St James Cathedral - Seattle, WA

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Ordo, Secret to the Liturgical Calendar

So how does the priest know what prayers to say at Mass, or which readings to use? This can seem like a little liturgical secret if you've never heard of it before. I'm talking about a little book called the Ordo, a short name for The Order of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and the Celebration of the Eucharist.

So what's an ordo? An ordo is a calendar that provides direction for the liturgies for the day. It's primarily intended for clergy and religious, although lay faithful who assist with liturgical celebrations or pray the Liturgy of the Hours use it, too. You can expect to find one in almost every sacristy- it tells the celebrant the particulars of that day's Mass such as which one to say (or which Masses he is permitted to say), the color of the vestments, the rank of the day, and which readings may be used. From personal experience, it becomes especially handy if the ribbons happen to fall out of the Roman Missal or the Lectionary right before Mass starts!

Homilists and others who have to plan ahead for liturgical events use the ordo to help with their duties. These are people like the music director or those who read from the Lectionary.  It's especially helpful to the sacristan, so (s)he knows which color the altar cloth (and other decor) should be, and which vestments should be prepared for the celebrant.  

To give you an idea of how this works, here's a scan of the page for November 7-10 in 2012. Clicking on it will make it easier to read: 

If you look at November 8, it is Thursday of the 31st week in Ordinary Time. The ordo says that any set of prayers can be used for Mass that day, however the prayers for the 10th or 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time are suggested. The liturgical color is green, and the readings for the Mass are from #488 in the Lectionary and are listed there. The V3R3 abbreviations mean that a votive or ritual Mass (such as a funeral or another Mass for a specific need or occasion) may be celebrated on that day at the celebrant's discretion.

The next day is a little different. November 9 is the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which is celebrated as a feast. The Mass prayers must be taken from the Common of Dedication Mass. The liturgical color is white, and the Gloria must be recited or sung. The readings for the Mass are from #671 in the Lectionary. V1R1 indicate that a funeral may be celebrated on that day, but all other types of ritual or votive Masses may be said only with permission from the diocesan bishop.

So if you attended the daily Mass on that Thursday, it would have been a shorter daily Mass with only one reading before the Gospel, no Gloria or Creed, and less music (if any). Because of the feast day, the following day's Mass would have been more like a Sunday Mass with two readings before the Gospel, the Gloria would have been said/sung, and generally more music (depending on the resources of the parish or community).

Something else you should know is that each diocese has it's own liturgical calendar. It's based on the General Roman Calendar, but with a few adaptations including local celebrations such as titular feasts, diocesan patrons, and anniversaries of dedications that are important to the area.  Many religious orders also have their own general calendars which will vary slightly to incorporate saints and other celebrations important to them.  (Often specific provinces or congregations within larger religious orders will have their own regional adaptations, too.)  For example, if you catch the daily Mass on EWTN and on the same day happen to attend Mass at your parish, every once in a while you'll notice a difference in the day's saint- that's because the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word follow a Franciscan ordo, while your parish probably follows the diocesan ordo. I noticed a number of similar differences when I studied at Saint Meinrad. The particular Benedictine ordo that we followed has the Feast of St Benedict on March 21 (the day he died), however the rest of the Church celebrates his feast day on July 11. So for several years, I celebrated St Benedict's feast day twice, once during the spring semester at school, then again at home during the summer.

For many years, Paulist Press has been the most popular publisher of ordos in the United States.  All the dioceses are grouped into regions, then a specific book is published annually for each. The regional book also contains a necrology of the clergy in each diocese, so that each can be remembered on the anniversary of the day he died.

As technology continues to advance, so do the available formats of the ordo. Some ordos are now available online, such as this one for the Jesuit provinces in the United States. Recently the deacon at my parish told me about the new "Ordo App" on his iPhone from Paulist Press. Personally, I'm sticking with the classic book version for now!





Saturday, November 3, 2012

We Need TRUTH, Not Hype!

Three days ago, a Chicago Tribune reporter wrote an article: Bishop orders priests to read anti-Obama letter at Sunday sermons.  The article starts by saying: "Joining the chorus of Roman Catholic clergy in Illinois criticizing President Barack Obama before next week's election..."  Within minutes of it's online publishing, there were hundreds of comments.  Plenty of them supported Bishop Jenky of the Peoria Diocese, saying that he's done the right thing standing up for religious freedom.  Unfortunately, so many more were the extreme opposite.  A lot of angry people said that the Church's IRS tax-exemption status should be revoked for taking a position against a candidate or political party.  Many others took the opportunity to bash the Church, saying things like child abusers shouldn't tell other people how to vote, and we don't like abortion so we can abuse more kids.  If you ever wanted to see examples of misunderstanding and misplaced anger about the Church, there they are.

The worst part wasn't the comments themselves.  It was that the article didn't include a copy of the letter!  It doesn't tell you where to find it, and it wasn't easily found by a search engine.  The endless comments were written about a letter that I'm betting NO ONE EVEN READ.  So I went to the website for the Diocese of Peoria and found the actual letter that the reporter wasn't able to share. Here's the complete text:
Dear Catholic Believers,
Since the foundation of the American Republic and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present. Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community’s grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception. This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system. Contrary to the guarantees embedded in the First Amendment, the HHS mandates attempt to now narrowly define and thereby drastically limit our traditional religious works. They grossly and intentionally intrude upon the deeply held moral convictions that have always guided our Catholic schools, hospitals, and other apostolic ministries.
Nearly two thousand years ago, after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: “Behold your King.” The mob roared back: “We have no king but Caesar.” Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin. For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God’s great mercy in time will give way to God’s perfect judgment in eternity.
I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith. May God guide and protect His Holy Church, and may God bless America.

Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC
Catholic Bishop of Peoria

As you can see, to call the letter "anti-Obama" is inaccurate.  President Obama's name isn't even mentioned.  The letter is in opposition to the HHS mandate, and appropriately shows how the mandate threatens our religious freedom.  It has absolutely no IRS implications for the tax exempt status for the Diocese of Peoria.

So why do I care what about a bunch of angry comments on the internet?  Actually, I really don't.  I just wanted to point out that as a society, we're quick to judge without having all the facts.  And what empowers us to do this?  It's all the hype from the media.  It's no secret that the media likes to report more hype than truth, and they do it because that's what society is looking for.

So the bottom line- We don't need any more hype!  We need accuracy and reality.  Most importantly, we need the Truth (notice the capital T).  I admit it- speculation, hype, and sensationalism are more fun, and it's so tempting to get caught up in it all.  But it isn't real, and it's one of the devil's tools for keeping us from heaven. 

As I've said so many times before:  We Catholics need to stand up for ourselves.  Please don't tolerate hype!  If the news you watch is more hype than news, then change the channel.  If you're reading an article where the body doesn't match the heading, then it's probably more hype than news; either stop reading it or write a comment that calls it out.  Hype and sensationalism only add to the misunderstanding and misplaced anger towards the Church that's already abundantly out there.  

Lastly, stand up for your faith.  Don't let someone say things about the Church that aren't true.  You wouldn't let someone talk about your mother that way, so don't let someone talk about Holy Mother Church that way either!






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