Saturday, 19 August 2017

REPORT: High Mass/Missa Cantata on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 7:00pm EST

REPORT: High Mass/Missa Cantata on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 7:00pm EST


Hello Everyone,

Allow me the privilege to release another report of an offering of a Missa Cantata/High Mass in the Extraordinary Form that occurred during the summer season. On June 10, 2017, 7:00 pm EST the Augustinian brothers of the Marylake Shrine of Gratitude, in King City, ON, graciously allowed for their annual offering of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite/Latin Mass, to take place. This offering has now been offered annually, either for its 3rd or 4th year at the Shrine.

For this offering, Fr. Steven Szakaczki, head of the Latin Mass contingent of the parish of St. Lawrence the Martyr, Scarborough, and veteran priest to the Latin Mass offerings in the Archdiocese of Toronto, was main celebrant for this Mass. Servers were requested independently, via contact by the Master of Ceremonies, including I, the author of this posting, for service at the altar. For this EF liturgy, I was acolyte 2 alongside my longest friend in the Faith, who served as Acolyte 1.

Prior to the Mass Fr. Steven, and all servers in their positions, met at the Shrine for a rehearsal, and to iron out liturgical particulars between our knowledgeable Master of Ceremonies, Giovanni, Fr. Paul, who was the current head prior/brother of the Shrine (and organizer for the choir portion of the Mass,) Fr. Steven, and the servers. Ironing out these particulars was essential, as mentioned before in my prior announcement post here, this Mass fell on an interesting time of year in the EF calendar, the Saturday of an Ember week in the Octave of Pentecost, and thus some changes to the order of the Mass (readings, etc.) needed to be known to all parties involved.

The liturgical differences, due to being an Ember Saturday were:

  • On an ember day liturgy, up to 5 additional Old Testament "lessons" of Scripture are added in addition to the standard Epistle. This is followed by a collect after each lesson. As was custom before in the EF, there is the granting to the celebrant of the option of a shorter amount of only one lesson in addition to the main collect, followed by the Epistle, a tract (instead of an Alleluia), a "sequence," and then the Gospel reading. It was decided for the sake of time and unnecessary burden on all present, the shorter option was in effect.
  • A sequence was sung (being in the Octave of Pentecost) called the Veni Sancte Spiritus, before the Gospel was proclaimed. This is NOT the same as the "Come Holy Spirit ..." prayer, though ``Come Holy Spirit`` is the literal translation of the title of the sequence, based on its first three Latin words. 

Since I was not serving as thurifer, this year, and got to remain in sanctuary the whole time, I had the privilege of listening to Fr. Steven's homily in full. Here is from my recollection the main points of this homily:

