Expert Answer Forum
Divine Office as part of the Mass QUESTION from Joan Moore December 14, 2000 I was not sure whether to post this to your forum or the one for the Divine Office.
The church where I attend daily Mass incorporates the Divine Office in it, in accordance with the instructions in the front of the Divine Office book. As I understand it, the Invitatory psalm, hymn and the three psalms and canticles take the place of the penitential rite of the Mass. Therefore, the start of Mass for the day is when the priest says the opening words. If this is correct, the priest should be on the altar wearing proper Mass vestments.
Unfortunately, the priest at this parish walks into the church in civies, goes straight to the altar, says the opening O Lord open my lips etc, and, then goes into the Sacristry to vest, while a lay person leads the Invitatory. He saunters back out, vested (without the chausable) and sits down.
This really bothers me! I am not a person who relishes confrontation of any sort, and, many times have been guilty of letting things go, rather than make my pulse race with nerves!!
However, one morning I happened to be walking into the church at the same time as the priest - both of us were late! I found myself (without conscious volition!) saying, gently, Father, I thought that when the Divine Office is said with the Mass, it then becomes part of the Mass, so shouldn't you be properly vested before it starts? He said Yes, but you don't know the circumstances. He thought I was just referring to that same morning. I replied No, I don't, Father, but you do this regularly! I challenge you to rise a little earlier so as to be on time! (All that I said was very softly and gently). He responded You're very good. And we parted ways.
There has been, however, no change. Am I right in thinking that he is incorrect in not being vested prior to starting?
This is not the only thing which bothers me with this priest and this church - they use, for daily Mass, what I think of as a kitchen table type altar, although they have a perfectly good permanent altar,(the kitchen table thing is so small probably no more than four feet wide) and only one (1) candle is used (probably because of the small size of the altar?)
Am I being nit picking?
ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on Monday, December 18, 2000 Dear Joan,
You're not nit picking at all. What this priest is doing is wrong. The Magisterium and the Holy Father aren't nit picking either when they say;
Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. [Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #22] Fidelity to the rites and to the authentic texts of the liturgy is a requirement of the lex orandi (law of praying), which must always be in conformity with the lex credendi (law of believing). A lack of fidelity on this point may even affect the very validity of the sacraments. [Pope John Paul II on the 25th Anniversary of the Liturgical Constitution, December 4, 1988]
The faithful have a right to a true liturgy, which means the liturgy desired and laid down by the Church. Undue experimentation, changes and creativity bewilder the faithful. The Second Vatican Council's admonition in this regard must be remembered: 'No person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority'. [Pope John Paul II, April 17, 1980]
We must pray for this priest. Perhaps a letter to him is in order. If he doesn't respond, then a letter to the pastor, then the dean, then, if need be, the bishop. God bless you,
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