Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Vigil of All Saints

In the Roman Rite, the term “vigilia – vigil” traditionally means a penitential day of preparation for one of the more important feasts. The Mass of a Saint’s vigil is celebrated after None, as are the Masses of the ferias of Lent or the Ember Days, and in violet vestments; however, the deacon and subdeacon do not wear folded chasubles, as they do in Lent, but the dalmatic and tunicle. The Mass has neither the Gloria nor the Creed, the Alleluja is omitted before the Gospel, and not replaced with a Tract, and Benedicamus Domino is said at the end in place of Ite, missa est.

A folio of the Echternach Sacramntary, 895 AD, with the Mass of the vigil of All Saints, and the collect of the feast. (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Latin 9433)
Before the Tridentine reform, the vigil of a Saint consisted solely of the Mass, and had no presence in either the Roman version of the Divine Office, or in that of most other Uses. A minority custom, which seems to have been predominantly German, gave an Office to the vigils of Saints, which consisted of a homily at Matins, and the use of the collect of the vigil as the principal collect of the day; the rest of the Office was that of the feria. The Breviary of St Pius V adopted this latter custom for the vigils of Saints, a rare example of change in an otherwise extremely conservative reform; but even for the Roman Rite, this was not an absolute novelty. Historically, the vigils of the major feasts of the Lord (Christmas, Epiphany etc.) did include the Office, and the change in 1568 simply extended the scope of a well-established custom.

The feast of All Saints was not definitively established as a major solemnity of the Roman Rite until the mid- to late 9th century, but in every book in which it is attested, it is accompanied by such a vigil. It seems reasonable to assume, therefore, that were instituted at the same time. Because of the preeminent position of the martyrs in Christian devotion as the first and most widely venerated Saints after those who appear in the New Testament, the liturgical texts of All Saints are often borrowed or imitated from those of the feasts of martyrs, and the same is true of its vigil.

The Introit of the vigil is taken from the third chapter of the book of Wisdom, the source of many liturgical texts of all kinds for the feasts of martyrs. “Júdicant Sancti gentes et dominantur pópulis: et regnábit Dóminus, Deus illórum, in perpétuum. Ps. 32 Exsultáte, justi, in Dómino: rectos decet collaudatio. Gloria Patri. Judicant. – The Saints judge nations, and rule over peoples, and the Lord their God shall reign for ever. Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the righteous. Glory be. The Saints.”


The Epistle is taken from the Apocalypse, chapter 5, 6-12; this part of the book, St John’s vision of God on His throne with the heavenly court and the Saints standing before Him, has long been a favorite source for artistic depictions of Heaven. This specific passage contains the first mention of Christ as “the Lamb that was slain”, and the book’s first occurrence of the word “Saints”.

“In those days, behold I, John, saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints: And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the ancients; and the number of them was thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction.’ ”

As I described in an article two years ago, the feast of All Saints was instituted in part as a response to the iconoclast heresy which the Byzantine Emperors invented, and enforced with a brutal persecution. Roughly a generation before iconoclasm began in 726, the Emperor Justinian II had called a synod now known as either “the Synod in Trullo” or “the Quinisext Council”, which among other things forbade any representation of Christ as an animal. In response, Pope St Sergius I (687-701) added the Agnus Dei to the Mass, and the church of Rome began regularly depicting Christ as a lamb in art. This Epistle, in which the Bible itself calls Him a lamb, was most likely chosen in reference to this; likewise the Epistle of the feast itself, chapter 7, 2-12, in which John sees “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb.’ ” In the same vein, the Magnificat antiphon for Second Vespers of the feast says “O how glorious is the kingdom where all the Saints rejoice with Christ; clothed in white robes, they follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth!”

In the church of Ss Cosmas and Damian in Rome, Pope Sergius added the gold-background mosaic on the proscenium arch, filled with images from the book of the Apocalypse, including the Lamb of God on His throne. (Photo by Fr Lawrence Lew.) 
The Gradual is taken from Psalm 149, “Exsultabunt sancti in gloria; laetabuntur in cubilibus suis. V. Cantate Domino canticum novum; laus ejus in ecclesia sanctorum. – The Saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their resting places. V. Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: let his praise be in the church of the Saints.” The first part of this is frequently said in the Office of Several Martyrs, and was chosen in reference to the fact that the original focus of devotion to the Saints was always at the place of their burial. (There is no recording of it on available on YouTube, but it is very similar to the Gradual Tecum principium of the First Mass of Christmas.)


The Gospel, Luke 6, 17-23, is taken from the beginning of the Sermon on the Plain; this is St Luke’s shorter version of the Beatitudes with which St Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount begins (chap. 5, 1-12), the latter being the Gospel of the feast. As St Ambrose explains in the breviary sermon on this Gospel, “Saint Luke sets out only four of the Lord’s Beatitudes, while Saint Matthew gives eight; but in those eight are contained these four, and in these four those eight. For the former in these four embraced the cardinal virtues, and the letter in those eight set forth a number full of mystery. … For as the eighth beatitude names the perfection of what we hope for (i.e., the kingdom of Heaven), so it is also the sum of the virtues.”

The Offertory is taken from the same Psalm as the Gradual, and includes a small variant from the Old Latin version, rather than the Vulgate version of St Jerome. “Exsultabunt sancti in gloria; lætabuntur in cubilibus suis. Exaltationes Dei in faucibus (“gutture” in the Vulgate) eorum. – The Saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their resting places. The high praises of God shall be in their mouth.”


Finally, the Communion also comes from Wisdom 3, and in fact has the same text as the Offertory of the feast, without the Alleluja at the end; the music, however, is completely different.

“Justórum ánimae in manu Dei sunt, et non tanget illos tormentum malitiae: visi sunt óculis insipientium mori: illi autem sunt in pace. – The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of malice shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: but they are in peace.”


In the Middle Ages, October 31 was also celebrated in England, France and the Low Countries as the feast of St Quintinus (“Quentin” in English), a Roman who came to Gaul, preached in the area of Amiens, and was martyred at a town which is now named for him. In many parts of Germany, it was the feast of St Wolfgang, bishop of Regensburg in Bavaria. Where one of these or some other feast was kept, two Masses would be celebrated on the day, one of the Saint after Terce, and the other of the vigil after None, with First Vespers of the feast normally following immediately after the second Mass. The vigil of All Saints receives little attention from medieval liturgical commentators such as Sicard of Cremona or William Durandus, but they do note that it was supposed to be kept with a fast, which was not to be broken until after None and Mass, and was not to be dispensed with because of the occurring feast.

The south façade of the basilica of St Quentin. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons by René Hourdry; CC BY-SA 4.0)

Photopost Request: All Saints and All Souls 2019

Our next photopost will be for the feast of All Saints and the Commemoration of All Souls, this Friday and Saturday. As always, we welcome pictures of Mass in either Form, or the Ordinariate Rite, as well as the vigil Mass of All Saints, celebrations of the Divine Office / Liturgy of the Hours on any of these days, and displays of relics. (The posts will also include some spontaneous submissions from the EF feast of Christ the King.) Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important; email them to photopost@newliturgicalmovement.org. (Zipfiles are preferred.) Evangelize through beauty!

From our first All Saints and All Souls photopost of last year: the absolution at the catafalque at the Collegiate Church of St Just in Lyon, France.
From the second post: relics at Mater Ecclesiae Church in Berlin, New Jersey
From the third post: solemn Mass of All Saints’ Day at the church of All Saints in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

All Saints and All Souls Announcements: California, NYC and Louisville, KY

The St Ann Choir will sing the Mass of All Saints’ Day, with Francisco Guerrero’s Missa Iste Sanctus and Gregorian chants at St Thomas Aquinas Church, located at 751 Waverley Street (at Homer), in Palo Alto, California, starting at 8 p.m. On All Souls’ Day, the choir will sing a Gregorian Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Cristo Rey Monastery Chapel, located at 721 Parker Avenue (at Fulton Street), in San Francisco, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Here is a schedule of Masses at several different churches in the archdiocese of Los Angeles; click to enlarge.

The Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in New York City will have the following schedule on All Saints’ Day; the church is located at 448 E. 116th St. in Manhattan.

7 a.m. – Mass in English
7:45 a.m. – Low EF Mass in Latin
9 a.m. – Mass in English
6 p.m. – Angelus, Rosary & Confessions
7 p.m. - EF Missa Cantata
8 p.m. - Litany of the Saints in Procession, and Veneration of the Relics of the Saints
On All Souls’ Day, the church will have an EF sung Requiem, followed by a sermon and the Absolution at the catafalque, starting at 9 a.m.

On All Saints’ Day, the Ordinariate Community of Our Lady and Saint John, in Louisville, Kentucky, will celebrate a Low Mass at 9 a.m., and a procession and Solemn Mass starting at 4 p.m. On All Souls’ Day, a Solemn Mass for the Dead, and Absolution at the Catafalque will be celebrated at noon, with a new catafalque made by a parishioner. The Community is hosted by the church of St Martin of Tours, located at 639 South Shelby Street.

EF Masses for All Saints & All Souls in the Denver Area

The following EF Masses will be celebrated in the Denver area for the feast of All Saints and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. With the exceptions noted below, the Masses are at the FSSP’s church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, located at 5612 S. Hickory St., in Littleton.

All Saints, November 1  

6:30 a.m.: Low Mass at the Carmelite Monastery, located at 6138 S. Gallup St., in Littleton.
8:30 a.m.: Low Mass at OLMC
7:00 p.m.: High Mass at OLMC

All Souls, November 2

6:30 a.m.: Low Requiem Mass at OLMC
8:30 a.m.: High Requiem Mass at OLMC
10:30 a.m.: Solemn High Requiem Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, located at 1530 Logan Street in Denver, sung by the OLMC Choir.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Feast of the Holy Relics

In the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, the entry on Relics states that “It has long been customary especially in churches which possessed large collections of relics, to keep one general feast in commemoration of all the saints whose memorials are there preserved. (As will be explained below, this is something of an overstatement.)

Part of the relics collection of the basilica of St Petronius in Bologna.
An Office and Mass for this purpose will be found in the Roman Missal and Breviary, and though they occur only in the supplement Pro aliquibus locis and are not obligatory upon the Church at large, still this celebration is now kept almost universally. The office is generally assigned to the fourth Sunday in October.” The author, Fr Herbert Thurston SJ, wrote “generally” because there was a variety of uses in regard to the date. I have seen the feast on October 26 in a 19th century breviary printed at Naples, while the Dominicans kept it on the 30th, and the Premonstratensians on November 14th. The Catholic Encyclopedia article was published just prior to the reform of St Pius X, which abolished the custom of fixing feasts to particular Sundays; after that reform, the most common date was November 5th.

The Divine Office for the feast is that of the common of Several Martyrs, with lessons in the second nocturn taken from St John Damascene’s Treatise on the Orthodox Faith, which perfectly summarize the Church’s theology of relics.

