Sunday, 19 April 2015

Latin Mass Sub-topic: The "Straw" Subdeacon

Hello everyone,

It seems that a curious topic of minutiae has been finally answered with regards to Latin Mass enthusiasts: The "Straw" Sub-deacon.

For those of you wondering "What?" the Sub-deacon role in the Solemn Latin Mass is the lowest of the three clergy member roles in terms of "rank." It was part of the "major orders" back when the minor order/major order system was a regular part of priestly formation (now mainly part of Extraordinary Form seminaries only). When you are at a Solemn Latin Mass, the "clergy" member on the lowest step is the sub-deacon. You can also identify them a good portion of the time by the dalmatic with one horizontal band on the back, making a "H."

Usually, a priest or a deacon fills the role of the deacon and/or the Sub-deacon. However, Sub-deacon isn't apparently restricted to what we now consider modern Holy Orders (deacon and higher). Apparently, laity can be a sub-deacon in certain conditions in what is called the "straw" sub-deacon. WHAT?????

To answer this question fully, I have no choice but to use an article on what I classify as a Radical Misrepresenting Traditionalist website, Rorate Caeli. Since they are anal about their citing of their works, the article used is titled ""Straw" subdeacon PCED letter." Though I will not hyperlink to them to give them blog hits. Go find the article yourself.

Basically, there are some instances where a suitable person of the old major orders was not able to be a sub-deacon. Under the old rubrics and rules surrounding the 1962/Tridentine/Mass of St. John XXIII, a person in minor orders who has reached the order of acolyte (the highest of the minor orders) was allowed to act as a "straw" sub-deacon in the Latin Mass for these emergency cases.
The acolyte, however, would have a number of his functions as sub-deacon not performed during the Mass, due to not being in the major orders:

  • The sub-deacon would NOT wear the maniple
  • The sub-deacon does not pour water into the chalice at the offertory, but must let the deacon do so
  • SD does not touch the chalice infra actionem, nor cover it with the pall, nor uncover it
  • After communion, SD does not purify the chalice, and the priest must do it instead
  • After the priest purifies the chalice, then SD covers the chalice with veil and burse and transfers it to the credence table. 

With the advent of Summorum Pontificum bringing the Latin Mass back into the life of the Catholic Church on a public scale, questions have arisen as to what qualifies a layman or a seminarian in training in regards to this "Straw" subdeacon? Thanks to a ``Michael`` of the St. Bede liturgical studios early in 1992, the questioning of another individual, and a Rorate Caeli author (New Catholic?) in 2012 and 2013 respectively, this matter has been answered.

Source: in response to the question: Do the decree of Sacred Congregation of Rites (no. 4184) and the decision of Pontifical Comission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ (no. 24/92), concerning the possibility of serving as a subdeacon during the Mass in forma extraordinaria, apply also to diocesean seminarians (who are not seminarians of the institutes erected by Pontifcial Commision 'Ecclesia Dei') who wear clerical clothing?

Source: Rorate Caeli article "Straw" subdeacon PCED letter." The role of the sub-deacon, according to PCED can also "... be legitimately assumed by an acolyte suitably instituted by a bishop, but with the particular ritual differences."

With these two letters from the PCED, this does leave a good swath of room for the sub-deacon position to be open for certain lay members to do it. Basically, I can forsee two types of laymen being able to do the sub-deacon role where no ordained deacon or priest is available:

1) The lay member is a seminarian in formation (as per the 2012 letter) who has progressed to a suitable point in their studies (e.g. 2nd or 3rd year) whereby they would have received equivalent to what would be those ranks in the old minor/major orders system pre-Ministeria Quaedam of August 15, 1972. UPDATE AS OF 22/05/2015: This could likely, also be the “Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders” done during Mass while in formation. 

2) A lay member who has been formally instituted by a bishop, with suitable training and formal installation from a bishop (such as per this protocol from the Archdiocese of Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States of America. click on "Ministry of Acolyte" for a long Word document.)

