Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Basic Differences between Low, Sung and Solemn Mass

One of our readers wrote in to ask the following: "...would you perhaps be able to describe in layman's terms in a post on The New Liturgical Movement the difference between a Low Mass, a High Mass and a "Missa Cantata" in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite?"

With that in mind, here are some of the basic differences.

Low Mass

- no music for the ordinary or propers of the Mass
- no deacon or subdeacon
- two candles are lit upon the altar
- no incense
- one or two servers


Missa Cantata ("sung Mass")

- the Ordinary and Propers are chanted (i.e. the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, the Epistle and Gospel, introit, gradual, etc.)
- no deacon or subdeacon
- incense may be used
- more servers permitted; e.g. two acolytes (candles), thurifer (censer), torchbearers (for consecration), Master of Ceremonies
- Rite of Asperges may be done (the sprinkling rite prior to Mass)
- four or six candles lit


Solemn Mass

- musically the same as a Missa Cantata
- incense is used
- Deacon and Subdeacon present
- six candles lit
- subdeacon chants epistle; deacon chants gospel
- the ceremonial passing of the Kiss of Peace is present in the ceremonial
- acolytes, thurifer, torchbearers used
- Rite of Asperges may be done

This only explains the most basic differences without getting into too many details. I'm certain some of our ceremonialists may have their own details they wish to add, but in the spirit of keeping things simple, as was requested, I hope this suffices.

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