Friday, 30 November 2012

Off the Beaten Path: The Pope's Lenten Message from 2012: Good Info

Hello Everyone.

I don't know how I missed this, but one of my faith buddies told me to go read this. Wow! I can't believe the richness in what our Holy Father wrote in this passage. This is reprinted in full from the Vatican Website, but I felt should not be piece-mealed, but displayed here in its entirety, with specific parts emphasized in boldface that blew me away. Pax, Julian.


“Let us be concerned for each other,
to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the sacraments. This journey is one marked by prayer and sharing, silence and fasting, in anticipation of the joy of Easter.

This year I would like to propose a few thoughts in the light of a brief biblical passage drawn from the Letter to the Hebrews:“ Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works”. These words are part of a passage in which the sacred author exhorts us to trust in Jesus Christ as the High Priest who has won us forgiveness and opened up a pathway to God. Embracing Christ bears fruit in a life structured by the three theological virtues: it means approaching the Lord “sincere in heart and filled with faith” (v. 22), keeping firm “in the hope we profess” (v. 23) and ever mindful of living a life of “love and good works” (v. 24) together with our brothers and sisters. The author states that to sustain this life shaped by the Gospel it is important to participate in the liturgy and community prayer, mindful of the eschatological goal of full communion in God (v. 25). Here I would like to reflect on verse 24, which offers a succinct, valuable and ever timely teaching on the three aspects of Christian life: concern for others, reciprocity and personal holiness.

1. “Let us be concerned for each other”: responsibility towards our brothers and sisters.
This first aspect is an invitation to be “concerned”: the Greek verb used here is katanoein, which means to scrutinize, to be attentive, to observe carefully and take stock of something. We come across this word in the Gospel when Jesus invites the disciples to “think of” the ravens that, without striving, are at the centre of the solicitous and caring Divine Providence (cf. Lk 12:24), and to “observe” the plank in our own eye before looking at the splinter in that of our brother (cf. Lk 6:41). In another verse of the Letter to the Hebrews, we find the encouragement to “turn your minds to Jesus” (3:1), the Apostle and High Priest of our faith. So the verb which introduces our exhortation tells us to look at others, first of all at Jesus, to be concerned for one another, and not to remain isolated and indifferent to the fate of our brothers and sisters. All too often, however, our attitude is just the opposite: an indifference and disinterest born of selfishness and masked as a respect for “privacy”. Today too, the Lord’s voice summons all of us to be concerned for one another. Even today God asks us to be “guardians” of our brothers and sisters (Gen 4:9), to establish relationships based on mutual consideration and attentiveness to the well-being, the integral well-being of others. The great commandment of love for one another demands that we acknowledge our responsibility towards those who, like ourselves, are creatures and children of God. Being brothers and sisters in humanity and, in many cases, also in the faith, should help us to recognize in others a true alter ego, infinitely loved by the Lord. If we cultivate this way of seeing others as our brothers and sisters, solidarity, justice, mercy and compassion will naturally well up in our hearts. The Servant of God Pope Paul VI stated that the world today is suffering above all from a lack of brotherhood: “Human society is sorely ill. The cause is not so much the depletion of natural resources, nor their monopolistic control by a privileged few; it is rather the weakening of brotherly ties between individuals and nations” (Populorum Progressio, 66).

Concern for others entails desiring what is good for them from every point of view: physical, moral and spiritual. Contemporary culture seems to have lost the sense of good and evil, yet there is a real need to reaffirm that good does exist and will prevail, because God is “generous and acts generously” (Ps 119:68). The good is whatever gives, protects and promotes life, brotherhood and communion. Responsibility towards others thus means desiring and working for the good of others, in the hope that they too will become receptive to goodness and its demands. Concern for others means being aware of their needs. Sacred Scripture warns us of the danger that our hearts can become hardened by a sort of “spiritual anesthesia” which numbs us to the suffering of others. The Evangelist Luke relates two of Jesus’ parables by way of example. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite “pass by”, indifferent to the presence of the man stripped and beaten by the robbers (cf. Lk 10:30-32). In that of Dives and Lazarus, the rich man is heedless of the poverty of Lazarus, who is starving to death at his very door (cf. Lk 16:19). Both parables show examples of the opposite of “being concerned”, of looking upon others with love and compassion. What hinders this humane and loving gaze towards our brothers and sisters? Often it is the possession of material riches and a sense of sufficiency, but it can also be the tendency to put our own interests and problems above all else. We should never be incapable of “showing mercy” towards those who suffer. Our hearts should never be so wrapped up in our affairs and problems that they fail to hear the cry of the poor. Humbleness of heart and the personal experience of suffering can awaken within us a sense of compassion and empathy. “The upright understands the cause of the weak, the wicked has not the wit to understand it” (Prov 29:7). We can then understand the beatitude of “those who mourn” (Mt 5:5), those who in effect are capable of looking beyond themselves and feeling compassion for the suffering of others. Reaching out to others and opening our hearts to their needs can become an opportunity for salvation and blessedness.

“Being concerned for each other” also entails being concerned for their spiritual well-being. Here I would like to mention an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten: fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation. Today, in general, we are very sensitive to the idea of charity and caring about the physical and material well-being of others, but almost completely silent about our spiritual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters. This was not the case in the early Church or in those communities that are truly mature in faith, those which are concerned not only for the physical health of their brothers and sisters, but also for their spiritual health and ultimate destiny. The Scriptures tell us: “Rebuke the wise and he will love you for it. Be open with the wise, he grows wiser still, teach the upright, he will gain yet more” (Prov 9:8). Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin (cf. Mt 18:15). The verb used to express fraternal correction - elenchein – is the same used to indicate the prophetic mission of Christians to speak out against a generation indulging in evil (cf. Eph 5:11). The Church’s tradition has included “admonishing sinners” among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. As the Apostle Paul says: “If one of you is caught doing something wrong, those of you who are spiritual should set that person right in a spirit of gentleness; and watch yourselves that you are not put to the test in the same way” (Gal 6:1). In a world pervaded by individualism, it is essential to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so that together we may journey towards holiness. Scripture tells us that even “the upright falls seven times” (Prov 24:16); all of us are weak and imperfect (cf. 1 Jn 1:8). It is a great service, then, to help others and allow them to help us, so that we can be open to the whole truth about ourselves, improve our lives and walk more uprightly in the Lord’s ways. There will always be a need for a gaze which loves and admonishes, which knows and understands, which discerns and forgives (cf. Lk 22:61), as God has done and continues to do with each of us.

2. “Being concerned for each other”: the gift of reciprocity.
This “custody” of others is in contrast to a mentality that, by reducing life exclusively to its earthly dimension, fails to see it in an eschatological perspective and accepts any moral choice in the name of personal freedom. A society like ours can become blind to physical sufferings and to the spiritual and moral demands of life. This must not be the case in the Christian community! The Apostle Paul encourages us to seek “the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another” (Rom 14:19) for our neighbour’s good, “so that we support one another” (15:2), seeking not personal gain but rather “the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved” (1 Cor 10:33). This mutual correction and encouragement in a spirit of humility and charity must be part of the life of the Christian community.

The Lord’s disciples, united with him through the Eucharist, live in a fellowship that binds them one to another as members of a single body. This means that the other is part of me, and that his or her life, his or her salvation, concern my own life and salvation. [Editorial note: Whoa! I never thought of the Eucharist in that way before ... ] Here we touch upon a profound aspect of communion: our existence is related to that of others, for better or for worse. Both our sins and our acts of love have a social dimension. This reciprocity is seen in the Church, the mystical body of Christ: the community constantly does penance and asks for the forgiveness of the sins of its members, but also unfailingly rejoices in the examples of virtue and charity present in her midst. As Saint Paul says: “Each part should be equally concerned for all the others” (1 Cor 12:25), for we all form one body. Acts of charity towards our brothers and sisters – as expressed by almsgiving, a practice which, together with prayer and fasting, is typical of Lent – is rooted in this common belonging. Christians can also express their membership in the one body which is the Church through concrete concern for the poorest of the poor. Concern for one another likewise means acknowledging the good that the Lord is doing in others and giving thanks for the wonders of grace that Almighty God in his goodness continuously accomplishes in his children. When Christians perceive the Holy Spirit at work in others, they cannot but rejoice and give glory to the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:16).

3. “To stir a response in love and good works”: walking together in holiness.
These words of the Letter to the Hebrews (10:24) urge us to reflect on the universal call to holiness, the continuing journey of the spiritual life as we aspire to the greater spiritual gifts and to an ever more sublime and fruitful charity (cf. 1 Cor 12:31-13:13). Being concerned for one another should spur us to an increasingly effective love which, “like the light of dawn, its brightness growing to the fullness of day” (Prov 4:18), makes us live each day as an anticipation of the eternal day awaiting us in God. The time granted us in this life is precious for discerning and performing good works in the love of God. In this way the Church herself continuously grows towards the full maturity of Christ (cf. Eph 4:13). Our exhortation to encourage one another to attain the fullness of love and good works is situated in this dynamic prospect of growth.

Sadly, there is always the temptation to become lukewarm, to quench the Spirit, to refuse to invest the talents we have received, for our own good and for the good of others (cf. Mt 25:25.). All of us have received spiritual or material riches meant to be used for the fulfilment of God’s plan, for the good of the Church and for our personal salvation (cf. Lk 12:21b; 1 Tim 6:18). The spiritual masters remind us that in the life of faith those who do not advance inevitably regress. Dear brothers and sisters, let us accept the invitation, today as timely as ever, to aim for the “high standard of ordinary Christian living” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31). The wisdom of the Church in recognizing and proclaiming certain outstanding Christians as Blessed and as Saints is also meant to inspire others to imitate their virtues. Saint Paul exhorts us to “anticipate one another in showing honour” (Rom 12:10).

In a world which demands of Christians a renewed witness of love and fidelity to the Lord, may all of us feel the urgent need to anticipate one another in charity, service and good works (cf. Heb 6:10). This appeal is particularly pressing in this holy season of preparation for Easter. As I offer my prayerful good wishes for a blessed and fruitful Lenten period, I entrust all of you to the intercession of Mary Ever Virgin and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 3 November 2011

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Off the Beaten Path: Catholic Parenting Advice to raise Trad/True CATHOLIC not "c"atholic Children

Hello Everyone,

I am calling a new type of post on here "Off the Beaten Path". This is referring to something not specific to do with the Liturgy of the EF, or even Catholic Liturgy/Altar Serving, but an element of Traditional Catholicism that is pertinent to those of you who go to the EF or are Conservative (read: Practicing) Catholics.

While going through my Blogger feed, I managed to spot this link, from another of my blogs. In this article, the author gives solid advice to those of you who want to raise truly, Catholic, strong-minded children who are true to the faith. I felt this was relevant to post, because Traditional Catholics generally, do want to raise their children to be practising, Faithful, Catholic adults who won't be "c"atholics like their peers who say they are Catholic, and provide the poorest examples of Catholic identity and what it means to be Catholic, espousing contrary and heretical teachings that are opposite of the Church. We are also experiencing increasingly troubled times, with many people simply giving way to wanton desires and the competing interests of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, regardless if they are baptized and confirmed "c"atholics.

Also as a small note, but important one, a good number of us young adult Catholics are waking up and being angry and disappointed that the True Faith was not taught to us by our teachers, our clergy, and especially our lukewarm parents. We want to correct this awful malady for our children so they do not wander aimless and moral-less/Christ-less in our future society. Thus, we young people want to know what we can do to change the sad hand dealt to us by our "role models" and parents, to fix this problem.

The link is found here:

Please read and enjoy. My commentary and the article might generate discussion/criticism, so if you choose to comment, construct it with prudence and temperance. Be warned: I am monitoring your responses and will block/not release content deemed to violate my blog rules in my first archived post on this blog. Be charitable, and pray before you write. That goes for parents and people on both sides of the Trad/Novus Ordo spectrum. And I will archive your postings on my gmail for future reference.

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Announcement: Changes to Mass Times for Toronto Holy Family & St Vincent De Paul Masses

Hello Everyone.

I would like to update everyone with important changes to WEEKEND Mass times at the Oratory of St. Phillip Neri parishes in Toronto: Holy Family in Parkdale area, and St. Vincent De Paul in the Roncesvalles area. The Times, beginning this Sunday, for the Latin Masses in the 1962 EF, the 1st Sunday of Advent in the 2012-2013 Liturgucal Year have been changed to:

Holy Family Church, Parkdale (1372 King Street West)
11:00 am: Solemn Latin Mass in EF/Usus Antiquor (Missa Cantata in Summer)

St. Vincent de Paul Parish (263 Roncesvalles Ave)
9:30 am: Latin Low Mass in the EF/Usus Antiquor Mass

I will be updating this in my diocesan Mass page on the right side of the main page of my blog as well.

Pax, Julian.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Small Update for Solemn Latin Masses for Solemnities and Feast Day

Hello all. Just a small update here:

All I did was add the posters to the Toronto Traditional Mass Society (Una Voce Toronto?) events. Still, if you got the time to venture out to Mississauga on Sat Dec 8 mid-morning, or all the way out to Kinkora in the dawn of the morning for the 5:30am special Rorate Mass, then do go! What better way to start your Advent season with two special Solemn TLMs.

Pax, Julian.

Latin Mass Serving 1: Starter Points I - General Disposition

Hello Everyone,

With sufficient progress through the Latin Mass Q and A of every major part, from start to finish, I now will be covering the focus of this blog: Latin Mass Serving.

So without further ado, lets begin. Now that you have a working knowledge of (most of) the parts of the Mass and where they are, we can now discuss specific things with regard to serving.

Starter Points I - General Disposition

What exactly do I mean about "general disposition?" What I mean is the frame of mind and action that a Latin Mass server (though it should be any altar server) should have when they are serving the Latin Mass, be they mentally, in practice, or actually serving. This includes social practices, actual general practices and mentalities. 

This first posting of two on "Starter Points" will focus on the general social practices and mindset a server should have with regards to the Latin Mass. The second part will focus more on specific actions, and if a part three is needed, it will be a further extension of the specific actions. 

Thoughts on Serving? What is so Important about my Serving?

Even before one steps into the parish sacristy, or even thinking about altar serving, what should we keep in mind? 

Christ actually provided the most perfect example of such serving of his Holy Father, when he washed the feet of the disciples prior to the Passover Seder. Instead of thinking about himself and just fulfilling his role of Passover leader, or host, he got down on his feet and washed them of his subordinates. Really??? This was quite revolutionary at the time on a societal level, but more importantly, being the Word of God made Flesh, He himself, sharing the same Divine Nature as our Father, and the Holy Spirit, HE gave us this example perfectly to demonstrate serving Him and His Holy Father. This is the example we must think of when we serve our Lord. We should also be carrying this example out to others whom we interact (though not to the point of extreme passivity and the sacrifice of our Faith). We do unto others as He did unto us, perfectly, while He was with us. 

May this also mean for you that when you serve, this is an outward expression of your heart and souls' desire to honour your Lord, Jesus Christ at the altar, who gave himself Body and Soul to you as a Holy Sacrifice of all time, to afford you the opportunity to be able to obtain eternal life with Him in Heaven. And so you thank him in your actions for that sacrifice, which you are so overjoyed and thankful to participate in, as the Mass is the Re-presentation of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. You should be thankful, even just to hold a candle as a torchbearer, all the way up to the Master of Ceremonies, to have but even a small part in gratitude to our Lord. We do so by aiding the Alter Christus, the Priest, to be able to carry out the highest form of prayer in the world, the highest way we humans can express our gratitude to our Lord.  

We should also think of others when we are serving, in a certain context. You, the altar server, act as an inferior minister without Holy Orders. As a layperson without such Orders, YOU ,are the representative for the laity in the pews in your actions, both men and women, offering the gratitude that I mentioned earlier to our Lord. 

Further, More specific Notes on the General Disposition an Altar Server Should Have

Further to what I have discussed, you likely now have questions about, how should I act? What should I do when I am with the other servers or at the parish? You want more specific questions answered so that you do not feel like a fish out of water. 

With some help from Fr. Charles Carmody and Dom Britt, I'll be glad to answer those questions, albeit many of Fr. Carmody's small points/lessons in his book Learning to Serve will be covered under much larger, general points here:

1. Of his non-mandatory or forced Activities (e.g. school, family duties, career) altar serving must become an essential priority and greatest honour for the server- Yes I realize that we have primary commitments in our lives we cannot simply cast off, that is school for a young boy/man till 16 years of age legally, and work for an adult that provides bread on the table and feeds their family. In fact, for a non-clerical or non-paid person to put altar serving above all other things in life may cause scandal or sin to someone (e.g. a father/mother in the Novus Ordo [Editorial note: not going to discuss this here nor let the post degrade to such a topic] or family member who is being depended upon for their livelihood or medical care chooses unemployment or reductions in needed finances to do altar serving, or gives more time to parish activities than their families). 

However, the rest of the time one has, should include, as the first and foremost activity, the service to the altar. "To be an altar boy is a great honor - the greatest honor that any Catholic boy [or man] can win for himself .... Before you begin, you should know that being an altar boy [or man] is going to demand your interest and a great deal of your time ... For these reasons, not just anyone can be an altar boy, but only those boys who make themselves worthy by prayer, long study, and all-around good behaviour." (5-6, Learning to Serve, A Guide for Altar Boys).

