Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pontifical Low Mass in Cincinnati

The pontifical low Mass is an interesting ceremony in the Roman Rite. On the one hand, you have the low Mass, which by it's nature, was envisioned as a private, quiet Mass for the days when there were too many priests to easily celebrate a sung Mass with a schola cantorum, server corps, and congregation. It is, in a word, private. Then on the other hand, you have the fact that the Bishop is a successor to the apostles, and that the Roman Rite has always included extra ceremony for Masses with a bishop, due to their unique role in the church, in their diocese, and as a direct successor of the apostles standing in our midst.

Out of this is born the Pontifical Low Mass. It is like the low Mass of a priest, but several traditional aspects of the pontifical solemn high Mass are also used, such as vesting in the sanctuary and entering in choir dress, as well as being directly assisted by two assistant priests and an MC. Likewise with the bugia (the small hand-candle). Yet most of the prayers are still said silently, and there is no singing from the sanctuary (though there is sometimes hymns and organ music).

The celebrant of this Mass was Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and it was celebrated at Sacred Heart Church in Cincinnati.

Here, the bishop prepares for Mass
Here he is removing his choir dress and preparing to vest for Mass
Vesting for Mass

The gospel, flanked by his two attendants

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