Monday, October 15, 2007

The Dominican Rite in the 1950s: Photos.

This is my first posting to the New Liturgical Movement, and it's from Rome where I am on research leave. I had the good fortune while in California to have scanned a series of images of the Dominican Rite Mass and other rites that were taken about 1958 at Saint Albert the Great Priory in California, which is still the House of Studies of my province. These are an addition, requested by Shawn and others, to the series "The History of the Dominican Rite, 1946-1969."

This first image shows a server lighting the candles for Mass at the high altar of the priory. You will notice that the acolyte is wearing an alb, which shows that this is in preparation for a first- or second-class feast. If it were a third-class or ferial, he would be wearing a surplice. Those who know the Roman practice will notice that the order for lighting the candles is different. In the Dominican Rite we light the candles starting on the Gospel side and then going straight across. They are snuffed in the opposite direction, starting on the Epistle and then moving left. This way, the Gospel side has the first candle lighted and the last candle snuffed, symbolizing that Christ of the Gospel is always the "Light of the World." Those who have a copy of the Dominican Altar Boy's Manual published by the Eastern Province in the 1940s will notice that in that province they had adopted the Roman style of candle lighting; the traditional way shown here was followed in Europe and in the Western Province. The presence of an Easter lily shows that this is also Eastertide--there will be other indications of this later in the series.

In case you are wondering, the high altar is still there, although now rarely used. The two statues are St. Albert the Great, patron of the house (on the Gospel Side), and St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of studies (on the Epistle side). The altar cards were calligraphed and illuminated by a nun of Corpus Christi Dominican Monastery in Menlo Park, California, for, I believe, the dedication Mass of the chapel in 1954. They now hang over the vesting table in the sacristy. St. Albert's is our third "House of Studies" and opened in 1931; festivities will celebrate its 75th anniversary over the next year. The first Studium was in Monterey CA (1850-51), the next was St. Dominic's Priory in Benicia CA (1851-1930). The next postings will take us through the Mass.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: