Monday, March 04, 2013

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 2.8: The Translation of the Relics (1595)

The preface being finished, the bishop returns to the altar, where he uses the Gregorian water to make mortar or cement. (It is to be supposed that a stonemason is present to help him.) This is blessed with the following prayer, (preceded by “Dominus vobiscum. Oremus.” The mortar is laid aside to be used later, while the rest of the Gregorian water is poured around the base of the altar.)
God most high, who preservest all things, highest, middle and lowest, and encompass every creature to its very depth, sancti + fy and bless + these creatures of lime and sand. (short conclusion)
The bishop proceeds, accompanied by the clergy, to the place where the relics have been kept since the previous day; before he enters, he says this prayer, which is also said at the beginning of Mass, (here preceded by “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.”)
Remove from us, o Lord, our iniquities, that with pure minds we may worthily enter the Holy of Holies. (short conclusion)
The bishop, ministers and clergy enter the place, while the choir sings the following antiphons. The choir may sing a responsory from the Office of the Saint or Saints whose relics are soon to be brought into the church.
Ant. O how glorious is the kingdom in which all the Saints rejoice with Christ, clothed in robes of white, and follow the Lamb where ever he goeth.
Ant. Be moved, o Saints of God, from your abodes, and hasten to the places which have been prepared for you.
Ant. Behold the people that keepeth justice, and observeth truth, in Thee have they hoped, o Lord, forever.
Ant. The way of the Saints is made straight, and their path prepared.
The last of these is sung with Psalm 94 Venite, exsultemus, without Gloria Patri at the end. The bishop then says another prayer, also preceded by “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.”
Grant, we beseech Thee, o Lord, that we may worthily touch these relics of Thy Saints, which have been specially dedicated to Thee; whose patronage we desire unceasingly to enjoy. (short conclusion)
He now imposes incense in a thurible, and a procession is arranged as follows: first the acolytes with candles, then the Cross, the clergy, torchbearers (normally clergy), and the relics on a bier, carried by priests in red chasubles. The thurifer walks before the bier, incensing the relics continually; the rubrics of the Pontifical say he walks “juxta – beside” the relics, and the illustration in some Pontificals seems to show him thus. The bishop and his ministers follow; as the procession begins, the bishop intones the first antiphon, which is continued by the choir, and followed by three others. (The first three are proper to this ceremony; the fourth is from the Office of Several Martyrs.)
Ant. With rejoicing ye shall go out, and with gladness be led forth, for the mountains and hills shall leap for joy, awaiting ye with gladness, alleluia.
Ant. Arise, ye Saints of God, from your abodes; sanctify these places, bless the people, and keep us sinful men in peace.
Ant. Advance, ye Saints of God, enter the city of the Lord; for a new church is built for you, where the people may adore the majesty of the Lord.
Ant. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven, who despised the life of the world, and have come to the rewards of the kingdom, and washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb.
When the procession arrives at the door of the church, the choir remain there and continue the chanting of the antiphons, while the procession goes around the outside of the church counter-clockwise, all saying, “Kyrie, eleison”. Having returned to the door, the bier with the relics is laid on a table on the left side of the door, while the bishop sits on a faldstool on the right side.

He now delivers an exhortation to the people, a fixed text given in the Pontifical, after which the archdeacon (or any priest) reads two decrees of the Council of Trent concerning the proper use of ecclesiastical endowments. The bishop then addresses the founder of the church, asking him about the endowments, to which the founder replies as he deems best. “The bishop then commands them to pray for him who built and endowed the church, and for him who ask for it to be consecrated, and grants them a part in all the good things that shall perchance to happen therein.” (rubrics) All of this, however, was normally omitted well before the 1961 revision was done, although the texts were not removed from the Pontificale. Since the exhortation, decrees and address to the founder are very long, they will be given later as a separate post.

