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    In the ever-growing number of places where the traditional Roman Rite of the Mass is being offered, a situation often arises where a priest who is not already trained in the usus antiquior is nevertheless called upon to offer assistance with the distribution of Holy Communion, particularly on occasions when a large number of the faithful are expected to be present. Sometimes clergy are confused and flustered at such moments because they have not received proper instruction ahead of time. It therefore seemed a good idea to share with NLM readers a handy one-page instruction sheet that explains how clergy should assist in these situations. If the document contains any mistakes, I would be grateful for corrections from rubrically well-instructed readers.

    First, the text below, and then an image of a formatted version of it.

    Instructions for the distribution of Holy Communion by an assisting priest at the Vetus Ordo

    1) Having vested in cassock, surplice, and stole of the day’s color, the minister enters the sanctuary when he hears the celebrant beginning to say “Domine, non sum dignus.... (bell ring)” three times.

    2) He kneels at the side of the altar during the servers’ Confiteor and the celebrant’s “Ecce agnus Dei,” and stands afterwards.

    3) The minister receives the ciborium from the altar and proceeds to the communicants. (If the ciborium is in the tabernacle, he goes to the tabernacle, opens it, genuflects, and closes it without locking it; he genuflects again after opening the ciborium on the altar.)

    4) The minister says, while making the sign of the cross with the host, “Corpus + Domini Nostri Iesu Christi [nodding his head at the Holy Name, and placing the Host on the tongue of the communicant] custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.
    a) The priest should not go to the communicants without the server.[1]
    b) The whole formula should be pronounced for each communicant.[2]
    c) Communion must be received on the tongue and kneeling.[3]
    d) Formal blessings to non-communicants are not permitted by the liturgical books of 1962, and sacred ministers exercising their ministry at the Usus Antiquior are bound, as per Universae Ecclesiae 28, and Sacrosanctum Consilium 22§3, not to import extraneous blessings.[4]

    5) When all communicants have received Our Lord, the minister, taking care to keep his thumb and forefinger together, takes the paten from the server and ascends to the altar by the front steps, and places the paten on the corporal, leaving it there for the celebrant to purify.

    6) He returns the ciborium to the tabernacle, taking care to keep thumb and forefinger together; opens the tabernacle; puts the ciborium into the tabernacle; genuflects; and closes the tabernacle.

    7) After closing the tabernacle, the assistant priest washes his fingers with the water in the ablution cup (a small bowl-like container placed to the side of the tabernacle). He dips his thumb and index finger into the water and wipes his fingers on the accompanying purificator before returning to the sacristy.


    [1] “Not. 1 Ne sacerdos praecipitanter S. Communionem distribuat, est enim ministerium sanctissimum, omnique possibili attentione et devotione pertractandum.” Sacrae liturgiae praxis juxta ritum romanum v.1. 272.

    [2] “Not. 8 Non obstante magno communicantium numero, ad quemque illorum integra forma pronuntianda est, et crux cum S. Hostia exacte et reverenter formanda non autem praeceps manuum gesticulatio, ut distributio acceleretur.” Sacrae liturgiae praxis juxta ritum romanum v.1. 272.

    [3] “Praeterea, cum sane de lege speciali agitur, quoad materiam propriam, Litterae Apostolicae Summorum Pontificum derogant omnibus legibus liturgicis, sacrorum rituum propriis, exinde ab anno 1962 promulgatis, et cum rubricis librorum liturgicorum anni 1962 non congruentibus.” UE §28.

    [4] “Quapropter nemo omnino alius, etiamsi sit sacerdos, quidquam proprio Marte in Liturgia addat, demat, aut mutet.” SC Normae Generales 22 § 3. RS 186 :“Quisque enim semper meminerit se esse sacrae Liturgiae servitorem.” Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, n. 24. Cf. also the ceremonies for coram Sanctissimo, which praxis demonstrates that, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, blessings are not imparted other than that of the prescribed Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. It is the general rule that priests do not give blessings before the Eucharist when our Lord is not residing within the tabernacle – whether these be blessings of the incense, or of people, etc.

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    Call for Papers
    Centenary of the Publication of
    The Spirit of the Liturgy by Romano Guardini

    September 27–29, 2018
    Cathedral of St. Mary
    Miami, Florida

    A touchstone of the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement, Romano Guardini’s Spirit of the Liturgy marks its centennial year of publication in 2018. For the occa

    sion of its annual conference, The Society for Catholic Liturgy invites submissions for academic papers and pastoral presentations on topics related to Guardini’s work.

    • Expositions on the life and work of Romano Guardini
    • The legacy of Guardini and The Spirit of the Liturgy
    • The place of Guardini within the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement 
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy and the Second Vatican Council 
    • Problematics posed or introduced by The Spirit of the Liturgy 
    • The relationship between Guardini’s and Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy 
    • Relationships between the following in The Spirit of the Liturgy
      • Nature and grace, or nature and “cultural heritage”/civilization 
      • The individual and the community, the parish and the universal Church, or more generally the particular and the universal 
      • Change and stability 
      • Emotions, the mind, truth, or the will, etc. 
      • Vertical and horizontal aspects of the liturgy 
      • Liturgy and the moral life 
      • The subjective and the objective 
      • Popular piety/devotions, the spiritual life, and the liturgy 
      • Lex orandi and lex credendi 
      • Externality and internality 
      • Freedom and restraint 
      • Individual “style” and universality of expression 
      • The material and the spiritual 
      • Purpose and meaning 
      • Beauty, truth, and goodness 
      • Logos and ethos 
      • Contemplation and activity 
    • The role of the following in the liturgy, according to Guardini’s work 
      • Christ as figure or actor 
      • Repetition 
      • “Active participation” 
      • Sacrifice 
      • Humility 
      • Sensibilities of the modern man 
      • Mystery 
      • Symbolism and typology 
      • Playfulness 
      • Minimalism or simplicity 
      • Rubrics and rules
    • The problems of aestheticism, moralism, Kantianism, or didacticism vis-à-vis the liturgy 
    • Reception and application of principles of The Spirit of the Liturgy in the post-modern context, or within Guardini’s own time 
    • The place of The Spirit of the Liturgy within Guardini’s oeuvre 
    • Guardini’s liturgical praxis and ars celebrandi 
    • Guardini’s work with youth 
    • Liturgy and technology 

    Other proposals will be considered, but primary consideration will be given to proposals that are related to the conference theme.

    Paper proposals of approximately 250 words should be emailed to or mailed to Jennifer Donelson, 201 Seminary Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10704. Proposals must be received by Friday, May 4, 2018.

    Presentations will be 45 minutes in length, followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Papers presented will be considered for publication in the SCL’s journal Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal. Presenters must register for the full conference and will be responsible for their own expenses.

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    Book review: A Devotional Journey into the Mass - How Mass Can Become A Time of Grace, Nourishment, and Devotion, by Christopher Carstens (pub. Sophia Institute Press).

    In this book (available here), Christopher Carstens, who is also the editor of Adoremus Bulletin, takes us through each key element of the Mass, from entering the church through to our response to the dismissal). Grounding his discussion in the sacramental thought of Romano Guardini, he takes us on a journey into the heart of the liturgy which, in the principles he articulates, is applicable to the Ordinary Form, the Extraordinary Form, and the Anglican Ordinariate form of the Roman Rite. (Sophia Institute Press also very kindly provides a free printable summary of the major points in two pages, available here.)

    “If you’re unhappy because the Mass has become for you routine – or even boring and tedious – these pages are for you. They teach you eight simple ways to make your every Mass a joyful time of piety and intense devotion.” This is how the publisher describes the appeal of this book. I would add to this that Carsten’s approach is the basis for a mystagogical catechesis that will allow us to participate, so that the Sacred Liturgy as a whole itself becomes the primary force for continual mystagogy. As such, I would see it as a natural complement to any authentic Catholic education, such as described in the book on children’s education I reviewed recently, Educating in Christ.