While Carmody goes further to state that altar serving should be the number one priority in a boys' life, the rest of what I have quoted is true. This IS a great honour in one's life, next to being able to be with our Father in Heaven in the Beatific Vision provided we not die in Mortal Sin. You are aiding in allowing to come forth, the greatest form of prayer in our life, that provides a taste of the Eternal, with all the angels and saints, but also being part of the re-presentation of the Lord's Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Not everyone, also, chooses or is made an altar server, so you are blessed. But do not think you are better than John or Jason, or even your female friends for altar serving, or even more "holy" or "good" than your friends in your class/life, that's prideful and selfish. However, it is honourable that you are choosing to participate in the manner you do, in the greatest event we have here in our earthly lives. 

In addition, yes it will take work! You can`t slack off as a server or take it haphazardly. Yes, some people learn certain skills faster than others, but some work is absolutely required to learn a skill! When you altar serve, you must attend practices (unless there is good reason for missing a practice), learn your rubrics/responses and continually read up on the subject matter required for mastery of your position. AND THIS WILL LIKELY INTERFERE WITH YOUR OTHER COMMITMENTS  For a young boy/teen, you might be faced with soccer, band practice, martial arts, or playing video games with your bro-skies every weekend. With adults, work can be somewhat draining, but other extra-work commitments and your family might be placed in front of you. If you cannot sever other commitments to do altar serving, or must attend to your primary non-disposable commitments, THEN DO NOT SERVE. This is not a half-commitment. If your serving society/group/parish does have some leeway or allowance for acceptable absence from the odd practice, then fine work within that boundary. If not, you will have to make that choice. Allow for others to take your stead in your place, or re-arrange for other servers to serve in your place. But if you cannot choose to commit, or cannot avail yourself of more important and vital priorities the majority of the time, then allow others who can to become servers. You still actively participate in the Mass when you pray with the priest, and through your missals/propers handouts. You don't need to be "doing" actions in the sanctuary to qualify as active participation (a sadly misunderstood concept thanks to the "Spirit of Vatican II").  

2a. The Altar Server must be serious about his duties in attitude and mind, including prior to serving, actually serving the Mass, and after serving the Mass. If you come in with an attitude of laxity, not caring much about your duties, then you will disrespect our Lord and the Holy Mass, especially the Extraordinary Form. This lack of caring includes boys rough-housing and joking around in the sacristy, casually going to the wash room during mass when it is not an emergency, not listening to MCs, priests, when training for Masses, etc.

Unfortunately, this is poorly exemplified in our Novus Ordo serving programs, as you might have experienced if you are "crossing the gap", or have witnessed servers on the altar. There are not many Masses where one can clearly see the Novus Ordo servers on the altar demonstrating reverence for our Lord, order, seriousness, etc. Many a time, one witnesses boredom, tiredness, fidgeting, etc. While I have sympathy for those who are starting out and are nervous, experiencing performance anxiety on the altar, I am referring to general, laxity in behaviour and attitude. However, this is not only contained to the Novus Ordo. Servers do this too in the EF, especially if they are young. The majority of the time though, this is visible in the Novus Ordo.

In fact, I sadly had to witness in the week of creating this post, a young adult altar server at a Novus Ordo mass in the city, serving with a goofy smile for the duration I was present, which made the Mass irreverant and a joke. This is not just a "Mass", or even a weekday Mass. Every time you do the Mass you should realize you are serving in what is the Re-presentation and Re-experience of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord on the Cross!!! Do you think it is funny that he was whipped in a courtyard (watch this scene in Mel Gibson's Passion movie, I dare you), had a crown of pointed thorns on his head, nails driven through his hands, and experienced pain only imaginable to our minds? Maybe the Roman soldiers thought so, but we aren't brutish thugs like them, are we? NO! Every Mass should be approached in all seriousness at what you are aiding in. THIS IS NO JOKE!

In summary, if you are not mature enough or still in that goofy phase, please do not serve and make a mockery of the mass and your fellow altar servers. Spare those of us who are serious about honouring our Lord to do that work. We'll do the job properly while you go have fun at that jolly football game with your school-yard friends. But ask yourself when you want to act goofy and tackle your buddies, what, or who, is really honouring our Lord when Mass time comes?

2b. In all seriousness about his duties, the altar server should be FOCUSED in his carrying out and training for, the duty of altar serving. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST. Focus is essential in the altar server`s duty in carrying out the Mass.

Before the Mass is to be served:, you must be paying attention to your priest or instructor when they are telling you how to serve the mass (if what they are saying is rational, logical, and direct and not out-there crazy) because these are your actions in the assistance in the Holy Sacrifice in the Mass. While doing your practices, ask as many questions as possible, after you have gone over the Ordo/order of the EF liturgy, so you know what to do at what part.

Right before serving: Carry out your duties with reverence and quiet in setting up the sanctuary for the Holy Mass. Do not make awkward noise, nor too much with the liturgical items you are handling. Get assistance from older or fellow servers if you are not tall enough or strong enough to do it on your own. While in the Sacristy, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO ROUGH-HOUSE WITH THOMAS FROM SCHOOL OR HAVE LONG WINDED CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER PEOPLE.

Figure 1. Boys! This is exactly what NOT to do!!!! (95, Learning to Serve A Guide for Altar Boys)

Prior to Mass time, think that you are going to be re-experiencing and assisting in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of your Lord, the highest form of prayer in the world and way we can thank our Lord for his Sacrifice, which gave us the ability to enter into Heaven with him, provided we are not in Mortal Sin. Say your vesting prayers with reverence and solemnity. Think of this as the higher form of an athlete doing his/her "rituals" before performing in the big game. Maybe Tim Tebow actually prays before his football games, but do you understand my analogy? It isn't just a pre-game ritual. That is what athletes do. YOU DO BETTER. It is preparing your frame of mind to serve the Priest (and other clergy) and our Lord and carry out your duties respectfully.

During the Mass: "The server should pay strict attention to the Mass he is serving, and no attention whatever to anything else that is going on ... Attention also implies that the server unite himself in thought and action as closely as possible to the priest whose Mass he is serving. When the priest makes the sign of the cross on himself [at various parts of the Mass] ... the server also signs himself. Nor should he neglect to bow his head when he hears the Holy Name of Jesus read or sung ...." (2, How to Serve) Always be concentrating on the fellow actions of your priest, clergy, MC, and fellow altar servers, as many a time, a specific Latin sentence, or a visual cue, might be a signal to do the same, or do your part. If you are unfocused, you will miss your part, and cranky pants liturgical sticklers will notice, and possibly insult you and your priest or server program (WHICH THEY SHOULD NOT BE DOING! IF YOU ARE NOT SERVING, BE SILENT AND ENJOY THE MASS! Allow the MC/priest/head server to fraternally correct other servers of the program you are not involved in or are leading).

In addition to what Dom. Britt says, do not be fidgeting, outwardly nervous, and stuttering or pausing on the altar. If you do make a mistake, at least correct it reverently, as if nothing catastrophic happened, for as they say, "the show must go on", and other servers and/or your MC might help in guiding you on correcting the mistake or do what you failed to do for you. Most importantly, and this I realize is quite challenging, is to keep your mind focused on everything in front of you, and not on your other activities or letting your imagination run wild. You WILL have to work on this skill, and you should be praying to the Lord to give you the graces and aid to increase the proficiency of your ability to focus.

After Mass: The same as before applies. Take down the sanctuary reverently, with zero, additional noise as possible. Also remember, just because the priest has said his final prayer to you in the sacristy, that does not mean you are free to shed your identity as an altar server. You are an altar server, from the very moment you sign up, to the very moment you retire, and even then, the dispositions, skills, and maturity you gain from serving, should stay with you for life and be externally present, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week..

3. An altar server knows his rubrics. Fr. Carmody: "Part of your job as an altar boy will be to learn the rubrics or rules for serving Mass and other services ... get this straight from the start .... you are supposed to serve according to the rubrics." (18, Learning to Serve, A Guide for Altar Boys). This means, you should know the general structure of the Ordo inside out. You should know at what part you are to do X when you are Tb, Th, Ac, MC, etc. You should even know the tail end of the priest's parts before your actions as whatever role so that your timing is concise and orderly, befitting the maximal devotion and respect to our Lord in his Holy Sacrifice on the Altar. This is where that preparation must come in. This may require you to devote an hour or two, outside of your normal duties and/or school subjects, to study such materials. It's not easy to learn a language that no one speaks as a vernacular, further to know more actions that are sadly not done in the Novus Ordo. This will take time. make sure to attend all the practices you can, serve when you can, study whatever materials you can grab, and if you can afford it, buy your own study materials. If you can't afford the materials, speak to your MC, priest, etc. and perhaps they can get you free materials or photocopy/print serving guides or let you borrow books to study up. And you should know this stuff well enough after a time, because it will come in handy with regard to my next point ...

