Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ad Orientem

Appearances in the photo to the contrary notwithstanding, it's not actually the traditional Roman Rite. It's a Novus Ordo Missæ, uh, "usage" I suppose is the right word. These are the Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. They are a separate Order but are affiliated with the Ancient Observance Carmelites.

They describe their liturgical practice this way:

The glorification of God in the liturgy is of great importance to us, for the liturgy is the source and summit of the spiritual life. In the liturgy, the mysteries of Christ’s Death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven are renewed and made present. The liturgy is, in fact, a foretaste of the celestial worship of the heavenly Jerusalem.

The Order of Carmel once possessed its own liturgical Rite, called the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre. Similar to the Roman Rite in many respects, it contained a number of its own proper feasts, hymns, prayers and ceremonies. This Rite was in use among Latin Christians of the Holy Land during the Middle Ages, including our Carmelite forefathers who dwelt on Mount Carmel. They brought the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre back to Western Europe when they were forced to leave Mount Carmel. It became their liturgical Rite and remained in use throughout the Order until our present century.

For the past fifteen years we have been studying the Carmelite Rite. With permission from our Father General, we are able to use some elements of the Rite while we await fuller approbation.

We have been researching the history of the Rite: its prayers, hymns and ceremonies, and translating liturgical texts into English. We foresee that certain elements of the Rite would need to be adapted in order to ensure that it
will nourish the spiritual life of those who use it. At the same time we wish to preserve the riches of the Rite.

Our liturgy is sung very simply on ferial days (weekdays). On Sundays and feast days it is celebrated more solemnly with the use of Gregorian Chant. Conventual Mass is celebrated daily and all the hours of the Divine Office are prayed by the community. The major hours are celebrated communally, while the other hours are offered by each hermit in the solitude of his hermitage.

You'll find their website here.

Meanwhile, these Carmelite Hermits in Wyoming are said to be doing the old Carmelite Rite of the Liturgy of the Holy Sepulchre straight without adaptation and in Latin.

Good news altogether.