Wednesday, 28 October 2015

REPORT: Christ the King Solemn Latin Mass on Sunday Oct 25th, 2015 at Loretto Abbey Chapel.

Hello Everyone,

The St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir (SPGC) once again organized another beautiful and sacred Solemn Latin Mass in our Archdiocese of Toronto.

On this the Feast of Christ the King in the Extraordinary Form/Latin Mass calendar, and co-incidentally the 9th anniversary of the formation of the SPGC, we were blessed by the hospitality and generosity of the sisters of the Incarnate Word of Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) to have usage of their chapel, attached to Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School. Our Mass was 330pm in the afternoon this past Sunday, October 25th, 2015.

In preparation for this Mass, our servers met at St. Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church on the Friday evening prior, to go over their roles for the Mass. Practice went well, and all save our crucifer (due to work) were accounted for. With 7 servers in tow, including myself as First Acolyte and our Master of Ceremonies, we were organized and motivated to have a great Solemn Mass, fit with even torchbearers!!! In addition, some of these servers have had prior experience, be it assisting at St. Joseph Streetsville, St. Lawrence the Martyr, or other Latin Mass initiatives in Toronto.

As usual, the SPGC choir practiced after their 5:00pm Mass downtown at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, the Redemptorist Parish and the National Shrine Church of Canada for Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The 5pm vigil is their regular Mass, by the way, where they provide hymns for the liturgy, and chant or sing in Latin the major response parts of the Novus Ordo Mass.

As for the day of, we arrived at 2pm to prepare the chapel for Mass, and to go over roles for the liturgy. We had some interesting issues to contend with:

  • Some liturgical equipment was not provided for us (e.g. a "triple chain" thurible, acolyte candles ...) or was more "modern" (a processional cross with a resurrected Jesus/"Resurrefix")  but thankfully, most equipment that was lacking, was supplied by the choir, as well as a few editions of my own I've payed personally for, to be able to assist the choir and anyone else I do the Latin Mass with. Whatever was not of usual, we used the chapel equipment just the same. Regardless, here's the setup of the liturgical equipment:

The acolyte candles, gracefully provided by St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir. There were none readily available at the chapel! 

The lavabo bowl, washing cruets, and towel (yes, a real towel) from the chapel. As for those fancy cruets and the communion paten, those are from my personal liturgical stockpile. 

This little incense boat was part of my liturgical collection to be used for Masses. It has a little gold-coloured spoon inside too. 

A side view of the sediliae, as well as bells, aspergillum and aspergillus, with single chain censer and stand, lavabo bowl and jug with a towel (that's all there was), provided by the chapel. 

This, my friends, is a beautiful wooden tabernacle, made by one of the choir members. Turns out they do not just sing you know. They bear many a talent to glorify the Lord. Best part is that it is light weight, and can be used for the Latin Masses, when needed to replace one, if the main tabernacle is off to the side, or if we cannot use one, regardless of reason. Also present is one of three altar cards, of the set owned by the choir. 

Voila! The complete credence table complete with additions of chalice with veil, the humeral veil, and the Epistolarium, either from the Choir or from our clergy who celebrated the Mass. 

The completed front altar, set up for the Latin Mass. Unfortunately we were not allowed to use the high altar, as this has been set up by the media company for the daily mass recordings. 

A final view of the sanctuary from afar, and the lovely stained glass window and sanctuary of the chapel. This chapel was built in 1950 prior to Vatican II, and despite small changes that were standard at that time of the Council (e.g removal of altar rails), much of this is untouched! Just looked at the wooden crucifix and the reredos in the back! 

  • Space. Wow ... well this is a chapel, not a full size church, so processing was somewhat of a challenge. The side rows were maximum two normal people's width, making maneuvering a little challenging. This also was a smaller sanctuary than normal, and I personally found this a challenge. There was barely any space between me, my chair, and the sediliae in front of me, so much so getting up and down to kneel, meant hitting the wood of my chair. Ugh.  

