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Pre-V2 parish practice

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  • asteresplanetai
    ... well, i can tell you a little about what it was like in colorado in the 1950 s, and then in utah in the 60 s. I can t imagine either place was anything but
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 6, 2005
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      +++

      > From: cantor03@...
      > Subject: Re: Lineamenta [was Re: Re: Since things seem quiet]
      >
      >
      > In a message dated 9/4/2005 8:36:45 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
      > scottknitter@... writes:
      >
      >> I'd love to know more of the liturgical practices of the 50s and the
      >> early 60s leading up to Vatican II...basically what it was like to go
      >> to church at that time, and what was done there. Anyone know of a
      >> good source for this?>>>>>>
      >
      > It's very hard to get specifics. A year or so ago, I attempted to get
      > some idea of the frequency of the use of the Graduale Romanum in
      > Roman Catholic parishes in the local Diocese, and discovered that
      > there is hardly anyone around with enough musical/liturgical expertise
      > who remembers how things were before 1969. That's becoming a
      > long time ago. It came down to one older musical Monsignor, and
      > the retired organist/choirmaster of the Diocesan Cathedral. No one
      > else had the slightest clue.

      well, i can tell you a little about what it was like in colorado in the
      1950's, and then in utah in the 60's. I can't imagine either place was
      anything but an "average" parish of the times.

      we had several masses on sundays. The mid-morning one was the high
      mass. That is, it had a choir, which sang in latin, a variety of
      settings, for the most part four-part compositions from various
      composers, but perhaps also occasionally things from the Liber Usualis.
      However, around 1958 or 9, a small green book was introduced to the
      pews, entitled "Our Parish Prays and Sings". I still had a copy of that
      not long ago, don't know what happened to it. It had the service in
      latin, with facing translation, all typeset so that the people could
      say "Kyrie, eleison" and "Et cum spiri, tutuo" (as it came out), and
      sing the Sanctus etc, to simple melodies. They also promoted frequent
      communion. But although i recall the effort to encourage this, I am too
      too young to remember when it was not frequent.

      Other than that, there wasn't a lot of difference between low and high
      mass. High mass was usually done with just one priest, but sometimes
      the second priest would act as deacon, and if there was a third, he
      would be subdn-- for instance at christmas midnight mass.

      One parish did have a pulpit from which the gospel was read and the
      sermon preached. It was about head-high, attached to a pillar outside
      the sanctuary, facing the people, i believe on the right hand side of
      the church. as a kid, i always thought this thing (and the practice of
      using it) was weird. But sometime in the late 50's they remodeled, and
      it was done away with, good riddance i thought.

      > What they told me is that the average, large local RC parish
      > had a Solemn Choral Mass with one priest at the altar, though on
      > high feast days, there would be vested deacon and subdeacon.

      my high school in salt lake had a somewhat bigger liturgical life, at
      least on big feast days like dec 8, because the teachers were all
      priests. There were thus enough personnel to vest variously as
      subdeacon (tunicle), deacon (dalmatic), M/C (cope), and celebrant
      (chasuble), so we had three or four complete sets of vestments, for
      such occasions. On such days, we sang the kyrie, introit, gradual,
      sanctus, etc in latin. There were a couple of different settings, none
      of which came from the Liber (which no one except me even knew about
      anyway), but all were fairly simple 4-part melodies arranged by modern
      composers.

      it was not unusual to attend mass in a gymnasium.

      regards,

      john burnett.
    • Ray Gadke
      We have to remember too, that many Roman Catholic parishes were huge, and Masses scheduled on the hour and - in some places even on the half-hour - were often
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 6, 2005
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        We have to remember too, that many Roman Catholic parishes were huge, and
        Masses scheduled on the hour and - in some places even on the half-hour - were
        often the norm. With Mass following Mass, there was barely time for the
        8:00 a.m.
        crowd to get out of the church as the 9:00 a.m. crowd started coming
        in. Also, in
        the "good old days," Roman Catholics who took Communion were required to fast
        (including no drinking) from Midnight the night before. Communion in large
        churches
        at the low Masses often took considerable time. The so-called "High Mass"
        (really
        a "sung Mass" in that the celebrant attempted to sing his part) was usually
        at 11:00 a.m.
        and very few people took Communion at the High Mass. I remember too people
        seeing
        six lit candles on the "high altar" and heading back out the door! We had
        neighbors who
        drove twenty miles to a neighboring parish because "Father got it over
        faster" - the priest
        there could mumble through a Low Mass in 18 minutes flat.