So essentially, that leaves us with some options for the application of Summorum Pontificum/the Latin Mass in modern day, post-Vatican II legislation, to fill the role of the sub-deacon. 

Personal Commentary on the Subject
In the Archdiocese of Toronto, there is currently NO formal institution of lectors and acolytes. I would say this is likely, as per the majority of dioceses world wide, due to a lack of education and knowledge about current Church law and legislation of minor orders and the 1972 document on such, Ministeria Quaedam, by Paul VI. Seriously, every diocese should have institution for adult lectors and acolytes. Not to mention rigorous training programs for both!

In terms of my personal Latin Mass experience, I have witnessed the usage of the straw sub-deacon in the Latin Mass, according to current, existing legislation. In the example of the December 2014 Solemn Latin Mass I served alongside St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir, the "Straw" Sub-deacon option was used to allow for the position to be filled. The layman in the position of Sub-deacon had fulfilled the requirements of the position under the PCED, having undertaken time and studies at St. Augustine's seminary (with possibly some form of "liturgical promotion") equivalent to what an acolyte of the pre-Vatican II minor orders would have had. He was properly trained in his role, including the restrictions in being the ``straw`` Sub-deacon, and carried out his role according to the EF guidelines. 

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

REMINDER Latin Novus Ordo at St. James Catholic Church Sat April 11, 2015 and Report of March 7, 2015 NO Mass

Hello Everyone.

This is to advertise and to remind you of one of the coolest, most sacred and wonderful, liturgical
initiatives going on right now in our Archdiocese of Toronto. One I wish intently you will support and help to grow in this Archdiocese.

The pastor of St James Catholic Church, Rev. Ignacio Pinedo, continues to host Novus Ordo Latin Masses for the first (or second in certain cases) Saturday of the month. Considering that regular Latin Novus Ordo masses in Toronto ended a couple years ago at the Oratory of St. Phillip Neri, it would be worth attending and supporting. Should this be successful, it could become a regular occurrence at St. James, and maybe spread to other parts of the archdiocese.

Here is the information to attend the Latin Novus Ordo for tomorrow:

Saturday April 11, 2015 (NOVUS ORDO) - Saturday Vigil, Liturgy for 2nd Sunday of Easter/Divine Mercy Sunday in the Novus Ordo Calendar. 

St. James Roman Catholic Church - LATIN NOVUS ORDO, 

    • " Latin Mass Revisited - Rediscover the beauty of the solemn Latin Mass in this modern Eucharistic celebration. We will be celebrating the Mass using the original Latin text of the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal (note: this is not the Tridentine form of the Mass). Side-by-side Latin and English Missals will be provided for those attending. A truly uplifting experience that is both ancient and new, bridging past and present. For more information, contact St. James Church at or call 416-767-6451."

  • Also, I have one more additional piece of information about the Latin Masses. There are Latin-English booklet aids that are provided for the Liturgy by the parish. You can either borrow them for the Mass, or for a donation of $1.25 you can purchase the booklet, a suggestion I say to do if you are a repeat attendee! 

As for remaining Masses, after this one, there will be two more Latin Novus Ordoes: Saturday May 2, 4:45pm, and Sautrday June 6, 4:45pm. There will be no Latin Novus Ordo masses for July and August. Whether they will return to St. James for the fall of 2015 will be up to the decision of the pastor .... and you. The more attendance and support (including $$$), the more likely they will continue in the Fall.

Finally, and thankfully, I can now say I've attended one of these awesome liturgies and I will hence report on my experience. Hopefully, you might be inspired by it and will be curious. Not to mention you will get a sense of what is going on here at this parish under Fr`s pastor-ship.

