The Extraordinary Form at Franciscan

The Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is offered regularly on campus here at Franciscan University of Steubenville. See dates and times within the full schedule of Mass times.

Statement of Purpose for Serving the Extraordinary Form

“The Supreme Pontiffs have to this day shown constant concern that the Church of Christ should offer worthy worship to the Divine Majesty, ‘for the praise and glory of his name’ and ‘the good of all his holy Church.’”

With these words Pope Benedict XVI began Summorum Pontificum, his motu proprio which made the Missal of 1962 universally available.

In the letter he wrote to his brother bishops when he promulgated Summorum Pontificum he said, “…the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching.”

He continued,

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.  What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.  It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

In Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict decreed,

The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite.  The Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V and revised by Blessed John XXIII is nonetheless to be considered an extraordinary expression of the same lex orandi of the Church and duly honored for its venerable and ancient usage.  These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.

A full reading of both documents—neither is very long—in a prayerful spirit will help anyone to appreciate the fullness of the Church’s liturgy. They are available at the Vatican website here and here.

In our server training in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite we hold fast to Holy Mother Church in the ways She gives us to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We endeavor to learn some of the depth and breadth of the sacred liturgy so that we might gain the wisdom that has been handed down by tradition. Tradition helps us to appreciate better the unity of the Latin Rite in which there are two forms but, as Benedict XVI reminds us, “no rupture.”

Our goal is to serve at altar reverently, beautifully, subtly, and above all, prayerfully.

I assume that the meanings of “reverently,” “beautifully,” and “prayerfully” are obvious, but why do I say “subtly”?

“Subtly” means we perform our duties with simplicity and fluidity. We do not do anything that calls extra attention to ourselves. We do not do anything that would make us stand out.

If we are reverent, subtle, and prayerful we will contribute to the beauty of the liturgy by letting its inherent beauty show through us, which will in turn assist the faithful to be immersed in the Mass purely.

And service is our role—it is why we are called “servers.” Our Lord who “came to serve not to be served,” is our model. His service to humanity brought heaven to earth, and brought the salvation of the world. Our service at the altar is an opportunity and a privilege to serve the laity, the priest, and Christ in a profound way

Servers represent the people of God at the altar in our responses, our demeanor, our devotion, our love for the liturgical action. Servers no longer pray the Mass as do the faithful in the congregation, we step beyond and make our service our prayer. We serve in an active way the re-presentation of the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Death, and the Resurrection of Our Lord as time and space are swept away and those events happen in real time for us and for those assembled.

It is my privilege to train you how to serve at the altar, handing on that which was handed on to me from when I was very young—not only the rubrics and the pronunciation of the Latin, but also an appreciation and passion for the Church’s liturgy in this Extraordinary Form.

My pledge is to work with all who are dedicated to service to make you the best servers you can be, and through the process to bring you along through the various roles of service and to prepare each who is willing and dedicated to be Master of Ceremonies.

In Christ,
Thomas Crowe
Head Master of Ceremonies for the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy

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