4 November 2008

Missa sine ministro ... how?

If there is nobody to make the answers, how does a priest celebrate Mass?
(1) The Extraordinary Form; the old Tridentine Rite either in its Latin form or said using the English Missal. Here the priest makes the replies - all of them - himself. After all, as well as being sacerdos he is also a member of the laos, the plebs sancta Dei. I find that even the Blessing at the end gives me no trouble; I think of myself as blessing the whole parish beyond the walls of the church. The Missal itself tells you how to modify the reply to the Orate Fratres; the only other change you have to make is that in the Preparation at the foot of the altar, like Michelle of the Resistance, you say the Confession only once and omit et vobis fratres/et vos fratres and then you say misereatur nostri ... nostris ...nos .... This information is given in reliable manuals bearing Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, such as O'Connell. Remember that, although you are alone, you say every prayer with your lips moving and in a low murmur. This applies to both Uses of the Rite and is essential for validity.
(2) The Ordinary Form, aka the Novus Ordo. Para 211 of the General Instruction of 1969 said that the priest omits salutations and the final blessing, to which the Third Edition adds monitiones, advices. I take this to mean, for example, that the priest omits both the Orate Fratres and its response; that he omits the entire dialogue before the Preface; the Pax; Behold the Lamb of God; and so on. The Second Recension of the Third Edition completely revised the rites to be employed in this type of Mass; itself an indication that this form of liturgy is not obsolescent but a living part of the Western Rite. I give directions for how to do it simplified for when there is no server.
Having venerated and kissed the Altar, the priest stays at the Altar, where the Missal has been placed, and says the Introit; In the Name ...; Penitential Rite; Kyries (and Gloria); Collect. If possible, he goes to the legilium for the Ministry of the Word (and Creed); for the (optional) Intercession. Mass then continues as you would expect, with the omissions described in my last paragraph, until he has received Communion. Then he says the Communion Antiphon and does the ablutions either at the Altar (in which case the chalice is left at the side of the Altar) or at the Credence (when the Chalice is left there). Mass ends with the Postcommunion. He Kisses the Altar, venerates it, and retires.
This could be a rather brief Rite; I suspect most clergy will wish to use the First Roman Eucharistic Prayer so as to inject a slowing-down, and some gravitas, into the Mass. But why not take the oportunity to get chummy with the Old Mass?
Personally I find an early morning Private Mass a profoundly appropriate way to start the day. The main problem is that distractions creep in more than when I have a congregation ... but perhaps that's only my frailty. I do advertise these Masses, and sometimes they are not so private!

2 comments:

John F H H said...

Father,
A useful and timely post!
If I may comment on the additional omissions :
254. Celebratio sine ministro vel aliquo saltem fideli non fiat nisi iusta et rationabili de causa. Hoc in casu salutationes, monitiones et benedictio in fine Missae omittuntur.
Which the American Conference of Bishops have translated:
254. Mass should not be celebrated without a minister or at least one of the faithful, except for a just and reasonable cause. In this case, the greetings, the introductory or explanatory remarks (monitiones), and the blessing at the end of Mass are omitted.

Lewis and Short give a variety of meanings for monitio --
advice, warning, reminder, admonition - and I wonder if you have been a tad over-generous in your suggested omissions?

To me it would seem to refer to telling the faithful what to do [some of which, like Flectamus genua, were once the deacon's duty], and Oremus, plus, I suppose, in the NO, any parts the commentator may be assigned by individual bishops' conferences.

The dialogue before the Preface, after the salutation, could equally be addressed to the world outside and the unseen world standing around.

One could omit Behold the Lamb of God: but Domine, non sum dignus??

On the other hand, The Intercessions, or Prayer of the Faithful, in the English tradition is, of course, the Bidding of the Bedes, which Brightman shows goes back long before the English reformation.
IIRC the idea in the NO is that the priest opens and closes this, and he who reads in between does not address God, except in the versicle and response, but rather tells the faithful for whom to pray.

Thus if when celebrating alone the priest himself is not content with the intercessions offered in the First [Roman] Eucharistic Prayer, woould he perhaps do well to consider using [dare I say it] either the General Intercession for all sorts and conditions of Men or the Prayer for the Church of 1549, 1662, or 1928? All of these address God directly and have no congregational parts.

I must confess it seems far simpler to go along with your first suggestion of Missale Romanum/English Missal.

P.S. - enjoyed your series on concelebration.
Regards,
John UK

Dn. Gregory said...

Dear Fr. Hunwicke,

Would incense be used in private mass when the priest celebrates alone?

Fr. Gregory Wassen