  • Where we are today in the calendar of the Novus Ordo, is that we are not celebrating Pentecost anymore, but have moved back into Ordinary time during the weekdays. Unfortunately, in the liturgical changes, the Octave of Pentecost was removed from the calendar. 
  • In the Extraordinary Form Calendar, we are on the Saturday of the Octave of Pentecost, specifically the Ember Saturday. While people in both forms may have partaken in the Novenas (for Pentecost or more likely to,) the Holy Spirit, it is unfortunate that this was taken from the Novus Ordo Calendar. 
  • We should be truly fortunate in the EF Calendar to have the Octave, to be celebrating the Joy of the Feast of Pentecost, as without this truly remarkable event, there would not be the Catholic Church.
  • Before we discuss Pentecost, just what is the Holy Spirit? The Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, as revealed to us in the Scriptures, with intention of God and our Lord to exist, sharing the same divine nature as the other Persons. What the Holy Spirit is, is the LOVE of our Lord and his Only Son. 
    • When there is a relationship that involves love, there are three persons: the person giving love, the one receiving it, and the Love itself. 
    • God the Father, so loved all of us that He gave His Only Son to us, Jesus. God Loved his Son, and the Son loved His Father in Return, that between the two exists the Love that "spirates" from both of them, and that is the Holy Spirit. 
  • When we examine the events surrounding Pentecost, we come to the Apostles, who were vital to spreading the Gospel and hence, establishing the Church after Christ's Death, Resurrection, and even Ascension to Heaven. Even after His Ascension into Heaven, the Apostles did not go about an just make the Church happen. They were still fearful of persecution by the Roman authorities, having been so close to our Lord. Further, they likely discussed many things about their Lord, and likely still had much doubt about Him and what He said.
  • So here they were, all hiding in the upper room alongside our Virgin Mother, Mary, and some others, waiting out their days in hiding. Then, comes the very paraclete that Our Lord said would be sent to help them carry out His mission. The tongues of fire came down upon them and they were filled with those Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the courage to go out and establish the Church, doing the Lord's work. 
  • When they went about doing the Lord's work, filled with the Holy Spirit, they did many amazing works and converted scores of people to our Lord and the Faith, even performing miracles and amazing works! 
  • So then, why do we not see many, or any, of these supposed works that happened with the Apostles after being filled with the Holy Spirit, despite many Catholics being baptized and confirmed, and receiving the Holy Spirit with the Sacraments? There are two key reasons
    • 1. TRUST - Sadly today, many people, even Catholics, do not place their full trust in the Lord, and in the Holy Spirit. They place their trust in the things of this world, or things of man, many a time being led to sin and unhappiness. The Apostles were able to place their trust in our Lord with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 
    • 2. LOVE - When we go about doing our spiritual works, or our lives, we often do not do many things with the Love of the Holy Spirit. [Editor's note: As the Holy Spirit IS LOVE itself, then we must, as Children of God. go about with the LOVE of the Lord in our whole being in what we do, and that LOVE IS the Holy Spirit.] 
  • So, on this Feast of Pentecost, may we pray for the opening our hearts to trusting in the Lord, and the TRUST and LOVE that our Apostles exhibited when filled with the Holy Spirit, to be able to serve our Lord fully. 
All in all, the liturgy and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was carried out in a solemn, reverent, and even joyful capacity, and the chapel was clearly filled with the presence of something "awesome" happening in that holy space, meeting (though not literally replicating) that very same experience the Apostles had in the upper room, being so close to our Lord and His Holy Spirit, in the Latin Mass. 

As for attendance, while not as full as last year, the chapel, which I estimate visually to be capable of holding about 200 bodies in its pews, was almost completely full, with only the odd spare seat in the back couple of pews. That is still a remarkable attendance for an offering in a Chapel, held not in the immediate core of the Archdiocese, AND had only parish posters and some internet promotion, which seems limited to this blog and my requests on some Facebook groups. When you factor all that, there is CLEARLY demand for the Latin Mass, and even some spreading, will bring out a good sizable number of the Faithful, including young people, who thanks to social media are discovering this treasure of liturgy that they rightfully deserve from the Church at large. 

This young acolyte (and assuredly, all present in the pews and involved in carrying out the sacred liturgy) are truly thankful for the generosity of the Augustinian Fathers for offering, even yearly, the opportunity for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to be offered in their shrine, in the Archdiocese of Toronto. Likewise, Fr. Paul was truly impressed and thankful for the hard work and dedication we all showed, including true reverence for our Lord in the Liturgy, our organization and efficiency in carrying out the Liturgy, and the humility we brought to the Latin Mass. 

We hope that by efforts such as the Augustinian Fathers, more offerings will become established via influence in King City, and surrounding areas of Vaughan, Woodbridge, Aurora, Newmarket, and Brampton. 

Also, it is hoped that this annual tradition will continue in future, as it has been found out that as of this summer, the prior head brother, Brother Paul, who was appreciative of the Latin Mass, will be leaving the Shrine and Br. John Paul Szura, is now the new superior/head brother of Mary Lake. It is with good hope that the new head, Br. John Paul, will continue on allowing the tradition to continue, one which will maintain good report with those who favour Catholic Tradition/the Latin Mass of the faithful in the surrounding municipalities of the Shrine and those in the Archdiocese of Toronto, and further meet the spiritual needs of those faithful and the youth, who truly want a deep and personal connection to Christ in the Liturgy. May the love of St. Augustine and the fraternal order founded on this great saint for our times, continue to thrive in our Archdiocese of Toronto. 

Thank you, Augustinian Brothers, and those in the E.F./Latin Mass for making this sacred event happen. 

Pax Tibi Christi. Julian Barkin. 

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