4. Punctuality and "Being a Mintue-Man" - Punctuality is important. If you don't get to the Church at a certain time, you will be leaving a frustrated and angry sacristan/priest to set up the Mass for the EF. That's not fair that you are souring the priest's disposition in preparation for the Mass. Further, if you don't show up in time, the mass will start without you, and they will be a server short, have to make amends, or worse, if you are the only Low Mass server that day, Fr. gets the displeasure of serving alone on the altar. The priest serving alone is not the ideal situationSO SHOW UP ON TIME, OR EARLY! In fact you might need to, in order to have last-minute questions and the like answered if you aren't confident in your serving.

So what if the other servers you serve with don't show up, and you get to church early? That's where this "minute-man" thing comes up. In Carmody's Learning to Serve, it comes from the 1776 war in the USA where men dropped what they were doing and picked up muskets to defend the colonists from the British when Paul Revere spread the news (61). Ok, I get that we are Canadians, and what does this have to do with altar serving? Well simple. Say you knew you aren't on this week, and Dave, Johnny, Bartholomew, and Sylvester are the non-MC servers. You know they have to be in the sacristy by 10:30 for their 11am Solemn TLM. You get there at 10:20am with your family, and you see only 3 of your compatriots show up. 1030 arrives, no Johnny. Well, you could just have a nice solemn TLM with your family, but why just do that? Could you not be doing more to serve the Lord and really be a team player for your fellow servers? That's where you should be a "minute-man", tell your family you'll see if they need help, ask the priest to substitute for your late/absent colleague, and go serve the greatest thing on earth! The Lord will surely see how you "came to bat" for him when you were not required to! Not to mention your colleagues (well most of them) and your parish clergy will be thankful you supported them. Furthermore, this will gain you social credit. When people see you are a team player, they'll be much more likely to substitute for you should you need an absolute favour/replacement in the future, or forgive you for your honest mistakes. Obviously if you are brand new and not skilled enough, it would be imprudent to do so, but after a while if you can even do the torch bearer or boat bearer position, or even be allowed in choir on the altar (to observe), do offer.

5. The altar server will keep his robes intact. Basically, keep your robes clean. Try your best not to get wax dripping from your candles on them. If your robes are not in good condition, and they are from a parish closet/stockpile, ensure to notify the priest or administrative staff (e.g. secretaries, lay sacristan) when they are in need of cleaning. Likely, the parish has a dry/cleaning or laundering procedure of a sort for ALL the robes in the parish, including the priests'. If they are YOUR own robes, make sure every once in a while they are dry cleaned or laundered, especially if they have wax or stains on it (e.g. charcoal). If they just smell of incense, I'd probably wait till a month or so of serving to get them dry-cleaned/laundered. It's not cheap doing it every week, unless your parents make a good living/have a career in business or a job where suits are the daily uniform.

6. An altar server must enjoy what he is doing, and be doing it for the right reasons. Obviously if you are just serving to gain community service hours for Confirmation/High school, or to make your parents proud or gain attention, those are terrible reasons to do the Latin Mass serving. The Lord is not stupid. He will see that is your true motivation in your heart, and will not be pleased at such. Your actions may even be held against you in your final judgement upon death. Judgement is one of the Four Last Things, by the way, and didn't get thrown out at Vatican II. He does not like liars.

Also, if you are not happy when you serve, then clearly something is wrong, be it due to politics, personal conflict, home issues, etc. Why should you come to the Lord with such a disposition? That is unfair to yourself, your server friends, the clergy, and your family, who are investing time and money for you. You should truly do what honours the Lord best. If you are able to produce beautiful art without vulgarity, honouring the talents your Lord gave you, and yet here you are serving when you aren't motivated to do so and are unhappy, then why aren't you honouring the Lord through your talents! Remember, EF serving is not for everyone and must be taken seriously. If this is not how the Lord calls you to honour him in action, then find and seek the best means to do so via your parents (if they are truly Catholic, and not just being "c"atholics who want you up there to make them proud), your priests, spiritual counsellors, wise and noble teachers, etc. Do altar serving because you feel called to serve the Lord and desire to do so through those means, or it allows you to pray and participate more effectively in the Liturgy of the Mass. If not, allow others who have that gift, calling, desire, etc. to do so. Do not feel it is your only respectable option to serve Him in action.

IN SUMMARY ... An Altar Server's General Disposition, When Serving the EF (and even the OF for that Matter) Includes:

1. Of his non-mandatory or forced Activities (e.g. school, family duties, career) altar serving must become an essential priority and greatest honour for the server.

2a. The Altar Server must be serious about his duties in attitude and mind, including prior to serving, actually serving the Mass, and after serving the Mass.
  • 2b. In all seriousness about his duties, the altar server should be FOCUSED in his carrying out and training for, the duty of altar serving.
3. An Altar server knows his rubrics.

4. Punctuality and "being a Mintue-Man."

5. The altar server will keep his robes intact.

6. An altar server must enjoy what he is doing, and be doing it for the right reasons. 

I hope that this gives you an idea of how altar serving should be approached. It isn't just a normal Men's/Old Boy's social club. It is one of the greatest ways a young man (and/or woman in the OF, but this blog is about the EF) can honour our Lord, as he showed us how to, literally, serve Him and one another. 

Next time: Starter Points II - General Actions Servers Will Do (1 of 2(?) )

Pax Tibi Christi. Julian Barkin

Works Cited
1. Britt, Dom. Matthew. How to Serve in Simple, Solemn, and Pontifical Functions. 3rd ed. Tan Books and Publishers: U.S.A. 2008.

2. Carmody, Fr. Charles J. Learning to Serve A Guide for Altar Boys. Roman Catholic Books: Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A. 1961.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Announcement: Serving group Monthly Practice November 30, 2012, 8pm

Hello everyone.

If any of you have checked my "about" page, you would learn that I aided in helping to establish a serving group that meets monthly at St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church, Scarborough, Ontario. The Church contains the diocese's 2nd major Latin Mass, parish-based initiative, outside of the Oratorian Fathers at St. Vincent De Paul/Holy Family Churches. Thanks to the permissions of SLTM's assigned Latin Mass Chaplain and their pastor, a site has been provided for a monthly altar servers practice. The Church is at 2210 Lawrence Avenue East, closest to Lawrence Ave. East and Kennedy Rd. It is accessible using TTC by taking transit to Kennedy Station and then a 43/43B bus to Lawrence Ave. E. and walking west for a short time to get to the Church.

I would like to announce that the next monthly practice for the serving group will be held on Friday, November 30, 8pm. If desired, you can also attend the Latin Low Mass which occurs on Fridays at 7pm. Some of our more experienced servers in our group are part of the regular contingent at SLTM, and thus you will be able to observe them serve the Mass.

If in all seriousness, you would like more information on the group, or would like to attend the next practice, contact me at If I cannot answer your questions directly, I will put you in contact with someone who will, either our Master of Ceremonies that aids us in training, or the Latin Mass chaplain of SLTM, who can answer some of your more dicey questions regarding the EF Mass or aspects of it.

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin

Friday, 23 November 2012

Small update: Things underway

Hello Everyone,

Yeah! I got to my booked time off this month. So now I'll get to some work on a couple of things on here:

1) I have begun work on Q and A on the Latin Mass Part II number 3. By the time that is complete, I'll be able to start working on individual sections for serving.

2) I think I've spent enough time on background that I will go ahead in a certain regard and start to delve into the more general aspects of serving and general tips. So while I do the Q and A post, I'll start compiling a general server's posting.

Time to get to work. Pax Tibi Christi, Julian.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Very Good Homily on Traditionalism and our Passions

Hello Everyone,

As I was viewing my blog roll for my profile, I came across a posting, whereby the author has transcribed an excellent homily from an FSSP priest on traditionalism called "Dealing with Despair Over the State of the Church." It is found here on a blog from the USA called Philothea on Phire.

This is an excellent homily that covers many of the difficulties that traditional Catholics face in the practice of their Faith, especially when viewing the Church as a whole from a traditional Catholic perspective.Considering many traditional Catholics generally attend the Latin Mass or support it, I felt it was worthwhile to post on my Latin Mass serving blog as one of those occasional "other related matter" postings.

Do read this homily when you have a good 15-20 spare minutes in your day.

Pax, Julian Barkin.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Small update on Information on the Catafalque as Discussed in Latin Mass Week Follow Up

Hello Everyone.

If you recall in my St. Patrick's posting, if anyone, be they the Toronto Traditional Latin Mass - Una Voce Toronto (herein, TTMS-UVT) chapter themselves, or anyone who attended their All Saints and All Souls Masses, were to write a report, as well as any information on the catafalque in the All Souls Requiem Mass liturgy, I would link to that information.

While there no report yet on the actual Masses that took place, nor have I received anything in my e-mail, some of the full request has been accomplished, regarding the catafalque. President and choirmaster of TTMS-UVT, David Anthony Domet, on the TTMS - UVT official blog, has posted some information on the catafalque, including the candles that go around the catafalque. Turns out another online blogger, by the profile name Bear-I-Tone, has craftsman`s skills and was commissioned to make the candles for their All Souls Mass. It was a ``cool`` read to see the step-by-step process on the candle making (including the mind of the craftsman, in his personal reflection), as well as the information on the catafalque and candles from David.

