Sunday, 9 June 2013

Solemn Requiem Mass sub-topic: Catafalque

Latin Mass Altar Serving: Requiem Mass Sub-Topic: Catafalque

Catafalque (cat-a-fal-quay)

In a Requiem Mass for the deceased, the casket is present in the center of the main aisle before the Sanctuary, surrounded by six candles (that differ from ordinary acolyte candles). 

If there is to be no body of the deceased in the Mass, as on the Solemnity of All Souls Day, or a Requiem Mass of rememberance where the deceased are not present, what takes the place of the casket is an object called the Catafalque. 

As to what the Catafalque is, Fr. Robert Pasley, the Chaplain of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) describes it as such:

" .... The catafalque is either an empty casket or a wooden form made to look like a casket that is covered by the black pall and surrounded by six unbleached (orange) candles (when they are available); it is a symbolic representation of the deceased. When it is present, the priest sings the absolution for the deceased as if the body was present. The body was the Temple of the Holy Spirit and must be shown the greatest respect, even symbolically ...." (Pasley R. in Oost-Zinner)

The symbolism of the use of the catafalque, 
" ... calls to mind the stark reality of death and judgment, but in contrast, the hope of God’s mercy and redemption. We offer the absolution for the dead and we pray that we will be prepared for death. We realistically and vividly face the reality of death and just as realistically and vividly we profess our belief in the Resurrection. Our faith is strong―even stronger―by meditating upon the death we know will come to all of us." (Pasley R. in Oost-Zinner)

As described above, in addition to the catafalque box itself, lie six candles of more simplistic design which will surround the sides of the casket, four near the corners of the casket, and two at the center of the left and right side. For your interest a hobbyist-craftsman in the Archdiocese of Toronto was commissioned to build a set for a Solemn Requiem Mass and his process can be seen here

Works Cited
Pasley, R. in Oost-Zinner. Things can Convey Spiritual Realities. The Chant Cafe. []. Retrieved 09 Jun 2013. 

No comments:

Post a Comment