Sunday, October 26, 2008

Concluding Mass for the World Synod of Bishops

I spent most of my time yesterday completing Latin homework and writing a report to the Province Studies Committee. I then joined a few priests friends for an early supper at a Chinese restaurant just around the corner. This was my first "non Italian" restaurant to go to since arriving two months ago. Fortunately the menu was written in both Italian and English.

Today I awoke early and walked to St. Peter's Basilica for the Mass which formally closed the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God. I walked with a priest friend along back streets away from the cars and crossed the Ponto Sant'Angeli - statue of St. Michael on the top.

I had the honor of being one of the priests who did not concelebrate but who held a ciborium of hosts during the consecration and then distributed communion. It was a beautiful liturgy and one I will not forget anytime soon.

We vested in the Blessed Sacrament chapel with surplice and stole. One of the young sacristans approached me and told me that my cape goes under the surplice. I responded that I am a religious priest and this is my habit. He wasn't satisfied. He came a moment later and asked which community. After telling him he seemed more satisfied. It was odd being the only priest with a black cape over a white surplice, and it was an odd interaction. But Mass began.

Our seats were just behind and to the left of the Main Altar. Precisely when the Holy Father processed in the organ ceased and the choir sang "Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam. You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." It was quite impressive. The Holy Father processed around the alter coming right up to where we priests were seated and gave his blessing.

It was a "whose-who" of cardinals. Processing just in front of me were bishops and cardinals from around the world including Cardinals DiNardo of Houston, George of Chicago, the former Secretary of State Sodano, the current Secretary of State Bertone, the former personal secretary to John Paul II Dziwisz, and Pell from Australia.

During the consecration the Holy Father stood at the altar, of course, and I stood to his left, at the base of the steps. He prayed Eucharistic Prayer II today. And he prayed Eucharistic Prayer III at the Synod's Opening Mass. While it might not have been his intention, the statement I take from this is that these two Eucaristic Prayers are valid, good, and to be used.

We returned to the Casa for our midday reception and pronzo and now it is time to hit the Greek studies. So, a blessed day.


GSC csc said...

According to one of the old bucks around Corby, the stole, if fitted to the neck (as opposed to the kind that hang back from the neck because of a little chain), is properly worn under the cape. I've never seen it, but Greg Green swears it is so.

You looked great nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Michael--if you have worship aids (featuring Saint John's Bible art) from either liturgy, please send them my way--the brethren here would love to see them.
I hear you have a visitor around Thanksgiving . . . --nlb

Karlo M. Leonor said...

Way to represent, Father! The habit is looking great with St. Peter's in the background.

Good luck with the Latin and Greek -- it must be tough studying both ancient languages at the same time. As for me, my own Latin midterm is tomorrow morning. Bonam fortunam to both of us!

Fr. Michael Wurtz, CSC said...

GSC, thanks for that - very helpful.

NLB, yes I have programs. I will most likely send them via U.S. visitors and not through Italian mail.

Karlo, yes the Greek is especially difficult. I hope you enjoyed London. I'm sure you'll do fine on the midterm. Peace.

Johnny G said...

OK, here's a question that I guess only a priest could answer, and so I will ask:

What motivates certain priests to use EP II almost all the time? My gut feeling is that "it's shorter" is a more important consideration to some of these priests than its earlier use in Rome (doubtful, and certainly its use wasn't retained in Rome like the Roman Canon was) and authorship by St. Hippolytus (doubtful, and who cares since he was an antipope who only reconciled with the real Pope while they were both dying in the salt fact, he sounds a bit like a crazy SSPXer in certain ways, if the online Catholic encyclopedia is to be believed...). Is this feeling justified? Or am I just a bitter traditionalist?

Of course, I could rant and rave at the very concept of having multiple Eucharistic prayers, but I'll stop...

Mary Liz said...

Oooh so awesome!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the CSC habit?
So classy! (stole under or over the cape)

Fr. Michael Wurtz, CSC said...

Johnny G,

Well, of course, you are a bitter traditionalist, but then, I hate being redundant. Ha!

I was speaking about this very topic on Monday with some fellow priest residents. We held in common the opinion that indeed EPII is chosen not necessarily too often, but for wrong reasons (tired, eager to get Mass 'over with' or have it memorized and therefore seem more prayerful).

I was recently at a parish for a number of weeks where the pastor only used EPII. Sunday? Weekday feast? Weekday ferial? Didn't matter - EPII was always used. I would use the word "abuse" to describe this and also the words "poor judgement", and "bad taste".

This is just one viewpoint, but my experience is that priests choose EPIII for Sundays and EPII for weekdays, EPIV rarely and EPI rarely. I wish such wasn't the case. This last para. isn't scientific, just my general sense of things.

If other readers want to chime in, feel free.

Peadar said...

re: the stole

When in doubt, do as the Pope does. He wears his stole over his mozzetta.