral and the friars who have over forty years trained them in the faith!

Here we see the Cathedral at the end of Communion. I include it so that you can give an idea of the size on the congregation, over 270. The junior acolyte is moving the book.

And here is a closing photo showing the Celebrant singing the Post-Communion Collect. Those with sharp eyes will notice that one of the candles had a wax leak from the back of the follower and went out--this is not part of the Dominican liturgical tradition.

In the Western Dominican Province, this monthy celebration of Dominican Rite Mass in the Anchorage Cathedral now joins the celebration on First Saturdays and feasts at Holy Rosary Church in Portland OR, monthly celebration at St. Francis Xavier Mission in Toledo WA, and the weekly celebration at San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura CA. Regular celebration is also soon to begin at Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle WA. Other Western Dominican churches, including St. Albert the Great Priory in Oakland CA (the House of Studies), St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco CA, St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula CA, and the Monastery of the Angels in Hollywood CA, have also had occasional celebrations. I will keep readers posted on any new occasional celebrations. For the times of the regular Masses, please contact the churches involved.

My thanks to Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., for providing these photographs. The full set may be seen here.


ErmitañoUrbano said...

Lo felisito por la pagina. N.P. Santo domingo lo bendiga.

Anonymous said...

It is good to see such a healthy number of churches offering the Dominican Rite Mass out west. It is especially noteworthy that there are so many faithful truly willing to participate in the rite.

I have just some questions concerning the roles of the acolytes at the mass.

When holding processional candles, we were always taught to have the outside hand at the bottom of the candle and the inside hand at the knob of the candlestick. In these photos it appears that the candles are pn a post which fits into a floor-standing candlestick at either end of the altar. The acolytes do appear to maintain symmetry in the way that they hold the candles in procession and at the prayers at the foot of the altar; however, they seem to hold the candles in the opposite way. Is this something that is unique to the Western Province?

Additionally, at the Offertory and at Communion time, it appears that the acolytes proffer the cruet and hold the paten in their left hand while holing their right palm at their breast. We were always instructed to proffer and accept the cruet with the right hand, the only exception being that when serving alone one would hold the wince in the right hand and the water in the left. We would extend the right hand with the wine and when the priest took it transfer over the water to the right hand and receive the wince from the priest with the left hand before extending the right hand again with the water.

It would seem from these pictures that it is common practice that the right hand is always unoccupied and is placed upon the breast and the left hand performs the function of the moment. As a result, the acolyte has a most unusual posture at communion time. I do not think I have ever seen an acolyte assist at communion in that manner. Again, is this unique to the Western Province?

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your interest in the Dominican Rite. We are very pleased with the public interest in our history and liturgical practices as well.

What you observe in the photos regarding the hands of the server in not “common practice” in the Western Province. The senior acolyte seems to merely favor his left hand. I had not noticed this and I will remind the servers that they should employ the right hand in all liturgical actions.

You have a keen eye in noticing that the processional candles fit into posts to the right and left of the altar. This is not Dominican practice nor Roman nor anything else. This is simply making due with what we have in Alaska. I hope to acquire new processional candlesticks that match the altar candles as funds and a matching pair becomes available.

On the position of the hands in holding processional candles: acolytes in both the Dominican Rite and the Roman Rite hold the knob (or middle if there is no knob) with the outside hand and the base with the inside hand. This explains the photo in which the servers have turned toward the celebrant for the prayers at the foot of the altar. You have roused my curiosity therefore. Did you once serve in another rite or were you taught a rubric unique to your church or region?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Father, for that explanation. I was an acolyte from 4th grade through to 12th grade at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Michigan. Unfortunately, the Dominicans from the eastern province have left our state and the Dominicans from the Chicago province staff just one parish now in our diocese.

I was reviewing your pictures again and I noticed one other oddity. In both pictures, the boat bearer is standing to the right of the censer bearer. We always had the boat bearer to the left of the censer bearer. This was to ease the presentation of the censer to the priest. Since the censer bearer always presented the censer in his left hand with the chain in his right, it made it easier for the priest to accept it since the censer would then be in celebrant's right hand. In order to make it easier to offer and place the incense into the censer, that is why the boat bearer stood to the left.

My very best to you!

Poor Nurse Clare said...

I'm moved to see the reverent Communion. I am a convert and have never participated in Mass with a Communion rail, but over the last several months, I have begun to long to receive Jesus on my knees instead of how it usually is at my church (filing forward in a line, hand Communion, etc.) When He is exposed for adoration in the Blessed Sacrament or when I simply walk past the Him in the tabernacle, I fall to my knees (or at least, knee) so to receive Him while standing seems terribly wrong.

Over the past couple months, I have begun to receive Him in my mouth directly instead of in my hand. Now I'm genuflecting (instead of bowing, as is usually the case) prior to receiving Him, but occasionally I witness someone on both knees receiving Him, and then getting up and moving back to the pew. At Holy Family, this is one of those differences that is respected without so much as a raised eyebrow, but at my parish I feel I would be drawing too much attention to myself. I wish the priest would make an announcement that this is okay, as we have broached the subject with him and he was very interested.

I want to start coming to the Dominican Rite Mass. Thank you for posting these pictures. They demystify what will be something new and different for us, and yet, I suspect, strangely comfortable. :)

Poor Nurse Clare said...

Oh, one more thing...during the Dominican Rite Mass, there are not both Species of the Eucharist? This is another question I have pondered, which is, as much as I long to receive Jesus on my knees, how then to drink His Precious Blood after doing so? I guess the answer is that no one used to when the Communion rail was the norm. What are your thoughts on this subject, if you have any to share?

Poor Nurse Clare said...

(Quick comment here so I can check the box to get emailed follow-ups)