Monday, November 25, 2019

Bp. Augustine Di Noia's Sermons

I am pleased to announce that seventy of Bp. Augustine Di Noia's sermons have been published by Cluny Publications under the title of Grace in Season.

They can be ordered here.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Dominican Rite in the "Last Frontier"

Our friars in Alaska routinely travel from their home base in Anchorage to help out with Masses throughout the state in the Ordinary Form, but once a month they also offer a Dominican Rite Mass in Fairbanks, at the historic Immaculate Conception Parish.

The Diocese of Fairbanks is rich in territory size, but scarce in vocations, having only one bishop two priests, and a handful of deacons to call their own.  To fill the gaps, outside priests are invited to help out either long-term or short-term. 

Outside visitors and tourists are often surprised to encounter the beauty, not just of Nature and the Northern Lights, but that of a Missa Cantata here, in what is perhaps the most northernmost Dominican Rite Mass regularly offered.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

October is also Respect Life month in the States, and so our friars in Anchorage, Alaska thought it proper to do a votive Low Mass of St. Gerard Majella, complete with veneration of his relic, October 16, 2019, at 7 PM.

St Gerard, a Redemptorist, not a Dominican, happened to leave behind his handkerchief one day at a friend's family's house.  One of the daughters came after him to return it, but he told her to keep it, as it may come in handy one day.

When she later went into a troubled delivery with his unborn child, she remembered his words, and asked for the handkerchief to be brought to her.  On applying the handkerchief to her stomach, her pain disappeared, and she safely delivered a healthy child.  He is a patron for unborn children, pregnant women, young children, those falsely accused, and for making a good confession.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Daily Dominican Rite Mass - Portland, Oregon

We are pleased to announce that our friars in Portland, Oregon, have recently begun to publicly offer the Dominican Rite Mass daily, Monday-Saturday, at 6 AM.

This is a Low Mass, added to the regular Sunday 11 AM Solemn High or Missa Cantata.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

New Dominican Propers for the Liturgy of the Hours

Title Page of the New Collectarium
I recently published a summary of the changes in the Dominican Calendar for Mass and Office that will come into effect on the First Sunday of Advent 2019. At that time, I promised that Dominican Liturgy Publications would be producing new editions of the books we have published for use at the Liturgy of the Hours by those taking various roles in choir.

The first and most important is Propers of the Office for the Order of Preachers, which contains the full propers for all Dominican saints and blesseds on our general calendar. This book would be used by the cantors, lectors, and, if desired by the hebdomadarian, that is, the friar leading prayers that week. This book has been updated to include the two new feasts, that of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati and of Bl. Bonaventure García Paredes and Companions, Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War. Those feasts with changed ranks or dates now reflect that. The propers are also available in pocket-book size.

Feasts that have been dropped from the Dominican General Calendar have been removed and included in Dominican Blesseds Celebrated Locally, a companion volume that has the short biographies and collects for the many Dominican saints and blesseds who are only celebrated in particular provinces. None of these are celebrated in the provinces of the United States, but many use this volume devotionally. The entire propers of those saints previously in the Propers of the Office for the Order of Preachers are now represented in this volume. It also includes the full propers for St. Bartholomew of the Martyrs, O.P., who was just canonized by Pope Francis on July 5.

Finally I am pleased to announce that we have also produced a new edition of our Collectarium: A Manual for Hebdomadarians, which contains all the texts, in particular the collects, needed by the bedomadarian, not only for Dominican saints, but for every day of the year. Included in this volume are the collects for saints recently added to the Roman Calendar (Saints John XXIII, Paul V, and John Paul II), as well as one blessed, Francis Xavier Seelos, added to the Calendar of the United States. This volume also has the particular feasts celebrated in the Western Dominican Province, but this does not prevent its use by other provinces.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Revision of the Modern Dominican Calendar

I believe most friars have already received a direct mailing of the new Calendarium Ordinis Praedicatorum, approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship on 14 April 2019 and promulgated by the master of the Order Bruno Cadore on 24 June 2019. I have made this these documents available for download here for nuns, sisters, Dominican laity, and any others who wish to celebrate Dominican saints with the new Roman Missal and the Liturgy of the Hours.  Note that those wishing to celebrate those feasts reduced to optional memorials may still do so--they are optional.

