Category Archives: Mass and the Liturgy

Mass and the Liturgy

The Holy Mass is an inexhaustible fountain of grace. As a most divine mystery it is an unfathomable source of wonder and contemplation. Countless spiritual writers have made it, and the divine liturgy enshrining it, the subject of their books and meditations, each attempting to glorify so great and terrible a gift, so holy a sacrifice. That is what the Mass is, first and foremost, the unbloody sacrifice of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, our Victim and Priest. It is the same identical sacrifice as that offered on Calvary near two thousand years ago, only the manner of offering being different. It is Calvary re-presented in an unbloody manner in every time and every place until the end of the world.

Four hundred years before the Incarnation of the Son of God, Malachias, the last of the Old Testament prophets, foresaw the Holy Mass, and, through him, God announced to Israel its advent with these words: “For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachias 1:11).

The liturgy of each individual Mass, in every approved rite, honors the whole life of Our Lord. At the consecration of the bread the altar becomes Bethlehem; with that of the wine, the altar becomes Calvary; with the covering of the chalice with the pall after consecration is symbolized the burial of Christ; and with the Minor Elevation before the Pater Noster is symbolized the Resurrection. The Victim who is glorified and Immortal cannot be slain again, but He is truly made present under the sacramental species, and He appears in that guise, as the Apostle John saw Him in vision, “as a Lamb standing as it were slain” (Apoc. 5:6).

The articles in this section deal in some way with the Holy Mass and/or the liturgical life of the Church in her feasts. Gary Potter’s article, for example, on the greatest of all liturgical writers, Dom Prosper Guéranger, is a magnificent tribute to this prolific Benedictine reformer and writer. Guéanger’s masterpiece, The Liturgical Year, employs all the Church’s liturgical treasures, East and West, to immerse the reader in the life of Christ as He lives it in our sanctuaries from Advent to last day of Pentecost.

Readings for Holy Week and Easter

Recommended reading for Holy Week, the sacred Triduum and Easter Sunday: Holy Week in General — The Drama of Holy Week by Brother André Marie. Holy Thursday — The Eucharist in Four Simple Mysteries by Father Feeney, introduced by Brother Francis;  Delivering What We Have Received (on the Eucharist) by Brother André Marie. Good Friday — The Seven Words by Brian Kelly, Imitating Christ’s Humility: … More →


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New Bishop of Liverpool: ‘How on Earth Can You Say No’ to Traditional Mass?

Rorate Caeli: Liverpool is the largest diocese in the whole island of Great Britain by number of nominal Catholics – at least according to the Annuario Pontificio (source) – so it certainly is a source of great joy that its new archbishop, Abp. Malcolm Patrick McMahon, O.P., appointed today by the Pope, is so open to the Traditional Mass. He is not only the first ordinary who celebrated … More →

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Portland Archbishop Alexander K. Sample on the Traditional Mass

On March 1, 2014 Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Brigittine Monastery “Our Lady of Consolation” in Amity, Oregon. The Mass was the crowning celebration of a three-day conference on Gregorian Chant and the role of sacred music in the liturgy. This is the same archbishop that has taken a … More →


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Canonical Evaluation of Bishop’s Ban of TLM at Fisher More College

Rorate Caeli: Yesterday, news broke here on Rorate that the Most Rev. Michael Olson of the diocese of Fort Worth had ordered Fisher More College to completely cease offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Despite the implication of some schismatic attitude (perhaps “crypto-Lefebvrian” in nature?), the college made an immediate announcement of its compliance. As one might expect, reports concerning this suppression of the Traditional Latin Mass reverberated like … More →


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New Bishop Bans Venerable Latin Mass at Fisher More College

Rorate Caeli: In a stunning and breathtaking letter, the Most Rev. Michael Olson, the newly-ordained bishop of the Fort Worth Diocese and the second-youngest bishop in the United States, has fully and totally banned the offering of the Traditional Latin Mass in the chapel of Fisher More College, where it has been offered for the last three years on a daily basis by chaplains all approved … More →

