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.

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Anniversary of Quo Primum: For Those Who Have Not Read This Magnificent Decree for Awhile

The Papal Bull of Saint Pope Pius V granting in perpetuity the right of every priest use the venerable and traditional Latin Missal in offering Holy Mass. Issued July 14, 1570. Rorate Caeli: [From the very first, upon Our elevation to the chief Apostleship], We gladly turned our mind and energies and directed all out thoughts to those matters which concerned the preservation of a pure … More →

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Saint Norbert and the Octave of Corpus Christi

Today is the feast of Saint Norbert. It also continues the “phantom octave” of Corpus Christi. Two days ago, I mentioned the concurrence of Saint Francis Caracciolo and the Feast of Corpus Christi. The day Saint Francis Caracciolo died was the eve of Corpus Christi (which begins at First Vespers on the eve). In life, he was particularly instrumental in promoting Eucharistic adoration, it being among the works … More →


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Three Versions of the ‘O Sacrum Convivium’

One of the problems with the 1962 liturgical reforms was the senseless suppression of the glorious Octave of Corpus Christi. The suppression of the Octave of the Epiphany is another. (There are many more!) We consider both of these, in a way, tragic. In an effort to continue the spirit of the Octave of Corpus Christi, and to do special honor to the Blessed Sacrament … More →


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Cardinal Zen to Offer Traditional Latin High Mass Sunday April 12

Rorate Caeli: His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Zen, S.D.B., Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong will celebrate a Pontifical High Mass for us this upcoming Sunday (12th April, Low Sunday), at 3:00pm in St. Teresa’s Church, Kowloon, Hong Kong. More here. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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The Drama of Holy Week

Contrary to custom, I’m reposting/resending this piece I wrote for Holy Week four years ago. A blessed Holy Week, Triduum, and Easter to all our readers! If the Church’s liturgical calendar were a temple of time consecrated to God, what we are fast approaching is that temple’s Holy of Holies. The Church sanctifies every week of the year, but only one, by virtue of excellence, does she … More →

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It’s March 25: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

At the risk of upsetting my good friend Gary Potter, who does not care much for Twitter,  I’m going to quote a couple of “tweets.” Fear not, it is to a good purpose. Yesterday, in advance of today’s sublime Festival, I tweeted this: March 25, Feast of the Annunciation: This is the Greatest of All Days in the History of the World http://t.co/VIqQPA2uEG via @SBC_Catholic — … More →


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Lenten Music: Jan Dismas Zelenka’s ‘Miserere’

The Jesuit educated Czech Catholic composer Jan Zelenka, sometimes called the “Catholic Bach,”* is too little known. Worthy to be listed alongside his contemporaries, Bach, Händel, Vivaldi and Telemann, his music presents fine specimens of glorious Baroque counterpoint. Damian Thompson has an informative and entertaining piece on him in the U.K. Spectator that’s worth reading — complete, though it be, with Thompson’s personal eccentricities. And Robert … More →


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This Theologian Needs a Ninth Doctorate on the Subject of Vernacular Babel

The Tablet: Gerald O’Collins, one of the Church’s top theologians and biblical scholars, has issued a stinging critique of the “clunky and Latinised” 2011 translation of the Missal. Fr O’Collins SJ, who was a professor at the Gregorian University in Rome for 33 years and who holds eight doctorates in theology, made his comments in a letter sent to The Tablet entitled “An open letter … More →

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March 9, First Anniversary of the Death of a Great Catholic Father and Lawyer, Mario Palmaro

I link back to the Rorate Caeli eulogy of last year and the post telling about the clever ploy this young defender of the Faith, a professor, bioethicist, lawyer, writer, husband and father of four little ones  had to resort to to get a traditional Requiem Mass in the Cathedral of Monza, his parish church. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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Benedictine Nuns Offer Traditional Song and Liturgical Chant

CNA: Together with the joys of the Resurrection and feasting, this Easter will have an added delight: listening to the new album by the hit-making, Missouri-based Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. “Many people do not realize that the Easter season lasts well beyond Easter Sunday – for a full 50 days in fact! Hopefully our recording will help bring many to a fuller awareness … More →


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Lenten Music: Gregorio Allegri’s ‘Miserere’

Below is the full version of the magnificent “Miserere mei, Deus” composed by the Catholic priest and Roman School composer, Father Gregorio Allegri (c. 1582-1652), and here brilliantly performed by the Choir of New College, Oxford. The Miserere is Psalm 50 (51), a penitential psalm that is sung daily as the first psalm of schema II in the office of Laudes during penitential seasons. It is very Lenten. (From DRBO.ORG.) Miserere. … More →


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Lenten Readings and Preparation for Marian Consecration

As we prepare for the beginning of Lent, please let me draw the readers’ attention to some relevant offerings on our web site: Suggested Lenten Penances, Guilt Transformed, Some Lenten Thoughts, Let us Do Penance, and Lenten Transfiguration. Also, for those beginning the preparation for Total Consecration on February 20 in order to make the consecration on March 25, here is a book with True Devotion to Mary … More →


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Traditional Mass Offered in Philippines for 44 Slain Police Officers

UCANews: To highlight the importance of ‘weeping’, a church group in Quezon City is set to offer a Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) for the repose of the souls of 44 police officers killed recently in an encounter with Mindanao rebels in Mamasapano in Philippines. “One of the messages of our Holy Father Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines was to learn how to … More →

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Cardinal Burke is Right about Altar Girls

The New Emangelization blog recently defended the words of Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke on the detrimental effects of “altar girls” on priestly vocations. His Eminence’s words came in a much discussed interview published on that same blog. To defend the Cardinal, the author of the New Emangelization blog cited the work of The Liturgy Guy, which is worth reading if you’re confused on this issue. Of … More →


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Votive Mass for Peace on Sanguinary ‘Roe’ Anniversary

The Mass propers we prayed here at Saint Benedict Center this morning were not those for the martyr saint of today, Saint Vincent; nor were they for that other Saint Vincent whose feast falls today: Saint Vincent Pallotti. They instead came from the Votive Mass for Peace (Da Pacem) in the traditional Roman Missal. This is because January 22 is, by decree of the United … More →


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