Rochester Ordinariate’s first Sunday at St. Thomas the Apostle

Andrew of St Alban’s Fellowship has pointed us to the following report:

We had a very nice mass this morning as the inaugural service with Fr. Bonsignore and the Latin Mass Community at St. Thomas the Apostle. There were literally hundreds of people there, which was quite inspiring.

The 9am service was an Ordinary Rorm mass, in English. It was well done – adult men acolytes, chant with a good choir, communion kneeling at the altar rail, no nonsense from Fr. B. All very welcome. Still, I was surprised by some choices made – the Roman canon was not used, the mass was celebrated westward facing, although the filled North and South transepts made geography less obvious.

FSA group members with Fr. Bonsignore at St. Thomas the Apostle - courtesy of Bernard Dick.

FSA group members with Fr. Bonsignore at St. Thomas the Apostle – courtesy of Bernard Dick.

We briefly spoke with Fr. Bonsignore after the service, and he kindly agreed to Bernie’s request for a photo. He invited us to come to the Extraordinary Form High Mass they will offer for Gaudete Sunday “for a different experience”. While the 11:15am mass will be in the traditional Latin form, the default there is Low Mass (someone will have to explain that to me someday).

Although I did miss our Anglican Use mass, the mass today was good, and I was excited with our brethern to finally have their church back in action.

It was a good day.

(Comment: I am a little confused that the author of this report (Andrew?) should be surprised that the Ordinary Form mass which the group attended should be celebrated westward, which is in fact the standard orientation for the Ordinary Form, including Papal masses.

Similarly, the use of a Eucharistic Prayer other than the Roman Canon is common practice if the mass celebrated is not a High Mass or Pontifical Mass. It is only in the Ordinariate Use that the Roman Canon is prescribed for all Sunday masses, and that is primarily for historical reasons.

As far as I know, the default option in all churches, even before the changes which followed the Second Vatican Council, has always been the Low Mass – with High Mass being generally restricted to the principal Sunday Mass.

David Murphy)

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9 Responses to Rochester Ordinariate’s first Sunday at St. Thomas the Apostle

  1. victor2378 says:

    David,
    the norm for all masses – even if it is not being followed – is still eastward, as is evident from the liturgy itself. And the Roman Canon is by no means restricted to pontifical masses – there is no prescription for any canon to be said at any mass, although reverence for the Tradition would hint to a slight bias towards the Roman Canon, which is the oldest Anaphora in all the churches still being used without interruption (and that includes the byzantine anaphoras and certainly the pseudo-Hippolytian canon, which fell out of use more than 1500 years ago, only to be excavated in a move that can just be called, in Pius XII’s words, “archaeological”).
    Ansgar

    • Dear Ansgar, I think you will find that I did not suggest that the Roman Canon was restricted to Pontifical Masses – I spoke of the “common practice” to use other Eucharistic Prayers at not so celebratory masses. I also spoke of the “standard” (i.e. usual) practice of celebrating the Ordinary Form westwards, which I am sure you have observed too.
      David

  2. Andrew Jordan says:

    Hi David – yes, I had exactly Ansgar’s comments in mind when I wrote this. I would have thought that devotees of the EF would simply use EP1 and celebrate East-facing (do I remember correctly that the GIRM expresses a preference for EP1 on Sundays and Holy Days?). Certainly nothing prevents it, and those are the practices in continuity with the EF Latin mass. This is true even though one does not usually find them in your neighborhood parish – but I thought that recovery was part and parcel of the “reform of the reform” movement.

    My other comment about the default TLM being low mass, is simply my own bewilderment at this (evidently) common custom to have a low mass for the main Sunday celebration. Growing up in Anglo-Catholic circles, you would never see that – always sung mass, if not solemn high mass for the principal Sunday service. Low mass is wonderful, but I expect to see it at 6am on a Wednesday.

    Thanks for your ongoing posting of our activities.

    • EPMS says:

      Did the Members of St Alban’s Fellowship worship together in a local TEC/Anglican parish before their reception into the Catholic church, or is it a gathered group?

