QUAERITUR: When can I say a Requiem TLM?

From priest reader:

I just started praying the usus antiquior low mass after a year of preparation (of latin and the rubrics).

Question:  When may I opt to say a missae defunctorum?  When may I not?  In other words, may a missae defunctorm be chosen over a 3rd class feast, etc.?

First and foremost, thank you for learning the older form, traditional form of Mass.  I am always happy to learn that another priest is not ignorant of our common Latin Rite.  Kudos to you.  I am also hoping that you are young, so that you can say this form of Mass for many many years for many many people.

There are those special occasions as in, for example, when people die or it is the anniversary of their death.  However, I think what you are aiming at is really the daily Requiem Mass.

The rules for these daily Requiem Masses are along the lines of the rubrics for votive Masses.

A Requiem is of the 2nd class on the day of death (or getting news of the death) or on the day of burial.  That’s the Missa in die obitus seu depositionis defunctorum. It is of the 3rd class on the third, seventh, and thirtieth day after the death or burial.

A "daily" Requiem is 4th class and can be used on ferial days of the 4th class.

So… tomorrow 16 September is the Feast of Ss. Cornelius and Cyprian.  It is a 3rd class feast.  But the day after tomorrow, 17 September, is a "dies non", a 4th class feria.  You can say the "daily" Mass for the Dead, the Missa quotidiana defunctorum.

I hope that helps.

And remember that there are some differences in the Requiem Mass.  You exclude the Iudica me at the beginning, and do not bless the water.  Kiss the altar at the end, but don’t give the final blessing before the Last Gospel.  Leave off the gloria after washing your fingers and exclude the first of the three private prayers before your Communion.  The Agnus Dei is a little different and your say Requiescat in pace for the dismissal.

So, Father, put on those nice black vestments.  Put those unbleached candles on the altar and fire ‘em up!

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25 Responses to QUAERITUR: When can I say a Requiem TLM?

  1. Fr. John Mary says:

    One of the greatest priveleges I have is to offer the EF Requiem Mass…it is just awesome.
    I also offer the OF Mass for the Dead; but the “ethos” and prayers, the special “omissions”(as you mentioned Fr. Z) make this a very special opportunity to pray for the deceased and to reflect upon our own mortality and the need for us to seek repentance and God’s loving grace every day.

  2. John Enright says:

    Good post, Father!

  3. lmgilbert says:

    Yes, “It is a holy and pious thought to pray for the dead,” as I believe it says in Maccabees, but I can’t think of anything more calculated to extend the hermeneutic of discontinuity than a steady diet of requiem Masses, of which we had our fill pre Vatican II. I hope we can avoid embalming every sunny day in June.

    It’s really a pretty amazing thing when you think about it that even now with our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews abandoning the faith in droves, the Mass intention books are still filled with intentions for the dead, are they not? Does this evidence any sense of proportion on our part? Purgatory is a way station to Heaven. Meanwhile our nephews are surfing the porn sites, and our nieces are living in fornication imperilled of eternal doom and all we can think to do is have another Mass said pro defunctibus.

    Enough of getting souls out of purgatory! This, I am convinced, is the Catholic version of evangelism. I would very much like to get souls INTO purgatory, lots of them. Is there a Mass for that, a Missa pro viventibus?

    The parish Mass book is so clogged with the dead that I send my Mass intentions for the living dead to a priest in India.

    Yes, I believe in purgatory and pray for the dead four or five times a day, but they are at the end of a long line of the living- if you can call it that.

  4. John Enright says:

    Well, Imgilbert, I’d like people to pray for my redemption after I die. If you don’t, you obviously don’t agree with “Pascal’s Wager.”

  5. NLucas says:

    John Enright, while I might be putting words in lmgilbert’s mouth, I think his/her concern is one of liturgical emphasis, rather than a rejection of the idea of praying for the dead.

    lmgilbert, while I can understand your argument, I think there’s plenty of room for a large number of Requiem Masses and offering Holy Mass for the living. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, a Requiem Mass is the Mass–one that “embalms a sunny day in June” would have the same graces for the living as offering the Mass of the day. And the Masses that the priests in India offer for our struggling selves and living relatives have the same infinite worth to God as the ones in our local parishes.

    What I think you’re getting at is that a whole parish menu of daily Masses offered as Requiem Masses (black vestments, Missa “Requiem Aeternam”) would result in a disordered liturgical focus on the Church Suffering at the expense of the Church Militant. I would think, given the large number of 3d, 2d, and 1st class feasts in the EF calendar and the emphasis on continuing the cycle of readings in the daily Mass cycle of the OF would tend to mitigate against a long series of “nothin’ but Requiem.”