The format of this document makes it difficult to identify the changes promulgated.  So I will summarize them.  The list of Dominican feasts is not much changed but there are a good number of changes by which previous obligatory memorials have become optional, and there are some changes in the dates of celebration.  Here is a summary:

Change from obligatory to optional memorial:

4 January:         St. Zdislava Berkiana  (28 November in the U.S.)
18 January:       St. Margaret of Hungary
4 February:       St. Catherine de’ Ricci
10 May:            St. Antoninus of Florence
19 May:            St. Francis Coll Guitart
9 July:              St. John of Cologne and Companions
18 September:  St. Juan Macías
28 September:  Sts. Dominic Ibáñez de Erquicia, James Kyushei Tomanaga, Laurence Ruiz,
                                 and Companions
9 October:        St. Louis Bertrand (obligatory memorial in Western Province as secondary patron)

 Change from obligatory to optional memorial with new date:

15 January:      Sts. Francis de Capillas, Peter Sans, and Companions--move to 9 July
6 November:    Bls. Alphonsus Navarrete and Companions--move to 28 September

New optional memorials:

4 July:              Bl. Pier Giorgio Fassati
6 November:    Bls. Bonaventure Garcia Paredes, Hyacinth Serrano Lopez and Companions

Remove from the Dominican General Calendar:

23 January:      Bl. Henry Suso
12 February:    Bl. Reginald of Orleans
28 April:          St. Louis de Montfort (still an optional memorial on the Roman Calendar)
21 May:           Bl. Hyacinth-Marie Cormier
10 June:           Bl. John Domnici
17 July:            Bl. Ceslaus of Poland

The Order also published a revision of the list of Dominican saints and blesseds that are optional memorials, but only in the provinces where they lived. The four blesseds rmoved from the general calendar just listed are now approved for local use as below. Note that none of these optional local blesseds (of which there are many others) are celebrated in the United States. Three of these additonis include saints, not blesseds.  Here are those changes:

Add to local calendars:

23 January:      Bl. Henry Suso (Germany; Austria=Bavaria)
12 February:    Bl. Reginald of Orleans (France)
1 April:            Bl. Joseph Girotti (Italy--St. Dominic; Austria-Bavaria)
8 May:             Bl. Peter Claverie and Companions (France)
16 May:           Bl. Valdimir Ghika (Vicariate of Eastern Europe)
21 May:           Bl. Hyacinth-Marie Cormier (Italy--Roman)
10 June:           Bl. John Domnici (Italy--Roman)
17 July:            Bl. Ceslaus of Poland (Poland)
18 July:            St. Bartholomew of the Martyrs (Portugal)
13 August:       St. Alexander Longo and Companions (Italy--St. Thomas Aquinas)
7 September:   Bl. John-Joseph Lataste (France)
9 December:    St. Narcisa of Jesus Martillo y Morán (Peru)

A good number of local blesseds have been combined or moved, but I leave it to readers to check for this on the downloadable new calendar.

 Note that these changes become effective on the First Sunday of Advent, 2019 and that for those celebrating the Dominican Mass and Office of 1962 under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae the only changes implied by this would be for those who want also to celebrate Dominicans canonized or beatified after 1962. When I publish the Dominican Rite Calendar for 2020, I will include these changes.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Poetic Translation of the Medieval Elevation Prayer

I was pleased to receive this morning a poetic rendition of the Elevation Prayer, which I posted in the previous post, here on Dominican Liturgy on the occasion of Corpus Christi.  It is the work of Mr. Anthony M. J. L. Delarue, who happens to be a knight in obedience of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. 

At the elevation of the Body of Christi.

All Hail, O holy flesh of God,
Who save our souls from guilt and shame;
While hanging on the mystic Rood
Thy sinful servants did reclaim.

Thou pourest forth the cleansing wave,
From stain of sin our souls to free,
Which Adam’s sin did first enslave,
With stolen apple from the tree.

Thou cleansest me with holy flesh,
Of roseate blood a kindly wave
From all life’s filth doth me refresh,
And save my soul beyond the grave.

By Thy benign and kindly grace
Grant me a true and mystic health,
And by Thy gentle holy peace,
To soul and flesh eternal wealth.

Thrust down to earth mine enemy,
And bring to nought his worldly pride,
And let us thence companions be,
The King of Angels as our guide.

O haven of salvation, Thou,
Who as my life hands back its lease,
O Mighty God, do me release
From lion’s roar and dragon’s fire;
Grant me a seat amidst the choir
Of those who righteous paths have trod,
Through endless ages without end,
Who live and reign, forever God. Amen.