        So at least part of the "blame" for the poor quality of the pre-Vatican II
        Masses rests with
        the fact that there were huge parishes (especially in the burgeoning
        suburbs) and the
        priests had to celebrate a large number of Masses to accommodate their
        congregations.
        But of course we must also remember that many American/Canadian/Australian
        Catholics
        were of Irish background, where there was little "high" liturgical
        tradition, as Masses had been
        celebrated in fields and in poor chapels during "Penal Times," often with a
        circuit riding
        priest having to visit a number of spots on a given Sunday or holy day.

        German-America parishes sometimes continued the practice of the
        "Singmesse," with
        the congregation singing vernacular hymns and also the Kyrie, the Gloria in
        Excelsis,
        the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei either in Latin or in a German
        translation. These
        quasi vernacular Masses were permitted in German-speaking countries (I suppose
        to compete with the Lutherans - whose "Hochmesse" or "Hochamt" was fairly
        similar to the Roman Catholic "Singmesse"). The "High Mass" took longer
        not only
        because of the singing, but also because of ceremonies appended to it, like the
        Asperges or sprinkling rite.

        Hymn singing was often associated with the extra-liturgical vernacular
        services,
        especially Novenas and the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which were
        often held during evening hours (and which, like Protestant Sunday evening and
        Wednesday evening worship, were killed off by television). While hymns like
        "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" were used - especially in German parishes and
        in parishes with Holy Name societies, that are still used, many of the
        hymns used in
        Roman Catholic services where there was singing were pretty syrupy and
        sentimental.
        They were basically Catholic versions of Protestant gospel songs - very
        personal.
        "On This Day O Beautiful Mother" comes to mind, or the one with the refrain,
        "Mary, Help, Help We Pray." "O Lord I Am Not Worthy" was used at Benediction.

        But, the typical worship experience of a Roman Catholic in the pre-Vatican II
        days was Low Mass, mumbled by the priest at the altar with his back to the
        people, with the readings in both Latin and the vernacular and sometimes a
        sermon -- although often the sermon was replaced by prayers for the dead
        or the latest "letter from Most Reverend Bishop." Sometimes while the Mass
        for the people was being celebrated at the High Altar or main altar, a separate
        Mass - also a Low Mass - would be said at a side altar with only the priest and
        a single altar server. So there could be simultaneous Masses going on at the
        same time in the same church!

        I could also get into the New England churches that had separate Masses for
        the Irish (upstairs in the "big church") and for the Italians (in the basement
        church) -- but that is a whole different subject!

        Ray Gadke
      • James Morgan
        Anyone remember the tiny little My Sunday Missal with Latin and English? Rdr. James ... From: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com [mailto:liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com] On
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 6, 2005
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          Anyone remember the tiny little 'My Sunday Missal' with Latin and English?

          Rdr. James

          -----Original Message-----
          From: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com [mailto:liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of asteresplanetai
          Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 2:00 PM
          To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [liturgy-l] Pre-V2 parish practice

          +++

          > From: cantor03@...
          > Subject: Re: Lineamenta [was Re: Re: Since things seem quiet]
          >
          >
          > In a message dated 9/4/2005 8:36:45 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
          > scottknitter@... writes:
          >
          >> I'd love to know more of the liturgical practices of the 50s and the
          >> early 60s leading up to Vatican II...basically what it was like to go
          >> to church at that time, and what was done there. Anyone know of a
          >> good source for this?>>>>>>
          >
          > It's very hard to get specifics. A year or so ago, I attempted to get
          > some idea of the frequency of the use of the Graduale Romanum in
          > Roman Catholic parishes in the local Diocese, and discovered that
          > there is hardly anyone around with enough musical/liturgical expertise
          > who remembers how things were before 1969. That's becoming a
          > long time ago. It came down to one older musical Monsignor, and
          > the retired organist/choirmaster of the Diocesan Cathedral. No one
          > else had the slightest clue.

