UESDAY was another day filled with excellent lectures at Sacra Liturgia USA 2015. In addition to the lectures, the liturgies have been most rewarding, and the hospitality of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, in the care of the Dominicans, has been first-rate.
The morning’s first lecture was delivered by Rev. Thomas Kocik, former editor of the journal Antiphon. The title of the talk was simply, “The Reform of the Reform.” Father Kocik’s fundamental assertion was that any authentic reform of the reform must begin with the Extraordinary Form as the point of departure, not the Ordinary Form.
In the course of his presentation, Father Kocik also listed a number of practical ideas for how a priest might transform his celebration of the Ordinary Form. Among his ideas were these:
1. Use the rite of blessing for water, with the proper chants, in place of the Penitential Act.
2. Employ the proper chants during each of the processions.
3. Chant the orations, prefaces, & the Gospel.
4. Use incense on every Sunday & solemnity, not just on special occasions.
5. Omit the intercessions on weekdays.
6. Opt for a silent preparation of the gifts.
7. Do not neglect the Latin language.
8. After catechesis, introduce the celebration of Mass ad orientem. [In the interim, consider using the “Benedictine arrangement.”]
9. Wear black vestments for funerals, All Souls Day, and other Masses for the Dead.
10. Do not omit the optional sequences.
11. Occasionally use the Gradual instead of the Responsorial Psalm.
12. Utilize the full complement of Votive Masses in the Missal.
13. Use the Roman Canon.
14. Bow your head at the names of the Trinity, the BVM, and the saint of the day.
All of these suggestions, of course, fall within the bounds of current liturgical law and require no special permission. Many priests have already taken some or all of these steps toward bridging the gap between the Ordinary & Extraordinary Forms.
Dr. Margaret Hughes (sister of fellow blogger David Hughes) gave a marvelous presentation entitled “The Ease of Beauty: Liturgy, Evangelization, and Catechesis.” Her paper gave evidence of her mastery of philosophy and bore the mark of her specialization in the philosophy of Joseph Pieper.
Among her many salient points, Dr. Hughes proposed that resting in what is good is the truest, fullest way of being active. She also said that “beauty is a harmonious meeting of the objective and subjective.” Of course, the experience of beauty in life should remind us that we are wayfarers on a journey, en route to the vision of total beauty.
Mr. Gregory Glenn is the founder & Pastoral Administrator of the Cathedral of the Madeleine Choir School in Salt Lake City, UT. He gave an engaging and humorous lecture outlining the history of how his choir school came into existence and how it has come to flourish. I am in awe of what he and his helpers have accomplished. Mr. Glenn did not inherit a well-established institution, after all; he forged the choir school, rather, from nothing and shaped it into a seedbed for world-class art.
In passing, Mr. Glenn pondered how some people can complain that it is too difficult for children to learn a Gregorian Mass ordinary. He offered a fascinating statistic that there are only 283 words in the Latin ordinary. Surely, children are capable of approaching such a limited number of vocabulary words.
Several other wonderful presentations have been made so far. I sincerely hope that the ideas being shared this week with conference attendees will lead to liturgical revitalization at the grassroots level in the communities we serve.