Una Voce Des Moines

Promoting the Traditional Latin Mass in Central Iowa

Denis McNamara comes to Des Moines

Una Voce Des Moines is pleased to welcome Dr. Denis McNamara to Des Moines! In conjunction with the Catholic Culture Lecture Series, McNamara will be speaking on Saturday, March 23 @ 7pm at St. Augustin, but will visit with the Una Voce Des Moines group on Sunday, March 24th at St. Anthony’s and give a talk entitled: “Church Architecture and the Liturgical Movement: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century”.

The TLM at St. Anthony’s has been moved (for one week only!) to 9:30am, so McNamara’s talk will take place afterwards, around 11am. It will be a Solemn High Mass.

Lunch will be provided. Free will offering is encouraged.

All are encouraged to attend, but there won’t be childcare available, so please make arrangements so that children are respectful of the presentation.

Questions or to RSVP: info@UnaVoceDSM.org.


Inject Some New Life into your Faith in the New Year

Inject Some New Life into your Faith in the New Year
by Andy Milam

(Most of the content of this article was taken from here.)

Since the allowance of the vernacular in the Mass following Vatican II, the idea of people having their own Roman Missal or hand missal has fallen into relative obscurity. The erroneous thinking that the Roman Missal was simply there to help one follow the Latin has, sadly, resulted in a temporal and eternal disconnect with the liturgical and spiritual heartbeat of the Church. The liturgical year of the Catholic Church is far more than an arbitrary collection of feasts and seasons. It is a profound and soul-altering spiritual rhythm that provides a veracity as real as cosmic time. The hand missal provides us with a vital navigational tool for the spiritual reality of our Catholic faith.

Praying the Mass

“The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer.” – Pope Bl. Paul VI

When most Catholics call to mind a Roman Missal, we think of the Order of the Mass (ordo), which presents the basic liturgical structures and rhythm of worship. The ordo grants us the foundation for understanding the Holy Sacrifice of Christ and the timeless participation in His death and resurrection. When the Catholic assists at Holy Mass, he is entering into a moment where time and eternity meet. Reception of the Eucharist is a real and complete participation in Christ’s historic Sacrifice, and that deeply intimate experience with Christ in the Eucharist orients the faithful toward the glory of His eternal kingdom. It is past, present and future all coming together in the Eucharistic Banquet, which is then wrapped in prayers, Scriptures and the solemnity proper to it. In this understanding, the hand missal aids the Catholic in engaging heart and soul in the most perfect prayer more perfectly.

A Treasury of Catholic Prayers

Beyond Sunday, the Roman Missal is a wealth of wisdom that offers the individual Catholic a myriad of sacred prayers. Life is turbulent — at times a challenging path where feelings of being lost or overwhelmed are all too common. Other times, life is a resounding joy and a blessed event filled with miracles, daily needs, friends, family and the charity of Christ. For all of these circumstances, our forefathers of the faith have composed prayers to help Catholics communicate with God and express their hearts in wondrous lucidity. The Roman Missal is a tome of these wise expressions and should be an at-hand resource for any Catholic and their family.

Daily Structuring

Hopefully, most Catholics are well aware that their Catholicism cannot be isolated to one day a week — that the faith must be a habitual and daily event that colors the very expression of our lives. However, the daily discipline necessary and the proper actions to accomplish this spiritual necessity can be very difficult. The Roman Missal (hand missal) presents the structure of the liturgical year for every day of the week, offering the readings and prayers to help the individual Catholic participate in the daily expression of the divine reality of his own faith.

 The Missal and the Home Altar

Home altars are important focal points for any Catholic family striving for holiness. Often set aside in bedrooms or even closets, home altars are domestic sanctuaries that provide Catholics with a quiet place of prayer and meditation. Among the crucifix, the icons and the candles, the Roman Missal is a vital part of the home altar, as it brings into a place of family prayer the liturgical guide gifted to all Catholics by the Church.

A Personal Bond

Catholics dedicated to praying the Rosary can witness to the intimate bonds they develop with their own rosaries. Each bead in each mystery is a witness to God’s faithfulness, whether it is an answered prayer or a comfort in mourning. Each decade of the Rosary comes to be a memorial for the divine events in Christian lives. The Roman Missal is no different. Holding it in one’s hand each week at Mass, turning to its prayers in times of need, and having it serve as a spiritual guide is likewise a divine bonding experience. In time, as with the rosary, the pages and prayers begin to call to mind the divine actions the Christian has witnessed, and grant him the endurance and joy to live the good life.

Proper of Saints

The People of God in this age are not the first — or last — ones to strive after a life of holiness. The hand missal can be a constant source of spiritual direction, and the proper of the saints serves to reinforce that reality through brief accounts of their lives and enriching prayers related to each. The study of Catholic forefathers, the celebration of their fidelity, and the acceptance of their present reality and intercession all serve to bind together the family of God. As the Church militant, the faithful must look back to the lives of the Church triumphant and look forward to receiving the eternal prize they now embrace.

