Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Usus Antiquior at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary

One of our priestly readers sent in news and photos of a Mass offered in the usus antiquior in St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA. Some thoughts to follow.

(See all the photos)

I am struck by the symbolism that might be found in the first and last pictures I have here shown you for the reason that the first seems to show seminary faculty following along a Missal of the ancient liturgy and the last, receiving communion kneeling and upon the tongue. (I assume they are faculty for the reason they are older and evidently ordained by virtue of their stoles. Regardless, faculty would have no doubt been present.)

Why this strikes me is because it puts me to mind of the Pope's desire for mutual enrichment and how the presence of the usus antiquior in the life of the Church can have a positive effect liturgically.

These images would have been much the rarer only a year ago, if not unheard of, and one wonders what positive fruits will come of these events, while perhaps not immediately, then certainly as time moves forward.

I, for one, find reason for great hope and encouragement here, for what we see is not only the continuing mainstreaming of the ancient Roman liturgy, that great treasure of the Church, but also the gradual re-introduction into liturgical life and Catholic consciousness of that tradition with all its manifest elements: Latin, (in the case of sung Masses) chant, ad orientem, the traditional ars celebrandi and so on.

In small things such as these we can perhaps witness the springtime of the new liturgical movement.

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