    By emphasizing the sacramental nature of the Mass so profoundly and in such simple and clear language, and by showing its deep connection to Scripture and salvation history, it is, in my opinion, a foundational text for an approach to mystagogical catechesis that could reap rewards for a lifetime.

    I appreciated particularly, for example, his emphasis also on lectio divina as a preparation for the Scripture that is proclaimed in the readings at Mass. Firstly, he de-mystifies it with simple and clear instructions on the method. Secondly, and just as importantly, he highlights how this exercise in meditation and contemplative prayer is consummated in the worship of God. It is not a higher activity, but one which, like all other activities that are not liturgical, derives its power and effectiveness from the liturgy, and so, in turn, leads us back to it for its consummation. To help us, Carstens explains beautifully how our personal pilgrimages are a participation in that which takes place in the story of salvation history, running through Old and New Testaments. This is a useful point for the evangelization of New-Agers and non-Christians who are looking to Eastern religions in a search for mystery. I would say that their desire to meditate is good, but will be even more powerful and effective if transformed to be harmony with its true place in the spiritual life.

    I was gratified to read how strongly he makes the point that this is not just about the words. All art and even the architecture of the church building must reveal these universal truths in such a way that they are communicated to each person, and so act as clear perceptible signposts that direct us on our way. To the degree that we respond to what is offered, we can ourselves be formed as artists who then fashion our very lives to the template of the Paschal Mystery.

    To take one example of how images can support this: some will remember my discussion on why the image of the three children in the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel is important for Christians. Through this book, Carstens enriched my own understanding and appreciation of this image even further with his detailed discussion of the Scriptural account of this episode, and its importance to the Mass. As he tells us, “its message, as well as its central text (Daniel 3, 39-40), is present at every Mass during the preparation of the altar and its gifts. This is truly right and just because the three youths exemplify the only true way for the Church to prepare for the Eucharistic sacrifice.”

    I enjoyed the following passage about the priesthood. “There are a few words that the Roman Rite uses to describe its priests and one of them is pontifex. In Latin the noun pons means bridge... and -fex is the foundation of today’s word factory, the place where things are built. Put the two words together - pontifex - and you get bridge-builder, which is precisely what a priest is; his role is to bridge the divide between God and man and pass over from earthly woes to heavenly blessings. Christ is the Pontifex Maximus. Even though he does not need our assistance in his saving work, He makes us sharers in His priesthood at baptism, empowering us to build the Paschal bridge with Him during the Eucharistic prayer.”

    My hope is to be formed as one of many such supernatural bridge-builders who are capable of forming an edifice that spans the divide between the liturgy and the culture of faith, and then, between the culture of faith and the wider culture; and further, that the cuture of faith can become a channel of divine beauty, bringing it from its source out into world, so that grace might be reflected in all human activity and every artefact that results from it. However, none of us can play a part in this if we don’t first come in from the dark, and “pass over”, so to speak, that bridge called the “Paschal mystery“ which connects us to the wellspring of grace and beauty, Christ present in the Eucharist.

    Order the book here.

    Christopher Carstens is the editor of the Adoremus Bulletin and one of the Liturgy Guys (along with Denis McNamara and Jesse Weiler) who create regular podcasts for the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein. He is also on the faculty of Pontifex University, for whom he has created an online class on the meaning of the Mass as part of the Master of Sacred Arts program.

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    Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent - St Eusebius
    In the historical lectionary of the Roman Rite, this was the day on which the Gospel of the Raising of Lazarus (John 11, 1-45) was read; the station was therefore kept at the church of St Eusebius on the Esquiline hill, right next to a very ancient Roman cemetery.