      • Andrew N. Jordan says:

        For the curious, the St. Alban fellowship by and large came from the local ACA church, when most of that church (together with their bishop) flaked out on the Portsmouth oath. Our former pastor, Fr. Cornelius, was appointed to care for the laity that took their former bishop’s promises more seriously than they themselves did (the ACA pastor at the time was disqualified from the Catholic prieshood on multiple counts – which says a lot). Since then, other people have joined our group from various backgrounds.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Andrew,

      You asked, parenthetically: [D]o I remember correctly that the GIRM expresses a preference for EP1 on Sundays and Holy Days?

      Ah, not quite. Here is the relevant text from the present General Instructions of the Roman Missal (emphasis in original).

      365. The choice among the Eucharistic Prayers found in the Order of Mass is suitably guided by the following norms:

      a. Eucharistic Prayer I, that is, the Roman Canon, which may always be used, is especially suited to be sung or said on days when there is a proper text for the Communicantes (In union with the whole Church) or in Masses endowed with a proper form of the Hanc igitur (Father, accept this offering) and also in the celebrations of the Apostles and of the Saints mentioned in the Prayer itself; it is likewise especially appropriate for Sundays, unless for pastoral considerations Eucharistic Prayer III is preferred.

      b. Eucharistic Prayer II, on account of its particular features, is more appropriately used on weekdays or in special circumstances. Although it has been provided with its own Preface, it may also be used with other Prefaces, especially those that summarize the mystery of salvation, such as the common Prefaces. When Mass is celebrated for a particular dead person, the special formula may be inserted in the place indicated, namely, before the Memento etiam (Remember our brothers and sisters).

      c. Eucharistic Prayer III may be said with any Preface. Its use is preferred on Sundays and feast days. If, however, this Eucharistic Prayer is used in Masses for the Dead, the special formula for the dead may be used, to be included at the proper place, namely, after the Omnes filios tuos ubique dispersos, tibi, clemens Pater, miseratus coniunge (In mercy and love unite all your children).

      d. Eucharistic Prayer IV has an invariable Preface and gives a fuller summary of salvation history. It may be used when a Mass has no Preface of its own and on Sundays in Ordinary Time. Because of its structure, no special formula for the dead may be inserted into this prayer.

      However, this guidance does not take into account the six additional anaphoras that are now authorized: two for masses with a theme of reconciliation, three for masses with children, and the anaphora developed by the Swiss episcopal conference for masses of “special needs and occasions.” Note, also, that the wording of this guidance does not mandate the choice of one prayer over another. Rather, it only excludes the use of the anaphora known as “Eucharistic Prayer IV” in masses that have proper (as distinguished from seasonal) prefaces.

      Norm.

  3. After looking it up, I am amazed that I basically got it right:

    365. The choice between the Eucharistic Prayers found in the Order of Mass is suitably guided by the following norms:

    a) Eucharistic Prayer I, or the Roman Canon, which may always be used, is especially suited for use on days to which a proper text for the Communicantes (In communion with those whose memory we venerate) is assigned or in Masses endowed with a proper form of the Hanc igitur (Therefore, Lord, we pray) and also in the celebrations of the Apostles and of the Saints mentioned in the Prayer itself; likewise it is especially suited for use on Sundays, unless for pastoral reasons Eucharistic Prayer III is preferred.

    • Thank you for your clarifications, Andrew. I think actually that our comments are not so far from each other.

      Personally I find it encouraging that a church community which obviously favours the Latin Mass should turn up in hundreds to a westward-celebrated Ordinary Form Mass in Engliah, demonstrating clearly that both forms of the mass are indeed the liturgy of the Church.

      Clearly the way that Fr. Bonsignore celebrates is very similar to the Ordinary Form masses you can experience on most Sundays in the UK Ordinariate, which is no doubt why your local bishop advised you to attend the parish’s English mass.

      Good luck and blessings to the Fellowship of Saint Alban during this interregnum. We shall continue to follow your activities with interest.

      David Murphy

    • EPMS says:

      Mr Jordan, thank you for information above. Naturally one’s liturgical expectations are shaped by previous experience, and it is simpler when that experience has been shared.

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