Monday, May 30, 2011

Dominican Candle Lighting

Occasionally, people ask if there is a "proper" order in which to light the candles on the altar. Some insisting that there is only one way to do this. They usually say that the "correct" way to do this is to light the six major candles starting from the middle and moving first toward the right or "Epistle" side, then return to the middle and light from the center to the left or "Gospel" side. In snuffing the candles, the order is reversed. So they tell us, "The Gospel candle never burns alone." In fact, this practice belongs to the Roman Rite, although some Dominican provinces, such as the American Eastern Province adopted it.

But in the traditional Dominican Rite a different order was normally used and continued to be used, even after the adoption of the New Rite of Roman Mass by the Order in 1970. This order for lighting is not specified in any official ritual book of the order, which simply tell the number of candles and when to light them. Fr. Bonniwell, in this Dominican Altar Boys' Manual and his Dominican Ceremonial for Mass and Benediction, both products of the Eastern Province, simply gives the Roman way. But historically there was another way.

In the Dominican way, the candle on the far Gospel side is lighted first, then each candle in order across the altar to the Epistle side. They are snuffed in the opposite order. Thus the "Gospel Candle" burns first and longest, very suitable as the Gospel is the "Light of the World." You can see an acolyte at our Western Dominican Province House of Studies in about 1958 in the photo to the right. He is lighting the candles in the Dominican fashion: starting from the left he has already lighted the first candle and is lighting the second. You can tell that the feast was either a Double or Full Double (in the language of 1962 a First or Second Class Feast) because the acolyte is wearing alb, amice, and cinture: the Dominican Rite practice on major feasts.

The Dominican books do give explicit instructions on the number of candles to be used at Mass. This rubric is a beautiful example of the Dominican love of "progressive solemnity." The rule (Caeremoniale S.O.P. nn. 514-17) is: Six candles for solemn feasts at Mass, Matins, and Vespers, but four candles at Compline; Four Candles for mid-ranked feasts at Mass and Office, but only two at Compline; and finally, two candles at Mass and Office on ferias and lesser feasts, and the same two at Compline. Private Masses always have just two candles, no matter what the level of the feast.

A similar ranking governs the number of "Sanctus Candles" that are lighted from the Sanctus until the Purification of the vessels. These are placed in single, double, or triple branched candlesticks flanking the altar: three candles on each side on major feasts, two on each side on mid-ranked feasts, and one on each side on ferias and minor feasts. One candle, on the Epistle side, is used at Private Mass.

Another interesting practice was not to fill the altar gradines up with multiple candles sticks for different numbers of candles. Rather the six large candle sticks were the only ones used, and only the number of candles needed were lighted. Which ones to light was dependent on which candles had burned the lowest and were shortest. In the flanking photograph you can see Fr. Hilary John Martin, O.P., now professor emeritus at our Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology saying the conventual Low Mass during Passiontide in 1954. You can tell it is Passiontide because of the statue veils and the lack of an antependium. Two altar candles are lighted as is proper for a feria -- and notice that they are the two tallest ones and so need to burn down to match the others. You can see the Epistle side "Sanctus Candle" (lighted, so this is after the Sanctus); the Gospel side "Sanctus Candle" cannot be seen in this photo. The server properly wears the surplice (under his capuce since he is not ordained) since this is a public Mass. Were this a Private Mass, he would be wearing the cappa (the black cape that is part of our habit).

I thank Bro. Raymond Bertheaux, O.P., a cooperator brother of our province with over 50 years of service, for help with this posting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dominican Rite Mass Booklet

I would like to thank all the readers who forwarded or posted suggestions for the final version of the pew booklet "The Dominican Rite Mass," which is now available in final format for ordering at Dominican Liturgy Publications.

This booklet presents the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin and English on facing pages and is suitable for use by people attending Dominican Rite Mass. It also includes music for High Mass and devotional prayers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Using the 1933 and 1965 Dominican Rite Missals

According to the documents Summorum Pontificum (2007) cand Universae Ecclesiae (2011), as well as “State of the Order” address of Master of the Order Carlos Azpiroz Costa, O.P., at the General Chapter of 2010, those celebrating the Dominican Rite Mass should do so “according to the Missal of 1962." In fact, there is no Dominican “Missal of 1962.” Rather, the Missal in use by the order in 1962 was that of 1933, with the changes made up to that date.

In 1960-1961, the Analecta Ordinis Fratrum Praedicatorum published directives modifying Missal. These volumes are hard to find and in Latin, so I have compiled a short summary of the changes needed when celebrating using the Missals of 1933 and 1965, since both are commonly used.

Changes to be made when using the 1933 Missal:

1. Use the 1965 Calendar (this can be downloaded on the left sidebar).

2. Reduce the number of collects at Mass following this format:

Class I Feasts: Only 1 Collect (except Dawn Mass of Christmas)

Class II Feasts: Only 1 collect, unless another Class II feast is overridden, then add a second collect for the overridden feast

Class III Feasts and ferials: Up to three collects: the principal collect; any second required collect and/or the collect of any overridden feast; additional collects ad libitum up to a total of no more than three.

3. Add the Ecce Agnus Dei and its response before the People's Communion.

4. On ferials: replace "Benedicamus Domino" with "Ite missa est."

5. Replace the entire Paschal Triduum Rite with that of 1965 Missal or the Holy Week book of 1959.

Changes to be made when using the 1965 Missal

1, Prepare chalice and say the Actiones nostras before the Prayers at Foot of the Altar.

2. Add missing head bows in Gloria.

3. Kneel, not bow, at the Incarnatus est in the Credo.

4. Recite the Secret Prayer quietly, but say "Per omnia saecula saeculorum" aloud to close it, before the Preface Dialogue.

5. Use the 1933 gestures at the "Per ipsum." The “Per ipsum” itself is said silently except for "Per omnia saecula saeculorum."

6. Recite the Libera nos silently, except for the closing "Per omnia saecula saeculorum."

7. After the Postcommunion follow this order: Dominus vobiscum; Ite missa est; Placeat, Blessing.

8. Restore the Last Gospel. If there is no altar card available, this Gospel may be found as that of the Day Mass of Christmas.

In both Missals:

1. The Communion Confiteor was suppressed in 1960, but a response of the Ecclesia Dei Commission on October 2, 2002, provides that it may be used if "it is the local custom."

2. Since they are not part of Mass, and have not been required since 1963, the Leonine Prayers are omitted. But nothing prevents them being said as a devotion, if that is the local custom.

3. It is permitted to add, as Class III feasts, all Dominican saints canonized since 1965 on their original days as blesseds, or, if beatified after 1965, on their current day. I have added all such celebrations in the calendar available on the left side bar

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dominican Music in the Netherlands

I have been in correspondence with Mr. Theo Menting, a member of the Dominican Laity at the Dominican House in Huissen. The laity there have two excellent choirs, which recently sang at Santa Sabina, S. Maria in Trastevere, and other churches in Rome. Click here for a web posting about them (in Dutch).

The performances of one choir, the "Kloostercantorij," includes compositions by Pere André Gouzes, O.P., Father Henk Jongerius O.P., prior of the convent, and Fr. Huub Oosterhuis. To get an idea of the work of the second choir, "Phos Hilarion," which focuses on the classical tradition, click here for their rendition of Totus tuus.

Phos Hilarion intends shortly to make the performance of Dominican Chant a central part of their repertoire.

We congratulate our Dominican lay brothers and sisters for this "joyful light" now shining in Holland!