Catechism of the Liturgy by a Religious of the Sacred Heart - Chapter 1

The Liturgy



1. What is the meaning of the word Liturgy?

Originally it meant a public duty, a service to the State, undertaken gratis by a citizen. The meaning is extended to cover general service of a public kind.

2. Where is the word first used in Scripture?

In the Septuagint it is used for the public service of the temple (Exodus xxxviii.). Thence it comes to have a religious sense as the function of the priests, the ritual service of the Temple (Joel).

3. What does the term Liturgy now include?

The whole complex order of official services, all the Rites, Ceremonies, prayers and Sacraments of the Church as opposed to private devotions.

4. How could you find out which services are Liturgical?

Those services are Liturgical which are contained in any of

the official books of a Rite: e. g., Compline is a Liturgical service, the Rosary is not.

5. In what sense is the word Liturgy used in the Greek Church ?

The Greek Church restricts it to the chief official service— the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist which in our Rite we call the Mass. When a Greek speaks of the Holy Liturgy he means only the Eucharistic service.

6. What do you mean by Liturgical Books?

The Liturgical Books are all the Books published by the authority of the Church, that contain the text and directions for her official services.

7. Name the Liturgical Books.

The Liturgical Books are: The Missal, the Pontifical, the Breviary, the Ritual, the Bishop's Ceremonial, the Memorial of Rites, and the Martyrology.

8. When was the Roman Missal first published?

The Roman Missal as we now have it, was published by St. Pius V. in 1570. It has been revised in several succeeding Pontificates, new Masses have been added according to need, but it is still that of Pius V.



9. What does the text of the Missal contain?

The first part contains the "Proper of the Season" from the first Sunday of Advent to the last after Pentecost. The proper of each Mass is given in order of the ecclesiastical year, that is the Masses of each Sunday and other days (vigils, ember days, etc.) that have a proper Mass. Certain rites not Eucharistic, but connected closely with the Mass are in their place in the Missal, such as the blessing of ashes, candles, palms; all the morning services of Holy Week (except the Vespers of Thursday and Friday). After the service of Holy Saturday the whole Ordinary of the Mass with the Canon is inserted.

10. What is the Ordinary of the Mass?

The Ordinary is that part of the Mass which does not change except for the thirteen proper Prefaces and the few changes that occur in the Canon. After the Ordinary comes Easter Day and the rest of the year in order.

11. What does the second part of the Missal contain?

It contains the Proper of Saints, that is, the feasts that occur through the year. It begins with the Vigil of St. Andrew, which generally falls at the beginning of Advent.

12. What does the third part contain?

It contains the Common Masses, that is, general Masses for Apostles, Martyrs,, etc. Masses for the dead, Supplements, i.e., a collection of Votive Masses, special Masses for certain dioceses.

13. What is the Pontifical?

The Pontifical is the Bishop's book, and contains the rites of Confirmation, Ordination, Blessing of Abbots, consecration of Churchs, Altars, Chalices, etc.

14. What is the Breviary?

The Breviary contains all the Divine Office without Chant. It is divided into four parts: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn.

15. By whom is the Divine Office said?

The Divine Office is said by all Priests and by the members of several religious orders, men and women.

16. What are the Canonical hours?

As each day has its own office, the office is divided into Hours founded on the ancient Roman divisions of the day. The night Hours are Matins and Lauds, Matins being divided into three nocturns, to correspond with the three watches of the night, and Lauds was supposed to be recited at dawn.




The Day Hours are: Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline.

17. What does the Ritual contain?

The Ritual contains all the services a priest needs beside those of the Missal and Breviary; directions for the administration of the various Sacraments, processions, funerals, exorcisms, etc.

18. What does the Ceremonial of Bishops contain?

In spite of its title it contains much matter needed by other people than Bishops. It contains general directions for Episcopal functions, and for the Bishop's attendants, full directions for everything connected with Mass, Divine Office, its chanting in Choir and the ritual belonging to it. It is an indispensable supplement to the rubrics of the Missal, Breviary, Ritual and Pontifical.

19. What is the Memorial of Rites?

The Memorial of Rites or the Little Ritual gives direction for certain rites, blessing of candles, ashes, palms, etc., in small churches where there is neither deacon nor subdeacon.

20. What is the Martyrology?

It is an enlarged calendar giving the names, and very short accounts of all saints (not martyrs only) commemorated in various places each day.

21. Name the Liturgical colors?

White, Red, Green, Violet and Black are Liturgical colors.

22. What is meant by Chant?

In the strict sense "Chant" means a melody executed by the human voice only; in a wider sense the word is taken to mean such singing even when accompanied by instruments; it may also mean instrumental music alone.

23. What is Liturgical Chant?

Liturgical Chant means Liturgical or Sacred music. Sacred music embodies four distinct, but subordinate, elements: plain chant; harmonized chant; one or other of these accompanied by organ and instruments; and organ and instruments alone.

24. What is meant by plain chant?

This name only came into use in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, it was given to the old church music to distinguish it from the "musica mensurata" which began to be developed at that time. Plain chant is synonymous with Gregorian or Roman Chant, by which is now meant not only early Church Music, but


all similar compositions written to the end of the sixteenth century and even later.