    • A new caveat: Since last year, the Archdiocese of Toronto's daily Mass recordings have moved from St. Basil's in University of Toronto, to the chapel of Loretto Abbey for Monday to Saturday (daytime) Mass. You can view it here online at user/dailymass. However, for us, we were told NOT to move any major items. If we moved something minor, it was put back in place. Because of this, we had to opt NOT to use their still intact high altar, and instead use the Novus Ordo Altar for the Mass. Usually most churches do not have high altars anymore, or renovated to make them non-usable, so we were not bothered by this fact. 
    The Mass

    Prior to the Mass, laity were provided with booklets, which contained the Propers and liturgical readings for the Mass in Latin and English, along with a copy of the hymn, "Sweet Sacrament Divine," to encourage vocal participation in the Latin Mass. Here's some pictures of the booklet:

    These booklets also contained commentary on the feast day, from a famous traditional book, The Liturgical Year, by Dom Prosper Gueranger. 

    With all the preparation and last minute directions for the servers, now in their location of the Mass, we proceeded ahead with the sacred liturgy. For the Mass, our clergy, all priests experienced with carrying out the Extraordinary Form in our Diocese were:

    1. Fr. Jean- Pierre Pilon, formally trained by Fraternal Society of St. Peter; pastor of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Peterborough - Subdeacon (also, please see my January posting on his initiative, begun this year.)
    2. Fr. Steven Szakaczki, Latin Mass Chaplain of the Archdiocese of Toronto, residing at St. Lawrence the Martyr - Deacon
    3. Fr. Russell Ashe, Associate Latin Mass Chaplain working with Fr. Steven, assisting @ St. Lawrence the Martyr - Celebrant (Priest).

    As for the Homily, this was said by our celebrant, Fr. Ashe. Between the echo-ey acoustics, being at the side vs. in front of Father, the good Father's accent (British?), and my poor sleeping habits, I'll admit that I do not remember the majority of the homily, but here's the small tidbits I remember, with links/additions where needed from sources, such as papal documents:
    • Father began the Homily with a quote from Scripture, when Christ is being magnified in the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and God speak of him as in Luke 9:35: "....  “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” God clearly indicates the authority of His Divine Son in this passage. 
    • Father than continued on to explain the origins of the feast day of Christ the King, in how it was established by Pope Pius XI in 1929, in the encyclical Quas Primas. 
    • Part of the reason for Pope Pius XI releasing the exhortation, and establishing the feast day, was to combat religious laicism in society and the Church: whereby people would not acknowledge the Kingship of Christ as lord, or any God for that matter. This Feast day was to make public pronouncement in the Church, of the Lord as our Saviour, but also our Divine King whose kingdom is in Heaven. 
    • Father also mentioned St. Joseph in the capacity of Christ the King. We do not usually connect kingship with St. Joseph normally, as we usually acknowledge him as St. Joseph the Worker. However, a father in a family relationship is a "king" of sorts. He is the natural leader; he rebukes, chastises, but he also loves and serves those whom are in his servitude or under is governance. Christ's Kingship is exactly like that, as being God Made Flesh, whereby like God Jesus is not a tyrant ruler judging us, but He is the Divine Lord and Father, rebuking, chastising when necessary, but also loving and leading us so that way we are led to proper governance, and proper salvation to Him. 
    • In a way, we all share in the kingship of the Lord. Father Ashe reminded us of a particular portion of Vatican II, from the decree APOSTOLICAM ACTUOSITATEM, that  "...  the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world." (AA, 2)
    • I also think that Father touched upon a point I remember from one of years' past Masses on Christ the King, the concept of self-governing one and rebelling against the King. When one accepts the "kingship" of self or the Devil, he is accepting one of anarchy and non-authority, being the sole governor of one's life. 
    • Father also, in reference to this rebellion, commented on the war of the Angels and devils. Satan bucked this Divine kingship of the Lord, saying to him "Non-Serviam," meanwhile St. Michael, dutifully acknowledges Christ's Kingship, and having the name Michael signifies "quis et deus" which means in Latin "who is like God." I am not sure if Fr. had this planned, or he took inspiration from a couple of depictions of the archangel commander (see pictures below.)

    Despite everything (ugh that chair!), we came out with a sacred, Solemn Latin Mass, and we even had the addition of the Asperges Rite as well as torchbearers!!! Also, considering that the school chapel was a bit out of the way from major streets (closest station is York Mills and you have to go up the hill to get close to it), we still had a good turnout of about 50 laity in our pews, and a couple of sisters were around while the Mass was going on. Also, a master of ceremonies from other Latin Mass initiatives in the Archdiocese attended our Mass! It was great to see our brothers in serving support us.