Have a read for yourself at and learn something new about the liturgical aspects of the Latin Mass.

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.

P.S. Have a blessed and happy 25th Sunday after Pentecost, which by the way, requires you to hear the readings from the 6th Sunday after Epiphany for the liturgy.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Low Mass and the Image You Should Have of Our Beloved Latin Mass

Hello Everyone,

This is more of a small post to bring things to your attention regarding the Latin Mass:

1) Personal: I served my first ever Low Mass in the EF with fellow server, Robin L.M. Cheung, at St. Lawrence the Martyr last Tuesday morning at 11am. My preparation for one week, consisted of a couple of 2-server videos (one from the States and the other a poor quality version of their Friday evening Mass), a 2-server altar card from a British altar serving site, and whatever practice I could with responses (I was able to get non sum dignus and the Confiteor). In then end, save one notable directional mistake and some minor things, it actually wasn't all that difficult as I pictured it in my mind (thanks to a lot of cues and help from the server card and Robin).

I strongly encourage you all in our diocese (or wherever you read this) to go out and support the Traditional Latin Mass, especially its daily Low Masses. You will find comfort and solace in the silence and reverence displayed there. Please see the locations page for more information if you would like to attend St. Lawrence the Martyr's Masses or another Latin Mass location in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

I hope to, at a future date, conquer the Low Masses here on this blog in depth, as well as post some of the serving videos I took to be able to remember how to set up the priest's robes and also the altar. That is .... if I can figure out how to get video off of an Iphone.

2) This from Fr. John Zuhlsdorf: He mentions an account of a Latin Mass that took place at a Benedictine college where the Mass honoured American servicemen.  See the account here!

Here are the pictures of the Mass on Fr. Z's blog:
THIS LAST IMAGE, IS THE IMAGE OF WHAT SHOULD BE CONJURED IN THE MINDS OF ALL LATIN RITE CATHOLICS EVERYWHERE WHEN THEY THINK OF THE LATIN MASS !!!!!! It is not just some antiquated relic on a shelf or "not relevant to contemporary Catholic worship." oh no. It is strong and valiant! It is ever more relevant in our time where no one knows what a true Catholic is, nor do most Catholics know their faith and could explain it to someone. THIS FORM OF OUR LATIN RITE MASS, FOR ALL CATHOLIC MEN AND WOMEN, TRULY DEMONSTRATES OUR CATHOLIC IDENTITY AND OUR BELIEFS!
Everytime you think of the Latin Mass, think of this image. One of strength, honour to our Lord, and service to Him. Like these soldiers who serve North America, may we too serve Him, our Lord, who sacrificed Himself on the Cross for our eternal salvation. Serve him through the Latin Mass! While you may not be the acolyte in surplice and cassock on the altar, even by praying in the pews and following along in your Missals/handouts, you are serving Him with active participation in the Latin Mass in the Church Militant.
3) Once I kick through these night shifts this weekend, I am going to be starting work on Part II No. 3 for the more detailed Q & A on the Latin Mass. By that time it`ll get to the end of Communion and then I will start to unleash on the altar serving aspects of the Latin Mass.
Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Basic Q and A for the Latin Mass Part II No. 2: Breakdown of the Parts of the Mass

Q and A Part II: What is Going On at the Latin Mass?

No. 2: From the Introit to the Offertory

NO. 2
5. The Introit
6. The Kyrie
7. The Gloria in Excelsis
8. The Collects (+ Dominus Vobiscum)
9. The Epistle
10. The Gradual (+ Alleluia Tract)
11. The Gospel
12. The Credo

5. The Introit

Does this happen in Novus Ordo? No. 

Cues for Laity: At all levels of Mass, you will still be kneeling. 

General Gist: This part of the Mass varies daily, depending on the Saint of the Day, occasion, etc. The priest will now be at the altar. At High Masses this is chanted by the choir as well as said in silent tone by the Priest. He'll make the sign of the Cross. In Requiem Masses for the Dead, it will be over the Missal, directing the blessing to the souls in purgatory. (99, The Latin Mass Explained). The Master of Ceremonies will flip the Missal to the right point and show the priest it with an open palm of the right hand. If no deacon is present, the MC will flip pages.   


  • Introit is derived from the word "introitus" meaning "entrance." It's the starting prayer so to speak from the Missal read by the priest. This is really the 'beginning' of the Mass since what's already happened is the nature of the celebrant's preparation. (99, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • The reciting of the Introit reminds us of the ancient world's sighing for the Redeemer and begging God to hasten his advent. We, the laity, should also share this esteem for Jesus' Redemption of us, whose benefits we enjoy at every Mass. Also in Requiem Masses for the Dead, the priest will sign the cross over the Missal, directing the blessing to the souls in purgatory. (99, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • The Introit is also repeated to mark the holy impatience of the Patriarchs [OT - Jewish priests or precursors] and the frequent prayers they made to God to send the Redeemer. (99, The Latin Mass Explained)

6. The Kyrie Elesion

Is this in the Novus Ordo: YES. Except you hear it in the vernacular language (which makes no difference if you are Greek, because this part is not in Latin! Surprise! The language used here is actually Greek, which was at one time, the universal language of the Church. It wasn't always Latin.) You know this as "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy"

Cues for the Laity: At all levels of Mass, you will remain kneeling.

General Gist: The priest returns to the middle of the Altar and will join his hands together. In a Low Mass, he says the first response "Kyrie elesion" and then the server replies the same. The priest says that one more time. Then the server starts with "Christe, elesion" and the priest replies the same, then the server. Repeat the first three lines of the kyrie. If this is a High/Solemn/Pontifical Mass, the choir will sing the Kyrie, and the other clergy members will also go behind the priest.


  • If you haven't caught on, this is a literal cry for mercy. 
  • Why the triple repeats? Because the priest and server (or choir) is begging to the three members of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, then the Son, then the Holy Spirit (100, The Latin Mass Explained; 15 The Holy Mass)
  • There is also a union of the fact that there are 9 invocations, to the 9 choirs of angels, who sing in Heaven, the glory of the Most high. The union prepares us to sing the Gloria, which these blessed Spirits brought down to us. (16, The Holy Mass). 
  • So em, Christ gets special mention? Well that's because both his human and dine natures are being highlighted here, present in his Incarnation (100, The Latin Mass Explained ; 15 The Holy Mass)

7. The Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes, though it's not the complete Latin-English translation (though the 3rd edition is better overall ...). The Gloria is generally said on all Sundays and Major feast day celebrations. Shared between the two forms, this is NOT present in funeral Masses, Lent, and Advent. Also some Mass settings of music really detract from the sacredness of the part of the Mass and make it sound not reflective of the mentioned union with the Choirs of angels. 

Cues for the Laity: In a Low Mass, you will remain kneeling. However when at a Missa Cantata or higher,  you will stand until the priests sit at their sedilias/chairs. When they stand and sit, you do the same.  When the name of the lord, Jesus Christ is mentioned 2x in the Gloria, you will bow your head slightly

General Gist: In Low Mass, the priest will stand in the centre with his hands joined, and recite this. The priest will bow his head slightly at the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. At Higher level masses, the choir sings this as well as the priest reciting the Gloria in silent tone. When the clergy have finished their intoning of the Gloria  they retreat to the sedilia/chairs. They will return to the altar area after the Gloria is complete. 


  • The Gloria is an "angelic hymn" with its origins in the angels, who chanted this at the birth of our Redeemer (101, The Latin Mass Explained; 9, I like Mass; 17, The Holy Mass).
  • During the prayer, glory is given to God as well as praise, worship, and adoration. It is a perfect prayer and praise, such is the intention of the Church; let it be ours, and we won't need to look for any higher meaning to those words (18, The Holy Mass)
  • What is implied in the words Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, your great glory, is the favours He gives us, but most importantly, His greatest, the Incarnation. The Lord's incarnation as this act procures more glory to the Divine Majesty than anything we humans could do (19, The Holy Mass).
  • Once again, the Lord is called upon by name like in the Kyrie Elesion, to acknowledge his dual nature: both divine and human. Further, there is dwelling upon the name of the Lord because He is the spouse of the Church and She must tell of all his perfections immediately after mentioning his name in the Gloria (22, The Holy Mass)
  • The Holy Spirit is also mentioned, to give thanks to the Trinity. 

8. The Collects (+ Dominus Vobiscum)

Is This in the Novus Ordo? Yes. As a small note though, the proper and full translation from the Latin is not always found in the Novus Ordo, even with the closer translations of the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal. 

Cues for the Laity: In the Low Mass, you are still kneeling. In the higher Masses, you are standing. 

General Gist: This is the 2nd of the daily interchanging prayers (the 1st was the Introit). After the Gloria, the priest says ``Dominus Vobiscum`` and everyone says in reply ``et cum spirito tuo``. The priest then turns back to the altar and says ``Oremus.`` He will then read a prayer before the Day`s main Scripture readings. He raises his hands, and his sentiments to God, the Priest excited the faithful to unite their prayers with his (912, The Daily Missal ...)

  • The Domimus Vobiscum part before the collects re-iterates how intimately the priest and the faithful should be united in offering the Sacrifice. (17, Latin-English Booklet Missal ...). Further, in our reply, we are saying "May the Lord be with your soul, in your mind, and in your heart" since this divine work the priests is undertaking, is chiefly spiritual and refers to the soul. The Lord fills the soul of the priest with his abundant graces (104, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • The Collects mean the collected prayers of all the faithful assisting at the Holy Sacrifice (912, The Daily Missal ...; 17, Latin-English Booklet Missal ...). In the early days of Christianity, it referred to a meeting of the faithful for prayer. Also, when the people gathered, the clergy member who would officiate, recited a short prayer over the people (105, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • The importance of the Collect is great. The Holy Mother Church wants us to listen to this with all respect and devotion. This prayer is also the first that is recited at Vespers, Lauds, and (in the Monastic Rite) at Matins in the EF Divine Offices of the Church for clergy (24, The Holy Mass). Further, this prayer is a sum and substance of all favours asked by the priest for himself and the laity, directed usually to God, to Whom the Sacrifice of the Son is offered as the prayer terminates with ``through our Lord Jesus Christ:`` (105, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • The extending of the priest`s arms has a few purposes with regards to our Catholic history. It reminds us of Moses, who prayed thus upon the mountain while the children of Israel were contending with the Amalekites on the Plain. This type of praying is also found in Scripture in Psalms 27:2 (104, The Latin Mass Explained) It imitates the ancient manner of praying used by the first Christians. It most importantly gives respect to our Lord, and serves as a poignant reminder for us, for our Lord`s arms were outstretched on the Cross as he was praying for us during his Crucifixion. When our Lord hung there, his prayer was one of infinite worth to his Eternal Father. Hence our priests reminds us of this fact (25, The Holy Mass).

9. The Epistle

Is This in the Novus Ordo? YES! Those of you in the Novus Ordo know the Epistle as the first and/or second readings. The one advantage the Novus Ordo does have is that two readings are done instead of one, and usually an Old and a New Testament in the same Mass that ties together the Old Testaments with the New Testaments, showing the completion of the Word in Christ, whereas the EF only has one reading (unless you go on an Ember Day Mass or special one like the Saturday Easter Vigil or other "Feria Masses"). 

Cues for the Laity: No different from the N.O. You sit for the readings, regardless of the level of the EF Mass celebrated. 

General Gist: Either the Priest at the altar, or in a Solemn/Pontifical Mass, the subdeacon, will read/chant the Epistle from the right side of the altar, usually below the main altar space. The MC will be holding the book of epistles called the "Evangelarium." These readings are usually from the Letters of St. Paul, though other readings can be read in the Liturgical Cycle of the EF depending on the Feast Day/Solemnity, etc.

  • The Epistle is a reading taken from the Bible and teaches some truth God wishes His people to know and practice. (17, The Latin-English Missal ...)
  • The purpose of having a Scripture reading before the words of our Lord in the Gospel, is to prepare us for such. (28, The Holy Mass). 
  • It's a logical order as we first hear from the prophets and/or his Apostles, then the words from Christ Himself.

10. The Gradual (+ Alleluia Tract)

Is this is the Novus Ordo? The Gradual is in the N.O., taking the form of the Responsory psalm between the first and second readings. It involves repeating a response after parts of one or more Psalms. The Alleluia Tract IS in the Novus Ordo .... albeit it's watered down and not sung with as pleasant music. Such passages in the NO are better simply read.

Cues for the Laity: You will remain kneeling at the Low Mass, sitting at a Missa Cantata or higher.

General Gist: For the Gradual tract, it consists of a response and a verse which is the remnant of a whole psalm (19, The Latin-English Missal ...), or some other book of the Old testament. The Gradual and Alleluia tracts are read by the priest at the altar in the Low Mass with his hands on the Evangelarium. In the Cantata Masses and higher, this is sung by the choir while said by the priest at the altar. Other notes from the
Baronius 1962 Missal: ".... A Tract replaces the Alleluia and the verse succeeding it in times of penance  The Gradual is replaced by the Alleluia during Eastertide. On certain feasts [e.g. Ember Days] a sequence or hymn in rhyme is sung here (only 5 sequences are now used in the Roman Missal). Then, the Gradual Tract, or Alleluia with verse or Sequence follow as the season requires."


  • The Psalms or portions of Psalms read at this part of the Mass are an inheritance from the service of the Synagogue. (108, The Latin Mass Explained). In the Gradual, it is the most musical piece of the Liturgy  requiring the greatest skill. The name Gradual comes from the fact that when the people were permitted to chant the piece, they went to the Ambo, and it was on account of the steps, which led to the ambo, which gave the chant its name. (29, The Holy Mass). 
  • As a personal side note, this is another, really small advantage in the Novus Ordo, as the cantor is made to go to the Ambo to sing the responsory psalm, which better reflects the history of the Gradual, while usually the members in the choir loft sing the Gradual (which is in the back of most churches) in the EF masses. This does not, however, detract from the Gradual in the EF Mass. 
  • The Alleluia is the Canticle of the heavenly Sion, which St. John heard intoned there: "After these things I heard as it were the voice of many people in heaven, saying: Alleluia. Salvation, and glory, and power is to our God (Revelation 19:1) (109, The Latin Mass Explained). 
  • From Septugeisma to Easter, the Alleluia is not sung, out of the sheer mysteriousness and combined joy of it (29, The Holy Mass). This is when the Tract replaces the Alleluia. 

In Between: Preparation for the Gospel (Mostly from the Baronius 1962 Missal)

  • One will notice that after the Reading of the Gradual or Tract, in the Low Mass the altar server will transfer the Missal to the Gospel (Left) side of the altar. In a Missa Cantata, an acolyte OR an MC (if present) will perform the action. In the Solemn Mass and higher, this is done by the MC. 
  • The Priest will say a prayer called the ``Munda Cor Meum`` at the time the Missal is transferred  In the higher level masses, the deacon will say the Munda Cor while being blessed with hands joined together in orans position. This prayer makes reference to Isaiah 6: 5-7 whereby a Seraph touched the lips of the prophet Isaiah with a coal of fire, in order to purify him to make him fit to make known the inspirations received from the Holy Spirit (32, The Holy Mass) An additional prayer, the ``Jube Domine`` is also said at Low Masses by the Priest, or the deacon at the Solemn and higher Mass levels.  
  • It is during the Gradual and Tract in the Holy Mass that a number of the servers, the priest in the Cantata, and the three clergy in the Solemn Mass, will be doing a number of things on the altar to prepare for the reading of the Gospel. This will include: The Deacon receiving a blessing from the Priest to proclaim the Gospel (also done in Novus Ordo with transistent or permanent Deacons), the thurifer (and boat bearer if present) approach the altar again with incense to be blessed and put in the thurible/censer, another incensing is done post Munda cor Meum prayer, and everyone will congregate at the altar, genuflect, and then head to a designated spot for the Gospel. 
    • There is no blessing of the deacon in a Solemn Requiem Mass, as there is not the same joy in the ceremony, rather it is one of sadness and mourning. A number of the other actions are omitted that would be done at regular Solemn Latin Masses. (34, The Holy Mass)
  • Again, the phrase "Dominus Vobiscum" with the response by everyone "Et cum spiritu tuo" will be said before the reading of the Gospel. The Gospel is preceded by the ``Dominus Vobiscum`` prayer unlike the Epistle, because it is the very words of Christ himself (not a servant, apostle, prophet, etc.) which we are about to hear; and therefore a means it taken for exciting the attention of the Faithful. (33, The Holy Mass). 

11. The Gospel

Is this in the Novus Ordo? YES.

Cues for the Laity: No matter what mass level, everyone stands. Same as Novus Ordo, including the three crosses you do in the NO. However you do not respond with anything verbal. That is left to the servers to say "Gloria tibi domine" and "Laus tibi Christi" after the Gospel.

The Gist: You should probably know what happens here ... this is the major reading of Scripture from the Gospels of the New Testament, straight from the horses` mouth, Jesus. The deacon at Solemn and higher Mass levels reads this, the Priest at Cantata and lower. The phrase "Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum ________ (Matthaeum, Marcum, Lucam, Joannem)" will be said, whereby after this you do the three crosses on head, mouth, and heart, with your thumb. Else this is said by the priest on the left side of the altar at a Low and Cantata Mass.