25. Why is the Roman Chant also called Gregorian?

The Roman Chant is also called Gregorian because this dignified and solemn Chant was taught and brought to perfection in a school founded by St. Gregory the Great for which he gave land and two houses. He collected into one volume, called the Anti-phonary, all that was to be sung during Mass and other church ceremonies. He wished these chants to be spread through the whole Latin Church. He is said to have himself presided at the lessons given and even to have taught the younger children himself. When they were sufficiently instructed he sent his scholars to both England and France. Two centuries later the Chants sent by Pope Adrian to Charlemagne came from this Gregorian School of Music.

26. What is meant by extra-Liturgical music?

The music which accompanies non-Liturgical functions of Catholic worship is usually and accurately styled extra-Liturgical. Music for these functions should assume as far as possible the character without the extreme severity of Liturgical music.

• 27. Which are the principal Liturgies in use in the Eastern Church in the present day?

The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in its Slavonic form, is used by the Russian church in Russia itself. It is also used in Greece and by the Bulgarians, Albanians, Ruthenians, etc., as well as by the United Greeks of the four patriarchates and some others.

28. Is this the only Liturgy used in these places?

No, the Liturgy of St. Basil is used on certain days in the year instead of that of St. Chrysostom.

29. Which are the Liturgies of the Western church?

With the exception of one or two rites, the Roman Liturgy

has universal sway.

30. Which other rites are used in the West?

The Ambrosian Liturgy is used in Milan and the Mozarabic Liturgy in Toledo in Spain.

31. What do you know of these Liturgies?

The Ambrosian Liturgy, so-called from St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan a. d. 374, is very ancient. The Milanese say it is the work of St. Barnabas, Apostle. Many attempts have been made to abolish this rite and to substitute the Roman, but to no purpose.


32. What are some of the particularities of this rite?

It allows no "Agnus Dei" except in Masses for the Dead. On Easter Sunday two Masses are prescribed, one for the newly baptized and one for the feast and throughout the whole of Lent there is no Mass on Friday.

33. What is the Mozarabic rite?

The Mozarabic rite is a survival of the Gothic Liturgy that was formerly in use throughout Spain but is now restricted to the city of Toledo only.

34. What was the Sarum rite?

The Sarum rite prevailed throughout Great Britain generally, until the reign of Queen Mary in 1560, when through the meditation of Cardinal Pole the regular Roman Liturgy was introduced.

35. How did the Sarum rite originate?

The Sarum rite was introduced by St. Osmund, Bishop of Sarum, in Wiltshire, England, in 1078, and was renowned for the magnificence of its ceremonies.

36. Which of the Religious Orders have rites of their own?

Three Religious Orders have rites of their own, namely the Carthusians, the Carmelites and the Dominicans.

37. What are some of the different kinds of Mass?

Solemn High Mass, is celebrated with deacon and subdeacon

and a number of inferior ministers. It is called "High" from the fact that the greater part is chanted in a high tone of voice.

38. What is a Missa Cantata?

A Missa Cantata or simple sung Mass is so called when there is neither deacon nor subdeacon.

39. What is a Low Mass?

A Low Mass is so called from its being said without deacon and subdeacon and without the usual marks of solemnity of a High Mass.

40. What is a conventual Mass?

A conventual Mass, strictly speaking, is that which the canons attached to a Cathedral are required to celebrate daily after the hour of Terce—that is—about 9 o'clock.

41. What is a Nuptial Mass?

A Nuptial or Bridal Mass is a special service set apart in the Missal for the Bridegroom and Bride and which has a few cere


monies peculiar to it alone. It is of very ancient origin and has the singular rite of interrupting the Canon itself after the Pater Noster to pronounce a blessing over the newly married pair.

42. What is meant by a Golden Mass?

The Golden Mass was one that used to be celebrated formerly on the Wednesday of the Quarter Tense of Advent in honor of the Mother of God. It was a solemn High Mass of the most gorgeous kind and often lasted three or four hours. The Bishop and all his canons assisted at it. At the Church of St. Guduld, in Brussels, this Mass is celebrated every year on the twenty-third of December.

43. What is a votive Mass?

A votive Mass is a Mass not in accordance with the office of the day. As every day in the year has a Mass peculiar to itself, whenever this order is broken in upon, the Mass said instead is called votive, or a Mass of devotion. Votive Masses may not be celebrated on Sundays or within the octaves of Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi nor in Holy Week. The "Gloria in Excelsis" and the Creed are omitted in votive Masses, and a commemoration is always made of the Mass of the day.

44. What exception is there in regard to the "Gloria" in votive Masses?

In the votive Mass of the Angels and in the Saturday votive Mass of Our Blessed Lady, the "Gloria in Excelsis" is allowed.

45. When is Midnight Mass allowed?

Midnight Mass is now only allowed at Christmas, but midnight Masses used to be common during times of persecution, and later on certain festivals had the privilege of Midnight Mass.

46. What is a Requiem Mass?

A Requiem Mass is a Mass for the dead.

47. When may a Requiem Mass be celebrated?

Requiem Masses are accustomed to be said: 1st. When a person dies, or on any day between the day of the death and that of the burial; 2nd. on the third day after death, in memory of Our Lord's Resurrection; 3d. on the seventh day; 4th. on the thirtieth day; 5th. at the end of a year, that is on the anniversary day.