QUAERITUR: Something that should be heard in every sacristy in the world.

From a reader:

I’ve been having a friendly disagreement with a priest that I know, and maybe you can give me an answer: at the end of Mass, the priest will say the word “Prosit,” and the servers respond “Pro omnibus et singulis.” I was taught to say it thus, but the priest I know contends that that way makes no sense, and it should be “pro singulis et omnibus.” (Singulis and omnibus are switched) Do you have a resource that I could refer to for the history of this small prayer? Or even access to a book about the Mass that would have it recorded, so that I can settle this in my own mind?

A fine custom which should be revived everywhere.

First, I have always heard “omnibus et singulis“, not the other way around.  Also, you really don’t need the “pro“, although it doesn’t hurt anyone severely.  The verb prosit would have a dative “object” (though it isn’t really an object).

I have also heard in places a simple “tibi quoque” or “vobis quoque“.

In any event, one of the servers could also add, as he kneels, “Iube, Domne, benedicere!”, by which he asks for the priest’s blessing for the servers (or for himself alone as the case may be).

The paring of “omnibus et singulis” isn’t all that common in ancient texts.  You find them, of course, but not usually quite like this.  I suspect this is a later, juridical common phrase.

In any event, it should today be a daily common phrase, heard in every sacristy in the world.

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21 Responses to QUAERITUR: Something that should be heard in every sacristy in the world.

  1. Sancrucensis says:

    In some places they say “Proficiat ad salutem. Tibi quoque.”

  2. JPMedico says:

    I originally learned it as “tibi et omnibus sacerdotibus” but maybe that was a local custom.

  3. Jim R says:

    Well, now I know why Fr. ___ always gives me a strange look as I respond: “Der Gemütlichkeit.” I thought he was upset I didn’t have a stein of lager handy! :-)

  4. Imrahil says:

    Do not do that in Germany, though. “Prosit” means “cheers” around here.

    Usual thing is “Deo gratias” (said by all at once) or “Deo gratias/Deo gratias” or “thanks be to God”. More seldom, one hears “Praised be Jesus Christ / forever and ever, amen”.

  5. Cantor says:

    Imrahil – exact thought I had. If the priest said “Prosit” I’d be looking for the beer!

  6. Tom in NY says:

    Mos bonus est. Verbum “prodesse” studentibus litterarum latinarum quaerendum est.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  7. Matt R says:

    After serving Mass for Cardinal Burke, he said, “Prosit,” and the others responded, “Deo gratias.” What does it mean, exactly?

  8. tonyfernandez says:

    Can someone in the loop help explain what this is all about? I’ve never heard of any of this.

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Prosit” means “May it be useful/beneficial.” The answer “Pro omnibus et singulis” means “For everyone and for each one.” It’s a prayer about Mass.

    Google Books gives us 95, 700 instances of “pro omnibus et singulis,” but only 39 instances of “pro singulis et omnibus.” So yeah, advantage “omnibus et singulis.”

  10. Suburbanbanshee says:

    (And yes, the better way to translate it is probably “For each and every one.” But I was being literal.)

  11. revueltos67 says:

    Tony,

    After Mass the priest and servers return to the sacristy. The servers then ask for the priest’s blessing, he gives it, and they respond.

    At our chapel the exchange is a bit different. The servers say, “Benedic nos pater reverende” or “Bless us reverend father”. The priest gives his blessing then says “prosit”, roughly “profit from it”. The servers then say “tibi quoque pater”, or “you also father”.

  12. JARay says:

    I have only ever heard “prosit” in Germany and then, indeed, as Imrahil says, it meant “cheers” before quaffing one’s stein of beer.

  13. tonyfernandez says:

    Is this a common prayer, or is it something that you would only see at parishes that celebrate the TLM?

  14. DanW says:

    Prior to the council was this something done regionally? I am from Eastern Iowa and was a server in the late 50s and early 60s and I don’t remember ever doing or saying anything like this after Mass. The priests in my parish were both Irish and German. How old was this custom?

  15. Gregorius says:

    At my chapel, where the mass is only in the OF and not that tradded-up, the celebrant after mass will stop in the back (because he greets people there after Mass) and say “prosit” and the servers respond “omnibus et singulis”, without the ‘pro’. At the more liturgically minded seminary mass, they will process to the sacristy. Before they process in to Mass the celebrant will say “procedamus in pace” to which the response is “in nomine christi, amen”. I pray these responses to myself before and after every Mass I attend.

  16. Fr. W says:

    I have heard “Pro omnibus et singulis” translated ‘for one and for all;’ my interpretation is that it means ‘may Christ’s Sacrifice be for the priest (one) and for everyone (all).

    It is interestingly reminiscent of the final ‘Placeat tibi’ prayer of the Mass, in which the priest says ‘May the tribute of my homage…..bring forgiveness TO ME AND TO ALL for whom I have offered it.’

    Might it have been a short-hand replacement for the Placeat tibi?

  17. TheAcolyte says:

    It should be note that this is entirely customary and is not prescribed by any of the rubrics, which presume that merely the priest and acolyte will bow to the cross upon returning the sacristy after Mass – even the blessing of the acolyte is customary.

  18. asperges says:

    As a choirboy in the 50s and 60s at our Cathedral (in the UK), we knelt at the end of Mass and (we) said “prosit” but did not get or expect any reply. Normally we would get a blessing. Needless to say, all that disappeared with the subsequent reforms.

  19. Pastor in Valle says:

    I must say that I have never heard of any of these variants. The most common in the UK is for assisting clergy (not usually servers) to say to the celebrant simply ‘prosit’, he making no response, or saying ‘prosit’ back to them. At the London Oratory the server says ‘prosit’ to the celebrant, and the celebrant replies ‘gratias’. I remember that when the renowned Fr Uwe Michael Lang was still a novice, and not a priest, he could never quite bring himself to say ‘prosit’—to a German that is far too redolent of the bier keller—and would make a little squeak or grunt. In Germany, I encountered instead ‘proficiat’, pronounced in the Germanic Latin ‘profitsiat’, which means basically the same thing.

  20. MattH says:

    At the Cathedral where I sometimes serve, the instructions for the servers state that upon returning to the sacristy, the priest says “prosit” and the server and lector respond “pro omnibus et singulis.” The priest then says a slightly longer prayer with basically the same idea – that the Mass benefit those for whom he offered it and those present – and then all say the Anima Christi. This is following weekday Mass in the OF. I can’t vouch for whether it is done anywhere else in my area, and it was only instituted (reinstituted?) about a year ago.

  21. Fr AJ says:

    Great post! My former Bishop used to say it at the end of each Mass.