Ritual, Votive and Requiem Masses

The Roman Missal also includes special Masses and rituals for various occasions. Votive Masses and Masses for the dead are unique circumstances in the Catholic life, circumstances that can be difficult for many families. Again, like the rosary, having in one’s hand the Roman Missal that has consistently been a source of guidance and comfort is invaluable in the most arduous of times.

A Question

Are you looking to draw closer to the heartbeat of the Church? The Roman Missal or hand missal will provide you with blessings for decades to come. If you have never owned one, the new year provides a great opportunity to make a purchase. And if you have an old one, it’s a perfect time to update. Which one?  The first, I own, which is from Angelus Press.  The second is a very faithful expression from Baronius Press.

Regardless of what you choose, the ownership of a hand missal is a wonderful way to grow closer to the Sacrifice of Calvary re-presented at the altar.  Practically, once you make the decision and get used to praying along with the priest, you will always have a way to follow the ordinaries and the propers of the Mass, regardless of whether a church has permanent hymnals or uses missalettes.

The Importance of Listening as Participatio Actuosa

The Importance of Listening as Participatio Actuosa
by Andy Milam

In continuing my exploration of participatio actuosa (see parts one and two), there is an importance placed upon listening and understanding the internal action of the human person as it relates to worship at Holy Mass.  In my first blog in the series, I made the following observation:

The most demanding of human actions is that of listening. It requires strict attention and summons up in a person his total constructive effort.  It is possible to sing, especially a very familiar tune, and not be conscious of actually singing. However, one cannot truly listen without attention to that which he is hearing. Especially in our day of media attention, whether it be radio, television or social media, we are able to tune out almost every sound we wish. To listen attentively demands full, conscious and active human concentration. Listening can be the most active form of participation, demanding full effort and attention.

The Church does not have the entire congregation proclaim the gospel text, but rather the deacon or the priest does it. It is the duty of all to listen. The cannon of the Mass is not to be recited by everyone but all are to hear it. Listening is the most important form of active participation.  This is why it is often referred to as “hearing Mass.”

The concept of active listening has been promoted for centuries within the Church, however, since the time of Vatican Council II, it has taken a new distinction.  One which seems to be overlooked in favor of doing.  So much so that some of the leaders in the Church today have coined a new phrase, “doing the Liturgy.”  Not only is it a clunky expression of the English language, it is also very vague.  If the faithful and those leaders would take to heart what some of the Popes of recent memory have suggested, as opposed to imposing their own version, there may be a more intimate relationship between the worshipper and the worship at Holy Mass.  In turn, this could stop the lamenting of those same leaders that there is a “flight” away from the Church.

Pope Francis has said:

A synodal church is a listening church, knowing that listening “is more than feeling.” It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. Faithful people, the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Rome: we are one in listening to others; and all are listening to the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:17), to know what the Spirit “is saying to the Churches” (Rev 2:7).

The Holy Father was speaking to the Synod of Bishops, but it applies equally to all Catholics.  There has to be mutual listening.  This active listening, which is how Catholics commune with the Holy Spirit, is how they worship.  The faithful shouldn’t look to find their completion in ministering, for that is not their role.  Their role is to worship God the Father.  To minister is a specific calling within the Church.  It is not something the Catholic person should seek out or expect.  It isn’t a right, it is a need.  That is why those actions are extraordinary.  Those actions, while good in and of themselves, are a distraction to the active listening which the Holy Spirit is calling all men to do.  That is why a vocation to minister is rare, but necessary.  It is also the reason why a priest gives up a family, so that he can devote himself to the actions which would otherwise divide his time, unfairly.  It is a unique and special calling to devote one’s life to the harmony of participatio activa and participatio actuosa.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI taught us this:

We should be clearly aware that external actions are quite secondary here. Do­ing really must stop when we come to the heart of the matter: the oratio. It must be plainly evident that the oratio is the heart of the matter, but that it is important precisely because it provides a space for the actio of God. Anyone who grasps this will easily see that it is not now a mat­ter of looking at or toward the priest, but of looking
to­gether toward the Lord and going out to meet him. The almost theatrical entrance of different players into the lit­urgy, which is so common today, especially during the Preparation of the Gifts, quite simply misses the point. If the various external actions (as a matter of fact, there are not very many of them, though they are being
arti­ficially multiplied) become the essential in the liturgy, if the

liturgy degenerates into general activity, then we have radically misunderstood the “theo-drama” of the liturgy and lapsed almost into parody.  (The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p. 170)

Benedict XVI goes on to say:

I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us. But when the community of faith, the world-wide unity of the Church and her history, and the mystery of the living Christ are no longer visible in the liturgy, where else, then, is the Church to become visible in her spiritual essence? Then the community is celebrating only itself, an activity that is utterly fruitless. And, because the ecclesial community cannot have its origin from itself but emerges as a unity only from the Lord, through faith, such circumstances will inexorably result in a disintegration into sectarian parties of all kinds – partisan opposition within a Church tearing herself apart. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council. (Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 (SF, CA: Ignatius), p. 149.)

