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:
- Substitute the actual Gradual/Tract for the Responsorial Psalm (really should be a topic for another thread),
- Push that altar inward toward the reredos and celebrate ad orientem,
- Pepper some Latin into the Ordinary of the Mass; at least the actual Roman Canon.
I hope you all enjoy this beautifully celebrated Mass.