          well, i can tell you a little about what it was like in colorado in the
          1950's, and then in utah in the 60's. I can't imagine either place was
          anything but an "average" parish of the times.

          we had several masses on sundays. The mid-morning one was the high
          mass. That is, it had a choir, which sang in latin, a variety of
          settings, for the most part four-part compositions from various
          composers, but perhaps also occasionally things from the Liber Usualis.
          However, around 1958 or 9, a small green book was introduced to the
          pews, entitled "Our Parish Prays and Sings". I still had a copy of that
          not long ago, don't know what happened to it. It had the service in
          latin, with facing translation, all typeset so that the people could
          say "Kyrie, eleison" and "Et cum spiri, tutuo" (as it came out), and
          sing the Sanctus etc, to simple melodies. They also promoted frequent
          communion. But although i recall the effort to encourage this, I am too
          too young to remember when it was not frequent.

          Other than that, there wasn't a lot of difference between low and high
          mass. High mass was usually done with just one priest, but sometimes
          the second priest would act as deacon, and if there was a third, he
          would be subdn-- for instance at christmas midnight mass.

          One parish did have a pulpit from which the gospel was read and the
          sermon preached. It was about head-high, attached to a pillar outside
          the sanctuary, facing the people, i believe on the right hand side of
          the church. as a kid, i always thought this thing (and the practice of
          using it) was weird. But sometime in the late 50's they remodeled, and
          it was done away with, good riddance i thought.

          > What they told me is that the average, large local RC parish
          > had a Solemn Choral Mass with one priest at the altar, though on
          > high feast days, there would be vested deacon and subdeacon.

          my high school in salt lake had a somewhat bigger liturgical life, at
          least on big feast days like dec 8, because the teachers were all
          priests. There were thus enough personnel to vest variously as
          subdeacon (tunicle), deacon (dalmatic), M/C (cope), and celebrant
          (chasuble), so we had three or four complete sets of vestments, for
          such occasions. On such days, we sang the kyrie, introit, gradual,
          sanctus, etc in latin. There were a couple of different settings, none
          of which came from the Liber (which no one except me even knew about
          anyway), but all were fairly simple 4-part melodies arranged by modern
          composers.

          it was not unusual to attend mass in a gymnasium.

          regards,

          john burnett.



          Visit the liturgy-l homepage at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liturgy-l/To
          write to the owners/moderators, please send an email to:
          liturgy-l-owner@yahoogroups.com
          Yahoo! Groups Links
        • James Morgan
          Whatever happened to Mother dear, O pray for me ? I can also post a copy of a devotional poem by a priest, titled My little white guest Guess what it is
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 6, 2005
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            Whatever happened to 'Mother dear, O pray for me"?
            I can also post a copy of a devotional poem by a priest, titled "My little
            white guest"
            Guess what it is about!

            Rdr. James
            Olympia, WA

            -----Original Message-----
            From: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com [mailto:liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
            Of Ray Gadke
            Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 6:00 PM
            To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [liturgy-l] Pre-V2 parish practice

            We have to remember too, that many Roman Catholic parishes were huge, and
            Masses scheduled on the hour and - in some places even on the half-hour -
            were
            often the norm. With Mass following Mass, there was barely time for the
            8:00 a.m.
            crowd to get out of the church as the 9:00 a.m. crowd started coming
            in. Also, in
            the "good old days," Roman Catholics who took Communion were required to
            fast
            (including no drinking) from Midnight the night before. Communion in large
            churches
            at the low Masses often took considerable time. The so-called "High Mass"
            (really
            a "sung Mass" in that the celebrant attempted to sing his part) was usually
            at 11:00 a.m.
            and very few people took Communion at the High Mass. I remember too people
            seeing
            six lit candles on the "high altar" and heading back out the door! We had
            neighbors who
            drove twenty miles to a neighboring parish because "Father got it over
            faster" - the priest
            there could mumble through a Low Mass in 18 minutes flat.