Report: LATIN NOVUS ORDO @ St. James Catholic Church, Saturday March 7, 2015, 4:45pm Vigil Mass - 3rd Sunday in Lent

For the week of Mar 7-8, I decided to venture out to the Novus Ordo Mass at St. James Catholic Church, with a friend of mine who has attended back in December. I had good hopes for this Liturgy, to see what was intended by the Vatican II council (should all the documents had been followed to the T, and the rubrics in the GIRM were not violated.) The Church is located near Annette St. and Jane St., easily accessible by a short bus ride taken from Jane station in Toronto. 

Upon entering the narthex of the oddly shaped Church, whose front end is literally, a triangle that juts out to Annette St., I was pleasantly greeted by two ushers for the Latin Novus Ordo. I asked one of them for a bulletin (for personal record and storage), and was told calmly, that they only hand those out after the Mass is over. They do not do so before Mass because the time is to be devoted to prayer in preparation for the Mass, and the bulletin can be a distraction to that. GREAT! That was the first sign that this was how Mass should be practiced in the church, with great reverence. When even the ushers are on board with that .... this is where one's heart and mind should be, and this WILL be excellent. I made sure to take a liturgy booklet for keeps, paying the $1.25 donation. 

Then, I entered the nave/body of the Church. For a modern church it isn't too bad. It might not be like Roman Churches, but it homely and welcoming. Here are a couple of pictures. While I am not fond of the tabernacle to the side, it is in an enclosed worship space with a rail to kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and I think what is a copy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (which is a plus in my books, with me being fond of the Redemptorist order). At least the space says "Worship HE, who is our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist. Every knee shall bend to him. And remember his Blessed Mother, Mary." Here's the pics I took after the Mass was over:

The Sanctuary. Notice that the altar is in the "Benedictine Arrangement?" Cool eh?

The rear view of the Church. Notice to the left that part of the confessional can be seen. To the right is a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as the parish serves the Latino (Spanish) community. Some parishioners even travel from some distance for that Mass!

The tabernacle. While I don't enjoy seeing this aberration of the "Spirit of Vatican II" with the tabernacle off to the side, I will say I am pleased at the space being treated appropriately. Seeing a kneeling area in front gives a great visual reminder of the Real Presence and Adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It's a little bit sad though seeing the priest needs to leave the Sanctuary to get to the tabernacle. 

I did wait and pray in the reverent silence before Mass (save the last 10 minutes when the choir assembled and the people in the sacristy,) and even partook in the Sacrament of Confession. The priest in the confessional took it seriously, and wasn't afraid to speak about the Devil! sign # 2 that this was going to be awesome. 

And so the Liturgy began with the opening hymn being Veni Sancte Spiritus in Latin! These hymns, that I mention, by the way, and the parts used for the sung prayer portions of the liturgy, ARE found in the Catholic Book of Worship III. Despite the dreadful reputation that hymn book has among serious liturgists and choirmasters, it IS possible to use the better parts of the book. Fr. Pinedo and his three servers, dressed in red cassock and surplice (just hold your criticism till the end of this report .... you'll see why ...), proceeded in procession from the back, reverently genuflected to the center of the altar, and then assumed their proper positions on the altar. 

Although Fr. Pinedo was facing ad populum, all the major liturgy parts, were done in the Latin. That includes the Penitential Rite with cues in the book to strike your breast at the Meae Culpae, The Gloria, etc. with exception of the collect and the Readings, which were done in the English. Yes, even the responses of the people are in the Latin, and being affiliated with the Latin Mass, these responses were no hurdle to me, but a comfort in worship. 

Might I also add that the thurible with incense WAS used in this Mass, and done at the appropriate times in the Liturgy that the Novus Ordo allows to happen. In my honest opinion, I have only seen a couple of Churches use the incense in their regular Sunday Novus Ordo, not the major liturgies/feast days. Another sight to see and make me home here, sign # 3 if you are counting. Sign # 4 would be that each server (all male!), carried out their Novus Ordo liturgical duties respectfully and responsibly. Seeing a young under 13 male take apart that chalice for the Offertory setup in serious manner, the lack of fidgeting by all the altar boys, etc. showed a clear visual sign this is a liturgy, not an entertainment show. 