Tastes may differ but I do believe that Mr. Delarue's choice of the ABAB rhyme scheme works better in English than the AABB scheme of the original. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

An Elevation Prayer for Corpus Christi

A couple of years ago, a couple who are my friends gave me a lovely gift, a page of a thirteenth-century devotional manuscript. I would paleographically date it to the late 1220s or early 1230s, and assign it to the Paris book trade. My friend's wife, a professional art historian, agreed with the date and place, noting the "spiky ivy" on the first page, which is typically mid-thirteen-century French. It was obviously made for a very wealthy patron, as is shown by the large margins, pen-scrolls, and gold leaf. That the patron was lay is obvious from the devotional use (at the elevation at Mass) and the easily memorized rhyming verses.  Versions of this prayer appear in twelfth-century English manusrripts, so it may originally be English.

As this is an elevation prayer, and it seems very suitable to make it available on Corpus Christi, whether it is celebrated tomorrow on Thursday or on Sunday, as is the case in many places.

Here us my transcription of the prayer along with the original on the right:

In elevatione corporis Christi.

Salve, sancta caro Dei,
per quem salvi fiunt rei;
servos tuos redemísti,
dum in cruce pependísti

Unda que de te manavit,
a peccato nos mundavit,
qui patravit primus homo,
inobediens de pomo.

Sancta caro tu me munda,
sanguinis benigne unda
lava me ab omni sorde,
et ab infernali morte.

Per tuam benignitatem,
presta michi sanitatem,
et per tuam sanctam pacem,
da michi prosperitatem.

Frange meos inimicos,
et fac eos mi amicos.
et superbiam eorum
destrue rex angelorum.

Tu qui es salútis portus,
in exitu mee mortis
líbera me, Deus fortis,
a leone rugiente
et a dracone furiente;
da michi sedem justorum,
qui vivis et regnas Deus
per omnia sec’la seculorum.

And here is a very inelegant translation of the prayer:

 At the elevation of the Body of Christi.

Hail, holy flesh of God,
through which the guilty are saved;
you redeemed your servants
while you hung on the cross.

The wave that flowed from you
cleansed us from that sin,
which the first man finished,
disobeying with the apple.

You, Holy Flesh, cleanse me,
kindly, with a wave of blood,
wash me from all stain
and from eternal death.

Through your kindness,
grant me healing,
and through your holy peace,
grant me good fortune.

Humble my enemies
and make them my friends,
and their pride,
let the King of Angels destroy.

You, who are the harbor of salvation,
at the time of my death
free me, Mighty God,
from the roaring lion
and the furious dragon;
give me a seat among the just,
you who live and reign
through all the ages of ages.

I have not tried to render the English translation into rhyming "long-meter," but I urge our readers to give it a try.

A joyful feast day to you all!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Dominican Rite Easter Vigil before the Reforms of Pius XII

Since major changes were made to the liturgy of the Triduum in the Roman Rite in the 1950s, it seemed that during this Holy Week readers might be interested in how those changes affected the Dominican Rite Triduum even more profoundly.

As most readers know, the old Easter Vigil of the Roman Rite underwent a series of reforms beginning in 1951, and continuing until the introduction of the revised Holy Week Rite of Pope Pius XII in the spring of 1956. The Dominicans imitated these changes as much as possible until we produced a new vigil of our own, one that went into effect at Easter 1957. Readers who know the vigil of the 1962 Roman Missal would find that in use by Dominicans from 1957 onward virtually identical to it, so I will not describe it here. But as our older form of liturgy is quite different and of historical interest.

Following the medieval practice of Saturday afternoon celebration of the Easter Vigil, the Dominican vigil began after the singing of None. In the modern period, when the Vigil had migrated to Saturday morning, this meant that Matins and the four Minor Hours of Holy Saturday were sung back-to-back in the morning, so that the vigil itself could begin before 9:00 a.m. One of the first effects of Pope Pius XII’s period of experimentation after 1951 was that in some houses, the Minor Hours of Holy Saturday were restored to their normal times, and the Vigil was celebrated in the later afternoon, but this was by no means the universal practice. Morning celebration continued in many places until 1957.

The Exsultet in the Dominican Rite, at their church in Salamanca, Spain, ca. 1946
The old Dominican vigil began with the blessing of the new fire. The prior or another priest celebrant, in white cope, standing before the high altar, blessed lighted coals in a small metal dish held by the sacristan. (The coals were lighted without any special ceremony in the sacristry before the service.) The deacon held the missal. The blessing prayer Domine sancte Pater was short and merely recited, not sung. A small candle was then lighted from these coals, which were kept in the presbytery until the lighting of the church lamps, so that they could be used to relight the Easter Candle should a draft put it out. The deacon received the prior’s blessing, gave the subdeacon the missal and placed himself to the subdeacon’s left, (the Gospel side, as all were facing the altar.) Two acolytes with unlighted candles flanked the deacon and subdeacon. The prior took his place at the Epistle side of the altar, as he did for the singing of the Gospel at Solemn Mass. The deacon then sang the Exultet, for which the Dominicans have a tone somewhat different from the Roman, and which differs in a number of places from the Roman text.

Although in modern times Dominicans used Easter candles of conventional size, as late as the 1800s we often used very large ones, much taller than those in use today. Our province archives have pictures from the 1850s of one of these candles at our old priory church in Benicia, California. (I will try to get a scan of it.) Dominicans did not use a three-branch holder for the Easter fire, and there was no chanting of Lumen Christi. In many priories, the ancient practice of the “Easter Card” (Cartula Paschalis) was maintained into the last century; this was tacked to the candle in place of the modern practice of putting letters on the candle. The card gave the year of the Lord, the years since the foundation of the Order, and since the death of St. Dominic, the Epact, the Dominical letter, and the Indiction.

When the deacon reached the words In huius igitur noctis, he inserted the first grain of incense into the candle; at the words Rutilans ignis accendit, he lit the Paschal candle. The server holding the other four grains of incense then inserted them as the deacon continued to sing the blessing. These acts would have required use of a ladder in the old days. As the deacon sang Qui licit sit divisus in partes, the two acolytes’ candles were lighted, and then, at Pretiosae huius lampadis, the church lamps. When the Exultet was finished, the ministers returned to the sacristy, put on white Mass vestments and returned to the altar. There they bowed and went to be seated for the readings, without any other ceremony. During this one Mass of the year, the acolytes’ candles were not snuffed when not in use, but allowed to burn continuously.

A lector in surplice then sang the four readings of vigil: Genesis 1, 1 -2, 2; Exodus 14, 24-31; Isaiah 4, 1-6; and Isaiah 54, 17 - 55, 11. In the thirteenth-century the number of readings at the vigil varied widely, from 4 to 18. The Dominican shorter version was found widely in use in Italy; there is actually nothing unusual about it, so I do not believe that it was a special model for the post-1955 Roman revision of the Vigil, since the readings do not match exactly. I would think that the Roman model was one of the shorter Italian (Roman) uses from the middle ages.

A Tract and Collect followed each reading except that from Genesis, which had only a Collect. The second reading from Isaiah had two collects, one before and one after the Tract Sicut Cervus. Two chanters wearing surplices in medio chori then lead the community in singing the Litany of the Saints in its Dominican form. When the choir had sung the last Agnus Dei of the Litany, the choir began the Easter Kyrie, and the major ministers approached the altar for the prayers at the foot of the altar. 

At the center of the altar, the priest intoned the Gloria in the solemn tone, very similar to that of Roman Mass IV; as it was intoned, the organ played for the first time since the beginning of Lent, the church bells were rung for the first time since Holy Thursday, and the friars took off their black cappas to reveal their white habits. The subdeacon then sang the Epistle from Colossians 3.

The Dominican way of singing the Easter Alleluia before the Gospel differs from the common Roman form, with its three repetitions of the Alleluia and cantors raising each intonation. To the right you can see the Easter Alleluia according to the Domincan chant, the melody of which differs a bit from the common Roman form. You can also see how it is sung. Two cantors in medio chori intone it and the friars all rise. The community then joins in on the short melisma at the end: as indicated by the double bar. Note that this use of the double bar in Dominican notation functions as does the asterisk in Solesmes notation. Then the entire Alleluia is repeated by all, as indicated by the word “Repet(itur)” The friars then sit while the two cantors sing the verse, joining in for eius at the end, again, as indicated by the double bar before that word. As can be seen from “Non repet(itur) Alleluia”, the Alleluia is not repeated after the verse. The Dominican practice is to repeat the Alleluia only once, before the verse. Originally we sang the Alleluia once more after the verse, as I will explain below. Another pair of cantors next joined the original two to sing, antiphonally, the Tract (Ps. 116), after which the deacon chanted the Gospel from Matthew 28.

The current use at the Alleluia reflects changes made in our liturgy at the time of Humbert of Romans’ reforms in 1256. In the picture to the right you can see one of the four extant Dominican Missals from before this reform, representing a standardization of Dominican practice known as “the Liturgy of the Four Friars”, which was approved in 1246. The left page shows the end of the Litany and the Vigil Mass of Easter (the right page is the Mass of Christmas). If you look carefully you can see where the rubrics for the Alleluia have been changed to conform to Humbert’s revision: originally the Alleluia was sung a third time after the verse. This is here crossed out. The Tract was then sung in medio with two pairs of friars alternating the verses. At the Gospel only incense was used; no candles or cross were carried. There was no Credo and no Offertory chant.

