Saturday, February 11, 2012

Candlemas at Holy Rosary in Portland OR: Dominican Rite

Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., parochial vicar of Holy Rosary Church, Portland OR, sends this report on the celebration of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and Blessing of Candles in the Dominican Rite at the parish on February 2d, last. I am happy to post his report. Fr. Vincent is a priest of the Western Dominican Province.

Holy Rosary Church has long celebrated the ancient Dominican Rite on a regular basis. Currently a Low Mass is offered every First Saturday of the month at 8:00 in the morning. Sung Masses are scheduled approximately once a month according to various feast days. Music for these Masses are offered by Portland’s own Cantores in Ecclesia. The most recent Missa Cantata was celebrated on the occasion of the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As customary on Candlemas, candles were disturbed to the faithful, a procession followed, and finally the Holy Sacrifice was offered. Last week Fr. Augustine Thompson posted the rubrics for the ceremonies of the Feast as observed by the Conventual Mass of a Dominican Priory. As is common in the Dominican Ceremoniale, rubrics for the laity are few. On such occasions, the rubrics of the Roman Rite can sometimes offer guidance.

Following are photos of the Missa Cantata celebrated by Fr. Vincent M. Kelber, O.P. The observance begins with the single prayer of blessing (as is found in the Dominican Missal), after which the candles are blessed with water and incense. The main celebrant is vested in cope for the procession that follows.


The faithful receive the blessed candles kneeling at the altar rail. Customarily they kiss the hands of the priest out of reverence for Christ in his minister. Here Francis-Hung Q. Le, O.P., pastor of Holy Rosary Church, helps distribute the candles.


The acolytes assist the people in lighting their candles.

A procession is made throughout the church by the minister and the servers. An acolyte serves the role of the friar in surplice who sprinkles Holy Water at the head of the procession. Following him are the acolytes with processional candles, the crucifer, friars and the celebrant. As is usual, the corpus of the processional cross faces not forward, but toward the friars and priests that “they may gaze upon the cross.” With its particular veneration of Christ Crucified and of the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the Dominican Rite is at once manifestly Christocentric and soberly devotional.


Following the procession the priest returns to the sacristy to don the chasuble. Changing of vestments is not done at the chair as in the Roman Rite. Here the celebrant and servers recite the prayers at the foot of the altar asking God for mercy.

Candles are lit twice again during the Mass: during the singing of the Gospel, and from the lighting of the Sanctus candles until before Holy Communion. As to not inhibit the Gospel "procession" the candles were relit while the choir chanted.


Fr. Vincent contemplates the final words of the sequence.


The Elevation of the Sacred Body of Christ. Note the lit Sanctus candles upon the altar.



The moderate extension of the arms at the Unde et Memores.


As is permitted according to the custom of a place, the servers at Holy Rosary always pray a second Confiteor preceding the reception of the Holy Eucharist. Here Fr. Vincent is blessing the servers and communicants during the Absolutionem.


After the Mass Fr. Vincent returns from the sacristy to bless all the candles the faithful have brought from home for their own devotional use.


The next scheduled Missa Cantata in the Dominican Rite at Holy Rosary Parish in Portland is Ash Wednesday on February 22, 2012.

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