Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pictures from a Dominican Rite Solemn Mass in California

Corpus Christi Monastery
The Dominican Nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery in Menlo Park, California, hosted a day of study and prayer on the Dominican charism as part of their observance of the year of consecrated life. These photos show the Dominican Rite Solemn Mass that was celebrated as part of this event. The celebrant of this Mass was Fr. Ambrose Signman, O.P., assistant pastor of St. Raymond of Peñafort Church, Menlo Park CA, the deacon was Fr. Christopher Fedok, O.P., pastor of St. Raymond’s, the subdeacon was Fr. Robert Verril, O.P., of the Province of England, a student at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley CA. The novices of the Western Dominican Province were present and three served the Mass as acolytes and thurifer. There was no crucifer, since the Mass was that of Our Lady on Saturday, which is a Fourth Class Votive celebrated with the ceremonies of a Second Class of Our Lady (i.e., with a Gloria and Credo). Mass was sung in Dominican Gregorian chant by the nuns of the monastery.

The monastery is a house of Perpetual Adoration, and the throne for the monstrance can be seen above the grill opening. Normally during Mass, as there has never been a tabernacle on the altar, the Blessed Sacrament is moved temporarily to an ambry on the Epistle side of the altar. It can be seen behind the ministers’ chairs. Since at this Mass use of the ambry would have put the minister’s backs to the Sacrament, it was moved to a chapel inside the monastery. Thus the movements and positions of the ministers are those used when Mass is celebrated on an altar where the sacrament is not reserved, e.g. the Dominus vobiscum and collect are sung at the missal, not in the center of the altar.
The congregation awaits the ministers
The ministers recite the Gloria
The priest about to turn in place for the Dominus Vobiscum
The subdeacon chants the Epistle while the deacon unfolds the corporal
The priest and deacon quietly recite the readings and chants during the Gradual
The priest quietly reads the Gospel during the Gradual
The subdeacon washes his fingers before preparing the chalice
The subdeacon (with humeral veil) prepares the chalice
The ministers assemble for the Gospel procession
The deacon is about to chant the Gospel
Fr. Ambrose Sigman, O.P., preaching
The deacon passes the priest the chalice and paten which the subdeacon has uncovered
The incensing of the Altar
The priest chants the Preface
The incensing of the nuns through the grill
Elevation of the Chalice
The priest extends his arms after the Consecration
Communion of the faithful
The Last Gospel
The ministers prepare to leave the altar
I thank Mother Maria Christine of the Cross, O.P. and Fr. Ambrose for these photos. I am happy to report that the nuns have just professed one novice, clothed another, and will have a new postulant arrive this summer. Corpus Christi is one of two Dominican cloistered monasteries on the West Coast, the other being in Hollywood CA. Young women interested in the Dominican contemplative life may contact the Corpus Christi community here.

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