Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Liturgical Curiosities: Simultaneous Ordination of 842 Priests in 1952

On the excellent Spnish forum Ceremonia y rúbrica de la Iglesia española I came across some pictures of a fascinating liturgical event of the early 1950s I wanted to share with you: they show the simultaneous ordination of 842 Priests which took place at the XXXV International Eucharistic Congress of Barcelona in 1952. In the Olympic Stadium of Montjuich, 21 altars were erected, at which 21 bishops celebrated synchronized Masses during which they ordained about 40 priests each. The bishop of Barcelona, Mons. Modrego Casáus, celebrated at altar 12, and his voice was amplified by microphone throughout the stadium. In the middle, a schola of 300 seminarians from all across Spain led the people in chant.

This phenomenon is I think indicative of the phase of experimentation and fascination with novelty into which large part of the Liturgical Movement had drifted towards the middle of the 20th century. Interestingly, the practice of "synchronized" Masses was forbidden by the Instruction "De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia" of 1958 (no. 39), only 6 years after this high-profile celebration.

A larger view from the LIFE photo archive:

And while we are at it, some more pictures of the XXXV International Eucharistic Congress from the LIFE photo archive, which might interest you:

The Papal Legate, Cardinal Tedeschini, with the papal MC, the famed Enrico Dante:

Theophoric procession:

Cardinal Spellman:

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