October 22-28, 2001
volume 12, no. 153

The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar

Part Fourteen: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Mass of the Catechumens part two - Introit and the Gloria

    As we mentioned, in the Novus Ordo the Kyrie is said before the Confiteor. Also in the New rite the Kyrie is one of those prayers that is often extemporized since the presider - or those liturgists in the parish directing him to - slip in various phrases that are not really part of the Mass. Yet, the Kyrie first introduced into the Mass by Pope Saint Gelasius I late in the fifth century, was intoned at the end of each petition of a litany and so therefore in the New rite that is the concept that has been adopted. In and of itself it does not change the meaning of the Mass. In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the Kyrie is a cry for mercy from the Almighty as part of a sacrifice of prayer in which we speak to God.

    The Kyrie, in effect, is part of the Introit. The Introit, which comes from the Latin introitus meaning "Entrance," is really the beginning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the prayers at the foot of the Altar are the preparatory prayers of contrition. All the prayers from the Introibo through the Collect are times we speak to God and we offer to God the Sacrifice of Prayer. The Introit consists of an antiphon, which is most often from one of the Psalms. It varies each day, as do certain other parts of the Mass, like the Collect, Epistle, Gradual, Gospel, Offertory, Secret, Communion and Postcommunion prayers.

    After the Indulgentiam the priest recites the Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos - "O God, Thou wilt turn again and quicken us." To which the altar servers, on behalf of the faithful, respond Et plebs tua latabitur in te - "And Thy people shall rejoice in Thee." The priest follows with Ostende nobis Domine, misericordiam tuam - "Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy." The altar servers reply Et salutare tuum da nobis - "And grant us Thy salvation." The priest intones Domine, exaudi orationem meam - "O Lord, hear my prayer" with the servers saying Et clamor meus ad te veniat - "And let my cry come unto Thee." The priest completes the penitential rite with the Dominus vobiscum - "The Lord be with you." Those serving the Mass reply Et cum spiritu tuo - "And with thy spirit." The Dominum vobiscum was also inserted into the Holy Mass by Pope St. Pontian. It is an ancient form of Christian salutation that in the Roman Rite is said eight times during the Holy Mass. It is interesting again to note in the New rite of the Mass, that the wording has been changed. "The Lord be with you" is followed now by "And also with you." "Thy spirit" is evidently no longer necessary in the Conciliar rite even though it was perfectly fine for nearly 1800 years.

    For the Introit The priest says Oremus - "Let us pray and ascends to the altar. In the long-standing Roman Rite, the priest proceeds to the right or epistle side, and says the opening prayer Aufer a nobis, quaesimus, Domine, iniquitates nostras; ut ad Sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum - "Take away from us our iniquities, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be worthy to enter with pure minds into the Holy of Holies, through Christ our Lord. Amen." The "Amen" was first introduced into the Roman Rite of the Mass by Pope Saint Clement I - fourth successor of Peter in the very first century. You'll note this prayer is one in which the priest implores God to make all worthy to enter into the Mass with a clean heart. We ask if there is such a prayer in the Novus Ordo? There are the 'have mercy on us' and 'forgive us our sins' but few humble gestures or entreaties to make us worthy. Dr. Tom Droleskey pinpoints this problem in his treatise on the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal (G.I.R.M.) in his column Minimizing the culpability of mea culpa He also points out that, in fact, it is no longer called the 'Holy Sacrifice of the Mass' but the 'People's Mass.'

    After the Introit the priest then returns to the center, hands joined and bowing down over the altar he says, Oramus te, Domine, per merita Sanctorum tuorum - "We beseech Thee, O Lord, by the merits of Thy Saints" Here he kisses the sacred stone or the place beneath which relics of one or more saints are cemented in the altar stone. As you know in the New rite the altar has been removed in all remodeled churches, or, if still there, it stands as merely a 'shelf' in the background. Few of the new tables that serve as the 'altar' today have the embedded relics. What does that say about the sacrifice and commemoration of martyrs that was first introduced by Pope Saint Anterus in 236 and set in stone, so to speak, by Pope Saint Felix I in the third century? Evidently a custom - a mandatory custom dating back over 1700 years no longer applies. The priest then completes this prayer quorum reliquiae hic sunt, et omnium Sanctorum; ut indulgere digneris omnia peccata mea. Amen - "whose relics are here, and of all the Saints, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to forgive me all my sins. Amen."

    The priest goes to the center and recites the Kyrie eleison alternately with the server, imploring God's mercy. The prayer is repeated nine times; three in honor of God the Father, three in honor of God the Son, and three in honor of God the Holy Ghost.

    After the Kyrie, the Gloria in Excelsis Deo is said when the Mass requires it. It is sometimes omitted, especially during the penitential seasons, and in the Masses for the dead. At the end the priest kisses the altar. The Gloria in Excelsis Deo repeats the songs of praise of the angels on Christmas night. In high Masses the Gloria is sung. Just as in so many prayers, in the Novus Ordo the wording has been changed as part of the exclusivity clause for tolerance of all. This can be noted in the words Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis - "And on earth peace to men of good will." That is the true translation. In the New Mass it is translated: "And peace to his people on earth." Again, this is just one of the places where the pro multis syndrome plays its hand for to say 'peace to men of good will' would exclude those who do not choose to follow Christ's teachings fully and the new church is all about tolerance and ecumenism. Just another example of compromise at the expense of something sacred. Also in the Novus Ordo often the choir takes over in place of the celebrant who is the one who should lead. Not only this, but often it is sung with a new version just as the Agnus Dei is so often obliterated.

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October 22-28, 2001
volume 12, no. 153
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