“Christ the Lord granted us the relics of the Saints as fonts of salvation, from which very many benefits come to us. … In the (old) law, whosoever touched a dead person was deemed unclean, but these (i.e. the Saints) are not to be reckoned among the dead. For from that time when He who is life itself, and the Author of life, was reckoned among the dead, we do not call them dead who have fallen asleep in Him with the hope and faith of the resurrection.”

This mid-11th century fresco in the lower basilica of St Clement in Rome shows the translation of the relics of St Clement, which Ss Cyril and Methodius discovered while they were evangelizing the Slavs in the region to which Clement had been deported, and where he had been martyred in the early 2nd century. The two Saints are depicted at left with Pope St Nicholas I, to whom they gave the relics; in the middle, St Clement is depicted as a living person, lying on a bier and covered with a red blanket, holding up his head, to indicate that the relics are his living presence among us. At the right, the Pope is celebrating Mass, with the Missal open to the “Per omnia saecula” and “Pax Domini” before Communion. (Public domain image from Wikimedia.)
He goes on to note various kinds of miracles that are worked by relics: “demons are expelled, illnesses driven away, the sick are healed, the blind regain sight, the leprous are cleansed, temptations and sorrows are scattered, and every best gift descendeth through them from the Father of lights (James 1, 17), unto those who ask with unwavering faith.”

As a theologian and Doctor of the Church, St John is best known for his defense of sacred images against the iconoclast heresy. “Iconoclasm” literally means “the breaking of images”, but in its Byzantine form, it also attacked the Church’s devotion to relics, just as the Protestant form would eight centuries later. Shortly after the Synod of the Hieria, which took place in the Emperor’s palace in Chalcedon in 753, and made iconoclasm the official policy of the Byzantine Empire, the altar of the nearby basilica of St Euphemia was dismantled, and her relics removed from it and cast into the sea. This was the first in a twenty-year long campaign of similar desecrations, and persecution of the iconodules. When the Second Council of Nicea was convoked in 787 to reestablish the orthodox faith, several accounts of miracles worked by both images and relics were adduced in their favor, and incorporated into the Council’s official acts, following the line set out by St John.

The Mass of the Holy Relics found in the supplement to the Missal is a fairly recent composition; its three prayers are all proper to the feast, but the Gregorian propers and Scriptural readings are selected from other Masses. The Introit is taken from the feast of Ss John and Paul, the first martyrs whose relics were buried inside a church within the city of Rome. “Many are the afflictions of the just; and out of them all will the Lord deliver them. The Lord keepeth all their bones, not one of them shall be broken.” The Epistle, Sirach 44, 10-15, is that of the octave day of Ss Peter and Paul, over whose tombs and relics the Emperor Constantine built two of Rome’s earliest public churches; it is here selected for the verse “Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation.” The Gradual Exsultabunt Sancti and the Gospel, Luke 6, 17-23, the beginning of the Sermon on the Plain, are both taken from the vigil of All Saints, since the feast of the Holy Relics is effectively celebrated as a part of All Saints’ Day. The remaining chants are taken from the Masses of various Martyrs.

A 15th-century reliquary of St James the Greater, the presence of which in the cathedal of Pistoia made that city into one of the major pilgrimage centers of medieval Italy.
It is would be difficult to overstate the importance of relics in the devotional life of the medieval Church, and a general commemoration “of the relics” is often found in medieval breviaries among the series of votive commemorations known as “suffrages.” However, a general feast of relics per se is actually quite rare in the Middle Ages; one of the few notable examples is found in the Use of Sarum, which kept such a feast on the Sunday after July 7th. This date was chosen because July 7th was the feast of the translation of perhaps the most important relics in pre-Reformation England, those of St Thomas of Canterbury. Translation feasts were also celebrated for St Martin of Tours and St Benedict, and indeed, all three were kept within a single week, with the former on the 4th and the latter on the 11th.

In point of fact, it was a much more common practice to celebrate the translation or reception of a specific relic or group of relics, rather than a feast of relics in general. In 1194, a feast of this kind was established at Paris, celebrated on December 4th under the title “Susceptio Reliquarum – The Receiving of the Relics.” The objects in question were believed to be several of the Virgin Mary’s hairs, three of St John the Baptist’s teeth, the arm of St Andrew the Apostle, some of the stones with which St Stephen was killed, and a large portion of the skull of St Denis. The pre-Tridentine Breviary of Paris has a special Office for the day, which mixes together parts of the Offices of these Saints with others from that of All Saints’ Day, and the hymns of Several Martyrs. Particular emphasis is laid on the Virgin, to whom the cathedral of Paris, where these relics were kept, is dedicated, and on local hero St Denis. This Office remained in use in the post-Tridentine period, with modifications that did not change its basic tenor.

(Many of the relics kept at Notre Dame de Paris were destroyed during the Revolution; the following video shows the monthly exposition of one of the most famous ones that survived, the Crown of Thorns, which had its own feast on the Parisian calendar on August 11th.)

I am sure that some of those who read this article will smile (or perhaps smirk) at the idea of relics of the Virgin Mary’s hair or the stones used to kill St Stephen. In this, they will not be alone. In the early decades of the 18th century, the church of Paris turned to a general and radical revision of its liturgical books, the reform which we now call “neo-Gallican.” This reform embraced many of the rationalist critiques brought against some of the Church’s traditional stories and legends; in the 19th century, Dom Prosper Guéranger, the great enemy of the neo-Gallicans, complained bitterly of their splitting up of both St Mary Magdalene and St Denis into different personages according to the various parts of their legends.

Likewise, suspicious (to say the least) of the authenticity of these relics, the neo-Gallican reform completely erased the original character of the “Susceptio Reliquiarum”, transforming it into a general feast of relics. Renamed as “the Veneration of the Holy Relics”, and transferred to November 8th, the octave day of All Saints, it was then given a completely new Office, which contains no references at all to the specific relics for which it was originally instituted, or the Saints whose relics they were.

