Last week I used the homily time to take us through what I know was quite a swift tutorial on our new pew missal. Here is a little bit more along those same lines, explaining where to set the ribbons at the beginning of Mass as soon as you arrive.
The first 723 pages of the missal comprise what is known as the “Proper of Time”. Every Sunday Mass you will want to set one of the ribbons on some Sunday within this section. Special seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter are all grouped in order within the first 327 pages. All the Sundays of Ordinary Time fill the rest of these pages (pp. 328-723) within the “Proper of Time” section. This weekend is the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Cycle A all year until next Advent starts); so you would put a ribbon on page 344.
Then, if you are one of those people who likes to follow even ordinary parts (Penitential Rite, Gloria, Eucharistic prayer, Holy/Holy/Holy, Lamb of God, etc.) found in the Order of Mass, this section is next, starting on page 804. So you would put a ribbon on page 804. The “Ordinary” is the section with the gray-edged pages.
Then, you know we are singing an offertory antiphon and a communion antiphon at most of our weekend Masses. The liturgical book of the Church which contains all the antiphons for the year is called the “Gradual”. (Think of how the antiphons help you move gradual-ly from one major part of the Mass to the next.) The section in our pew missal which contains antiphons for the congregation to sing is called the “Simple Gradual”. (The melodies are simpler, for congregational singing.) This begins on page 904. And this section is also laid out in the exact same order that the Proper of Time was organized: i.e., the special seasons are collected at the beginning of the Simple Gradual, and then you move into Ordinary Time. Although the Simple Gradual has normal page numbers; since there are several antiphons on each page, it is much easier to refer to each antiphon and find it using its individual number. That is why each antiphon is numbered consecutively from 1-335. You want to set a ribbon to mark each antiphon.
So there are four ribbons that I would set each time I come to Mass on a weekend. Eventually this will become second nature, very familiar. The cantors on weekends, and I on weekdays, will continue to give guidance at the beginning of each Mass as long as we feel the need, so that people grow more comfortable with the pew missal. It really is a very fine book, organized according to principles taken directly from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the latest edition promulgated by the Church back in 2011. It just takes patience on the part of all of us to learn how to navigate a real liturgical book. One side effect of our learning the pew missal is that we will also become much more comfortable with the flow of the church year.
Why should we go to all the effort of learning a resource that enables us to sing the antiphons? Because the Church recommends that we do so. And she does this because singing the antiphons in the long run should be pretty nourishing for our souls. The antiphons are all pure Scripture, God’s inspired Word. Furthermore, the particular style of music we are using to sing the antiphons (chant) subordinates melodies to the meaning of the words, in order to keep the words always prominent. This also is very healthy spiritually.
Continued thanks for your patience and understanding as we all improve regarding the many facets of using this new resource for our worship in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! I think overall things are sounding great on each campus. I truly appreciate all of the effort so many have given. May the Lord be glorified more fully as we give to Him our all in worship.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,