For Saturday, March 23, the Vigil of Palm Sunday, I was with my Novus Ordo/Home parish young adult ministry, attending the diocesan Palm Sunday procession with the WYD 2002 Cross, Novus Ordo Mass, and a speech for the youth to follow. This event was hosted by Ontario Catholic Youth (OCY), an office associated with the Archdiocese of Toronto, responsible for working with other parishes with regard to youth and young adult ministry, and holds youth ministry events of their own as well.
The procession was preceded by Eucharistic Adoration at St. Paul's Basilica (a beautifully restored church with fresco-like paintings in it, reminiscent of a mini-Sistine Chapel in Toronto), followed by the Palm Sunday procession to the Cathedral. With many priests concelebrating and a plethora of servers, I'd say this is a "Missa Solemnis Novus Ordo"
While the Mass was a Novus Ordo, I will say, there were many elements in this Mass that were quite riveting to see at the Cathedral, besides His Eminence, Cardinal Thomas Collins as celebrant. Here's what we were treated to:
- A talented, young Man, playing the main organ in the Cathedral
- The choir for the Mass was courtesy of the Solidarity of the Anglican Ordinate (from the Sacre-Coeur Anglican Rite Mass?), who have their own blog/web coverage and have been featured on other Latin Mass blogs.
- That very choir sang all the responsory parts in Latin in the Liturgy of the Eucharist! (e.g. The Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, ...)
- Numerous altar servers in varying positions as if it were a Missa Cantata/Solemn Mass! A cross-bearer with the Cathedral's gilded crucifix, four torch-bearers with processional/acolyte candles, of which two servers were acolytes, a thurifer, and even two Master of Ceremonies! Here's the proof, albeit my camera isn't a professional one that can reduce/eliminate motion. So the pictures are really bad ....
Thurifer with boat and two Acolytes (and/or front torch bearers)
Cross in the Center, and two rear torch bearers
Master(s) of Ceremonies
This image, however, was taken by their professional photographer with high-powered camera able to take pictures despite motion. It is only available on the Facebook page of OCY until the pictures are uploaded to the OCY website.
- When the servers were processing to and fro around the altar with nothing in hand, they were in the orans prayer position! Even the lectors proceeded up and down to/from the ambo with hands in orans position!
- At Communion, All the ministers were ordinary ministers of the Eucharist (Priests!) and even the Cardinal himself handed out our Lord to us in the main aisle, left side (I, unfortunately did not get that pleasure as I was on the right side :( )
As for the homily, the Cardinal focused on the fact that our life is a marathon, a journey .... but with one key point for us to keep in mind. He reflected back to his time in the Conclave, being in front every day of Michaelangelo's "Divine Judgement" fresco. While on this journey, we will be judged in the end, like the parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25. You cannot just wheeze by on this journey. You must be active in your faith life, both in faith and works. And at the end of this journey, you will be judged by Him.
The youth were blessed with this Novus Ordo Liturgy. This liturgy was evidence that it can be done!
Post retreat, we were treated to excellent refreshments (gourmet Italian-style pizzas! Though I think they were courtesy of Pickle Barrel catering) and another riveting speech from the Cardinal. I must say for a jet-lagged prelate, he sure was quite lively. Some of the lighter points was interjecting J.R.R. Tolkien into his speech (Yes! +1 with me) and doing tasteful jokes (Collins vs. Bergoglio for final vote .... NOT! [Author: You in the peanut gallery, be silent!]) and non-secretive insights about the Conclave (believe it or not, they DID know about "Adopt a Cardinal" which is awesome! The cardinals really could feel and know you were all praying for them! They also knew about some "media buzz" ranking system, and get this, Pope Francis (Bergoglio) was NOT high ranking!). As for the big gist of his speech, he wanted to get the message to all of us youth, that reflecting on the new Pope, Francis, carrying out our faith actively is of utmost necessity for the New Evangelization. We should be doing such according to 3 H's: Hands, Heart and Mind.
This, believe it or not, you traditional readers should know. See, Cardinal Collins, as he told us, was educated in his early catechesis using a certain catechism. He didn't say which, but between being question and simple answer style, being in his mid sixties, and telling us the question about our purpose in life was to "Know, love, and serve God," I would bet highly that our good Cardinal was taught with the Baltimore Catechism! Even my nonno and my other senior relatives know that one! With regard to the three H's: Knowing = Head, that is, KNOW THE FAITH! Know the Church's teachings on theology and moral issues, straight from the Catechism and the Vatican documents. Loving = Heart, that is believe and have your faith intact, worship our Lord in the Holy Mass and Eucharist and love it! Do not hide your Faith or discount it! And then, Serve = Hands. Go out and DO the faith.
Come to think of it, our triumvirate of recent popes post-Vatican II, as one commentator on Fr. Z alluded to, each has one element of this purpose of ours a major demonstration of their pontificate. John Paul II gave us the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993) and updated/amended Canon Law (1983), as well as published a number of Encyclicals and the audiences that compose the Theology of the Body. Benedict XVI gave us fewer writings in his 8-year pontificate, but they were nonetheless important Papal writings on the Faith, and by becoming Pope, the world was opened to a treasury of his theological works as Cardinal Ratzinger, and who could forget he "freed" the Latin Mass, as well as made his own Masses more orthodox in praxis and liturgy. And as for Pope Francis, his pontificate has barely started, but already in his externals and his past actions/conduct as Cardinal Bergoglio, he is demonstrating carrying out the Faith to the world, the doing part.
Anyways, back to the main event, I can say that this event was a great spiritual benefit to the youth who attended and received a solid Novus Ordo liturgy with worthwhile catechesis, and I hope that those of us who went will take this forward in our faith lives.
For those of you with Facebook, more pictures of the event can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151510031886382.1073741830.27666276381&type=1
Pax Tibi Christi, Julian.