Thursday, January 17, 2019

Historical Video of a Church Consecration

Thanks to a reader for bringing to my attention this video of the consecration of the Cathedral of St Michael in Sherbrooke, Quebec, by His Excellency Georges Cabanas, archbishop of Sherbrooke from 1952-1968. This took place at the beginning of the 1959 Eucharistic Congress, before the revision of the second part of the Pontifical promulgated in 1961, which drastically shortened and reordered the consecration of a church. The narration is in French; below, I will give a brief summary with the time index.

0:01-0:20 The bishop and clergy exit the building.
0:21-0:45 Rites of Purification: the Penitentials Psalms, and the Litany of the Saints; the exoscism of salt and water.
0:46-0:50 Aspersion of the external walls.
0:51-1:40 The blessing and opening of the doors. (At 1:12, we see the choir kneel at “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.”, a classically Roman formula which was removed from many places in the 1961 revision of the Pontifical.)
1:41-2:04 The bishop traces the letters of the Latin and Greek alphabets in the ashes spread over the floor of the church.
2:05-2:27 The bishop and clergy enter the sanctuary; consecration of the Gregorian water (as special form of holy water used for this ceremony, into which both blessed ashes and blessed wine are mixed.)
2:27-3:19 The second part of the ceremny: the anointing of the twelve consecration crosses.
3:20-3:33 The bishop seals the relics into the main altar.
3:33-3:38 A brief view of the same ceremony repeated at one of the side altars. (This was normally done by other bishops who were present, and could also be delegated to priests.)
3:38-3:57 The anointing and blessing of the five crosses (in the middle and four corners) of the mensa of the main altar.
3:58-4:16 The general anointing of the altar
4:16-4:21 A brief view of the bishop making the sign of the cross three times during the consecratory preface, at the words “Bene+dicere, sancti+ficare et conse+crare.” (In the 1961 revision, this was frequently reduced to just “Bene+dicere”)
4:22-4:34 Candles are placed one the five crosses and burned.
4:35-4:50 The altar is wiped clean and decorated for the Mass which follows (to the end of the video.)

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