Saturday, January 5, 2013

Novus Ordo Liturgical Compatibility - Part II - Liturgy of the Word

Edited from First Edition. Sorry for the confusion if you had any.

Time to start the Liturgy of the Word (or in the Extraordinary Form - Mass of the Catechumens). 

Note: Firstly, I am writing this section as if it were a normal, Sunday morning, mass. Secondly, I am also writing as if there was only one lector and a choir who sings the Psalm. Thirdly, I'm writing this as if Christ in the tabernacle was in the sanctuary, either behind the altar or on the altar and mass was being celebrated ad orientem. If you have any questions about other configurations, please email me. My email in my biography under the "About Me" section. 

After the priest returns to the sedilla and the altar boys to their benches, the Old Testament Reading is read. The Sacred Scriptures, according to the Second Vatican Council, are allowed to be read allowed by a member of the congregation. It was under the assumption that the lector would be a male. It is a provision of the individual bishop of each diocese (or of each country's conference - side note, I'm not a fan-boy of the USCCB, however, that has nothing to do lectors or the gender of lectors) that allows for women to read Sacred Scripture during mass. The lector should be dressed in "business professional" and be taught how to read texts so as to be able to connect phrases, themes and concepts. It is very distracting to hear someone read Sacred Scripture and for that person to not know how to read fluently. Lectors should be trained and given approval by their priests prior to reading during mass.

The lector, when exiting his pew, genuflects, and then walks forward solemnly but not slow. His hands should be together in the traditional form of "prayer hands". When he approaches the front of the sanctuary at the altar rail, he genuflects again, and immediately goes to the lectern. From there he reads the Old Testament lesson in a clear, firm voice. While reading, his hands may either be holding onto the lectern or in "prayer hands" style.

After the Old Testament reading is read, the Psalm is sung by the choir. The lector steps off to the side of the lectern while the Psalm is sung. If for some reason the lector recites the Psalm, it is inappropriate for him to raise his hands in an "orans" stance when the congregation is suppose to say the antiphon. A simple nod or a slight pause will suffice as an indication. When the Psalm is finished, he returns back to the lectern and reads the New Testament. If he's the one who read the Psalm, he shouldn't have moved. Whenever the name is Jesus is spoken, the lector should nod his head (It's the simplest thing we can do, for at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow - This also goes for whenever priests say the name of Jesus during any time of the mass.) After he finishes reading, he walks to the center of the sanctuary, genuflects, and then returns to his seat, genuflecting before sliding into his pew.

Thurifer: You should have already retrieved the thurible and boat filled with incense.

Time for the Gospel. The Gradual, Tract, or Alleluias with verse start. The thurifer should be in front of the priest with the thurible and boat ready. During this, the priest blesses the new incense. He then stands up, and goes to the middle of the sanctuary (the thurifer should be on the priest's right side. For keeping things balanced, another altar server should be with the thurifer, processing in front of the priest and ending up on his left side at the foot of the altar steps), saying simultaneously in a quiet voice:

"Cleanse my heart and my lips, O Almighty God, who didst cleanse the lips of the Prophet Isaias with a burning coal, and vouchsafe, through Thy gracious mercy, so to purify me, that I may worthily announce Thy holy Gospel. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen." (taken from the Extra-Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite)

The priest should then say quietly while holding a profound bow (at the waist) (the altar boys should have a simple bow, that is, with only their heads):

"Give me Thy blessing, O Lord. The Lord be in my heart and on my lips, that I may worthily and in a becoming manner proclaim His holy Gospel. Amen." (taken from the Extra-Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite)

The priest and altar boys are now upright. The priest ascends to the altar to retrieve the Book of the Gospels, genuflecting when arriving, holding up the Book of the Gospels, and descends to the floor of sanctuary. He then turns back to Christ, simply nods and then goes to the lectern to read the Gospel. If the priest ascends to the altar, the altar servers wait at the foot of the altar steps for the priest. If the priest is not using a specific Book of the Gospels, after the priest says the prayer while profoundly bowing, all three move towards the lectern.

I use the term lectern lightly. In traditional church settings, the lectern was on the Epistle (right side from the congregation standpoint) and the pulpit was on the Gospel side (left side). If there is both a pulpit and a lectern, the Gospel is proclaimed in front of the pulpit where the sermon is preached. If there is only a lectern, the Gospel is either proclaimed at the lectern (which it should then be on the left side, the Gospel side) or, if the lectern is for some reason on the Epistle side, in the open space on the Gospel side with one of the altar boys acting as your lectern.

The priest to congregation responses are exchanged. After such, the Gospel is then incensed with three "double"(1 2, 1 2, 1 2) swings. The thurible is then handed back to the thurifer. If an altar boy is not being used as a lectern, he is still on the left side of the priest, on the opposite side of where the thurifer is. 

The Gospel is then either sung or said. The same rule applies to every time the name of Jesus is said: all nod. The priest should have the slightest of pauses after the name of Jesus to allow His Holy Name to resonate within the church. Afterwards, the priest picks up the Book of the Gospels, kisses where the end of the text for that Gospel is, and remains there for the sermon. If where the priest is standing is not a pulpit or a lectern, he then moves to where one is. If the priest has used an altar boy as a lectern, the altar boy takes the Book of the Gospel back into the sacristy or at the credence table. If the Book of the Gospels was not separate from the Lectionary, nothing happens. If the priest was at a pulpit or lectern and he processed with the Book of the Gospels, he gives the Book of the Gospels to the altar boy to be placed in either the sacristy or at the credence table.

The sermon begins. If during the time of the Liturgy of the Word the lessons were read in Latin, they are now read in English. All would stand for the Gospel and make the appropriate crosses. I advise that if you (the priest) truly have an announcement that cannot wait to say it quickly and without exaggeration before the sermon starts. Announcements at the end of mass is not the best time to make them. The congregation has the Body of Christ inside of them. Allow them to pray and conclude mass in a prayerful state without taking people "out of Mass mode" and back into reality only to then be placed back "into Mass mode" for the closing prayers. The faithful who have just received Christ are living tabernacles. Allow them to pray and mediate on that and not on the Knights of Columbus dinner that's next week.

If there is anything that I've missed or you feel needs to be different, I ask that you email me. I am doing my best to promote a liturgical compatibility between the Mass of Paul VI (Novus Ordo) and the Tridentine Mass for the continuity of the faith and liturgical traditions of Christ's Church. Thank you! The Offertory will be next.

Note: If no incense was used, the altar boys remain at their benches. Other configurations of torch bearers, etc., etc., can be asked about through email. Also, the prayers taken from the Extra-Ordinary Form are of course optional, but of course, encouraged. If there is a deacon in the mass and you have questions about his role, please email me. 


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