    It makes me long for the “bad old days” of the Medieval period when we had chanteries and priests whose ministry was to offer Holy Mass for the dead, while the parishes, monasteries, collegiate churches, and cathedrals offered the full liturgy of the Church.

    In my experience, outside of funerals and All Souls Day, these days it’s pretty rare in either form to come across a specific Mass for the Dead.

    In Christ,

  6. ray from mn says:

    There are a lot of “urban legends” that have grown up around the Mass prior to Vatican II.

    My grade and high schools were then and it was a time when Mass was compulsory every school day. And we all sang the requiem hymns and the dies irae as a choir. And in grade school I was an altar boy.

    I have no access to records (they probably don’t exist). But funerals occurred maybe once or twice a month in grade school (servers were very aware of them because of occasional tips). I doubt that requiem masses for the dead happened that much.

    Perhaps lmgilbert’s parish was different. But let’s not make policy based upon the experience of a few people.

  7. Antony says:

    Gilbert said:

    Enough of getting souls out of purgatory! This, I am convinced, is the Catholic version of evangelism. I would very much like to get souls INTO purgatory, lots of them. Is there a Mass for that, a Missa pro viventibus?

    Dear Gilbert:

    All Masses get souls to Purgatory! Such is the nature of the Communion of Saints that, as they say, “Nobody goes to Heaven alone…and nobody goes to Hell alone!”. Furthermore, you quoted scripture in which the Third Person of the Holy Trinity makes it clear that “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Mach 12:46). Do you have a better idea of how to ‘loose them from their sins’ than a Requiem Mass?

    There is numerous examples of Saints with devotion to the Holy Souls (modern science might label them ‘obsessive’…consider what drugs a clinical psychiatrist would have prescribed to St. Catherine of Genoa after getting his hands on her Treatise!). The Church has a rich tradition of praying for those souls. To claim that such a devotion is somehow a rupture with the past (or, as you said it, a “continuation of the hermeneutic of discontinuity”) is blatantly false. It is also interesting to me that you followed such a statement with “of which we had our fill pre Vatican II.” I’m really not even certain how to respond to a person making those two comments in the same sentence. How can something simultaneously be a rupture with the past while simultaneously filling the role of something that you (we?) had your (our?) fill of in the past?

    So, Gilbert, as you toil through your day today, please ponder in your heart the unnumbered multitude of souls who endure unimaginable torments in the bowels of Purgatory. Consider then, if you will, that those souls, upon release, will fly to Eternal Bliss in the Beatific Vision with a tremendous debt of gratitude to those in the Church Militant who “purchased” that release from torment through sacrifice and prayer; and what better prayer can we offer to the Father for that sweet release then the bloodless renewal of the Perfect Sacrifice…Holy Mass!

    In Christ,

    Antony.

  8. Tom in NY says:

    Of course it’s important to pray for the dead. When my time comes, I’ll need all the help I can get.
    At the parish where I grew up, before V-II, the proper of the week was never celebrated on ferial days. It was always pro defunctis. In the old calendar, that could have meant black vestments three of six weekdays.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  9. I wonder if a lot of parishes were mostly praying for the WWII dead. That would explain why so many.

  10. I always pray for the Holy Souls and I think it is great when Masses are offered for them. Can you just imagine how many are there and how they long to behold the Face of God? I suppose I do more praying for the Holy Souls than anything else, although I do pray for the living and for the concerns of the world.

    As someone said, when those souls enter Heaven they will pray for the ones who sacrificed and offered prayers for them and I am going to need all the help I can get!

  11. mfg says:

    On a practical note, my pastor, who says the TLM 2X weekly, has agreed to say a requiem mass for me when the time comes. Short of coming up with $2,000+ for the proper new black vestments, does any one out there have a suggestion as to where one can find the proper chasuble, etc.? Where did all those vestments go that disappeared in 1969?

  12. Why shouldn’t we pray constantly for the dead? And why shouldn’t we think about death even on sunny June days? St. Thomas More said that frequent meditation on the Four Last Things is a powerful antidote to sin.

    I don’t live within 300 miles of an extraordinary rite Mass (except SSPX), so Father’s answer to this question is beyond my comprehension. All I can say is: this is Reason No. 1,234,237 why I thank God I can never be a priest: I don’t have to worry about any of those things! I am perfectly content to leave all that to Fr. Z. and his brother priests to worry about. The women’s ordination crowd is so busy focusing in on power and privilege that they completely overlook the incredible responsibilities that priests bear.

  13. robtbrown says:

    Enough of getting souls out of purgatory! This, I am convinced, is the Catholic version of evangelism. I would very much like to get souls INTO purgatory, lots of them. Is there a Mass for that, a Missa pro viventibus?

