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2016-04-21 07.41.08

The anniversary of my own ordination to the priesthood provides an occasion to offer a short post about the propers in Divine Worship: The Missal for one of the Masses for Various Necessities and Occasions designated For the Priest himself. This Mass formulary is given the additional title, in parentheses: “especially on the anniversary of ordination.” The majority of the propers for this Mass come from the Mass In Any Necessity, but the Introit, Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, and Postcommunion are proper to this formulary in Divine Worship. In the catalogue of masses in this section of the missal, this follows those For the Pope or Bishop and For the Election of the Pope.

The 2002 Missale Romanum provides three formularies for the intention of the Priest himself. The first is recommended for one with the cure of souls. The second is a generic formulary. The third is set aside for the anniversary of his ordination. None of these three formularies replicates that in the older missal. The form provided in Divine Worship follows the text of the Mass Pro seipso sacerdote from the pre-conciliar Roman Missal, with the addition of a proper Introit and the distinction of the Preface of Apostles. According to the liturgical books of 1962, this Mass formulary may not only be celebrated in its own rite, but also used as a source for commemorations on those days when a feast or some other commemoration has precedence.

In incorporating these texts in Divine Worship we find two Anglican sources used for the translations of the Latin texts. The Collect is found in, amongst other places, The Priest’s Book of Private Devotion, published by A. R. Mowbray in 1884. This collection was compiled by  two Church of England clergymen, The Reverend Dr Joseph Oldknow and The Reverend Augustine David Crake. Dr Oldknow, somewhat ironically, was the author of a published sermon entitled “The Evil of Forsaking the Church of England for the Communion of Rome” in 1850, as well as an apology for Anglican orders in 1857. However he also contributed to the furtherance of catholic liturgical practice in the Church of England, establishing weekly communions and the use of Eucharistic vestments in his parish. He was also a friend of the scholar and translator, J. M. Neale. Interestingly, Oldknow’s church, Holy Trinity, Bordesley, was the centre of one of the ritual trials during the incumbency of The Reverend Richard Enraght SSC. Enraght was prosecuted by the Church Association for high church practices in 1879, and imprisoned in Warwick Prison the following year. The church itself closed in 1970. Crake, the other compiler of The Priest’s Book of Private Devotion, was ordained by Samuel Wilberforce in 1865 and edited several other important liturgical texts, seeking to draw on Catholic sources for Anglican worship.

The text of the Prayer over the Offerings and the Postcommunion in this Mass are taken from The English Missal (1933 &c). The translation given in the 1961 Frank Gavin edition of The Anglican Missal makes use of the word ‘table’ in place of ‘altar’, and so the version of these orations in The English Missal has been preserved in Divine Worship as more clearly indicative of Catholic sentiment.

Two further things are noteworthy regarding this Mass. First, that the Introit given in Divine Worship, as we have said, is proper, rather than that simply taken from the common minor propers for the Mass In Any Necessity. The rubrics of this Mass seemingly permit the use of the formula of the Mass In Any Necessity, but Divine Worship does provide the Introit Spiritus Domini (Wisdom 1: 7; Psalm 68: 1), indicating a preference for this. This text points to the tradition of celebrating a Votive Mass of the Holy Ghost on Thursdays, and also at priestly ordinations celebrated at times other than ember days. The Anglican Missal states, “By local custom, the Prayer Book propers for the Conferring of Holy Orders are commonly used along with those of the Votive Mass of the Holy Ghost for Thursday, Spiritus Domini” (G 19). Thus Divine Worship links the anniversary of the priestly ordination not only with the ordination rite itself, but also with the weekly liturgical cycle as it commemorates the role of the Holy Spirit alongside the institution of the sacraments of the Most Holy Eucharist and Holy Order.

Secondly, the Preface of the Apostles is appointed to be used in Divine Worship. According to the pre-conciliar Missale Romanum, the Common Preface would be said or sung for this Mass. This distinction in Divine Worship might be seen to emphasize the apostolic origins of the priesthood, a central cause for many from Anglicanism who have sought to live out their Christian life in the full communion of the Catholic Church by means of the personal ordinariates.

Please do not reproduce this text elsewhere without permission of the author.