Relevance (from my sources, though we know what the Gospel`s general relevance is ...:) 

  • The priest will make the Sign of the Cross on the Missal with his thumb. It means that the Gospel the priest is about to read is the word of Christ crucified, Who died for the truth of his doctrine. (113, The Latin Mass Explained).
  • In both forms of the Roman Rite, do you know that your thumbing of the three crosses means something??? It means that we ask God for the grace to know His teaching with our minds, to profess it with our lips, and love it and follow it with all our heart. (113, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • In both forms, the priest kisses the book after the Gospel. This means that everything which emanates from such a hallowed source is sweet and venerable. (113, The Latin Mass Explained; 33, The Holy Mass)
The Re-reading of the Epistle and Gospel in the Vernacular Language
Being sensitive to the needs of the Laity and the fact that Catholics today don't get Latin in their education, the readings, or at least the Gospel, is/are re-read most of the time in the vernacular language, mostly English. 

Prior to the sermon, this is the spot in the EF Mass where announcements are done. I do not have an answer as to why. 

As for the sermon, this is always done on solemnities, major feast days, and every Sunday. It is entirely optional on weekday Masses, though usually priests tend to give one in the EF, revolving around the minor feast day, the saint of the day, or the readings presented in the Mass. 

12. The Credo

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes, though one has the option of the Apostles' Creed (shortened) or the Nicene Creed on most days in the N.O. Only the full Nicene Creed is done in the EF. 

Cues for the Laity: You will stand for this part of the Mass. When the priest says at Low Masses, or the choir sings "Et Incarnatus Est ..." at higher level Masses, you will kneel until the part of the passage: "... homo factus est." You stand for the rest of the credo. The Laity does not speak this part. (personal note: I don't see why, if you require saying the Creed as part of an indulgence, you shouldn't be able to say this quietly to yourself ...)

General Gist: The priests and/or clergy with choir will say this part. This is the Creed, said in Latin. You will not hear this said outside of Sundays and certain feast days. In essence, what is being said is a general summation of the basic tenets of our Catholic Faith. THIS IS WHAT WE CATHOLICS BELIEVE IN!

  • The Creed is a summary of Catholic Doctrine, deriving from those proclaimed at the General Councils of Nicea in 325 and Constantinople in 381, convened to condemn heretics who denied that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost were God (918, The Daily Missal ...; 115, The Latin Mass Explained)
  • The first word in the Creed, of which the title is derived, is "Credo", which is Latin for "I believe". This is the answer of the Church to the Gospel teaching. She replies that she believes all whatsoever Christ taught. (114, The Latin Mass Explained; 38, The Holy Mass). 
  • Why we all bend at one knee to "Et Incarnatus Est" is to give reverence to the mystery of the Incarnation and to adore God made man (see Phillipians 2:6-10). By kneeling down in gratitude to the Son of God for having become man for us and rising again, we express our hope of a joyful resurrection. (115, The Latin Mass Explained). 
  • The Holy Mass by Dom Gueranger Prosper breaks down and explains the creed line by line. Some of this is my rewording, but I am doing this for you in case you are interested in knowing what each line is to mean in the Creed about our Faith. It is long an lengthy so do come back to this as many times as needed to absorb all this:
    • Credo in unum Deum, Patrem Onnipotentem: We believe in ONE god, not many as polytheists do, nor two different Deity beings or some other variant as other heretics do (e.g. Arians). Also the whole of the universe including all beings and creation had to be done with great magnitude and order, uncalcuable and not omniscient to the human mind. Thus the words in this part of the Creed. (39-40, The Holy Mass)
    • Factorem caeli et terra, visibilium omnium et invisibilium. God is creator of all that is invisible and visible, including pure spiritual beings such as the angels which we Catholics acknowledge. Further this is in contrast to the Gnostics who were loath to attribute to God the creation of matter and visible things. (40-41, The Holy Mass)
    • Et in Unum Dominum, Jesum Christum, Filium Dei Unigenitum: We believe in One Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God. Notice once again the saying of Christ by his name to acknowledge his divine and human natures. Further, we believe in only ONE Lord of all, Christ. It is not two separate deities, one divine and another human (like an avatar), nor in a human AND in a God, but it is one in the same Person, the Only Son of God. We also give the Lordship and our adoration of him in this manner as we belong to him twice over: 1st because we were created by Him who made all things, that is by that of the same divine nature as Our Lord. 2nd because it was Christ who saved us eternally via his sacrifice, giving us the opportunity for eternal salvation (41, The Holy Mass).
    • Et ex Patre natum, ante omnia saecula: Born of the Father before all ages. God existed prior to our time, and only any time began when he created. 
    • Deo de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero: God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God. This refers to the Son of God, the Light of our Salvation, our one True Lord, God Made Flesh, preceding from the Father Almighty. Christ is ever the same Substance, the same Divine Essence. (43, The Holy Mass)
    • Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri: As literally translated from the Latin in the N.O.: begotten, not made, con-substantial with the Father. Jesus is not just a separate inferior creation as we regular humans are, no. Jesus is One, but his own distinct Person from the Father. They nonetheless have the same Substance, the same divine essence, whereas ours differs entirely from God's. (44, The Holy Mass). 
    • et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis: Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from Heaven. THIS IS PART OF THE GOOD NEWS!!!! We are sinners who are in need of saving. Now, before He came down, the Sin of Adam was so grave at a divine level, only one of that divine level could vanquish the penalty occurred on Adam and his future ancestors. By coming down, he hasn't be-quitted Himself from the others who share his Divine Nature, God and the Holy Spirit, rather he has truly united Himself to man, suffering all man can suffer, excepting sin. He came down to be with us, walk with us, experience things we experience, conforming himself in all things to the exigences of human nature.(45, The Holy Mass).  
    • ET INCARNATUS EST ... ET HOMO FACTUS EST: and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man. At this crucial line where we kneel, we acknowledge the coming of the Word of God in the flesh form, borne out of the womb of the human mother Mary. Furthermore, we believe in the Immaculate Conception, which is that Mary was borne in this world without Original Sin (The one focused on in the I.C. is NOT CHRIST!!! People mistakenly believe the I.C. refers to Christ, though He too was born without Original Sin). The Trinity is also referred to in the mention of the Holy Ghost/Spirit as it overshadows this Sublime Mystery taking place, and by the Holy Spirit's operation did this event take place (45-46, The Holy Mass). 
    • Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus. He was crucified also for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. Emphasis is given to the crucifixion to indicate the Victory on the Cross over Satan. As we were ruined by the wood [of the tree of knowledge by eating its fruit], so God willed that our salvation also be done via the wood of the cross. Pro Nobis stresses that HE DIED FOR US AND OUR SINS. Et sepultus describes that he was buried, which points to the prophecy uttered by Jesus about rising on the third day. It also proved the reality of his Death, complete and not fictitious, as the burial took place like any other man on earth. (47, The Holy Mass)
    • Et resurrecit tertia die ... ad dextrem patris: And on the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures. And He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father. The Scriptures, the prophets, especially Jonas, foretell of this in the OT, when he was swallowed for Three days and nights. Christ himself alludes to this in Luke 9:29 and Matthew 12:39. Now things have come full circle. Christ fully ascended to Heaven, sinless, and that included His Humanity. He will always be enthroned at Heaven at the right of his Father according to His Divine Nature, as well as there according to His Human Nature. King David in the OT also foretold of the seating at God`s right side in Psalm 109:1. (48-49, The Holy Mass)
    • Et iterum venturus ... non erit finis: And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead: of whose kingdom there shall be no end. Our holy Lord has two comings, one born without Glory, the other with the Glory of His Resurrection, predicted by time (and also is said in our Catechism of the Catholic Church). However, when he comes the 2nd time, he will judge those still living on Earth, but also those dead from the very beginning of the world, because absolutely all must be judged. The kingdom of Christ also has no end in His Sacred Humanity, because in His Divinity, he has never ceased to reign (50, The Holy Mass). 
    • Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivicantem: qui ex Patre, Filioque procedit. Qui com Patre et Filio simul adoratur, et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per Prophetas. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life: Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Who, together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified: Who spoke through the Prophets. Jesus has never been able to do what he was able to do without the joint action of the Father and the Holy Spirit, as part of the Trinity. We Catholics equally believe IN the Holy Ghost, who shares the same Divine Nature as the other persons of the Trinity. Vivicantem refers to the Holy Spirit as giving life. It is the Holy Ghost that gives life to our soul [and let's not forget is present at our Baptism, as the H.S. was at Christ's], animating our souls by sanctifying grace, which the H.S. pours into our souls, and sustains them. Also the Holy Ghost maintains all of what is in the Church. Also important in this passage is the procedit, that is the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. [Another term for this proceeding is a "spiration."] A link unites both Son and Father, and that link is the Mutual Love between the two Persons of the Trinity. That Mutual Love proceeds/spirates forth from them as the Holy Spirit. This proceeding is also found in Scripture in John 15:26. Since the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, and is a vital part in the relationship of the Son and Father, and shares the same Divine Nature, He too is absolutely to be adored and worshipped as the Father and Son. The H.S. is also glorifies as likewise, He receives glory together with the Father and the Son: He is included in the same Doxology or glorification (Gloria Patri ...). The Holy Ghost spoke through prophets, and we believe it so, from Moses, up to the time of our Lord. Prophetic action is not possible without the gifts and abilities and fruits of the H.S., for it was at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit came down and bestowed tongues of fire, to allow Jesus' disciples to PROCLAIM the Good News. (54-56, The Holy Mass)
    • Et unam, sanctam ... Venturi Saeculi. Amen. And in the Only, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the resurrection for the dead, and the life of the world to come, Amen. O.H.C.A .... those are the Four Marks of the Church. This is the only Church that Christ founded and under its bosom alone there is salvation. We declare it one. Moreover, we declare it Holy. Scripture refers to one and holy in the Song of Songs (or Canticle of Canticles) in passages 6:8, 2:10 and 4:7. St. Paul also alluded to the Holiness of the Church in Ephesians 5:27. There are always Holy ones, Saints  within her. Being Holy, she teaches nothing but the truth. By Catholic, this refers to the Church being universal, spread throughout all of Earth, and will exist throughout the existence of time. Finally it is Apostolic, as her existence came from the Lord Himself, having a hierarchy dating back to the Apostles, and by the Apostles, to the Lord Himself. These marks make the Catholic Church one of Divine Institution, [unlike the many man-made and schismatic Churches in existence]. As per Baptism, The Church proclaims there is one mode of spiritual birth, and according to St. Paul to the Ephesians in 4:5, there is only one Baptism, as there is but only one God, and one only Faith. Further, when one is Baptised in the Church, the absolution on one's Original Sin takes place and that person reclaims the sanctifying grace that tethers one to God to enable him/her to participate in eternal Salvation with Him [excluding later Mortal Sins which cut off the person from that grace again]. On Resurrection, for us Christians, the Resurrection of the Dead is a fundamental DOGMA!. Our Lord rose from the dead on the third day, confirming this Dogma in a striking manner. Thus if we all are to imitate Him, we too must rise [though where you rise to is another story, depending if you broke off from Him via Mortal Sin]. Finally the life of the World to come, we know that in glory, we will fully enjoy the sight of Him [the Beatific Vision] and see God face to face in the eternal afterlife provided we didn't commit mortal sin. Also in Heaven, we will never lose that sanctifying grace we need, that we are able to lose on earth, and will be fully put in possession of God Himself, Who alone is the End of Man [the Summum Bonum, the Greatest Good] (59-61, The Holy Mass). 
END Part II No. 2

