QUAERITUR: “low” Mass of the bishop in the Ordinary Form

From a reader:

I recently had the opportunity to dine at my [bishop]‘s Residence and we were invited into his private chapel after dinner to offer a prayer. A friend of mine and I then wondered if he celebrated Mass every day he is present at that small chapel — his secretary and another priest in addition to a few nuns who manage the house live there, but not one else to my knowledge.

This led us to wondering whether it was permissible for a bishop to celebrate Mass without the miter, crozier, or other trappings of the episcopal state. Would you be able to offer us any insight into this? Of course, the bishop considers it an honor and privilege to offer Mass, but one wonders whether or not, in his busy schedule, he is able to offer it in his private chapel without the liturgical accoutrements of a bishop.

 

I think in the Novus Ordo, the Ordinary Form, pretty much anything goes.

In the Extraordinary Form, the Low Mass of the diocesan bishop was somewhat more elaborate than that of a priest.  From what I can figure out, there was an ecclesiological point involved: when the bishop said Mass, the whole diocese was in a sense morally present.  As a result, the bishop didn’t celebrate Mass in the same way as a priest.

As far as the newer form of Mass is concerned.  I don’t know that there is anything to mention of interest other than the obligation to remove the zucchetto at the offertory.  They greet and bless in their own manner, as well as have a slight adjustment to the Eucharistic prayer when praying for various people.

Perhaps some readers can chime in if they have any experience.

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14 Responses to QUAERITUR: “low” Mass of the bishop in the Ordinary Form

  1. DominiSumus says:

    I have been to several. One where the mitre was used, but not the crozier. Another where nothing but the zuchetto was used. And still another with the “works”.

    I don’t know what the ceremonial calls for though since my copy went MIA several years ago.

  2. emily13 says:

    I was once at a Mass with a Bishop from Canada and two local priests concelebrating. Only the zuchetto was used.

  3. ridiculusmus says:

    The bishop wears a cassock, black or purple, and wears a pectoral cross under the chasuble. He does not wear a biretta. The altar does not have altar cards, and the canon missae (a separate book), leaning against the tabernacle is used instead. A bugia is held next to the missal when he reads from it. The maniple is put on at the indulgentiam. During the Canon, the missal is removed from its stand and the canon missae is substituted. The Leonine prayers are not said. The zucchetto is removed during the Canon. This, of course, is for the EF. I had the privilege of serving the Mass of the late Cardinal Wright for many years.

  4. Prof. Basto says:

    Also, the Bishop can say “Pax vobis”.

  5. cuaguy says:

    I have had the privilege of serving a few of them. Usually, the bishop has used the simple chain for the pectoral cross, and if he uses it, the Miter.

  6. Raymond says:

    Here is a Youtube video of Pope Benedict XVI saying Mass in his private chapel. No mitre, no crozier, just zucchetto.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PUeRutbra4

  7. benyanke says:

    I just got back from from a “low” (daily) mass with Bishop Morlino (Diocese of Madison), and the only differences from a normal mass were:

    – Signs of the cross at various times (just after the gospel, a small tracing of the cross on his chest just before the final blessing etc…)

    – The greeting “Peace be with you”

    – He wore the pectoral cross under the chasuble

    – I (the MC) removed the zucchetto after the preface, and gave it back just before the closing prayer

    – The “Bishop’s clause”(as I call it) during the Eucharistic prayer. Instead of:
    “N. our pope, N., our bishop, and all the clergy.”
    He said:
    “N. our pope, {slight pause} Me, your unworthy servant, and all the clergy.”

    – Special blessing formula at the end. See below:

    B: Blessed be the name of the Lord.
    All: Now and forever.
    B: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
    All: Who made heaven and earth.
    B: May almighty God bless you, the Father, + Son, + and Holy + Spirit.
    All: Amen.

    (Catch that? 3 Signs of the cross, instead of one.)

    That’s about it from me. Anything else from anybody else?

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z,

    “I think in the Novus Ordo, the Ordinary Form, pretty much anything goes.”

    NOoo. You didn’t really say this, did you? Out of context or in, sorry, it’s funny even though it’s only a frank admission of the truth on the ground. Funny because, finally, honest. Honesty is a rare thing in this world.

    I love this blog.

  9. When the new bishop of Fukuoka came to Kitakyushu to have mass with us he did the whole regalia from what I could tell. However there were a lot of people from the cathedral in Fukuoka who came with him and when you mixed the abuses we already had with the abuses spontaneously introduced then you had something that was barely recognizable as Mass.

    We already had no kneelers and no holy water. Then they added holding hands for the our father and a sign of peace event that lasted more than 15 minutes so that everyone could get a chance to chat and get to know each other. Bishop Miyahara did not look pleased.

    When the Bishop came again I was surprised to see Holy Water in the Church and the other abuses were not repeated though we still didn’t have kneelers (and my knees could sure use them). Again, from what I could tell, the Bishop used his mitre and all. He even wore white gloves.

    The next Sunday after the Bishop’s second visit, the Holy Water was again taken out of the Church. We have asked about getting some kneelers but the answer was that since only about seven or eight people actually knelt during mass and those people were all foreigners that it was not a priority for the parish since standing was the “Japanese way”. I have tried to explain that standing is for prayer and kneeling is for worship but the Father just told me that I needed to learn more Japanese.

    It’s odd too since overall I would say that Japanese people take mass very seriously. We don’t see guitars or dancing and what not here. Most people are very reverent when at mass. I think they just have a phobia of putting anything on the floor. In some churches here you have to remove your shoes before you enter. It’s insane. They freeze their toes off in winter but they don’t care.

  10. taleger123 says:

    One year at a small diocesan vocations event, the bishop said mass for all of us. I was one of the servers, but it was a simple mass. We didn’t have to follow any special rubrics, and the only bit of episcopal attire he had was his zucchetto.

  11. frleo says:

    When I’ve been with my bishop for Mass in his private chapel, he wears priest vestments, his zucchetto and pectoral cross

  12. Geoffrey says:

    “I think in the Novus Ordo, the Ordinary Form, pretty much anything goes.”

    What happened to “say the black, do the red”?!

  13. Incaelo says:

    I’ve been at my bishop’s morning Mass in his chapel a number of times, and it is indeed like frleo and others have said: beside the usuall trappings of the piscopate, the difference with Mass offered by a priest is not that great.

    But honestly, we all know that in no liturgy of the Roman rite does anything go. Fan of the OF or not, you have to admit that it has its rules which must be kept.

  14. Incaelo says:

    I’ve been at my bishop’s morning Mass in his chapel a number of times, and it is indeed like frleo and others have said: beside the usual trappings of the episcopate, the difference with Mass offered by a priest is not that great.

    But honestly, we all know that in no liturgy of the Roman rite does anything go. Fan of the OF or not, you have to admit that it has its rules which must be kept.