Monday, October 22, 2007

A Quick Synopsis of the FSSP Training Kit

I was pleased to receive in the mail today the "How to say Mass (Extraordinary Form)" complete kit which the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter very kindly sent to me; and what a kit it is.

When I first heard of their kit and made enquiries, I was quite unprepared for the amount of resources they have made available within it.

For the priest who would like to learn, but hasn't the ability to make it to the training sessions, this may prove an invaluable resource.

Here, a listing of its contents:

Rubrical Guides for the Priest, Deacon and Subdeacon

For one, it includes the reprint undertaken by Preserving Christian Publications of The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal by the Rev. J.B. O'Connell, a lovely hardcover reprint, complete with sewn ribbon. This book, of course, is a rubrical explanation manual for the usus antiquior.

Also coming through PCPbooks is a shorter booklet, Rubrics of the Roman Breviary and Missal which succinctly summarizes the rubrics of the missal and breviary. One might consider it a kind of "quick reference" guide.

[I would like to take this opportunity to advise you to go over to PCPbooks motu proprio section which brings out these and many other books. PCPbooks has also reprinted the 3 volume Roman Ritual, the Roman Martyrology, and they also provide access to other books such as the Liber Usualis and Breviarium Romanum from 1962.]

A third such booklet which comes in the package is published by the Latin Liturgy Association: Translation of the Rubrics for the Celebration of the Mass in the Old Rite. This is perhaps one of the handiest items for a priest beginning to learn the ancient use for while it includes the Latin Ordo Missae from the 1962 Missale Romanum, all of the rubrics have been translated. This should help make the ceremonial of the ancient liturgy become significantly less intimidating.

De Defectibus: On Defects Occurring in the Celebration of the Mass is also provided, in parallel Latin-English from the 1962 Missal touches upon matters such as defects in form, matter, intention and so on.

Another rubrical guide is provided, Learning the Mass: A Manual for Seminarians and Priests by Rev. Walter J. Schmitz, which provides very simple, straightforward instructions.

Rubrical Guides for the Altar Server

How to Serve Low Mass and Benediction by the Rev. William O'Brien is also included in the package which covers everything from a phonetic translation of the Latin of the ordo missae for those learning ecclesiastical Latin to, of course, the rubrics of the Mass itself. A great resource and necessary resource for altar servers or those training altar servers.

Audio-Visual Guides to the Ceremonial of the Mass

A 2 DVD set is also included in this resource kit. "This two disc collection is a wonderful opportunity to experience and better understand the ancient ritual of both the Low Mass and the Solemn High Mass. The first disc is the Low Mass and includes an audio commentary b the celebrant, Fr. Robert Fromageot. The second presents the Solemn High MAss, complete with Gregorian chant."

These DVD's where recorded in the FSSP parish of St. Francis de Sales in Atlanta, Georgia. I began to watch the Solemn Mass DVD and one can tell the DVD was expressly created for this purpose, as the priests use precise, slow and deliberate gestures to help draw attention to them -- but not so much as to be distracting to watch either.

An Audio CD is also included: The Prayers of Holy Mass Recited and Sung with the Propers for Trinity Sunday.

A good resource not only for hearing ecclesiastical Latin if you aren't familar, but also for getting down the basic chants of the Missal.

Further Resources

No, believe it or not, we're not done yet.

Final mention goes to the following items:

Know Your Mass: A comic book format book which shows and explains the usus antiquior; an excellent resource for children -- but incidentally, it is also a good guide for the adult layman who is wishing to learn more about the ancient Roman liturgy.

The recently published Latin-English Sunday Missal by Roman Catholic Books has also been included, which includes the nuptial Mass, requiem Mass and the rite of Baptism. It could serve as a booklet for the parish pews for the use of the laity.

The following have been laminated and included in the Mass kit:

1. Prayers after Mass (Latin and English)
2. Orationes Dicendae - the vesting prayers
3. Prayers at the Foot of the Altar - Latin only (handy for liturgical use)
4. Two editions of travel sized altar cards, one for regular Masses and one for Requiem Masses

Not the least of which is also includes the Pope's motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum and the Explanatory Letter to the Bishops of the World.


What I also found quite helpful was that the Fraternity saw fit to include an index of all these items, complete with their suggestion of the order for the beginner to use them in. This also includes their singling out of particular chapters in the book, The Celebration of Mass.

As I say, I was quite astounded by the wealth of materials presented in this kit. I would certainly recommend that it would be a more than worthwhile purchase on the part of the clergy who are eager to learn the usus antiquior, for a parish church who would like to acquire it for consideration of such resources for their parish, or as a gift for priests that you know would like to learn it but are perhaps at a loss for where to begin and could use a little encouragement.

Further details can be found over at the FSSP Training website which they have established.

Here you can go to get information about ordering the kit which costs $129.00 in this particular form.

Other kits are also offered including one which comes with the altar edition of the 1962 Missale Romanum and full sized, full colour altar cards that are suitable for framing for use on the altar.

Two other kits are also available respectively for $79.00 and $27.00 which include fewer resources, but may have all that you personally need, depending upon where you are in your familiarity with the ancient liturgy.

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