Photo from pgrequeni on Flickr
I always love Sundays. They always seem to come at the perfect moment each week to give me some much much needed rest from the work and stress of the week that was. And after a month like I’ve had (which you can probably guess given the fact that I haven’t blogged in close to a month), the little bit of rest is very much appreciated.
On top of the tremendous amount of exams and papers (I’ve got two of these again due next week), this month was extra special for me because it was almost my “liturgical month.” Since getting back from my home weekend a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been assigned to serve at Mass, first as the MC (Master of Ceremonies) and then as the thurifer and finally, this week, as the acolyte. The MC is by far, one of the coolest liturgical jobs out here because he’s pretty much right next to the main celebrant throughout the whole Mass. He’s the guy who’s supposed to know all that’s going on and what’s coming next. Really, his main job is to turn the pages of the Sacramentary but when you’re kneeling next to the priest during the elevation of the Blessed Sacrament, you would know how cool it is to be “just turning pages.” The thurifer on the other hand is in charge of the thurible, which is that awesome looking contraption that lets out all the incense during Mass. I only really got to play the role of thurible once during Benediction after our Holy Hour this year because the Sunday I was supposed to work with it (i.e. last Sunday) was the Feast of Christ the King which meant that the abbot was the main celebrant and the whole crew changed. Whenever the abbot is the main celebrant at Mass, it’s always a huge deal. Because he’s the leader of the monks in the monastery, he’s almost like a bishop, which means he’s got his own mitre (the hat) and crosier (the staff). That means that we’ve got a crew, called the pontifical crew, who only really start coming into the picture whenever it’s the abbot who’s celebrating.
Anyways, what I really wanted to talk about is just the atmosphere of extreme excitement that is pervading the monastery and seminary today. It’s first of all the first day of Advent, which in itself is already a huge thing to get really excited about. Starting last night with Vespers and Vigils, so much has already changed. We’ve switched to the Common of Advent for Vespers which meant that we sang different hymns and had different responses as well as different antiphons. The biggest change for Vigils (sometimes also called Matins) was the shift in our final hymn before bed from the Salve Regina to the Alma Redemptoris. It sounded so beautiful in solemn tone last night. Today, just after breakfast, we had a very quick acolyte practice (because both my partner and I have done it extensively before) and together with our trainer, we went over into the sacristy to take a look at the new Sacramentary for the Mass today. And that really is the biggest change for the entire English speaking church isn’t it? It’s finally arrived… what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the year! The new translation is finally in effect!! We’re all pretty nervous but of course really excited about it. I guess the nervousness comes from the uncertainty about some of our responses now and where exactly the changes are at… In any case, a small chunk of our morning was spent basically slobbering over the new Sacramentary, which looks stellar. The first thing that leapt out at me (because I’m the book bearer for the first half of the week) was that it’s a pretty heavy book… With the 2 new reconcilliation Eucharistic prayers and the 4 other Eucharistic prayers from Switzerland (if I remember correctly), the new Sacramentary is considerably thicker and heavier… Its tabs are much more awesome too because it is now really thick at its ends (so you can easily see the tabs) but really thin in the corner of the book (where it’s attached to the book) because that’s where it can easily get jumbled up… It was pretty innovative what they did now…. I can’t wait to see it all in just a few more minutes… Anyways, I just wanted to send in a quick blurb on that… Mass is in 20 minutes… I can’t wait! Have a great Sunday and God bless!!!