The neo-Gallican liturgical reforms contain a great many lapses in taste and judgment which almost beggar belief; however, the new Office of the Holy Relics, whatever its history may be, is from a literary point of view one of the better efforts of its kind. Like most people who put their hand to changing historical liturgies, the Neo-Gallican revisers were painfully obsessed with making everything “more Scriptural,” and the new antiphons and responsories consist almost entirely of direct citations from the Bible. But they are very well chosen from a wide selection of books, and do demonstrate effectively that the Church’s veneration of relics is a tradition thoroughly grounded in Scripture. Just to give one example, the following responsory cites an Old Testament episode which was later used by Cardinal Newman in his Apologia to justify the veneration of relics.

R. They cast the body into the sepulcher of Elisha, and when it had touched the bones of Elisha, the man came back to life, and stood upon his feet. (4 Kings 13, 21) V. By faith they received their dead raised to life again. (Hebr. 11, 35) And when…

It is also, I believe, the only example of a neo-Gallican Office that was adopted for use outside France, and continued to be used, at least in part, even after the neo-Gallican liturgies were definitively suppressed in the 19th century. The Neapolitan breviary which I mentioned above contains it in almost exactly the same form as it appears in the 1714 edition of the Parisian Breviary. The one feature of the Office which the neo-Gallican reforms could not make into a chain of Scriptural citations is the corpus of hymns, to which a great many new compositions were added. The new Parisian Office of the Holy Relics includes a hymn written by a cleric of the diocese of Paris named Claude Santeul (1624-84) which was adopted by the Benedictines for their version of the feast, and is thus still part of the Antiphonale Monasticum for the Office to this very day. The meter is one used by the classical poet Horace called the Third Asclepiadean, not previously part of the traditional repertoire of Christian hymns. Some of Santeul’s odd vocabulary (e.g. “Christiadum” instead of “Christianorum”) is determined by the need to find words that fit the meter, but his complicated word order is a deliberate imitation of Horace’s style.


Reverence their poor and sadly dear remains!
Folded in peace their earthly vesture lies,
Dear pledges, left below, but thence to rise,
Pledges of heavenly bodies, free from pains!

And here ye may lift up your thankful strains,
Ye Christian companies. The spirit flies,
And hath its recompense in quiet skies,
And leaves with you below its broken chains:

Yet for their bones meek Piety shall plead,
Blest Piety, which honoureth the dead!
Though scatter’d far and wide, yet God’s own eye
Doth keep them that they perish not; and when

The promised hour shall come, their God again
Shall gather them, and as He builds on high
His habitation, each there, moulded by His grace,
Shall live and find a sure abiding place.

To us the places where your ashes be
Shall be as altars, whence shall steadier rise
Our prayers to Heav’n; and that blest Sacrifice,
Where God the Victim cometh down from high,

Shall consecrate to holier mystery;
He here accepts your deaths as join’d with His,
Here builds all in one body, and supplies
Our dying frames with immortality.

And hence your graves become a tower of aid,
A refuge from bad thoughts, a sacred shade;
Until, fresh clad with new and wondrous dowers,
Our flesh shall join the angelic choirs, and be

A living temple crowned with heavenly towers;
Where evermore the praises shall ascend
Of the great undivided One and Three,
And God be all in all, world without end. Amen.

(English translation by Isaac Williams from Hymns translated from the Parisian Breviary, Rivington, London, 1839)

The neo-Gallican use also has a different Gospel from the one named above for the feast of the Holy Relics, Luke 20, 27-38, in which Christ disputes with the Sadducees about the nature of the final Resurrection. The conclusion of this passage is particularly important as the foundation of what St John Damascene says, that the Saints are not truly dead. “Now that the dead rise again, Moses also shewed, at the bush, when he called the Lord, The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him.” In the Parisian Breviary, the homily that accompanies it is taken from a treatise written by St Jerome against a priest from Gaul named Vigilantius, who had denied the value of praying to the Saints and venerating relics, a work in which we see the Saint at his wittiest and most acerbic.

“Vigilantius is vexed to see the relics of the martyrs covered with a costly veil, and not bound up with rags or hair-cloth, or thrown down the midden, so that Vigilantius alone in his drunken slumber may be worshipped. Are we, therefore guilty of sacrilege when we enter the basilicas of the Apostles? Was the Emperor Constantius guilty of sacrilege when he transferred the sacred relics of Andrew, Luke, and Timothy to Constantinople? In their presence the demons cry out, and those who dwell in Vigilantius (i.e. the devils) confess that they feel their influence. And at the present day, is the Emperor Arcadius guilty of sacrilege, who after so long a time has conveyed the bones of the blessed Samuel from Judea to Thrace? Are all the bishops to be considered not only sacrilegious, but fools as well, because they carried that most worthless thing, dust and ashes, wrapped in silk in golden vessel? Are the people of all the Churches fools, because they went to meet the sacred relics, and welcomed them with as much joy as if they beheld a living prophet in their midst, so that there was one great swarm of people from Palestine to Chalcedon with one voice re-echoing the praises of Christ? They were forsooth adoring Samuel and not Christ, whose Levite and prophet Samuel was. You imagine he is dead, and therefore you blaspheme. Read the Gospel: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

St Jerome the Penitent, by Titian, 1575; when depicted in this fashion, he is traditionally shown holding a rock with which he is said to have beaten his breast as an act of penance. Given the ferocity of Jerome’s polemical writings, and a general apprehension of his character (he quarreled violently with several of his friends), Pope Benedict XIV is supposed to have remarked on seeing such a representation of the Saint, “If it is true, that would be the only way you got into heaven.”

