Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Traditional Ambrosian Mass for the Feast of St Ambrose

Here is a great set of photographs taken on the feast of St Ambrose at the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione, the home of the traditional Ambrosian rite. This was a Missa cantata; these photos very nicely illustrate some of the particular customs of the ancient and venerable liturgical Rite named for the Patron Saint of the city of Milan. Our thanks once again to Nicola de’ Grandi, who also served as the MC of this Mass.

Before the Mass proper begins, the celebrant and ministers enter to the singing of a chant called a Psallendum, which is repeated from the end of Lauds. This is followed by a hymn, 12 Kyrie eleisons (6 low and 6 high), and another Psallendum, Gloria Patri, Sicut erat, and the repetition of the second Psallendum. At Gloria Patri, all bow to the Cross, at Sicut erat, to the celebrant, and the procession enters the sanctuary as the Psallendum is repeated.
The thurible has no cover, and is swung in a pattern of circles which keep the coals from flying out!

On a limited number of feast days, including that of St Ambrose, a brief account of the Saint’s life and death, called the Depositio, is read in place of the lesson from the Old Testament. The reader is accompanied by two acolytes, as are the subdeacon and deacon in a solemn Mass.
Incensing the Missal for the Gospel

At the antiphon “after the Gospel” which precedes the Offertory. The default position for the acolytes is standing in front of the altar, not to the sides as in the Roman Rite.
The epicletic gesture of spreading out the hands over the elements to be consecrated is done during the Offertory prayers, but also at the Hanc igitur as in the Roman Rite.
During the incensations, the traditional Ambrosian custom is to hold the chasuble up perpendicular to the floor, as seen here.
If there is a cleric in attendence at a Missa cantata, he incenses the celebrant, rather than the MC or an acolyte.

The Lavabo is done in silence immediately before the words Qui pridie in the Canon.

As in a great many medieval Uses of the Roman Rite, after the Consecration, the priest holds his arms out in the form of a Cross from Unde et memores to the first sign of the Cross over the Host at hostiam puram.
The Mass was sung by the choir Aurora Totus.

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