This concept of the finding the real heritage of Vatican Council II and the New Liturgical Movement is paramount.  It is, quite simply, the most important work of our time.  The purpose of this article will be to challenge the reader to look at the Mass and at Catholicism in a different light.  Not as a “doer,” but as a worshipper.  Catholics are called heroic virtue, but not heroism when it comes to actions.

Full, conscious and active participation in the Liturgy isn’t heroic because the Catholic ministers; but rather because he worships God the Father, through God the Son, by the power of God the Holy Spirit.

2019 Una Voce DSM Liturgical Calendar

Friends, we have a personalized 2019 liturgical calendar!

Thanks to excellent photos of Lisa Bourne and Jose Vitteri — as well as Jose’s graphic design skills! — we have a 2019 Liturgical Calendar just in time for Christmas shopping!

The unique 12″ x 12″, card stock calendar contains high quality images of Traditional Masses celebrated at St. Anthony’s and the Basilica of St. John by Msgr. Chiodo, Fr. Cassian, and Fr. Ripperger.

Here are some images:

Each day as indications for the liturgical calendar in both Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms, as well as abstinence or fast symbols.  Note that under each day of the week there is an theme which is traditionally observed.


There’s an entire page on spiritual fasting and the symbols that each day indicate.

Yes, friends, it looks like this:

Proceeds benefit Una Voce Des Moines and the continued promotion of the Traditional Mass throughout Central Iowa.  Be sure to share with your friends and family, but order quickly as Christmas is in a few weeks and we have a limited supply!

Calendars are $20 a piece

Can be purchased through PayPal or
make a check payable to “Una Voce Des Moines” or
give us a check at Sunday Mass.

For more information, email Bryan @ info@unavocedsm.org or call/text 812.686.6102.


The Importance of Baptism in our Active Participation

The Importance of Baptism in our Active Participation
by Andy Milam

In my most recent article, I posited the following:

The difference between participation in the liturgy that can be called activa and participation that can be labeled actuosa rests in the characteristics of baptism.  It is this very sacramental seal that grants one the right to participate. Without the baptismal mark, any action we conduct at Mass, singing, walking, kneeling or anything else can be termed “active,” but they do not constitute participatio actuosa. Only through the sacrament of baptism can any action be truly participatory.

The early Church saw baptism as a real participation in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.  This translates directly into the liturgical action of the Mass, as it is the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary. In the Apostolic Constitutions (late AD 4th century), we find a prayer for the blessing of water so that the baptized person may be crucified with Christ:

Sanctify this water so that those who are baptized may be crucified with Christ, die with him, be buried with him, and rise again for adoption.

St. Gregory Nazianzen expresses something similar:

We are buried with Christ in baptism so we may rise again with him.

St. Cyril sees the three immersions as a symbol of the three days of the Paschal Triduum and therefore, through his immersion, the Catholic is plunged into Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. In responding to those who hold that baptism only forgives sin and procures divine adoption, but is not a participation in the sufferings of Christ, St. Cyril maintains:

We well know that not merely does [baptism] cleanse sin and bestow on us the gift of the Holy Spirit, it is also the sign of Christ’s suffering…. So in order that we may realize that Christ endured all his sufferings for us and our salvation actually, and not in make believe, and that we share in his pains.

It is understanding the link between the early Fathers, Sts. Gregory and Cryil which bring us to understand the sheer importance that the sacrament of baptism plays in the Catholic’s life.  He is bound to the Church in a way which is wholly and completely unique. He is literally changed.  The sharing in the passion, death, and resurrection allow for the Catholic Christian to actually participate in what Pope Pius XI called the source and summit of our faith.  The liturgical action extends beyond the Mass insofar as it imbibes the faithful.  It is a way for Catholics to commune with God the Father in a way that is so intimate, is so open, is so awesome that it is very hard to compare.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ. (CCC #1275)

One cannot completely share in the Eucharistic banquet unless he is baptized.  And it is through baptism and with the Eucharist that we come to fully, consciously, and actively participate in the liturgical action.

In closing, Benedict XVI said in 2010:

With Baptism, [new Christians] become sharers in Christ’s death and Resurrection, they begin with him the joyful and exulting adventure of his disciples. The Liturgy presents it as an experience of light. In fact, in giving to each one the candle lit from the Easter candle, the Church says: “Receive the light of Christ!”

NLM Interview His Excellency, +Bishop Sample

We try to post wonderful content promoting the beauty and richness of the Traditional Latin Mass, and I have personal ties to both Peter and Julian Kwasniewski, so this article is fitting for our Una Voce DSM group.

It was taken from the NLM blog back in early October.