Back In Print At Last: Enid Chadwick’s My Book of the Church’s Year

As a regular NLM reader likes to say: “The hits keep on comin’!” Even in these dark times of ours, we hear news on an almost daily basis of new (positive) pastoral initiatives, new locations of the old Mass, new sacred music commissions, new religious communities and apostolates, and especially new traditional Catholic books of the highest quality. What was once a trickle has become a river.

Some years ago, I attempted to reprint a gem of a book, Enid Chadwick’s My Book of the Church’s Year. My cheap and flimsy paperback was by no means adequate to the task, and I let the project fall by the wayside. Happily, Lisa Bergman of St Augustine Academy Press, well known for their book Treasure and Tradition (available now in English, Spanish, and Portuguese), has just released a beautiful hardcover edition of Chadwick done so well that the endpapers, thickly-textured paper, and rich color illustrations of the original edition are all faithfully reproduced. The photos will show this better than any words.

Lisa asked me to contribute a Foreword, which I was glad to do, as this is one of my all-time favorite children’s books. Here’s part of what I wrote:
It’s the loveliest, most charming, and in many ways most clever introduction to the liturgical calendar I’ve ever come across. It is informed by a deep Catholic love for the seasons of the year, the feasting and fasting, the great holy days, the pageantry of the saints and their stories, the underlying rhythm that connects nature, culture, and sanctity. . . . Though written and illustrated by a High Church Anglican, the feasts depicted in this book differ only in very minor ways from the traditional Catholic calendar. Chadwick’s handsome illustrations are simple enough for young children, and yet at the same time full of complexities for those who are attentive.
My Foreword includes pointers on the theological insights built into the illustrations, comments on terms and calendar features, and notes on particular saints who may be less known to readers. As Fr Hunwicke recently pointed out, it can be striking to see how closely traditional Anglican publications like Chadwick’s correspond to the ethos and even the details of traditional Roman Catholicism than either of them do to anything from the sphere of the Novus Ordo. Examples would include an emphasis on Christ coming in judgment; Epiphanytide; January 1st as the Circumcision; February 2nd as the Purification or Candlemas; February 14th as St. Valentine; Septuagesimatide, with mention of Lenten fasting; Passiontide; Low Sunday; May 3rd as the Finding of the Holy Cross; Rogationtide; the lifting of the chasuble at the elevation and kneeling for communion (p. 33); a catafalque on All Souls, being incensed by a priest in a black cope; and so forth. Such things are simply not to be found in children’s books published after 1969.

Helpfully, Lisa has provided at the book link an electronic flip-through of the contents (scroll to the bottom of the page to find it) for anyone who would like to preview the content before purchasing. If you are looking for an ideal Advent or Christmas gift, a read-aloud to catechize about the liturgical year, or a special weapon for the arsenal of books for little ones to look at in church, you’ll want to check this out!

Some comparison photos, showing the original 1948 edition and the 2018 facsimile edition (selling at the website for $12.95).

EF All Saint and All Souls in San José, California

Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory, the Institute of Christ the King’s apostolate in San José, California, will keep the following schedule for All Saints and All Souls.

– On All Saints’ Day, Friday, November 1: Low Mass at 12 p.m., High Mass at 5:45 p.m.
– On All Souls’ Day, Saturday, November 2: Low Mass at 10 a.m. and Sung Requiem Mass at 3 p.m.

The Oraotry is hosted at Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, located at 1375 Santa Clara Street; please note that the 10 a.m. Mass on Saturday will be celebrated in the I.E.S. chapel, the rest in the main church.

Dominican Rite Solemn Mass for All Souls, Menlo Park CA

I am pleased to announce that the Dominican Rite Mass usually celebrated on First Saturdays at the Western Dominican Province House of Studies at St Albert the Great Priory in Oakland, California, will this month, on November 2, be a Solemn Mass for All Souls at Corpus Christi Monastery, the community of cloistered Dominican nuns in Menlo Park.

The celebrant and preacher will be Fr. Vincent Kelber, O.P., director of the St Jude Shrine at St Dominic’s Church in San Francisco. The deacon will be Fr. Christopher Wetzel, O.P., parochial vicar of St Dominic’s Church, and the subdeacon will be Bro. Joseph Selinger, O.P., a student of the Western Province. The Mass will be sung by the nuns of the monastery and the student brothers from St Albert’s Priory, who will also serve.

Fr Kelber will also give a short reflection on praying for the holy souls in Purgatory. The nuns will host a reception in the monastery parlor after the Mass.

Corpus Christi Monastery is located at 215 Oak Grove Avenue, Menlo Park, California. There is ample parking at the monastery and on Oak Grove Avenue.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Photos from the Populus Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage in Rome

This past weekend, the Populus Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage to Rome was celebrated once again, coinciding with the EF feast of Christ the King. Here are some photographs of the various events; the photographer really outdid himself with the last group of shots, with some very nice photos from the little choirs that overlook the sanctuary of Trinità dei Pellegrini

On Friday, October 25th,  the Premonstratensian Fathers of the Abbey of Gödöllő in Hungary, assisted by the schola and servers of St Michael’s Church in Budapest, Hungary, celebrated a Solemn Votive Mass of the Holy Cross in the church of St Mary of the Martyrs, better known by its secular name, the Pantheon.
Earlier that same day, the clergy of the Institute of the Good Shepherd led the Stations of the Cross at the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, with a solemn exposition, blessing with and veneration of a relic of the True Cross.

