Probably the *best* Ordinary Form Mass I've Ever Seen

While getting lost on a YouTube tangent I stumbled upon this professionally produced video of a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit (in the Ordinary Form) at St. John Guardian of Our Lady in Clinton, MA, USA. I’ve been around quite a bit of the reverently celebrated Ordinary Form Masses with nods to tradition that characterize the “Reform of the Reform”, at least here in the United States, and there’s always been something left wanting. Not this liturgy. It completely took my breath away. Except for just a few changes I can’t think of anything that would make this a better example of what the Ordinary Form ought to be.

It’s a long video but the various parts of the Mass are time stamped in the video information box so you can easily click on such timestamps to jump to, say, the Sanctus, or the Gloria, the Creed, or the Sermon, etc.

Some things that stuck out to me as being above average for even the best of the “Reform of the Reform” parishes I’ve gone to:

• The readings were chanted. I’ve never seen this happen. I’ve never even heard of this happening. I wasn’t even aware that such were possible in the Ordinary Form.
• All of the propers, except for the gradual, were used. Yes there was a hymn during the procession and recession (as is usually the case even today in the Extraordinary Form), but none of that replaced the propers. The Introit was still chanted immediately after the processional hymn, the Ordinary Form quasi-offeratory was there, as was the Communion Antiphon, etc.
• The priest and deacon celebrants paid homage using traditional forms of piety: genuflecting to the tabernacle instead of the modern practice of bowing, bowing their heads at the mention of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, striking their breasts during the Canon at “and though us poor sinners”, etc.
• Pretty much everything except for the Sermon/Homily was sung. Even the Confiteor. That’s yet another part of the Ordinary of the Mass that I’ve never ever experienced sung in the Ordinary Form.
• All of this was done with tasteful simplicity such that the congregation could “actively participate” without denigrating the liturgy with banality.
• The choir was neither in the chancel facing the congregation like a concert nor were they shut up in the choir loft far removed from the engagement of the laity. They were in the first couple of pews, on equal footing with the rest of the congregation and they were clearly there to supplement the congregational singing.

Honestly, there are only three things that could’ve been changed to fully satisfy my rigid, semi-pelagian, pseudo-nostalgic, Medieval LARPing, Tridentine loving self:

  1. Substitute the actual Gradual/Tract for the Responsorial Psalm (really should be a topic for another thread),
  2. Push that altar inward toward the reredos and celebrate ad orientem,
  3. Pepper some Latin into the Ordinary of the Mass; at least the actual Roman Canon.

I hope you all enjoy this beautifully celebrated Mass.


The Ordinary Form done correctly is a beautiful Liturgy. Thanks for sharing!



Exquisite. (I just watched snippets.)

The OF Mass at St Ann’s parish in Charlotte NC (TLM parish, Adoremus-oriented) is also pretty hard to beat. I could not stay in town for the weekly Sunday TLM the next day, so I had to attend the OF, and I was extremely impressed.

I didn’t watch the video but what you describe is Mass at the Benedictine abbey where I attend OF Mass twice a week. There are no hymns though. Prior to the entrance procession, an organ prelude is played; then the monks process in while the introit is chanted in Latin. Yes, even the readings are chanted. Yes, it is allowed in the OF and even has musical notation for it in the OF Graduale Romanum.

A couple of points on your suggestions:

  1. Our abbey uses the Gradual on Sundays. On weekdays, they alternate between the Gradual and Alleluia as allowed in the rubrics of the Graduale Romanum; when the gradual is used, only a short Alleluia without verse is used on weekdays. On Sundays, both are used, and the tract is use instead of the Alleluia during Lent.

  2. That wouldn’t work in modern monasteries. Mass is concelebrated to start with, and you’d see a line of 15+ priests’ backs in front of you. In any event, in monasteries, the tabernacle is most often in a side chapel; as was the case before the Council, in fact that’s the preferred location in conventual churches and churches with a choir (meaning choir stalls for the religious or canons), when the Divine Office is chanted there.

In the abbey, the “choir” is in fact the monks themselves so they will be seated in the choir stalls between the nave and the sanctuary.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the OF. Like any liturgy it can be done sloppily or correctly.

Thanks for this I watched up to the first reading. I’ll watch the rest another time. I can’t remember the last time time I heard the glory be to the father as part of the introit in an OF Mass. Even in Masses without an entrance hymn it’s not unusual to skip the antiphon.

:joy: I can just imagine how you show up to mass…

Thanks for the video. I can’t think of a better way to spend my insomnia time. And yes, what a shame they did not use that beautiful high altar! :weary:

It’s flu season, so if you guessed this:

You’re right.

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