            So at least part of the "blame" for the poor quality of the pre-Vatican II
            Masses rests with
            the fact that there were huge parishes (especially in the burgeoning
            suburbs) and the
            priests had to celebrate a large number of Masses to accommodate their
            congregations.
            But of course we must also remember that many American/Canadian/Australian
            Catholics
            were of Irish background, where there was little "high" liturgical
            tradition, as Masses had been
            celebrated in fields and in poor chapels during "Penal Times," often with a
            circuit riding
            priest having to visit a number of spots on a given Sunday or holy day.


            Hymn singing was often associated with the extra-liturgical vernacular
            services, especially Novenas and the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,
            which were often held during evening hours (and which, like Protestant
            Sunday evening and
            Wednesday evening worship, were killed off by television). While hymns like
            "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" were used - especially in German parishes and
            in parishes with Holy Name societies, that are still used, many of the
            hymns used in Roman Catholic services where there was singing were pretty
            syrupy and sentimental.
            They were basically Catholic versions of Protestant gospel songs - very
            personal.
            "On This Day O Beautiful Mother" comes to mind, or the one with the refrain,
            "Mary, Help, Help We Pray." "O Lord I Am Not Worthy" was used at
            Benediction.

            But, the typical worship experience of a Roman Catholic in the pre-Vatican
            II
            days was Low Mass, mumbled by the priest at the altar with his back to the
            people, with the readings in both Latin and the vernacular and sometimes a
            sermon -- although often the sermon was replaced by prayers for the dead
            or the latest "letter from Most Reverend Bishop." Sometimes while the Mass
            for the people was being celebrated at the High Altar or main altar, a
            separate
            Mass - also a Low Mass - would be said at a side altar with only the priest
            and
            a single altar server. So there could be simultaneous Masses going on at
            the
            same time in the same church!

            I could also get into the New England churches that had separate Masses for
            the Irish (upstairs in the "big church") and for the Italians (in the
            basement
            church) -- but that is a whole different subject!

            Ray Gadke



            Visit the liturgy-l homepage at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liturgy-l/To
            write to the owners/moderators, please send an email to:
            liturgy-l-owner@yahoogroups.com
            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • Scott Knitter
            I remember the small brown St Joseph Sunday Missal and Hymnal in use in our parish (St Irenaeus RC, Rochester Hills, Michigan) circa 1967-1970. Latin had by
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 6, 2005
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              I remember the small brown St Joseph Sunday Missal and Hymnal in use
              in our parish (St Irenaeus RC, Rochester Hills, Michigan) circa
              1967-1970. Latin had by then been relegated to small type on the
              bottom of each page for those who wanted to use it. Bunch of hymns in
              back, including A mighty fortress, etc.

              Before that in Milwaukee, I remember Our Parish Prays and Sings.

              I still have a copy of each.

              And I remember the surreal Saturday in 1970 when we went to Saturday
              evening Mass and found Monthly Missalettes containing the new Mass.
              The responsorial psalms were pointed for Gregorian chant tones.
              Little did I know how familiar and fascinated I would become with
              them.

              On 06/09/05, James Morgan <rdrjames@...> wrote:
              > Anyone remember the tiny little 'My Sunday Missal' with Latin and English?

              --
              Scott R. Knitter
              Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois USA
              mailto:scottknitter@... - http://scottknitter.blog-city.com
            • Jerry Kliner
              ... Just a minor curriosity... Even in contemporary Catholic worship books, there seems to be more Martin Luther than you can find in contemporary Lutheran
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 7, 2005
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                Scott Knitter wrote:
                > I remember the small brown St Joseph Sunday Missal
                > and Hymnal in use
                > in our parish (St Irenaeus RC, Rochester Hills,
                > Michigan) circa
                > 1967-1970. Latin had by then been relegated to
                > small type on the
                > bottom of each page for those who wanted to use it.
                > Bunch of hymns in
                > back, including A mighty fortress, etc.

                Just a minor curriosity... Even in contemporary
                Catholic worship books, there seems to be more Martin
                Luther than you can find in contemporary Lutheran
                worship books. (These are not systematic or
                scientific findings, but come from my causal peruasal
                of the indexes of worship books...) And in Lutheran
                books you can find generous helpings of the Wesley
                brothers, at least equal (if not surpassing) what you
                can find in the UMC books. Sort of makes you go
                "hmmmm..."

                Pax Christi;
                Pr. Jerry Kliner


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