NLM is pleased to present the following transcription of an interview conducted by Julian Kwasniewski with the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland, in connection with the Sacred Liturgy Conference in Salem, Oregon, June 27–30, 2018. Much of what his Excellency says is highly pertinent to the Youth Synod taking place at the Vatican this month. This interview is published here for the first time.

Julian Kwasniewski: First off, I just have to say thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Archbishop Sample: I want to encourage you young people, and especially young people who are serious about their faith and about the sacred liturgy. I want to do everything I can to encourage you.

JK: The first question I want to start with is very simple. What is a priest?

AS: It is a simple question and it might strike someone as kind of an odd question — we all “know” what a priest is because we see them. But do we really understand who the priest is?

I think over time, perhaps particularly since the Council, there has been a reduction, if you will, in people’s understanding of the nature of the priesthood and its place within the Church. A lot of people have come to see the priest as what he does. The focus is what the priest does. Even that has changed a lot, but I think the average person might say the priest celebrates Mass, he hears confessions, he supervises the parish, he administers things. They see his functions; they don’t see his identity. That is key: his priestly identity. Who is he? It’s not so much what he does; it’s who he is, because everything he does flows from who he is.

So who is he? He is a man chosen by God, called to this order and through the sacrament of Holy Orders, through the laying on of hands and the prayer of the church; he is sacramentally configured to Christ the High Priest. There is that an ontological change that takes place in him, change on the very level of his being. He becomes something new, since his soul is forever marked with the character of the priesthood, so that he can minister in the Church in the person of Christ the head, in persona Christi capitis. So there is a close identification between the ordained priest and the High Priest, Jesus Christ; he is called to be an alter Christus, another Christ. All Christians are by our baptism called to be other Christs, but the priest in a particular way represents Christ in the Catholic Church.

He participates in the tria munera, the threefold office of Jesus Christ, as Priest, Prophet, and King. The priest is ordained to teach, to sanctify, and to rule or govern God’s people in the name and person of Christ. He is to teach the doctrine of the Church, always according to the mind of the Church and in harmony with the magisterium. He is a sanctifier; he is the one who sanctifies God’s people, especially through the sacraments, and most especially through the celebration of Holy Mass and the hearing of Confession. He is a shepherd, the guide of the community, he points the way to eternal life.

If we understand who the priest is in this sense — the sense in which the Church understands who the priest is — then we see that all the functions that he does and all the things he does flow from this essential identity.

To finish reading the interview, click here.

Participatio Activa & Participatio Actuosa

Participatio Activa & Participatio Actuosa
by Andy Milam

In 1987, my mentor Monsignor Richard Schuler wrote regarding full, conscious and active participation.  This was one of the very first principles that he would teach when speaking catechetically about the liturgical action and how man relates to it.  This was the very first principle that he taught me.  Over time, I will be expanding this principle; writing  about how we can enhance our participation in the liturgical action and how this can be applied to everyday assistance at Holy Mass.

The following are the words of Monsignor Richard J. Schuler:

With the constitution on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council, everyone became very conscious of personal participation in the sacred liturgy, particularly in the Mass.

But active participation in in the liturgy was not a concept created by the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, even the very words actuosa participatio can be found in the writings of the popes for the past one hundred years. Pope Pius X called for it in his motu proprio, Tra le sollecitudini, published in 1903, when he said that “the faithful assemble to draw that spirit from its primary and indispensable source, that is, from active participation in the sacred mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church.”


The Mass of its nature requires that all those present participate in it, in the fashion proper to each.

This participation must primarily be interior (i.e., union with Christ the Priest; offering with and through Him).

  1. b) But the participation of those present becomes fuller (plenior) if to internal attention is joined external participation, expressed, that is to say, by external actions such as the position of the body (genuflecting, standing, sitting), ceremonial gestures, or, in particular, the responses, prayers and singing . . .

It is this harmonious form of participation that is referred to in pontifical documents when they speak of active participation (participatio actuosa), the principal example of which is found in the celebrating priest and his ministers who, with due interior devotion and exact observance of the rubrics and ceremonies, minister at the altar.


It is made clear that it is baptismal character that forms the foundation of active participation.

Vatican II introduced no radical alteration in the concept of participatio actuosa as fostered by the popes for the past decades. The general principle is contained in Article 14 of the constitution on the sacred liturgy:

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in the ceremonies which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy.

Such participation by the Christian people as a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people” (I Pet. 2:9; 2:4-5) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true spirit of Christ . . .


A true grasp of the meaning of participation in the liturgy demands a clear understanding of the nature of the Church and above all of Christ Himself. At the basis of so much of today’s problems in liturgy lies a false notion of Christology and ecclesiology. Christ, the incarnate Word of God, true God and true Man, lives on in this world now. “I will be with you all days until the end of the world.” Even though He has arisen and ascended into heaven, He lives with us. The Church is His mystical Body, indeed His mystical Person. We are the members of that Body. Its activity, the activity of the Church, is the activity of Christ, its Head. The hierarchical priesthood functions in the very person of Christ, doing His work of teaching, ruling and sanctifying. Thus the Mass and the sacraments are Christ’s actions bringing to all the members of His Body, the Church, the very life that is in its Head. Participation in that life demands that every member of the Body take part in that action, which is primarily the liturgical activity of the Church. The liturgy is the primary source of that divine life, and thus all must be joined to it in an active way. Baptism is the key that opens the door and permits one to become part of the living Body of Christ. The baptized Christian has not only a right to participation in the Church’s life but a duty as well. It is only the baptized person who can participate.