    This inscription of the year 1582 records that Pope Gregory XIII granted indulgences of ten years and ten Lents for visiting the church on the feast of the titular Saint (August 14), and those of Pope St Leo I and St Benedict (at the time, April 11 and March 21 respectively), to two of the church’s chapels are dedicated.
    From Fr Alek: St Eusebius was a Roman priest who is traditionally said to have died in the mid-4th century after several months of forced confinement in his house, inflicted on him because of his stance against the Arian heresy. He is depicted in the ceiling of the church’s nave with a book in his hands on which are written in Greek the words of the Nicene Creed “consubsantial with the Father”, (not “one in being.”)
    Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent - St Nicholas “in the prison”
    The peculiar title of this church comes from a tradition that St Nicholas of Myra was brought to Rome and imprisoned by the Emperor Constantius for his refusal to accept the heresy of Arius. The church encompasses the remains of three temples built in the later years of the Roman Republic, the basements of which were in fact used a prisons in antiquity. The station for this day was originally kept at the church of St Lawrence Outside-the-Walls, but transferred here in the Middle Ages. Therefore, the last three stations of Lent, as a season distinguished from Passiontide, are held at churches dedicated to Confessors, where the earlier stations are at churches of the Virgin, the Apostles and the Martyrs. (For further explanation, see this article: “Raising the Dead in Lent.”

    From Fr Alek
    A very nice shot of a reliquary bust.
    Passion Sunday - St Peter’s Basilica
    On this day, the chapter of St Peter’s Basilica celebrates Vespers with particular solemnity, after which the Veil of St Veronica is exposed for the veneration of the faithful from the balcony of one of the great pillars which support the church’s dome. The procession is held entirely within the church, which is of course the largest in the world; the high altar is covered with relics, as also on the Ember Saturday of Lent, when the Station is also held here.

    Another fantastic shot from Fr Alek: the hand of the Prophet Elijah seems to point to God the Father at the top of the cupola. The pillars St Peter’s, including those of the enormous apse, have statues of the founders of various religious in their niches, with Elijah among them as the traditional founder of the Carmelites.

    Relics are displayed on the high altar for the church’s two Lenten stations, Ember Saturday and Passion Sunday. The relics of martyrs are placed closer to the edge of the mensa, and those of other Saints further in; the four corners are decorated with reliquaries shaped like obelisks, with long bones (tibias and such) in them. Two rectangular panels are set one on each short side of the mensa, each containing relics of 35 Popes, between the two of them, all of the Sainted Popes except the most recent. On the long side facing the apse, a bust reliquary of Pope St Damasus I (366-84, feast on December 11), containing the relics of his skull, is placed in the middle. This is a particularly appropriate choice, since he was a great promoter of devotion to the Saints and the cult of the relics, particularly those of the Roman martyrs. Within many catacombs, he rearranged the spaces around the tombs of the martyrs to make it easier for pilgrims to find and visit them, and decorated the tombs themselves with elaborately carved inscriptions written by himself in classical poetic meter. For this reason, he is honored as the patron saint of archeologists.
    Monday of Passion Week - St Chrysogonus

    The church is in the care of the Trinitarian Fathers, one of the medieval ransomin orders whose mission was to rescue Christians captured and held as slaves in Muslim lands. The red and blue cross is traditionally said to have been divinely revealed as their distinctive symbol to their founders, Ss John of Matha and Felix of Valois.

    From Fr Alek: St Chrysosgonus, a Roman martyr of the 4th century, glorified as a martyr in heaven. His traditional legend is considered historically unreliable, but he was one of the most venerated Saints of the early church, and is named in the Canon of the Mass.
    A statue of the Redeemer wearing the scapular of the Trinitians.

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    From the French Catholic blog Le Salon Beige comes this item. The southern French dioceses of Perpignan, Montpellier, Nimes and Carcassonne made the following video for a joint collection appeal, in which a young priest meets some Young People™ in a church building which appears to be young, and yet so very, very old...

