Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ceremonial Details of Today's Mass of Inauguration

The following details of the papal Mass of inauguration (which takes place today) have been published on News.va. I excerpt those parts which are likely of most interest to our readers.

Regarding the beginning of the ceremony, the Pope, once having entered the Basilica, will head to the Confession (St. Peter’s tomb under the high altar) while trumpets will announce the “Tu es Petrus”. The Pope will venerate the tomb of St. Peter, together with the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches (ten in number, four of whom are cardinals). He will then be presented with the Pallium, Ring, and Book of the Gospels that were placed at St. Peter’s tomb the night before.

The Holy Father will then come back up from the Confession to the main floor of the Basilica, from which the procession continues. The “Laudes Regiae” (Christ is King) will be chanted, with some invocations taken from the Vatican II document on the Church, “Lumen Gentium”. In the Litany of Saints are particularly to be noted, after the Apostles, the Holy Roman Pontiffs who have been canonized up to the most recent: St. Pius X. Fr. Lombardi clarified that these are only the pontiffs who have been named as saints, not those who have been beatified. The procession will then make its entrance into the square.


Before the Mass begins there are the rites specific to the beginning of the Bishop of Rome's Petrine Ministry. These include:

The Imposition of the Pallium:
Made of lamb’s wool and sheep’s wool, the Pallium is placed on the Pope's shoulders recalling the Good Shepherd who carries the lost sheep on his shoulders. The Pope’s Pallium has five red crosses while the Metropolitans’ Palliums have five black crosses. The one used by Francis is the same one that Benedict XVI used. It is placed on the Pope’s shoulders by Cardinal proto-deacon Tauran and, after the imposition, there is a prayer recited by Cardinal proto-presbyter Daneels.

The Fisherman’s Ring:
Peter is the fisherman Apostle, called to be a “fisher of men”. The ring is presented to the Pope by Cardinal Deacon Sodano (first of the Order of Bishops). It bears the image of St. Peter with the keys. It was designed by Enrico Manfrini The ring was in the possession of Archbishop Macchi, Pope Paul VI's personal secretary, and then Msgr. Malnati, who proposed it to Pope Francis through Cardinal Re. It is made of silver and gold.

The “Obedience”:
Six cardinals, two from each order, among the first of those present approach the Pope to make an act of obedience. Note that all the Cardinal electors already made an act of obedience in the Sistine Chapel at the end of the Conclave and that all the cardinals were able to meet the Pope in the following day’s audience in the Clementine Hall. Also, at the moment of “taking possession” of the Cathedral of Rome—St. John Lateran—it is expected that the act of obedience will be made by representatives of the various members of the People of God.

The Mass will be that of the Solemnity of St. Joseph, which has its own readings (therefore they are not directly related to the rite of the Inauguration of the Pontificate). The Gospel will be proclaimed in Greek, as at the highest solemnities, to show that the universal Church is made up of the great traditions of the East and the West. “Latin,” Fr. Lombardi said, “is already abundantly present in the other prayers and Mass parts.”

The Pope will give his homily in Italian and, as is his style, it probably will not follow the written text strictly, but will contain improvisations.

Fr. Lombardi said that the Master of Celebrations expects that the ceremony will not last much more than two hours and, always with the intention of simplification and not making the rite overly long, there will not be an Offertory procession. The Eucharistic gifts will be brought to the altar by the ministers who prepare the altar. Also, the Pope will not distribute Communion, which will be done by the deacons on the “Sagrato” and, in the various areas of the piazza, by priests.

Regarding the music for the ceremony, several moments are notable. When the Pope enters the Basilica silver trumpets will ring out the “Tu es Petrus”. The Laudes Regiae will be chanted during the procession from St. Peter’s tomb to the “Sagrato”. A 14 piece brass ensemble will play at various moments of the celebration. During the Offertory the “Tu es pastor ovium” (You Are the Shepherd of the Sheep) motet composed by Pierluigi da Palestrina precisely for the Inauguration of the Pontificate will be sung. At the conclusion, the “Te Deum” will be sung with verses alternating between Gregorian chant and a melody by Tomas Luis de Victoria. As it will not be held on a Sunday, there will be no Angelus after the Mass.


Papal Coat of Arms:
The last topic that Fr. Lombardi covered was the now pontiff's papal coat of arms and motto. These are the same that he used as bishop. The shield has a bright blue background, at the centre top of which is a yellow radiant sun with the IHS christogram on it representing Jesus (it is also the Jesuit logo). The IHS monogram, as well as a cross that pierces the H, are in red with three black nails directly under them. Under that, to the left, is a star representing Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church. To the right of the star is a nard flower representing Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. With these symbols the Pope demonstrates his love for the Holy Family.

What distinguishes his coat of arms as pontiff is that, instead of the wide-brimmed, red cardinal's hat atop the shield, it is now crowned by the papal tiara and crossed keys.

His motto—“miserando atque eligendo” (because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him)—is taken from the Venerable Bede's homily on the Gospel account of the call of Matthew. It holds special meaning for the Pope because—when he was only 17-years-old, after going to confession on the Feast of St. Matthew in 1953—he perceived God's mercy in his life and felt the call to the priesthood, following the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

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