The difference between participation in the liturgy that can be called activa and participation that can be labeled actuosa rests in the characteristics of baptism.  It is this very sacramental seal that grants one the right to participate. Without the baptismal mark, any action we conduct at Mass, singing, walking, kneeling or anything else can be termed “active,” but they do not constitute participatio actuosa. Only through the sacrament of baptism can any action be truly participatory. Let’s say that a pious Jew attends Mass, takes part in the singing and even walks in a procession with great piety. In the same church is also a Catholic who is blind, deaf, dumb, and isn’t able to leave his chair; he can neither sing nor hear the readings nor walk in the procession. Which one has truly and actually participated, the one who is very active, or the one who has confined himself solely to his thoughts of adoration? Obviously, it is the baptized Catholic who has exercised participatio actuosa despite his lack of external, physical movement. The Jew even with his many actions has not been capable of it, since he lacks the baptismal characteristic which is the topic of discussion.

Through the necessity of baptism, it still is imperative for the Catholic Christian to take part in the liturgy actively by a variety of interior and exterior actions. This means that the internal actuosa participatio, which the indelible mark of baptism empowers, must be aided by those external actions of which he is capable. He should do those things that the Church sets out for him according to his role in the liturgy and the various conditions that age, social position and cultural background dictate. He must join participatio activa to his participatio actuosa which he exercises as a baptized Catholic.  In other words, his outward actions should first and foremost be illumined by his internal action.

What are those actions that make for true active and actual participation in the liturgy? They must be both internal and external in quality and quantity, since man is a rational creature with body and soul.  The Church proposes many bodily positions: kneeling, standing, walking, sitting, etc. She likewise proposes many human actions: singing, speaking, listening and above all else, the reception of the Holy Eucharist, when properly disposed. They demand internal attention as well as external execution.  The first thought should not be as a formal or extraordinary minister, but rather as one who joins in worship to God, the Father.  It is our first right, above all other to assist at Holy Mass and give all glory and honor to God.

The most demanding of human actions is that of listening. It requires strict attention and summons up in a person his total constructive effort.  It is possible to sing, especially a very familiar tune, and not be conscious of actually singing. However, one cannot truly listen without attention to that which he is hearing. Especially in our day of media attention, whether it be radio, television or social media, we are able to tune out almost every sound we wish. To listen attentively demands full, conscious and active human concentration. Listening can be the most active form of participation, demanding full effort and attention.

The Church does not have the entire congregation proclaim the gospel text, but rather the deacon or the priest does it. It is the duty of all to listen. The canon of the Mass is not to be recited by everyone, but all are to hear it. Listening is the most important form of active participation.  This is why it is often referred to as “hearing Mass.”

There is a variety of roles to be observed in the public celebration of the liturgy. There is the role of the bishop, priest, deacon (and sub-deacon), acolyte, lay reader, cantor, choir/schola, and congregation, among others; because each office has its own purpose and its own manner of acting we have the basic reason for a distinction of roles. If the lay reader or the cantor is to read and/or sing, certainly the role of the others is to listen. If the choir is to sing, someone must listen and in so-doing participate actively in the liturgy, even if during the period of listening he is relatively inactive in a physical way.

During each period of history, since Christ founded His Church, mankind has participated in the liturgy through baptism, all as members of the Church and part of the mystical body of Christ. Every Catholic Christian has shared in the right and duty of actuosa participatio. If, as Pius X insists, the liturgy is the primary source of the Christian life, then everyone must take part in it to attain salvation. Active participation is not an innovation of our day; the Church in her wisdom has consistently shared the life of Christ with her members in the Mass and the sacraments, the very actions of Christ Himself working through His Church and His priesthood.  It cannot be said that because the medieval period developed a chant that was largely the possession of monastic choirs, the congregations who listened were not actively participating. Perhaps not according to post-Vatican II standards, but one must carefully avoid the error of judging the past by the present and applying to former times criteria that seem valuable in our own times.  The truths of the Church are timeless.  Just as Palestrina’s polyphonic Masses require the singing of trained choirs, can one assume that non-choir members in the renaissance period were deprived of an active participation in the liturgy? No, of course not. The sixteenth-century baptized Catholic did participate through listening along with other activites, as no doubt an eighteenth-century Catholic did when he heard a Mozart Mass performed by a choir and orchestra.  The twenty-first century Catholic participates in the same way.  Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus said:

We are realizing more and more clearly that silence is part of the liturgy. We respond, by singing and praying, to the God who addresses us, but the greater mystery, surpassing all words, summons us to silence. It must, of course, be a silence with content, not just the absence of speech and action. We should expect the liturgy to give us a positive stillness that will restore us. […] One of man’s deepest needs is making its presence felt, a need that is manifestly not being met in our present form of the liturgy. For silence to be fruitful, as we have already said, it must not be just a pause in the action of the liturgy. No, it must be an integral part of the liturgical event. [The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p. 209]


A very important aspect of the liturgy is the elevation of the spirit of the faithful who worships. At the end of the day, liturgy is the public prayer of the Church, the most visible act of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and reparation.  It is offered to God the Father, through God the Son (as an unbloody memorial of that self same bloody sacrifice on Calvary once and for all), by the power of the Holy Spirit; and as such, produces true actuosa participatio. Thus beauty, whether it appeals to the sight, the ear, the imagination or any of the senses, is an important element in achieving participation. The grand and beautiful splendor of a great church or the sound of awe inspiring music, or the solemnity of the ceremonial movement by ministers clothed in precious vestments, or the beauty of the proclaimed Word and words of the Mass, all can effect a true and salutary participation in one who himself has not sung a note or taken a step. But he is not a mere spectator as some would say, in the post-Vatican Council II era; he is actively participating because of his baptismal character and the grace stirred up in him by what he is seeing and hearing, thinking and praying.

We can conclude with this definition of participatio actuosa:

(It is) that form of devout involvement in the liturgical action which, in the present conditions of the Church, best promotes the exercise of the common priesthood of the baptized: that is, their power to offer the sacrifice of the Mass with Christ and to receive the sacraments. It is clear that, concretely, this requires that the faithful understand the liturgical ceremonial; that they take part in it by bodily movements, standing, kneeling or sitting as the occasion may demand; that they join vocally in the parts which are intended for them. It also requires that they listen to, and understand, the Liturgy of the Word. It requires, too, that there be moments of silence when the import of the whole ceremonial may be absorbed and deeply personalized. (Colman E. O’Neill, “The Theological Meaning of Actuosa Participatio in the Liturgy,” in Sacred Music and Liturgy Reform after Vatican II. Consociatio Internationalis Musicae Sacrae, Rome, 1969. p. 105.)


Link between the Traditional Mass & Vocations?

In a recent article over at “The Liturgy Guy”, he posted a beautiful reflection from a priest of Norwalk, CT.  While he contrasts the number of vocations from young men attending Traditional liturgies with those attending the Novus Ordo, the reason we post this here is to emphasize the trajectory of Traditional Vocations, and the role the Traditional Mass has in those vocations in general.

He says he’s been doing some research on vocations, and it would be neat to see those results.

Below is the article, which is taken from here.

The following guest post was written by frequent contributor Fr. Donald Kloster, parochial vicar at St. Mary’s in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

I’ve been mulling over many questions lately that pertain to the families of those who enter a Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) vocation to the Priesthood and/or Religious life. A related query is how well the Traditional Latin Mass retains those children now being brought up within the Traditional Latin Mass since their early childhood or at least from the time of their earliest memories.

My experience with those raised in the Latin Mass prior to the Second Vatican Council tells me that the knowledge and retention of the faith is promoted by the Vetus Ordo.  My Novus Ordo observations tell me that it leaks faithful like a faulty gasket of an engine leaks oil.

The Novus Ordo culture has produced a plethora of faithful who know very little about their faith despite a myriad of “new” catechetical gimmicks. The Rite of the Mass cannot but help to nourish the soul in the degrees of fidelity to the Apostolic praxis.  We are the result of the Mass we pray. In the Novus Ordo, the engine still runs, but it runs at a diminished capacity because of a minimalist design.

My priest friends who don’t say the TLM are almost single minded in their rebuttal of my conclusion. They insist that it’s all about the families in which people are raised.  Wrong.  On both sides of the argument, either one can point to families that were fairly exemplary but their children don’t practice the faith once they leave home.  Or, as I’ve come across, many others whose parents did not practice the Faith regularly and now their children have chosen to do so as adults on their own.

I’ve lived in 11 different US Dioceses and lived on three continents. Perhaps that speaks less in my favor as it pertains to my being bounced around as I was!  Anecdotes can only be dismissed if the sample size of the given observation is small and fairly isolated. My sample size is quite large.  Sometimes anecdotal occurrences are repeated so often that the conclusion should not be dismissed; that is as it pertains to reasonable thinking.

I’ve been involved in TLM circles for 28 years and have said the Traditional Mass for 20 years. I am, however, a product of the Novus Ordo. I never even saw a TLM until I was 24 years old. I went to the Seminary and was ordained as a Novus Ordo priest. My first TLM was as a 3 year ordained priest in 1998. I have no dog in this fight.  Really, when I began to say the TLM I thought it was just for the good of my priestly spirituality. I never thought the TLM would catch on again in any wider scope; ever.