Upcoming Lecture by Dr Kwasniewski in Minneapolis, November 13

At the kind invitation of All Saints, the Minneapolis parish of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, I will be giving a lecture on Wednesday, November 13, at St. Boniface Church (629 NE 2nd St.): “Beyond ‘Smells and Bells’: Why We Need the Objective Content of the Usus Antiquior.” The lecture will be preceded by Low Mass at 6:30 pm at All Saints (435 4th St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413).

I’m looking forward to meeting lovers of Catholic tradition from the Twin Cities! And if you know people who are “on the fence,” so to speak — who think that the Ordinary Form is “just as good” provided it’s ad orientem, in Latin, with chant and incense and so forth, invite them to come for a challenge. As important as the externals are (and I have always defended and will always defend that point!), the differences between the old and new rites go far deeper than such features.

Mens’ Monastic Experience Weekend in Petersham, Mass., Nov. 8-10

Fr Dunstan from St Mary’s Monastery, Petersham, has asked me to pass on information about the next monastic experience weekend. They are a contemplative OSB community in Central Massachusetts, 70 miles from Boston. He says:
During this weekend, young single RC men don’t stay in the guest house and hear talks about monastic life from us, they actually live monastic life with us, within the usually private monastic enclosure. They do what we do, when we do it.

Contact Fr Gregory and the Vocations Team, St Mary’s Monastery
Incidentally, if you are wondering why St Mary’s gets a spot on the NLM the answer is simple. They asked me!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Why Is the Liturgical Establishment Not Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Novus Ordo?

An article published at NLM last Thursday (“Lessons from the Sixties: Selective Synodality and Princely Protests”) begins thus: “It is actually astonishing how little of Paul VI’s liturgical reform, especially his Novus Ordo Missae, which he promulgated fifty years ago, is being commemorated this year.” That has been on my mind, too, for the whole of 2019.

It should strike us as exceedingly odd, at least prima facie, that liturgy committees, Vatican dicasteries, theology departments, chanceries, religious orders, and every other sort of postconciliar bureaucratic apparatus is not engaged in a huge song and dance about the golden anniversary of the new Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI on April 3, 1969, and effective in most countries on the first Sunday of Advent of that year, November 30. (In the same way, Summorum Pontificum was promulgated on 7/7/07 but did not take effect until the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14).

Certainly, one might think, if there is anything postconciliar that deserves to be toasted, fêted, and proudly clapped on the back, it would be this monumental modern makeover. Yet the number of events, nay, the number of mentions on the part of the Pauline rite’s friends and supporters could be counted on one hand. The total number of events celebrating Summorum Pontificum’s rather modest anniversaries (5 years, 10 years…), in contrast, already go up into double digits. Perhaps the most high-profile piece — and it wasn’t particular high-profile — was an article in L’Osservatore Romano on April 6, 2019, by Fr. Corrado Maggioni, S.M.M., Under-Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, published in English at PrayTell on April 17. [1]

Can we understand this perplexing silence? I think the answer can be summed up in an alternative title that I considered using for this article: “Memory Hole: On the Destruction of the Knowledge of Tradition.”

What got me thinking along these lines was an interesting exchange at Facebook, of which I will now reproduce the most valuable segments. It began this way:
I have met plenty of people who call themselves Catholic who have never had the slightest idea there ever were any changes, and have no idea what the term “Novus Ordo” even means, the rewriting of history has been so complete.
Another fellow chimed in:
When I was first at University I was vaguely aware that before Vatican II Mass was in Latin, but I thought it meant the liturgy exactly as we had it in the Steubenville chapel, but in Latin. Then I went to a TLM just out of curiosity and discovered just how wrong that idea was.
The first person replied:
I assumed precisely the same thing. The idea that they would simply brazenly concoct something new by committee was something that I had to be forcibly convinced of. It wasn’t until I had put the two texts side by side that I began to realise how we had been utterly swindled all our lives. Then I started reading Michael Davies and it was all over.
A third person chimed in:
I converted from Anglicanism, having read my way to Catholicism. The Novus Ordo (though I didn’t know it was called that at the time or for many years) was a bit of a shock, but I just thought that’s how it was, and I had to get on with it. I never even knew the Latin Mass still existed. I lapsed, came back, and I will always believe it was no coincidence that the weekday Mass I happened to stay for after my confession was a TLM. Usual stuff after that — read Michael Davies, etc., went through the whole anger, “I’ve been cheated” thing — and out the other side. Praise God.
A question was raised: “Why among Catholics is there so much ignorance not just of history in general, but even of our recent history? Fifty years ago isn’t that much time… You’d think that a Church 2,000 years old would want its members to know how great it was that the bad old dusty-musty liturgy was replaced by a shiny new model.” And to it, there came this reply:
The answer to the puzzle is that there is no longer supposed to be any knowledge that the “Novus Ordo,” as such, exists at all. It is supposed only to be “the Mass,” full stop. The fact that there were ever any changes made to the liturgy is supposed to be sliding down the Memory Hole with each passing year. The people who remember the old Mass well, who would have known just how radically different the new is from the old, and who remember how violently the changes were made — these people are dying off. That is, the ones who didn’t simply give up and leave long ago. Catholics who still practice the Faith are not supposed to know there ever was an “old rite” or that there is a “new rite” at all. The entire project of the Revolution at this stage is to deny there ever was such a thing as the Old Faith.
          Anyway, all this is why they are as furious as a bag of feral cats that there are still Traditionalists, and that the traddie movement is gaining ground. That lot was supposed to have died out or been driven out, and the fact that there are new ones, people like me who never knew the old rite in the wild, and the families now having twelve kids and going to the Missa Cantata, and all the homeschooling and whatnot... Combine that with the internet’s ability to let everyone know what’s really happening, and plenty of beautiful pictures besides, and it must be making them absolutely apoplectic.
Apoplectic, perhaps; but also strangely silent. How many websites are there that pursue a strongly reformist line? Not that many. Maybe just one: PrayTell. How many websites pursue a strongly traditionalist line? Quite a few. It seems, in short, that the progressives have run out of steam, or run out of confidence, or run out of on-board personnel, or think that talking about it too much risks introducing still further Catholics to the forbidden subjects — and thence, to possible defections.