Works Cited:
1. Moorman, Msgr. George J. The Latin Mass Explained. Tan Publishing: Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A. 2010.

2. Gueranger, D.P. The Holy Mass. Baronius Press Limited: London, United Kingdom. 2005.

3. Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei. Latin-English Booklet Missal for Praying the Traditional Mass. Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei: Glenview, Illinois, USA. 2008.

4. The Ordinary of the MassThe Daily Missal and Liturgical Missal with Vespers For Sundays and Feasts From the Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962 With Supplements Containing The Additional Masses for Englang and Wales, Scotland, United States and Australasia. Summorum Pontificum Edition. Baronius Press: London. 2009. 

Almost done part II Q and A no 2 of the FAQs.

Whew. Almost done part II No. 2 of my Q and A. Just need more time to pummel through the Creed line by line. After that Part II No. 3 starts.

I think by the time I get through No 3, the parts from offertory to End of Communion, I'll be ready to unleash the crux of this blog: Latin Mass Serving. By then we'll all know that when I say something like: "At the Gradual you go get your acolyte candles ..." you won't go "Huh? Where is that in the Mass?"

Pax, Julian Barkin.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Nov 9 Update: Solemn TLMs for Fall Season 2012

Please check the posting here:

There is updated information for December for two Una Voce sponsored Masses.

Pax, Julian.

Post Latin Mass Report St. Patrick`s (+ Issac Jogues) Gregorian Choir TLMs at Holy Rosary and St. Lawrence the Martyr Parishes

Hello Everyone,

Wow! The Diocese was blessed last week with a plethora of 4 Solemn Tridentine Latin Masses thanks to the lay-organized initiatives in our diocese! You can see what occurred back in this posting here:

Since my once-a-month serving group at SLTM consists of a number of servers who assist the St. Patrick`s Gregorian Choir, I served alongside them for their two Masses: The Feast of Christ the King on the Last Sunday in October, October 28, 2012, at Holy Rosary Parish, Toronto, and the Solemn Requiem Mass for All Souls at St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church, Scarborough (Toronto).

Despite the rain, we had over 200 people attended the Solemn High Mass for the Feast of Christ the King at Holy Rosary Church in Toronto. The Solemn Requiem Mass for All Souls at St. Lawrence the Martyr Church in Scarborough, was attended by approximately 175 people. These numbers have been updated from an actual count (Nov 14 2012: correction from my earlier visual estimates of 100 people) Each Solemn Mass had a full regiment of servers (even enough to include 4 torch bearers per mass AND a boat bearer for each), and some of the most beautiful Gregorian chant sung by the diligent and hard working members of the St. Patrick`s Gregorian/St. Issac Jogues' Choirs. All this could not have been accomplished without the leadership of Surinder S. Mundra, accomplished organist, pianist, and choirmaster in the archdiocese of Toronto, and his brother Paul Mundra, Master of Ceremonies and organizer on the serving side of things (and aiding our clergy members).  

Of special mention: I even spotted a priest in collar in the congregation at the Holy Rosary Mass! And at both Masses, I had the pleasure to witness young children and youth attend our Masses, some even for their first time! This is exactly what is happening here with the Latin Mass! This is the New Evangelization and the Year of the Faith at work! For you young people, your awesome! Keep bearing witness to your faith and don't let anyone tear you down for it! And don't let anybody bash you for attending the Latin Mass. You have every right and privilege in our democratic society to do so, and when they turn their nose up at your decision, they are the hypocrites who aren't being "Catholic." or are just being jerks if not Catholic. 

From these Masses, I bring to you some photos of our altar set ups. These pictures will give you an idea of how Novus Ordo churches and their spaces can be converted into Extraordinary Form sanctuaries. Unfortunately I was not permitted to take pictures during the liturgy, even with help of the congregation, and rightly so. It is the Mass, not an entertainment spectacle! The most beautiful and highest form of prayer of all time, whereby Heaven and the Earthly realm intersect with all the Saints and Angels is going on here! I will post what I have though of the altar set ups. 

Christ the King, Holy Rosary Parish Toronto, Oct 28, 2012

Left Side (Gospel)

 Right Side (Epistle) with chausable on sedilia, set up for post Asperges (maniples weren't out yet)

 Credence Table

Centre Altar. Tabernacle is in a separate "area" left of the Sanctuary space. 

St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church, Scarborough, Nov 2, 2012
Left Side (Gospel). That crucifix, by the way, is on a "spare table," not the credence table. It is used for the Benedictine arrangement popularized by our Holy Father Benedict XVI when he celebrates Mass. They do it there at SLTM's Novus Ordo Masses. 

Right Side (Epistle) with sedilia. The credence table IS on this side.  

Center aisle of the Church. Due to no altar rails, this is the set up used to create a pseudo-rail so to speak. Doesn't this remind you of the sanctuary gates a bit? I hope it does.*** 

The Altar prior to addition of other necessities.

However, if anyone reads this blog, and attended or has relatives that attended, and took pictures of the entrance/exit processions/procession with the Blessed Sacrament at the Christ the King Mass (or if you did dare to, the actual liturgy at either Masses ...), then please send your pictures into the blog at I will post them. You may also choose to remain anonymous, OR I will credit you under a pseudoname, your first name only, or with your permission, your full name. I will only release what you permit me, as I understand you may not want your name released for various reasons. 

Also as a final request, I did not attend, nor serve, for the Toronto Traditional Latin Mass - Una Voce Toronto chapter Solemn TLMs on All Saints Day at the Loretto Abbey Chapel, or St. Issac Jogues Pickering respectfully. If anyone who attended has general information about those Masses or is willing to write a report on it AND has pictures, especially of the prayers at the catalfaque at the All Souls Mass, then please send them to me and I will create a separate report for their Masses or a side post on the catafalque (for your learning). Of course, if the chapter posts its own report of the Mass or another blogger reports on it (e.g. WITNESS, KWTraditionalCatholic, NLM, Fr. Z, etc.) then I will link to their report. 

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin. TLM server in Toronto. 

*** We did not use a catalfalque at our Mass. I have no answer as to why, nor could I find any rubric in my limited home library of resources or an internet search whether it is absolutely necessary to do this on All Souls Day EF Masses. If you do have a rubric/reference, then do share. Otherwise, anything uncharitable or in the realm of liturgical criticism about will not be posted and I will try to block you if possible on blogger.