    The parish Mass book is so clogged with the dead that I send my Mass intentions for the living dead to a priest in India.

    Yes, I believe in purgatory and pray for the dead four or five times a day, but they are at the end of a long line of the living- if you can call it that.
    Comment by lmgilbert

    You seem to have too negative a concept of Purgatory. As I said here before, Purgatory is where God’s Mercy and Justice meet.

    And you seem to think you have to choose between praying for the living and praying for the dead. It’s very simple: Whenever you say a Pater Noster, Ave Maria, etc., for anyone, you finish the occasion with the prayer for the dead–Fidelium animae per misericoridam Deim requiescant in pace.

    Religious houses and seminaries that preserved the prayers before and after meals, always finished the prayers after eating with the prayer for the dead.

  14. robtbrown says:

    Re Requiem masses on ferial days: If memory serves, at Fontgombault on the first ferial day of the month the community mass was for the dead.

    That doesn’t mean that every ferial day should be a mass for the dead.

  15. lmgilbert says:

    Couple of things-

    Pre-Vatican II I am pretty sure almost all Mass intentions for the dead were absolved by requiem Masses celebrated in black vestments.

    Now we continue to have most Masses said for the dead, but without requiem Masses and black vestments. In terms of the mood of the daily Mass goer, this a great relief. Viva aggiornamento! Presumably, the spiritual effect of the Mass is the same for the deceased so for them nothing is lost.

    Just in terms of mental hygiene, starting off the day every day on such a somber note never seemed very healthy. When Nlucas suggested I was looking for balance, he was spot on. A requiem Mass once or twice a month, great. Being reminded of the Last Things so forcefully is probably a very good thing.

    Obviously, though, the reminder loses its impact if wished upon us every day. Moreover, it becomes very lugubrious and even ridiculous after a time. I haven’t the slightest doubt that many of the airy fairy post-Vatican II liturgical excesses were in reaction to the sustained mood of gloom that was unreasonably allowed to overwhelm our parish liturgies.

    Beyond that, though, once again in the comments one finds the deep Catholic sympathy with the souls in purgatory. Personally, I haven’t the least negative idea of Purgatory at all, and am convinced it is a very good thing. I neither want to miss it nor to stay too long :)

    But when people dilate on the torments of the souls in purgatory, the ambient temperature etc, my patience wanes. What about the damned? Not that we should have sympathy for them, and I don’t, but I really can’t understand why, with that threat hanging over so many people we are not much more concerned about them.

    If we could have a good five minute look at the agonies of the damned, my guess is that we would be spending the next few years recovering our mental balance.

    At daily Mass the parishioners offer prayers for the poor souls in purgatory, for vocations, for the poor souls in purgatory, for the end of abortion and for the poor souls in purgatory. Never for the conversion of the metropolitan area, never for the education of our children in the faith, never for the conversion of sinners. This is a phenomenon. If there is a competition for the prayers of the faithful, the lost are definitely losing out to the poor souls.

    Didn’t Our Lady at Fatima ask for prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners?

    Beyond that, though

  16. FrCharles says:

    I was glad to see this quaeritur because I had wondered the same thing as I was learning the older form. I had managed the same conclusion from examining the rubrics, but I’m glad for the confirmation. Only once have I had the chance to offer a daily requiem Mass, when the perfect storm emerged of a day free of public Mass obligations that happened to be 4th class feria.

    I have some empathy regarding Mass intentions. At the parish where I work the demand far outstrips the supply and most intentions for public Mass–16 a week–are filled a year in advance. Bitter arguments over Mass intentions are not an unusual event in the parish office. For me as a parish priest this means I rarely have a free intention, and so it is difficult for me to fulfill my own obligations, such as Masses offered in suffrage for deceased confreres or their parents.

    Oh, and for us Franciscans, the 17th is the 2nd class feast In Impressione Ss. Stigmatum S. P. N. Francisci :)

  17. Fr. John Mary says:

    Fr. Charles: If you need to send Mass stipends for the deceased, please send them to us.
    We are in need of Mass stipends. Thank you.
    http://isjoseph.com

  18. FrCharles says:

    Thank you for the link, Fr. John Mary, and for the chance to read about your institute. I was a novice in WI and remember it very fondly.

  19. Vincent says:

    What about on the year anniversary of the death? Does this move the Mass beyond 4th class?