    From the video is taken this still-shot for a poster, which, however, was used only by the diocese of Carcassonnne.
    At Perpignan, Montpellier, and Nimes, it was apparently deemed necessary to make the poster more suitable for publication by photoshopping out the priest’s cassock, replacing the part at the bottom with jeans, and blurring the buttons above. This was, not surprisingly, done badly and on the cheap, as you can see by clicking the picture to enlarge it.
    It is no secret that France has over the last several years seen a general decline in vocations which a more honest age than our own would recognize as catastrophic. According to this article from August of last year on Riposte Catholique, Carcassonne currently has no seminarians, Perpignan has three, and Nimes two. Montpellier has 14 according to its own website, which Riposte Catholique reports makes for an increase since 2010 (Deo gratias!)

    There is nothing wrong with a priest hanging out with the Young People™ and appearing in the occasional selfie, but that is not what it means to be a priest. On the website of the diocese of Perpignan, the slogan in the video “Aidez-nous à transmettre - help us to hand down” (hmmm... is there another word for that?) is elaborated with some other verbs: “help us to share, preserve, support celebrate.” Only one of these, the last, expresses what is means to be a priest. A priest is a leitourgos first and foremost, one who celebrates and offers a service on behalf of the people which they cannot celebrate and offer by themselves. He and he alone is the Pontifex, “the maker of the bridge” that unites Heaven to earth. If, as this rather sad little episode seems to indicate, a diocese becomes not merely reluctant to show a priest as a priest, but positively embarrassed by the idea, it should at least be honest and admit that the money collected in its fundraising appeal will be used to pay the lawyers who handle its receivership. But perhaps they realize that “Aidez-nous à disparaître” somehow lacks appeal...

    I bring this item to the attention of our predominantly American readers not to depress you, but as a reminder of two things. First, as we come to the holiest days of the year, remember to pray for the Church throughout the entire world, for the places where the Faith is languishing as well as those where it is flourishing, and especially for those where it is persecuted. Second, remember that despite everything, much progress has been made towards better days, and will continue to be made. Back in the madness of the 70s and 80s, (and yes, well into the 90s ... and yes, even beyond that), a cassock could well mark an American seminarian out for mistreatment or expulsion. In many places (not enough, but many) they are no longer the least bit controversial. I know of one congregation whose members 20 years were never seen in a cassock outside the most strictly formal occasions. A few years ago, the novices of that same congregation asked if they could wear the cassock for their first profession ceremony; not only was this permitted, it wasn’t even debated.

    And finally, a reminder of what the sanity to which the Church will eventually return looks like. Tradition will always be for the young!

    Courtesy of the Regina Pacis Chaplaincy

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    Listen carefully, my child, to the master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart; willingly receive and effectively fulfill the admonition of your loving father, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience. To you, therefore, my discourse is now addressed, whoever you may be that renounce your own will to do serve under the Lord, Christ the true King, and take up the most mighty bright weapons of obedience. And first of all, as you begin to do any good work, beg of Him with most earnest prayer that it may be perfected, so that He who has now deigned to count us among His children may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children, nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory. (The Prologue of the Rule of St Benedict.)

    Saints Benedict and Bernard, by Diogo de Contreiras, 1542; painted for the Cistercian convent of Santa Maria de Almoster  in Portugal. (Public domainimage from Wikimedia.)
    The second half of the Hour of Prime is sometimes called the Chapter Office, from the Benedictine custom of reading a part of the Rule of St Benedict at the end of it every day. The text of the Rule was divided into roughly 120 sections, and read in order over the course of four months, making for three full readings a year. At Citeaux, however, this reading began not on January 1st, as in most other houses, but on March 21st, which is both the feast day of St Benedict, and the day the abbey was founded in 1098. Beginning the reading of the Rule on this day became an annual reminder not only of the Order’s founding, but more specifically of the Cistercians’ role as the “strict constructionalists” of Benedictine monasticism, almost as if to say that the observance of the Rule itself began again with the coming of the new Order.

    The first two pages of the Rule of St Benedict, with the Prologue to be read on March 21st, from a Cistercian Martyrology printed at Paris in 1689.