Continuing on in the Mass, the other prayer parts were sung when needed, in the Latin, but the following other hymns were sung: Ubi Caritas, Laudate Omnes Gentes, and O Sanctissima
While I do not remember Fr. Pinedo's homily, it did got me thinking, and I remember there was one point that made me fall off my pants that I had never thought about. I do remember that the Gospel was the famous one with Christ driving the moneylenders out of the temple, and it was somewhat relevant to that. 

Finally, when the Mass was over, I really did feel like I was sent out to do the Lord's work. I also decided to speak to the priest to introduce myself formally, and to let him know how much I enjoyed it. We also ended up speaking about the parish and other things a bit, and it turns out he knows the Oratorians of St. Phillip Neri (which was where he got the inspiration for this venture), and some of the possible plans for the parish might include a youth ministry with a hired, part-time minister. Now I know the general whine among Trads is "Youth ministry is all "Fuzzy Jesus"" but to me, a pastor willing to pay a youth minister, even part time, means they want someone with proper training and experience, not some volunteers running the show or those of questionable status. Don't forget, the youth minister's position is subject to the dictum of the pastor. Good pastor with orthodox attitude to liturgy and faith = good youth minister (most of the time). 

Oh and as for the altar servers, they have a monthly meeting/practice, and guess what ... the young men decided as a group, that they all wanted to switch to the traditional, black cassock and surplice combination! This combination will be present in the parish as of the beginning of May. WOW! The fact that under this priest's leadership, the young men wanted this ... speaks volumes and is a sign great things are happening under this priest's leadership at St. James. 

So please, everyone, while I know that we should all be honking crazy about the 1962/Latin Mass/Mass of St. John XXIII, we also should be welcoming to our Novus Ordo brothers and sisters in their parishes, and support efforts, like this one at St. James Catholic Church, Toronto. Like the Knights of Columbus, we should be asking our priests how we can help these communities, though we Traditionalists of mind and/or liturgy, should expand that to liturgy and the New Evangelization of our parishes. Going to the Masses of St. James, is one important way to do so. 

END. Pax Tibi Christ, Julian Barkin. 

P.S. BTW, if anyone is interested in doing more than attending, be it serving and/or singing, let me know. I will put you in contact with St. James Catholic Church. Hopefully there is some room for the last 2 masses, if not, the Fall, should the initiative continue. 

Highlight: Fr. Allan McDonald of Southern Orders Reposts Great Article with Small Patriotic Connection

Hello Everyone.

I'd like to Highlight today an article from the great blog of Fr. Allan J. McDonald of the Archdiocese of Macon, in the USA. Father's blog is called Southern Orders, and he's a Traditional Catholic Priest who does reverent Novus Ordo Masses and celebrates the Latin Mass too! He's not like those Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalists!

He highlights today an article about CNN newsroom anchor Carol Costello about how she "reverted" to the Church, not because of the Latin Mass and strict rules of the Church (pastorally and "t"raditionally speaking), but because of Mercy and Pope Fracnis' pontificate.

As for the small patriotic connection, she interviews in this article Cardinal Gerald LaCroix, who hails from my country of Canada, from the French-speaking province of Quebec. He's apparently a good, solid (though not stringently Traditionalist) bishop/cardinal, a better choice for the red hat these days. Enjoy, and pax, Julian

See here and give the good Father AJM some hits and to view the article. Pax, Julian.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Euge! Christus Surrexit!

Depiction of the Resurrection of Christ by Italian Renaissance Master, Raphael

Collect from the Missale Romanum of the Novus Ordo, 3rd Edition (2011):

O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death 
and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the 
solemnity of the Lord's Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your 
Spirit, rise up in the light of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who 
lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit. One God, for 
ever and ever, Amen. 

Have a Solemn, Safe, and Blessed Easter on this, the Solemnity of the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ! Proclaim He Is Risen!!!

Pax, Julian.