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Canadian Archbishop Bans Eulogies During Funeral Masses

Father Z’s Blog: Do you remember that a couple years about Bp. Robert C. Morlino banned eulogies in the Diocese of Madison?  HERE Some people nearly lost their minds.  Morlino was only being a “good son of the Church”, as Pope Francis describes himself, and therefore faithful to the Church’s laws and liturgical rubrics. Sometimes, in this antinomian age of ours, it shocks people to realize that bishops … More →

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Saint Agatha’s Breasts

Father Leonard Feeney once remarked that certain Puritan sectaries refuse to pray the Hail Mary because the Catholic prayer has a bad word in it: womb. On the other hand, many of the Church’s most vociferous critics consider her to be obsessively strict — even fanatically so — on sexual matters. Puritanical (or Jansenistic) extremists on the one side, and libertines on the other, have … More →


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Franciscan of the Immaculate Ordered to Cease EF Latin Mass at 30 Sites

Rorate Caeli: Il Coordinamento Nazionale del Summorum Pontificum reports that out of 33 sites where the Franciscans of the Immaculate had offered the Traditional Latin Mass daily or weekly before July 11, only 3 still have this Mass. More specifically, the Vetus Ordo had been said daily, or at least weekly, in almost all the houses of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in Italy. In addition, it … More →

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Our Lady of the “O”

This entry is updated from last year. Today, December 18, is a feast of long standing in the Latin Church. Though its Mass and office will not be offered liturgically in most places (owing to its not being a universal feast), the “Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary” has origins going back at least to seventh-century Spain. The Catholic Encyclopedia has a small entry on … More →


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Franciscans of the Immaculate Ordered to Take Oath

The Hermeneutic of Continuity: The Franciscans of the Immaculate have been going through a trying time recently. This seems to be getting worse. Rorate Caeli posted yesterday several documents relating the Franciscans of the Immaculate, including correspondence from Fr Volpi, the appointed Commissioner for the Institute. We could all think of Orders, Congregations and Institutes where members have written against magisterial teaching. Occasionally there has been some … More →

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Pope Francis: We Must Restore the Sense of ‘Worship’ at the Altar

AsiaNews: “We Christians may have lost our “sense of worship” of God, Pope Francis said this morning at Mass celebrated at Casa Santa Marta, centered on the physical “temple” as a building where we go to worship and the “spiritual temple”, the human being as a “temple of the Holy Spirit” called to listen to God, to ask Him for forgiveness and follow Him. Vatican Radio … More →

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Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Rome Draws Thousands

CNA: The road leading to St. Peter’s Square was packed on Saturday morning: but not with the usual tourists or merchants. Instead, a long line of pilgrims processed along the street carrying candles and singing hymns. They were participants in an international pilgrimage to Rome celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass made widely available by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2007. Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan … More →

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Angelic Hosts

There is no aspect of Catholic theology more compelling to non-Catholics than the existence of Angels. Oh, where does one begin? Movies? It’s A Wonderful Life, Here Comes Mr. Jordan! (and its sequels and remakes), Gabriel Over the White House, and the odious Michael come to mind among a horde. Music? Innumerable Christmas carols and I have a Dream. Popular books? At this writing Amazon … More →


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The Reign of the Holy Ghost

The Church’s calendar is soon to reach its dramatic terminus. We are yet in the lengthy last part of it, the Pentecost cycle, which, this year, began on Sunday, May 19. Since, liturgically, we are in the Reign of the Holy Ghost, I thought it good to focus our attention on that reign before beginning the new liturgical year. The Church’s calendar is at once … More →


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The Battle of Vienna and the Holy Name of Mary

[This is a re-post.] In 1683, the forces of the Holy League, under Poland’s King Jan Sobieski, roundly defeated the Mohammedan invaders at the Battle of Vienna. Here is a brief telling of that triumphant occasion by Gary Potter (in “Saint Mary of Victory – The Historical Role of Our Lady in the Armed Defense of the Faith”): Fortuitously, the pope of the day, Innocent … More →


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