This past year, I have been doing a National Study on the TLM only parishes in the USA. Currently, there are around 70 of these but they are exploding in numbers with each passing year because the TLM priestly vocations are outpacing Novus Ordo priestly vocations by more than 7 to 1. My preliminary numbers are exceeding my initial expectations.

There is a huge wave transforming the Catholic landscape and it is largely being ignored by the Catholic leadership.  I can now say what I suspected last year. The Novus Ordo is dying and it will be replaced by the Vetus Ordo sooner than anyone had foreseen, but certainly by 2050 the TLM will be the dominant liturgical practice once again.

My instincts tell me that 30-50% of the current vocations coming from the Traditional Latin Mass were not raised in it. Next year, I’ll try to test that feeling with the aforementioned study. A great number of the young men and women entering the TLM orders discovered it themselves; it wasn’t their family upbringing. My belief is that the Ancient Mass is the vocations catalyst and not the family per se.

One can certainly find a vocation as a Novus Ordo attendee, but all of the evidence suggests that many, many more are found as a TLM attendee. One huge proof is the precipitous vocations drop off after the Council and the abandoning of the 1962 Missal. The other proof is that vocations continue to rocket up in 2018 in the TLM and have leveled off at a very much lower level in the Novus Ordo seminaries and convents using the 1970 Missal. The Novus Ordo closed convents and seminaries will never reach their previous levels because there is no upward trend; not even in the same ballpark.  Remember, all Catholics live in the same society and we all have similar temptations and spiritual obstacles to overcome.  “By their fruit ye shall know them” (Mt. 7:16).

Finally, let’s be clear. This article is not intended to disparage anyone. Not one of us should cling to anything that is passing away. There is no reason to put your faith in something in order to win an argument or simply because at one time you thought things would improve with the Novus Ordo. Instead, things got much worse.

At the dawn of the promulgation of the Novus Ordo, we bled a big majority of Mass attending Catholics. No one asked them what they preferred. No one gave them any options. If they had been asked and/or allowed to attend the Mass of the Ages, the Novus Ordo would not have supplanted the formative Mass of every canonized saint to date.

Now bishops often repeat the stale quoted refrain, “almost no one wants the TLM.” Why do they suddenly care what the proverbial “people” want? They didn’t care back in 1970 when almost none of the faithful wanted a vernacular Mass. It’s true the Church is not a democracy.  She is a theocracy and God will have His way! Everything is coming back full circle and I have a lot of buried relatives and friends who, if living today, would be overjoyed.

To Revel in the Beauty of the Church

To Revel in the Beauty of the Church
by Andy Milam

Recently, Raymond Cardinal Burke made the following statement:

“The beauty of the Sacred Liturgy is given concrete expression by means of the objects and the gestures of which the person – a unity of soul and body – has need in order to be raised to the realities of faith which transcend the visible world. This means that sacred architecture and sacred art, including the sacred appointments, the vestments, the vessels and linens, must be of such a quality that they can express and communicate the beauty and the majesty of the liturgy as the action of Christ among us, uniting heaven and earth.” 

His Eminence went on to say:

“According to the rationalistic thought which has strongly influenced contemporary western culture, beauty has been stripped of its metaphysical meaning. It has been ‘liberated’ from the order of being and has been reduced to an aesthetic experience or even to something sentimental. The disastrous consequences of this revolution are not limited to the world of art. Precisely because we have lost beauty, we have also lost goodness and truth.”

There is so much hope for the future of reform (restoration) of the Sacred Liturgy! Look at these quotes from a message sent to the conference by His Eminence Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:

“When the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked me to accept the ministry of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, I asked: ‘Your Holiness, how do you want me to exercise this ministry? What do you want me to do as Prefect of this Congregation?’ The Holy Father’s reply was clear. ‘I want you to continue to implement the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council,’ he said, ‘and I want you to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI.’” (emphasis added)

He then goes on to highlight two areas which he sees as of special importance.

“The first is by being utterly clear what Catholic liturgy is: it is the worship of Almighty God, the place where mankind encounters God alive and at work in His Church today. … The liturgy is not some social occasion where we come first, where what is important is that we express our identity.… The Church’s liturgy is given to us in tradition – it is not for us to make up the rites we celebrate, or to change them to suit ourselves or our own ideas beyond the legitimate options permitted by the liturgical books… ”

The second area is in the promotion of sound liturgical formation. The Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy went so far as to say that ‘it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing’ the liturgical renewal it desired ‘unless the pastors themselves … become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy, and undertake to give instruction about it.’

The Mass is supposed to be a source of comfort and solace.  It is by the very power of the Holy Spirit that we come to understand what is really behind the liturgy.  Just as Christ exposed the Apostles to it on Holy Thursday and ratified it on Good Friday, we are able to witness that same truth, in an unbloody way, every time we assist at Mass.

