We are trying to help make a very reverent Ordinary Form mass. Any suggestions?
We thought Ad Orientem and Sung Propers might be a good start! Any other suggestions?
Right off the bat, we can all improve our own participation at every Mass by being in the state of grace. So, GO TO CONFESSION.
We have to start with ourselves.
Yes, you are on track with ad orientem worship. For you new arrivals here, ad orientem, “facing toward the (liturgical) East”, places the priest and the congregation on the same side of the altar, so that they are both oriented in the same direction, “toward the Lord”. The great liturgist Klaus Gamber considered that the turning about of altars (which Vatican II did NOT call for) was the single most damaging things done to Mass in the name of Conciliar “reform”. With good catechesis, this can be accomplished. It’s fruits are manifold.
Yes, you are on track with sung propers. We must use the actual prayers of Holy Mass, the propers, that is, those antiphons and so forth which are provided in the Roman Missal.
I also suggest
- all male service in the sanctuary;
- phasing out of Extraordinary Ministers of Communion where they are not truly needed;
- the use of Gregorian chant and polyphony and the Latin language, as the Council did ask for;
- inculcating a silent and recollected atmosphere before and after Mass;
- elimination by teaching and invitation of Communion in the hand;
- providing the opportunity and example of kneeling to receive Communion;
- phasing out, through catechesis and preaching, of the community “group grope” sign of peace;
- working with readers (if they are employed) to read well;
- dressing in your Sunday best on Sunday, decent and respectful on weekdays;
- women might wear chapel veils or mantillas;
- bring the tabernacle back to the center of the church if He has been exiled;
- bringing back traditional devotions in the church space outside of Mass (novenas, Exposition, Stations, Vespers, etc.).
Perhaps the most helpful thing, which might also bring about some of the points I list above, would be to provide funding for Father to go to a workshop to learn the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite. The good canons at St. John Cantius in Chicago and the FSSP in Denton, NE, have effective workshops.
I’ll say this several ways, to get the point across. The way Father says Mass is going to be a significant factor in the reverence of the people who attend. The manner in which Father says Mass has a knock-on effect. The priest’s ars celebrandi will have a lasting effect on the way people in the congregation participate.
Father’s own approach to his role must, per force, expand outward into everyone’s overarching perception of the sacred. Heightened awareness of the sacred will prompt recognition that there are sacred things, people, times and places. A church is a sacred place. We must not behave in church in the same way we behave in our living room or at a public swimming pool.
If Father is a rube and celebrates Mass as if he were David Letterman, if the music is unworthy of a circus calliope, if the vestments, vessels, decorations, gestures betray the premise that what is being done there isn’t about the transcendent in contact with the human, but rather is all about the horizontal, the human merely, then… good luck with decorum and reverence in church!
If you want greater reverence, work on yourselves and then help Father to learn the older form. My experience is that once a priest learns, or relearns, the traditional Roman Rite, his way of the Novus Ordo changes markedly. He has a greater awareness of who he is as a priest at the altar. That, in turn, has an effect on everyone involved.