A reader of OnePeterFive wrote to the editor:
I was already looking for God when I went to school, but the fullness, reality, and beauty of the Church and her Tradition was unknown to me until I discovered 1P5 … I say my encounter with Tradition was a second conversion because my experience immediately following my baptism and confirmation within Francis’ church was segregated from any knowledge that the Church before the 1960’s had been different than it is today.
Exactly. The success of the “transformation of all forms” ultimately depends on as many people in the Church not knowing what came before 1969, or thinking that our worship and our life could, or should, be any different from that which the Vatican, the USCCB, the chancery, or [fill in the blank] would have us think it must be.

At the moment, I am copyediting a manuscript of a translation of a very fine book by Michael Fiedrowicz, Die überlieferte Messe: Geschichte, Gestalt und Theologie des klassischen römischen Ritus, which will be published by Angelico under the title The Traditional Mass: History, Form, and Theology of the Classical Roman Rite. The following paragraph eloquently summarizes the points I have been making:
The celebration of the liturgy in its traditional form thus constitutes an effective counter-weight for all levelings, reductions, dilutions, and banalizations of the Faith. Many who are unfamiliar with the classical liturgy and are acquainted only with the re-created form believe that what they see and hear there is the entirety of the Faith. Scarcely anyone senses that central passages have perhaps been removed from biblical pericopes. Scarcely anyone notices if the Church’s orations no longer expressly attack error, no longer pray for the return of those who have strayed, no longer give the heavenly clear priority over the earthly, make the Saints into mere examples of morality, conceal the gravity of sin, and identify the Eucharist as only a meal. Scarcely anyone even knows what prayers the Church said over the course of centuries in place of the current “preparation of the gifts,” and how these prayers demonstrated the Church’s understanding of the Mass as a sacrifice, offered through the hands of the priest for the living and the dead.
As I discovered the traditional Latin Mass in my late teens and early twenties, I distinctly remember stumbling on important truths of the Faith — truths taught by the Bible, the Church Fathers, the Councils, and, of course, the Tridentine missal — that had become muted, invisible, or even extinct in the Novus Ordo. And subsequent study has only confirmed the extent of that systematic bias. This is why I like to say (admitting it’s a bit of an exaggeration): “my daily missal made me a traditionalist.”

Catholics who do not give themselves trustingly to the 2,000-year tradition of the Church will not be in contact with the whole doctrine and morality of Catholicism. This is hard to hear, but so is much of the teaching of Our Lord: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16, 24). The same is true, in a way, of tradition: we have to deny our modern prejudices, take up the blessed burden of our tradition, and follow it, in order to be integrally Catholic.

Joseph Ratzinger famously and repeatedly said that forgetfulness of God is the major problem of the West. In his Foreword to Dom Alcuin Reid’s The Organic Development of the Liturgy, he wrote:
If the liturgy appears first of all as the workshop for our activity, then what is essential is being forgotten: God. For the liturgy is not about us, but about God. Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age. As against this, the liturgy should be setting up a sign of God’s presence. Yet what is happening, if the habit of forgetting about God makes itself at home in the liturgy itself, and if in the liturgy we are only thinking of ourselves?
The same theologian, as Pope Benedict XVI, wrote in his letter concerning the remission of the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops:
In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses “to the end” (cf. Jn 13:1) — in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.
It is still difficult for many in the Church today to realize — either because they are totally ignorant of the past (as the revolutionaries intended), or because, being aware of it, they are afraid to do their homework and connect the dots — that the changes in the liturgy have actually contributed, profoundly and lastingly, to the crisis of our forgetfulness of God, and that the primary cure for this amnesia will be the restoration of the classical Roman rite.
From the ordination of a priest of the Fraternity of St. Peter in 2017

Visit www.peterkwasniewski.com for articles, sacred music, and classics reprinted by Os Justi Press (e.g., Benson, Scheeben, Parsch, Guardini, Chaignon, Leen).

Saturday, October 26, 2019

St Demetrius the Great-Martyr

On October 26, Byzantine Christians celebrate with great solemnity the feast of St Demetrius of Thessalonica, a soldier and martyr of the early 4th century, whose popularity is almost as great as that of another warrior, St George. The traditional story of his life is that he succeeded his father as military commander at Thessalonica, but was imprisoned by the Emperor Maximian (286-305) for not only refusing his orders to persecute the Christians, but openly preaching the Gospel.

Maximian had a favorite gladiator, a very large German named Lyaeus, who, at his behest, challenged any Christian to wrestle him on a platform surrounded by spears. A Christian named Nestor, brave, but very small of stature, visited Demetrius in prison and received his blessing, after which he wrestled and beat Lyaeus, hurling him down onto the spears. In his anger at losing his favorite gladiator, Maximian sent his soldiers to the prison, where they speared Demetrius though the chest, while Nestor was killed the following day.

This story forms the tropar of St Demetrius’ feast day.