Fr. Thomas Kocik adds to this thought…

“The phrase ‘reform of the reform’ gained currency in the 1990s as a result of Cardinal Ratzinger’s critique of what went wrong (and what went right) with the liturgical reform pursuant to Vatican Council II … Justice to Sacrosanctum Concilium and to the Church’s liturgical heritage demands such criticism, at the very least. That is the basis on which to consider the merits of a liturgical ‘reform of the reform’ …

I am optimistic, overall, because the mood in the year 2015 about liturgical renewal and its post-Vatican II success differs from that of the 1970s and ’80s. Thanks in no small part to the longstanding and well known views of Benedict XVI on liturgy, postconciliar liturgical reform has been reconfigured by a new theological and ecclesial climate. This signals some hope that the official “reform of the reform” may, in God’s good time, come to pass (even if it goes by another name or no name at all), thus ending a long period of tragic liturgical polarization.”

Fr. Kocik’s words are very poignant, as are the two cardinals.  The message is consistent and the message is clear, from the top down.  We must guard the sacred treasury of the liturgical action.  We must not give in to our emotions and our own whims, but rather we must do that which the Church asks of each of us.  “Art and Environment” as defined in 1978 is not what the Church intended.  No friends, the Church was clear in her message from Vatican Council II.  Do what the Church intends, not what the individual intends.  This is never more clear than in the paragraph from Sacrosanctum Concilium no. 22.

It reads,

“Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.

Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.”

The last sentence is the kingpin.  We don’t have the authority to innovate.  Do what the Church asks.  The Pope is the first legislator of the law of the Church, therefore, the reforms that Pope Emeritus Benedict enacted are in keeping with the authentic spirit of Vatican Council II.  And it is ratified by both Pope Francis and Cardinal Sarah.  Frivolous and unnecessary actions should be avoided and we should strive to return to the the notion of noble simplicity.  Holy Mass is not a place for experimentation or deviation from the norm.  We should revel in the beauty that the Church offers us, by her timeless treasure.

Benedict XVI says in his memoirs, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977,

“A renewal of liturgical awareness, a liturgical reconciliation that again recognizes the unity of the history and that understands Vatican II, not as a breach, but as a stage of development: these things are urgently needed for the life of the Church.  I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: in that it is a matter of indifference whether God or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us.”

This is the mentality of today.  We do not live in 1970s and 80s any longer.  We live in a time in which we must not be influenced by the immediate reaction to the loosening of the liturgy, for as we see, this never was the case.  Then-Cardinal Ratzinger was ahead of his time, at odds with the proponents of “Art and Environment” and called for a renewal, not a reworking.

And that is the mentality with which we should approach Holy Mass.  Not an exaggerated sense of the surroundings, but a noble simplicity of form and function which extols the beauty of the Mass from all time.

Any other activity is purely ancillary to this primary purpose. That so many Catholics emphasize external actions — rather than interior union with the Eucharistic sacrifice — as the essence of participation, is in Benedict’s view a sign that “liturgical education today, of both priests and laity, is deficient to a deplorable extent.”  We must orient our minds and actions to God.  In doing so, we should look to that which is the most beautiful thing we can give, whether it be precious vestments, or beautiful vessels, or the most appropriate singing.

For as Benedict XVI taught in The Spirit of the Liturgy,

“The uniqueness of the eucharistic liturgy lies precisely in the fact that God himself is acting and that we are drawn into that action of God.”

Andy Milam is the Coordinator of Public Relations, Marketing, Fundraising and Tourism at the ‎Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption, an active member of the Knights of Columbus, and the Liturgical Coordinator for Una Voce Des Moines.

Ember Days: The Four Seasons Fast

The ember days – Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday – were prescribed for the Church by Pope Gregory VII as days of prayer and fasting for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.  (See  “The Catholic Encyclopedia“)

Ember Days occur four times a year, corresponding to the four seasons.  The winter Ember Days occur on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday following the Feast of St. Lucy on December 13.  The Spring Ember Days follow Ash Wednesday.  The Fall Ember Days follow the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross on September 14.  The Summer Ember Days follow Pentecost.

These dates are given in the following Latin mnemonic:

          Dant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
          Ut sit in angariâ quarta sequens feria

Or in an old English rhyme

“Fasting days and Emberings be
Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie.”

Jacobus de Voragine tells us that we fast on Ember Days in part to atone for faults that correspond to the character of the seasons:

“Spring is warm and humid, summer hot and dry, autumn cool and dry, winter cold and wet.  Therefore we fast in the spring to control the harmful fluid of voluptuousness in us; in summer, to allay the noxious heat of avarice; in autumn, to temper the aridity of pride; in winter, to overcome the coldness of malice and lack of faith.”  Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend.  

The Code of Canon Law of 1983 no longer requires the observance of the Ember Days fast, and the reform of the Roman Calendar in 1969 left them to the discretion of local ordinaries.  Nevertheless, personal observance of Ember Days in Catholic homes, especially in an agricultural state like Iowa, helps to connect us with the rich liturgical tradition of the Church.

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