Monday, September 17, 2007

Fr. Perrone discusses: One Parish - Two Lectionaries....

An interesting question came into the combox of my photo post on the Solemn High Mass at Assumption Grotto and I took the question to Fr. Perrone. Our Pastor gives us a wise answer which I share here.

First, I need to give some background so that the question posed is fully understood by those who have never been to Grotto. We have probably one of the most unique socials every Sunday with only a few exceptions. Grotto is a commuter parish. I remember when the Cardinal opened the doors for people to assist at Mass at places other than their geographical parish. In part, it was a way to keep older parishes with few Catholics in it's boundaries, open. Only a small percentage of people come from the surrounding neighborhood. It would have been closed long ago if it had to rely only on people in it's geographical boundaries.

Because there are so many activities at Grotto (choir practice, seminars, plays, day's of recollection, etc) people would be there for hours - some waiting for the 1:00 outdoor procession and Benediction during the summer after having gone to the 9:30 Latin Novus Ordo. So, that began a tradition of weekly BBQ's after our 9:30 and Noon Masses thanks to the generosity of several parishioners who give their time to make it possible.

Some may think we are stuffy because we we don't socialize in Church - at all! While in church we give God our full attention. We give others our attention outside ofthe Mass.


Here is the question - repeated from that comment box. This is a good question, and an honest one, asked in a respectful way:

I do not post this as apprehension. The extraordinary form of the Mass is breathtaking to witness and participate but I do have great concern over the different calander for readings it follows, as mentioned in the Grotto News on 9/16. Do I have to choose which camp I am in to have a liturgical flow. I mean if I go to the 9:30 one week and the noon the next will I be off step in the cycle of readings? Also at the social after Mass those who go to the different Masses can not discuss the readings. It is a nice feeling when I go to bed at night to think every Catholic in the world heard the same Gospel reading that day...but what about now? I feel like I have to choose which Mass to follow. Hopefully I am ignorant to something that Fr. Perrone can help me understand, so we can all be on the same page.


The calendar is indeed different. Here there are gains and losses. The new lectionary with a 3 year cycle opened up a richer offering of the scriptures than the TM [Father often uses the simple expression "Tridentine Mass" and this is what the abbreviation represents]. However, all is not well there, since there are some weeks where the readings limp for want of interesting scriptural content. In the TM there was a great reliability in knowing that every year, on a given Sunday, one would hear the same scriptures. Thus, a given Sunday could be easily identified as having a theme.

This calendar was the common patrimony of Catholics and others, e.g. Lutherans, alike. Vatican II's new lectionary brought an end to centuries of liturgical tradition and identification of a given day with particular readings.

I would suggest that Catholics having a chat after Mass could discuss the different readings of that day and the various homilies that would ensue from them. (By the way, even if the readings were the same in both TM and NO, the homiletic variety surely makes for a great latitude in what was heard at Mass. So, one should not be too disturbed that there is variation in the readings between the two rites since the manner of offering the Mass, and the variety in the sermons, differ so greatly.

Interesting question; interesting response.

Some of these same points were made during EWTN's Theological Roundtable (which can be heard on MP3 by clicking here), or Raymond Arroyo's interview with Archbishop Raymond L. Burke Friday night, which I taped, then watched on Saturday.

In addition, the point was made that we should be reading Scripture outside of the Mass as well and we can certainly take in the readings from the new lectionary. I myself am going to try to get into the habit of reviewing both readings some time Saturday.

I hope Father's response satisfies the original question.

We can't make a regular habit of this since Father is so busy, so don't please don't send me 101 questions for him. This question was quite different from the usual and it pertained, in part, to an aspect of social life at Grotto. You can send me questions and I will try to find answers from sources already out there.

I believe, in time, Fr. Perrone will provide some great opportunities for learning more about the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in a setting that will allow for Q & A. Right now he is up to his cassock buttons in the upcoming musical, Palla Eius which a large group of parishioners, mostly young people, have been working on for many, many hours each week. It begins in October. This says nothing of his ordinary work as pastor, as choir director, orchestra Mass conductor, catechism teacher for those converting or wanting to strengthen their faith, and other roles which involve speaking engagements.

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