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    As was the case last year, the response to our request for pictures of your churches with veils for Passiontide was tremendous; we will therefore have at least two more posts of them, possibly three, just out of those received in the last four days. For this we are very grateful indeed! If you have photos you would like to contribute, we will still very glad to receive them; please send them to, and remember to include the name and location of the church. And once again, we should all take encouragement in seeing this beautiful Catholic tradition gaining more and more ground each year - evangelize through beauty!

    Old St Mary’s - The Oratory of Cincinnati, Ohio
    On the feast of St Joseph, the Cincinnati Oratory celebrated the first year since its canonical establishment; our congratulations to the community! Below we see two photos of solemn Mass on the feast, one of them being a very clever shot of the Elevation seen in the organist’s mirror.

    St John the Evangelist - Goshen, Indiana
    Every year, we have a few churches that have reintroduced the veiling at Passiontide, sometimes after a lapse of decades. The pastor of this church writes to say that although they kept up the tradition of veiling statues over the years, this is the first time in as long as anyone can remember that they have also veiled the crosses; a parishioner sewed new veils for the large sanctuary crucifix, altar cross, and even the processional cross.

    Out Lady of Mt Carmel - New York City

    St Michael’s Cathedral - Toronto, Ontario

    Holy Ghost - Tiverton, Rhode Island
    Adoration and Daily Mass Chapel
    St Mary - Norwalk, Connecticut
    This will definitely be in next year’s photopost request!

    private chapel - Bay area, California 
    San Simon Piccolo - Venice, Italy (FSSP)

    St Joseph Chapel - San Antonio, Texas

    Corpus Christi Catholic Community - Charleston, South Carolina
    Part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, the community worships at St Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church in downtown Charleston.

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    Here is the schedule of services for the Triduum and Easter Sunday at the church of St Agnes in St Paul, Minnesota, where the legacy of the great Mons Richard Schuler lives on.

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    On Tuesday, I reposted an item from the French blog Le Salon Beige about a fund-raising poster produced by four French dioceses, in which the cassock of a young priest was photoshopped out, very ineptly, to make it appear that he was wearing jeans instead. (Young People™ think jeans are COOL!!) This was also picked up by the Catholic Herald. In the meantime, someone with a good eye for detail noted in our combox that the young man taking the photo is wearing a Polo jacket, the logo of which was also removed: a very Soviet gesture, if there ever was one. (A friend of mine made the joke on Facebook that the Church will soon need to put Photoshop on the Index of Forbidden Software.)

    Well, it turns out that both of these photos are fake, and the photoshopping was done to hide the fact that the good Father is a Cleveland Browns’ fan!

    (Thanks for Mr Tim Clark for permission to reproduce this joke, which is just a joke; Mr Clark is himself a Browns’ fan, as was my father all his life!)

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    Exactly as happened last year, in the single day since we posted the first part of this year’s photopost of Passiontide veils, we have received enough new submissions that we will now plan on four parts instead of three. If, therefore, you don’t see your here, know that we will definitely get to them within the next couple of days, just in time to start another round of photoposts for Holy Week. As always, we are very grateful to everyone who sent these in; you are doing great things to preserve and encourage our Catolic liturgical tradition!

    St Anthony’s - The Bronx, New York

    Our Lady of the Pillar Parish - Alaminos, Laguna, The Philippines

    St Stephen - Exeter, Nebraska
    St Mary’s Parish - Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Even in the sacristy!
    St Paul’s Cathedral - Birmingham, Alabama

    Mater Ecclesiae - Berlin, New Jersey

    Monastery of the Holy Cross - Chicago, Illinois

    Immaculate Conception - Port Perry, Ontario
    The chapel of St Joseph before veiling...
    ... and after.
    Our Lady Among the Olives - Zagreb, Croatia
    Cathedral of the Holy Rosary - Vancouver, British Columbia

    Santissima Trinità - Pordenone, Italy
    St Catherine of Siena - Columbus, Ohio