    Hopefully, the choir will consider doing as usual, their offering of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Tuesday December 8th. I will definitely be reporting on this when I receive any official word from Surinder and the SPGC choir.

    To conclude, some personal anecdotes and musings (and school spirit)
    Occasionally, when these masses occur, some little interesting anecdotes or facets just happen, because of the site, or by the grace of the Lord. I would like to share a few of them with you.

    To begin, my lovely fiancee finally made it out to a Solemn Latin Mass held by the choir!!! While I wished there had been a bigger crowd, regardless I was happy to see here there, and to know that she supports my endeavours, as I support hers (though I have to work on my temperance and stop being so critical of things and going "rah rah rah Latin Mass" too much.). In case you are curious about her, (e.g. a picture, a name) let`s just say that there`s a few things I hold close to the vest at the given moment. I decline from posting any information to her.

    A second and third note, joined together. At one of my fiancee`s parishes she currently assists in Novus Ordo liturgies, as a ``jack of all trades`` (Server, MC, Sacristan, EMHC ...,) sometimes in multiple roles when short-handed, I have been blessed when she has been an EHMC to be able to receive communion from her. It`s a touching moment being served by the one you love, with the One Who LOVES TOTALLY, as she will best exemplify in this Sacrament of Marriage. Today, I had to do somewhat of a ``reverse role``, with me assisting the deacon (Fr. Pilon) in handing out communion to the lay faithful via holding the communion paten. My fiancee came up beside me, on the prie-deux to kneel and receive communion from Fr. Pilon as deacon. I of course was filled with glee seeing my beloved there, but then afterwards a thought occurred to me. Fr. Pilon and I (with of course Fr. Pilon as ordinary minister serving her the Sacred Body of Christ, so don`t misinterpret what I say.) ``served`` her, when normally I am the one being served Christ`s Body by her as an EMHC in the Novus Ordo Mass.

    Then, it clicked to me. Here we are, both of us, having been served Christ`s Body, and are serving with Christ, in a literal and other sense, and also have assisted the other in being served. When I marry this golden gift of the Holy Family, my love of my life, we will be doing this in everything, with the sacrament of Marriage presenting ourselves to Christ. When a couple marries, this is their primary vocation, serving the Lord, and serving each other as He served us, and being his exemplar, as him with the Church to the world, for our salvation. In the Eucharist is his Love, served to us through the Church, HIS TOTALITY!!! Also, the couple is to help each other achieve salvation, and become saints through the Sacrament and lifetime of love. Wow, just wow. That was what, all of 2-3 seconds in the Latin Mass and I got that awesome insight??? The Latin Mass did that for me .... Deo Gratias.

    Finally, as I was looking around the chapel of the Loretto sisters, I came across two poignant signs .....

    The picture was outside of the Chapel. The statue is right above the entrance to the chapel, on the inside. 

    Wow!!! These are magnificent depictions of St. Michael. What beauty! What strength!!! It turns out that in chatting with an IBVM sister who came by at the end of the Mass, she revealed that in the history of their order, their devotion or protection/patronage to St. Michael, goes as far back as England from when they came over.

    In a related side note, (for any of you who are St. Michael's College School alumni/current SMCS students (BTW I'm an 2002 grad,)) the history of the "sister school" to St. Michael, is that St. Mike's TRUE sister school, was the Abbey. Holy Name of Mary College School in Mississauga changed that, but the Abbey was the sister school of St. Mikes for the longest time, with a history of social exchange (dances) as well as students applying to each other's dramatic productions, and even a cheer-leading squad for sports games, prior to the late 90's. They also have the "double blue" as part of their colour scheme for their kilts and uniforms, just like our school colours. To me ... the Abbey will always be the true sister school to St. Mike's.

    So seeing these depictions of St. Michael, my devotion, this blog under St. Michael's patronage, and my alma mater's interesting history with the Abbey, one could say I had a lot of signage and connection with St. Michael that day. It was great to see his presence with us as we glorified the Lord, and made me ever more thankful for his patronage, and watch over us and the Abbey.


    I hope you have enjoyed yet another report of the liturgical initiatives of the St. Patrick's Gregorian choir whom I serve with. If you attended the Mass of the 50 or so people, thank you for attending. May your souls have been uplifted to Heaven with the Saints and angels, and your soul nourished. Please stay tuned for the next offering from the choir. 

    Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin. 

    1 comment: