19 July 2019

Learn it by heart?

Recently, my mind went back to S Stephen's House ... Norham Road ... Fr Derek Allen ... and Mass Practices before my Deaconing in 1967; you will remember that I was in the very last fortunate generation to be taught the Tridentine ceremonial culture before the Iron Curtain of Rupture came thudding down and the lights went out all over Europe.

I recalled how we were required to learn certain things off by heart. These fell into two categories: silent Tridentine formulae which accompanied actions ... principally, the prayers during the Offertory (those Tridentine Offertory Prayers which have now so happily been restored in the Anglican Use). And Anglican formulae which were to be said turning from the Altar to face the People. Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins ... Hear what comfortable words ...

But I have no recollection of being asked to learn the Praeparatio at the foot of the altar ... Ah! Of course not! Judica me Deus/Give sentence with me O God was abolished in 1965. Even Archbishop Lefebvre didn't revert to its use until 1974.

I wonder what others, as long in the Sacred Priesthood as I am or longer, can remember about their own pre-Bugnini Mass Practices, on whichever side of the Tiber they received their training. This is Oral History, Fathers, which will be lost as soon as you ... er ... that is to say, share it now!


Martin McDermott, sj said...

I am an 86-yr-old Jesuit ordained in 1964, stationed in Beirut since 1971. Sundays I celebrate novus ordo in English for a church full of African and Asian workers (majority Filipina housemaids), I hope reverently enough, for they sing like angels.
Six days a week I celebrate early for 3 to 6 local men in the Maronite rite. Walking the distance from sacristy to the side altar where the men are, I recite the Latin “prayers at the foot of the altar”, which fit in perfectly.
By the way, your blog is my daily treat.

JARay said...

I am not a priest but I still can remember the words "Judica me Deus et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta" Of course I was an Altar Boy and those words have stuck in my head for nearly 80 years now! It is amazing what things one can still remember!

motuproprio said...

I learnt the prayers at the foot of the altar as an altar boy and was taken by a friend after deaconing to learn ‘how to say mass properly’ from Fr Sampson at Tue Brook.

GOR said...

I don’t know if learning the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar by heart was a requirement pre-Ordination back then. We Altar Boys were required to know the responses by heart, however.

I rarely saw a celebrant use a prayer card (“cheat sheet” here in the US…) to say them, except perhaps the recently ordained. But by dint of daily use, any priest would have soon known them by heart, I expect.

Pastor in Monte said...

I was lucky enough to be prepared and examined in 1989, the year of my priestly ordination, by the same man who had done that job at my seminary in the late 1950s, the wonderful Dr Freddie Broomfield. In his last years he had repented his embrace of the Reform with a characteristic humility. The things that stuck with me were that when holding one’s hands in the orantes position, it should be possible to see both palms (in other words, the palms should face each other, no wider than the shoulders); genuflections should be made with a ramrod-straight back, with no cringing; signs of the cross over chalice and host should all be made with geometric precision. I still try to honour his memory by observing these things. Oh, and one should never move from the Missal until the prayer (collect, post communion) had finished.

John Nolan said...

As an eight-year-old altar boy in 1959 I learned all the responses by heart. I was puzzled by the inflections in the Confiteor (dative, and then accusative) but when I started learning Latin at school the mystery was solved.

Were I to attend an Ordinariate Mass, Coverdale's version of Ps 42 would irritate me no end; not just 'give sentence with me' for 'judica me', but the way he rearranges the verses affects the responses.

Was this the way Anglo-Catholics did things? I'd rather have the Novus Ordo in Latin than a hybrid rite in mock-Tudor English.

neilmac said...

In reply to Motuproprio.

I was an altar server at S John's Tue Brook from the mid to late 1970s. Canon Sampson not only preserved almost unchanged the English Missal form of the Tridentine Mass, but was, indeed, a saintly man. I think he was a little disappointed when I "poped" in 1993.

When did you learn "how to say the Mass properly"? To which parish were you attached?

John Patrick said...

Before reverting to the One True Church I spent several years as an altar server in an Anglo Catholic Episcopal Church where Father and us servers would say the PATFOTA in the Hieratic English version i.e. "Give sentence with me O my God and defend my cause against the ungodly people; deliver me from the deceitful and wicked Man; for thou art the God of my strength; why go I so heavily while the enemy oppresseth me?" etc. I am still in the habit of reciting that silently to myself as part of my preparation for Mass.