Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ambrosian Solemn Mass for the Exaltation of the Cross

Last Wednesday, the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione in Milan welcomed Mons. Luigi Magnanini, emeritus Archpriest of the Cathedral Chapter, for a Solemn Mass in the traditional Ambrosian Rite on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Monsignor was assisted by Fr Alberto Fiorini as deacon, Fr Michele Somaschini as subdeacon, and our own Nicola de’ Grandi as master of ceremonies. These photographs give us a nice idea of some of the typical ceremonies of the Ambrosian Mass.

The celebrant and ministers enter the church to the chanting of a Psallendum, an antiphon repeated from the end of Lauds. The processional cross halts at the entrance to the sanctuary, and is turned towards the celebrant, who stands facing it in the nave, with the ministers in two rows facing each other on either side. There are then sung 12 Kyrie eleisons and a hymn, followed by a second Psallendum; at Gloria Patri, all bow to the Cross, at Sicut erat, the ministers bow to the celebrant. The Psallendum is then repeated as they enter the sanctuary.

Many of the dignitaries of the Ambrosian clergy. including the canons of the cathedral, may use a staff called a ferula as a symbol of their authority.

At the Gloria Patri of the Psallendum. 

If the Blessed Sacrament is present in a tabernacle on the altar, it is incensed by the celebrant while kneeling, before he begins to incense the altar.

The reader who sings the Prophetic lesson, and the subdeacon when he sings the Epistle, are both blessed by the celebrant, as is the deacon before the Gospel. The celebrant gives the blessing after the reader has sung the lesson’s title, bowed to him, and said “Jube, domne, benedicere.”

During the singing of the Alleluia, the deacon goes to the sacristy to get Gospel book, which he then brings back to the sanctuary. Incense is imposed and blessed by the celebrant, and the procession forms in a manner similar to that of the Roman Rite; the deacon is blessed after singing the title of the Gospel.

The Gospel procession assembles; here we can see the Ambrosian custom by which the deacon wears his stole over the dalmatic.

The singing of the Gospel.

The Offertory

Imposition of incense

At the Offertory, the celebrant incense the Host, Chalice and altar, he is then incensed by the deacon, at which point the incensation halts. During the singing of the Creed, which is done at the end of the Offertory, all kneels as in the Roman Rite...

the Master of Ceremonies then incenses the rest of the ministers and the faithful as the rest of the Creed is sung.

The celebrant does not wash his fingers during the Offertory, but rather during the Canon, right before the Institution Narrative.

At the Consecration of the Host. Note that subdeacon incenses the Sacrament at the elevation, and from the side.

During the Canon, the deacon and subdeacon both remain with the celebrant; here we see them bowing with him at the Supplices te rogamus.

A houseling cloth used at the Communion.

The humeral veil is used by the subdeacon as he brings the paten with the host and the chalice to the altar at the Offertory, as as he takes them away at the end of the Mass.

The deacon sings “Procedamus cum pace” at the end of the Mass. The deacon and subdeacon do not line up in file behind the celebrant as in the Roman Mass, but stand to either side of the him when they are serving him directly, and to either side of the altar when they are not. The Ambrosian Mass does not have the Ite, missa est, which is exclusive to the Roman Rite, but preserves the older Benedicamus Domino at the end of all Masses, as also at the end of all Hours.

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