The world has found you to be a great defense against tribulation, and a vanquisher of heathens, O Passion-bearer. As you bolstered the courage of Nestor, who then humbled the arrogance of Lyaios in battle, Holy Demetrius, entreat Christ God to grant us great mercy.
Kontakion God, who has given you invincible might, has tinged the Church with streams of your blood, Demetrius! He preserves your city from harm, for you are its foundation!

Devotion to St Demetrius has always been very strong among the Slavs, particularly as a patron of soldiers, as witnessed by the popularity of the name Dmitry. Attempts have even been made to claim him as a Slav, since he was supposed to be originally from the city of Sirmium, now called Mitrovica, in Serbia; this is in fact in the area of the Balkan peninsula where the Slavs first settled in Europe, but only in the 6th century. His patronage of soldiers was reaffirmed in modern times during the First Balkan War (Oct. 1912 – May 1913), when Thessalonica was liberated from Ottoman control and united to Greece on his feast day in 1912. He is also honored with the titles “Great-Martyr”, as one who suffered much for the Faith, “Myrrh-gusher” from the tradition that streams of scented oil came forth from his relics, and “Wonderworker” for the many miracles attributed to him.

Icon of St Demetrius by Andrei Rublev (and follower), ca. 1425, from the Trinity Cathedral in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.
The Byzantine Synaxarion, the equivalent of the Martyrology, also still notes on this day a terrible earthquake which took place in Constantinople in the year 740, which killed thousands of people and did terrible damage to the city and its walls. This was the year before the death of the first iconoclast Emperor, Leo the Isaurian, and it was generally believed that the earthquake was a divine punishment for the iconoclast heresy. There are also a few liturgical texts of the day which refer to this event, which serve roughly as the equivalent of what we call a commemoration in the Roman Rite. As a matter of their deep respect for history and tradition, those who celebrate the Byzantine Rite may omit these texts, but they have never been removed from the liturgical books, a wise policy we would do well to emulate in the West.

Troparion Thou who lookest upon the earth, and cause it to tremble, deliver us from the fearful threat of the earthquake, and send upon us Thy rich mercies, by the prayers of the Mother of God, o Thou who lovest mankind.

A Liturgical Rite of Betrothal

Our thanks to Mr Anthony Carona for sharing with us this brief explanation of the liturgical Rite of Betrothal, a subject we have never covered before, which he recently celebrated with his fiancée, and our congratulations to them both!

This summer, my fiancée and I hiked approximately 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago; at the conclusion of our pilgrimage, in the town of Finisterre – the “end of the earth” – I asked her to marry me. Upon returning home, we had the engagement solemnized by a ritual found in Weller’s popular translation of the Rituale Romanum; the Rite of Betrothal appears in the appendix. Canon 1017 of the old Code of Canon Law exhorts priests witnessing the engagement contract to give the couple a “liturgical blessing” in accord with ancient and praiseworthy ecclesiastical custom. Despite this injunction, no such form for a blessing was universally prescribed. This should be no surprise: the Latin Church, even with the reforms of Trent, has always given great license and even deference to local custom when it comes to matrimony – a recognition that the purpose of the liturgy is to sanction and bless the marital bond between spouses, not to effect it. The text and rubrics for this blessing, therefore, are merely a suggestion, but as given in this book, they are beautiful.

Contemporary culture being totally inept to celebrate anything as important as courtship, betrothal, or marriage, we saw the blessing as an opportunity to live out our Catholic ethos that life’s most important events should be punctuated and celebrated by ritual. It also marked the beginning of our sacramental preparation for matrimony, in a way perhaps analogous to the rite of tonsure for holy orders. The ceremony is brief, but composed of several elements: the rite was celebrated at the Church of the Annunciation in Houston, Texas, by the pastor, Rev. Paul Felix.

1. The couple approach the altar with two witnesses as Psalm 126 is chanted. The psalm reminds us to make God the primary author of all our plans.

2. The priest delivers an allocution, reminding the couple to commit themselves to virtuous courtship as the sure foundation for both earthly prosperity and eternal blessedness.

3. The couple join their right hands and promise to one day take each other as husband and wife. Many of us seem to have forgotten that engagement itself is a promise. Nevertheless, commentators are clear that this promise cannot be grounds for compelling marriage.


4. The priest places the ends of his stole over the couple’s hands in the form of a cross, bears witness to the proposal, and blesses the couple with holy water.


5. The priest blesses the engagement ring.


6. The man places the ring on the finger of his fiancée.


7. The priest presents the missal, opened to the picture of the crucifix opposite the canon for the couple to kiss.

8. The priest prays a final blessing over the couple, bidding them to go in peace.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Treasures of the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi

One of the few parts of the great complex of the basilica of St Francis in Assisi where photography is permitted is the treasury museum. Over the centuries, the church has accumulated a great many artistic treasures, wholly in keeping with the ideal of St Francis himself, who knew full well that the poverty of religious is not practiced by impoverishing the house of God. Here are some of the items displayed there; most of them are under glass, which makes for suboptimal conditions for the photographer.

A processional cross made in Umbria, the Italian region which includes Assisi, in gilded copper, 12th century.
On the left, a chalice donated to the basilica by Pope Nicholas IV (1227-92, elected 1288), the first Franciscan Pope; his Papal name is written on the node, along with that of the contemporary Sienese goldsmith who made it, Guccio di Mannaia. On the right, a reliquary of St Andrew from the same period.
A Missal, Epistolary and Evangeliary, all made in the 13th century in the workshop of St Louis IX, King of France, who was a great supporter of the Franciscan order.
A French reliquary in gilded silver, made ca. 1300 to contain part of a reputed garment of Christ Himself.

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