The Mass then continued as usual until the Pax Domini. Unlike the usual practice at Solemn Mass, the Pax instrument was not passed and there was no Agnus Dei. Rather, a very short Vespers service began immediately after the response to the Pax Domini. The triple Alleluia antiphon was sung and followed by Psalm 116 with its Gloria Patri. After the choir repeated the antiphon, the cantor intoned the Magnificat Antiphon Vespere autem sabbati, which was also repeated after the choir had finished the Magnificat. The priest, who had by this time finished communion, then sang the Postcommunion prayer. The Mass ended in the usual way with the Placeat, the Ite Missa est, the blessing, and the Last Gospel; the deacon, however, sang the Ite with two alleluias. Compline was sung after the major meal with chants proper to the Easter season and the Salve Regina was followed by a procession to the altar of the Virgin Mary singing the Litany of Loreto, as was customary on all Saturdays of the year. (The Dominicans sing the Salve Regina all year round after Compline.)

There was no General Communion of the friars at the vigil because the Easter General Communion was at the Mass of Easter itself. However, I understand that in many places, a General Communion had been introduced into the vigil in the early part of the twentieth century; such was the practice at our House of Studies in the early 1950s. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Dominican Vigil is the absence of any rites related to Baptism and the font. This reflects the monastic origins of our rite: monasteries did not have pastoral cures and so had no baptismal font since they never needed to perform baptisms. The rite is also of interest for the simplicity of the fire ceremony, which is probably quite ancient.

The Four Friars Missal show is Lausanne: Musee Historique MS MG 2117 and dates to the late 1240s. This post follows the rubrics of the 1933 Dominican Missal, the 1869 Caeremoniale juxta Ritum S. Ordinis Praedicatorum, and the memories of older friars of the Western Dominican Province, in particular Bro. Raymond Bertheaux.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Dominican Rite Candlemas Photopost

On February 2, the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, commonly called Candlemas, a Dominican Rite Solemn Mass, the blessing and procession of candles, was celebrated at St. Albert the Great Priory in Oakland CA, the house of studies of the Western Dominican Province. Our new prior provincial, the Most Reverend Christopher Fadok, O.P., assisted and received the friars' candle-offering. Some of the sixty or so faithful who attended came from as far away as Fresno and Fullerton!

The celebrant was Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., professor of history at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley CA; deacon was Fr. Christopher Wetzel, O.P., parochial vicar of St. Dominic's Church SF; subdeacon was Bro. Joseph Selinger, O.P.; first acolyte, Bro. Nathaniel Maria Mayne, O.P.; second acolyte, Bro. Matthew Heynen, O.P.; thurifer and holy water carrier, Bro. John Peter Anderson; crucifer and pax-bearer, Bro. Paul Maria Müllner, O.P.  The music from the Dominican Gradual was lead by the cantors, Bro. Patrick Rooney, O.P. and Bro. Elias Guadalupe Ford, O.P.

Highlights of the Mass follow.

Blessing of the Candles
The Provincial Receives his Candle
The Laity Receive their Candles

The Procession Enters the Cloister Garden Led by the Holy Water Carrier
Statue of Our Holy Father Dominic in the Cloister Garden

Some of the Laity Following the Procession

The Station Altar for the Procession

The Mappula is Placed on the Minsters' Laps as they Sit for the Kyrie

Intoning the Gloria

Subdeacon Arrives at the Altar during the Procession with the Chalice during the Gloria

The Singing of the Collect

Subdeacon Sings the Reading from Sirach

Preparation of the Chalice during the Responsorium (Gradual)

Deacon Sings the Gospel (Seen from North Passage Way)

Singing of the Creed

Et incarnatus est.

The Prior Provincial Receives the Friars' Candle Offering after the Offertory

Incensing of the Altar after the Offertory and Candle Offering

Bowing for the Gratias agamus

Incensing of the Minsters during the Preface

The Elevation of the Host

The Elevation of the Chalice

The Ministers Kiss the Pax Instrument

The First Cantor Kisses the Pax

Ecce Agnus Dei

Communion of the Friars

Communion of the Congregation


Deacon and Subdeacon Put the Corporal and Chalice in Order

Swinging for the Postcommunion Prayer

The Blessing

Swinging for the Last Gospel

Et verbum caro factum est

Recessional Procession

I thank Bro. Joshua Gatus, O.P., for these lovely photographs.