Friday, March 22, 2013

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 2.15: The Conclusion of the Dedication (1961)

In the 1961 revision of the dedication of a church, the final part of the ceremony begins with the first incensation of the altar after its anointing. The bishop imposes incense in the thurible and incenses the altar exactly as at solemn Mass, while the choir sings three antiphons taken from the office of St. Michael. (These antiphons were formerly sung after the grains of incense were burned on the altar, with a different arrangement of the text. The incensation of the altar was previously done as part of the anointing rite, in a manner much different from that of the Mass.)
Ant. The Angel stood by the altar of the temple, having a golden thurible in his hand.
Ant. Much incense was given to him, and the smoke of the incense ascended up before God.
Ant. The smoke of the incense ascended up before God from the hand of the Angel.
The bishop then says “Dominus vobiscum” and the following prayer.
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)
This combination of texts from the office of St. Michael, the incensation of the altar, and this prayer was formerly the conclusion of the deposition of the relics of the Saints in the altar, although the altar itself was incensed in a different manner, as described in part 2.8 of this series. The prayer remains unchanged.

The bishop now blesses the grains of incense which will be burned on the altar, with the following prayer (preceded by “Adjutorium nostrum. Dominus vobiscum. Oremus.”)
O Lord God Almighty, in whose presence the army of Angels stands in trembling, whose service is known to be in spirit and fire, deign Thou to regard and + bless and to sancti + fy this creature of incense, that all illnesses, all infirmities and snares of the enemy may flee before its perfume, and be driven far away from Thy creation; so that what Thou has redeemed with the precious blood of Thy Son, may never be harmed by the bite of the wicked serpent. (short conclusion)
He then sprinkles them with holy water. The prayer is the same as in the 1595 Pontifical, except for the omission of “and to sanctify” as noted above in italics. The rubrics of the 1961 revision also permit him to bless them before the ceremony, or to delegate another priest to do so in his stead.

With the grains he forms five crosses, each with five grains of incense in it, upon the five places on the altar which he has previously anointed, following the same order as the anointings. Over these he lays a thin cross of wax, each of which is then lighted at its four ends. The bishop kneels before the altar, and intones the following chant, the second Alleluia of the Mass of Pentecost, which is completed by the choir. (This is one of only two places where the traditional custom by which the bishop intones the chants of the ceremony is retained, the other being the antiphon sung at the very beginning.)
Come, o Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
The word “Alleluia” itself is omitted, even in Eastertide; it was previously included unless the dedication was done between Septuagesima and Easter. The bishop now turns and faces the people, and says as an exhortation to them the prayer which was formerly said after the last anointing of the altar, with some changes to the text. (1595 texts in brackets.)
Most beloved [dearest] brethren, let us beseech [humbly implore] the mercy of God the Father almighty, that besought by the ministry of our voice, He may sanctify with the present blessing this altar that is to be consecrated [imbued] with spiritual sacrifices, and that He may ever deign to bless and sanctify the offerings of His servants laid upon it, made in the zeal of holy devotion; and being appeased by the spiritual incense, most readily be present to hear the prayer of His family.
The three crosses formerly made at the words “present + blessing”, “to + bless and to sancti + fy” are no longer made. Turning towards the altar, he says with the ministers “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate”, and the following prayer (omitting the words in italics from the previous version. There are a few minor grammatical changes in the Latin version, which do not affect the sense.)
Almighty God, in whose honor, as also to that of the most blessed Virgin Mary, and of all the Saints, and to the name and memory of Saint N., we unworthy consecrate this altar, in Thy clemency and mercy hear our humble prayers, and grant that the offerings made on this table may be acceptable to Thee, pleasing, rich, and ever filled with the dew of Thy Holy Spirit; so that at all times, Thou may relieve the anxieties, cure the ailments, hear the prayers, receive the vows, strengthen the good desires, and grant the petitions of Thy family, that maketh supplication to Thee in this place.
It ends with the long conclusion, which segues into the preface dialogue and the following preface, from which are omitted the words in italics found in the previous version, and the crosses formerly made at the words “Thy bless + ing and Thy heavenly sancti + fication… here sancti + fy their offerings”.
Truly it is fitting and just… And, that we may present the tribute of our service, with greater care and diligence, and with more devoted worship, especially on this occasion, on which Thou preferest the habit of religious minds to the adorning of walls; do Thou deign to bless and sanctify this temple, wherein is kept the memory of Thy Saint N., in reverence of whom and in whose honor we dedicate this altar to Thy most sacred name. Moved therefore by his prayers, deign Lord to pour forth upon this altar Thy blessing and Thy heavenly sanctification. May the Angels of brightness stand by, and may it shine through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. May it enjoy the same favor before Thee as did that holy altar which Abraham, our father in the faith, built when he would immolate his son, as a figure of our redemption; as that which Isaac established in the sight of Thy majesty; as that which Jacob raised up as he saw the Lord in a great vision; that here Thou may hear all that pray, here sanctify their offerings, and here bless what is laid upon (the altar), and distribute what Thou has blessed. May it therefore be the everlasting glory of Thy Church; may it be the table prepared for Thy heavenly and spiritual banquet. Do Thou, therefore, O Lord, with Thy own mouth, bless the victims laid upon it, and receive them when blessed, and grant to us all that by partaking of the same, we may obtain everlasting life.
The long conclusion is sung as part of the preface, and no longer said in a low voice.

The antiphon “Confirm, o God”, which formerly followed this preface, is now moved to very end, and sung as the altar is cleaned in preparation for Mass. The anointing of the front of the altar, which it formerly accompanied, has already been done, along with the anointing of the mensa. The prayer which followed it is suppressed. The anointing of the joints between the mensa and its supports is has also already been done. The prayer which followed it is suppressed.

The altar cloths and other accoutrements are then presented to be blessed by the bishop; as in the Pontifical of 1595, these may be blessed before the consecration ceremony. The blessing of them will be described in a different article. The triple incensation of the altar, the antiphon which accompanied it, and the two prayers which followed it, are all suppressed. The ceremony ends with the bishop saying “Dominus vobiscum”, and the deacon “Benedicamus Domino.”

The bishop now retires to the sacristy to prepare for Mass, but if he is too tired, another priest may say the Mass in his stead; the rubric of the Pontifical is re-written in such a way that this practice is discouraged, but still permitted. While he is dressing, the altar is cleaned, and decorated for the Mass. The following antiphon is sung by the choir, and repeated after every two or three verses of psalm 95 Cantate Domino, without Gloria Patri at the end. The antiphon itself is taken from psalm 67, with which it is sung at Matins of Pentecost.
Ant. Confirm, o God, what thou hast wrought in us, from Thy holy temple, which is in Jerusalem, alleluia, alleluia.
A new set of rubrics concerning the Mass itself is added, which says that the Introit is sung “juxta opportunitatem – according to convenience, fitness, opportunity”, as the celebrant approaches the altar. This seems to imply that it may be omitted, but is quite vague. All the prayers before the altar are to be omitted, and the Mass begins with the celebrant kissing the altar and incensing it. The Last Gospel is omitted. The same rubric is added to other ceremonies of the Pontifical, and will be mentioned in future articles in the appropriate places.

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