  20. Joshua08 says:

    1. Funeral Masses are of the 1st class and can be said even on ordinary Sundays (though not the higher ranked ones, like Lent)

    2. Masses upon hearing news of death or on the day of burial are 2nd class

    3. Masses on an anniversary, or on the 3rd, 7th or 30th days after death or burial are 3rd class

    4. Daily Mass for the dead is 4th class…except November when it is 3rd class.

    Daily Mass for the dead cannot be said at certain times, like December 25 through Jan 13th

    Someone above asked about vestments

    May I recommend – http://www.benedictinesofmary.org/buyonline/shop/shop.php?action=full&id=65

    They also do “Gothic” and have funeral palls

    If you must go cheap, http://www.catholicliturgicals.com/view_vestments.php?catid=207

    A black set Gothic for $100. A priest I know about a silk damask violet set from them for $130 or so. Not the nicest, but decent looking. The main drawback is the material is thin. With regular use 10 years or so lifespan

  21. mfg says:

    Thank you Joshua.

  22. jrotond2 says:

    Joshua,

    Yes, the 4th. Class Daily Mass for the Dead is not allowed to be said at all (even on the Ferias) during the Christmas (25 Dec – 13 January) and Easter (Easter Sunday – Saturday in Octave of Pentecost) Seasons.

  23. robtbrown says:

    Pre-Vatican II I am pretty sure almost all Mass intentions for the dead were absolved by requiem Masses celebrated in black vestments.

    I am not so sure what you mean.

    Now we continue to have most Masses said for the dead, but without requiem Masses and black vestments. In terms of the mood of the daily Mass goer, this a great relief. Viva aggiornamento! Presumably, the spiritual effect of the Mass is the same for the deceased so for them nothing is lost.

    I dealt with this some time ago. Although the merits of every mass are infinite, they are limited by the celebrant offering and the people uniting themselves to the celebration. (To say otherwise is Protestantism–that Christ’s Sacrifice makes the mass redundant.) This is why it is better to have a saintly priest offer a mass than one who is a sinner.

    The use of black vestments better dispose the celebrant and the people.

    Just in terms of mental hygiene, starting off the day every day on such a somber note never seemed very healthy.

    I don’t consider it somber. Just because some are overly disposed to melancholy doesn’t mean that everyone is.

    When Nlucas suggested I was looking for balance, he was spot on. A requiem Mass once or twice a month, great. Being reminded of the Last Things so forcefully is probably a very good thing.

    Why do you say “forcefully”?

    Obviously, though, the reminder loses its impact if wished upon us every day. Moreover, it becomes very lugubrious and even ridiculous after a time. I haven’t the slightest doubt that many of the airy fairy post-Vatican II liturgical excesses were in reaction to the sustained mood of gloom that was unreasonably allowed to overwhelm our parish liturgies.

    I agree that the post Vat II excesses were to an extent a reaction against the via negativa that dominated the Church for a few hundred years.

    Beyond that, though, once again in the comments one finds the deep Catholic sympathy with the souls in purgatory. Personally, I haven’t the least negative idea of Purgatory at all, and am convinced it is a very good thing. I neither want to miss it nor to stay too long :)

    But when people dilate on the torments of the souls in purgatory, the ambient temperature etc, my patience wanes. What about the damned? Not that we should have sympathy for them, and I don’t, but I really can’t understand why, with that threat hanging over so many people we are not much more concerned about them.

    Because it’s too late for them. That why Dante says the sign over Hell is “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate’”–Abandon all hope, you who enter.

    If we could have a good five minute look at the agonies of the damned, my guess is that we would be spending the next few years recovering our mental balance.

    As I said before, Purgatory is where Justice and Mercy meet. And so it’s important to see Purgatory in light of Supernatural Hope, not merely punishment.

    At daily Mass the parishioners offer prayers for the poor souls in purgatory, for vocations, for the poor souls in purgatory, for the end of abortion and for the poor souls in purgatory. Never for the conversion of the metropolitan area, never for the education of our children in the faith, never for the conversion of sinners. This is a phenomenon. If there is a competition for the prayers of the faithful, the lost are definitely losing out to the poor souls.

    It’s not a phenomenon where I attend mass. I don’t like the Intercessions, but they are daily offered for “conversion of our era” and “the armed forces”.

    Meanwhile, I continue to resist the temptation to offer an intercession for the return of Latin liturgy and ad orientem celebration.


    Didn’t Our Lady at Fatima ask for prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners?
    Beyond that, though
    Comment by lmgilbert —

    See above.

  24. robtbrown says:

    One point about mental hygiene: IMHO, it is important to see the Church in light of the three divisions of the Rosary: Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious. If the Sorrowful aspect of Catholic life is omitted, then faith becomes little else than a fairy tale–believing is little else than pretending.

    On the other hand, if the Sorrowful aspect is overemphasized (as in Protestantism and often in Counter Reformation theology), then faith is centered not on God but on man and his misery. Further, Christ’s Priesthood is underemphasized.

  25. Hidden One says:

    I agree with Imgilbert.