Monday, March 9, 2009

The Ordinary Form and the liturgical hermeneutic of continuity

The Rev Father Charles Johnson, Catholic chaplain aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, currently deployed, sends us photos of the Ordinary Form, or the Paul VI Missa Cantata, liturgy offered on the Second Sunday of Lent in the ship's fo'c'sle. He apologizes for the less than ideal quality of the photos but explains that "the ship was rolling a little bit, and still is".

The arrival at the altar at the beginning of Mass.

The incensation.

The Gospel sung in the tonus ad libitum.

Father Johnson also explains that he is using new Spanish style vestments from Benedictus in Spain and that the incense was obtained by the thurifer in Dubai. He says that the large-grained frankincense just kept on "burning and burning" all through Mass, "like a fog bank" in the fo'c'sle.

Father Johnson's ministry at sea demonstrates well what can be done in every parish to bring the celebration of the ordinary form of the sacred liturgy into a more harmonic continuity with the whole of our Catholic liturgical tradition and to heal the scandal of rupture which is all too often the experience of our good Catholic people at Mass in many parishes.

Thanks to you, Father, your acolytes and crew. Fair winds and following seas!