The choir now sings a responsory:
R. The Lord shall be my God, and this stone which I have erected, a title, and this shall be called the house of God, and of all that Thou has given me, I will offer Thee tithes and peace-offerings. V. If I shall return to the house of my father. I will offer Thee tithes and peace-offerings.
Standing before the door of the church, the bishop says this prayer, (preceded by “Dominus vobiscum. Oremus.”)
Mercifully enter Thy house, we beseech Thee, o Lord, and in the hearts of Thy faithful build for Thyself a perpetual dwelling; and grant that this house, which is solemnized by Thy dedication, may be exalted by Thy dwelling therein. (short conclusion)
He marks the door with the holy chrism saying:
In the name of the + Father, the + Son, and the Holy + Spirit. Door, be thou blessed, sanctified, consecrated, sealed, and given over to the Lord God; be thou the entrance of salvation and peace; be thou the door of peace, through Him, who called Himself the door, Jesus Christ our Lord, who with the Father etc.
The priests now take up the relic-bier, and enter the church; the bishop intones the first of the following antiphons, and then comes into the church behind the relics as they are brought to the altar. The clergy and faithful, who have hitherto been waiting outside, now enter the church behind him.
Ant. Enter, ye Saints of God, for your dwelling place is prepared by the Lord; and the faithful people follows your path with joy, that for us ye may pray the majesty of God, alleluia.
Ant. The souls of the saints rejoice in heaven, they who have followed in the footsteps of Christ, and because for the sake of His love they poured forth their blood, therefore they exult with Christ without end.
Standing at the altar, the bishop intones the antiphon “The Saints shall exult in glory, and rejoice in their beds.” It is completed by the choir, who sing it with psalms 149 Cantate Domino, and 150 Laudate Dominum in sanctis ; Gloria Patri is not said at the end of either psalm. As it is repeated at the end, the bishop ascends the predella, where he says “Oremus” and the following prayer. (This prayer is also said at the conclusion of the blessing of the church’s corner-stone.)
O God, who of Thy clemency and kindness art present in every part of Thy dominion to dedicate it, hear us, we beseech Thee, and grant that henceforth, the building of this place remain inviolable: and may the society of all the faithful, which Thee imploreth, merit to receive the benefit of Thy favor. (short conclusion.)
He now anoints the sepulcher, a depression cut into the mensa of the altar, into which the relics will be sealed. Dipping his right thumb in the holy chrism, he makes a Cross with it twice in each corner, saying, “Let this sepulcher be conse + crated, and sancti + fied. In the name of the + Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy + Spirit. Peace be unto this house.” At the words “In the name of the Father etc.” he makes the sign of the Cross three times with his right hand over the place he has anointed. The relic-bier is carried over to the altar; the bishop reverently receives the relics and lays them in the sepulcher. As he lays them in their place, he intones another antiphon, which is completed by the choir, who then sing it with two verses and repeat it, without Gloria Patri.
Ant. Beneath the altar of God ye have received your resting places, Saints of God, intercede for us to the Lord Jesus Christ. V. The Saints shall exult in glory. R. And rejoice in their beds. Beneath the altar etc.
As it is being sung the bishop incenses the relics. Next, he anoints the stone which is used to seal the relics in their place, making a cross twice in the middle with the chrism, on the side which will face downwards, and saying, “Let this tablet (or “stone”) be conse + crated, and sancti + fied, through this anointing and the blessing of God. In the name of the + Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy + Spirit. Peace be to thee.” As before, he makes the sign of the Cross with his hand at “In the name of the Father etc.”
H.E. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz incenses the relics of the Saints during the Dedication of the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary. Photo © 2010 F.S.S.P.
With the help of the stonemason, he spreads the cement previously made and blessed, and uses it to fix the tablet in its place. He then intones the first of the following antiphons:
Ant. Beneath the altar of God, I heard the voices of the slain, saying, ‘Why dost Thou not defend our blood?’ And they received the divine answer, ‘Wait ye yet a little while, until the number of your brethren be fulfilled.’
Ant. The bodies of the Saints are buried in peace; and their names shall live forever. Glory be. As it was. The bodies of the Saints etc.
The bishop says the following prayer, preceded by “Oremus” only:
O God, who from the dwelling-together of all Thy Saints, buildest to Thy Majesty an eternal habitation, give from heaven increase to what Thou hast built, and grant that they whose relics we here embrace with pious love, may ever aid us by their merits. (short conclusion)
With the help of the stonemason, the bishop now secures the tablet or stone in its place with more cement, and then anoints it twice on the upper side, saying, “Let this altar be + sealed and sancti + fied. In the name of the + Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy + Spirit. Peace be to thee.” As before, he makes the sign of the Cross with his hand at “In the name of the Father etc.”

After imposing incense and blessing it as at Mass, the bishop intones the following antiphon:
Ant. An Angel stood by the altar of the temple, having a golden censer in his hand, and much incense was given to him, and the smoke of its perfumes rose in the sight of God, alleluia.
As it is sung, the bishop incenses the altar, first to the right, then the left, the front and the top. Standing in front of the altar, he then says:
Let us pray. Let our prayer, we beseech Thee, o Lord, ascend as incense in Thy sight, and the Christian people obtain plentiful benefits; so that whoever shall devoutly present to Thee on this altar offerings to be consecrated, or when consecrated shall receive them, may obtain the blessings of the present life, together with the remission of all sins, and attain the peace of everlasting redemption. (short conclusion) 
The altar is then wiped clean to prepare for the final part of the ceremony.

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