A great image

Archbishop Burke in Lourdes

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dan says:

    I love that ICK makes regular use of the communion cloth for the servers and clergy. Everything I’ve read seems to point it’s being required, yet it’s so rarely seen, even the most solemn Masses.

  2. Finbar says:

    I think its use may have lingered only in the English-speaking world outside the U. S. In a quarter-century of pretty far-flung attendance at the usus antiqour I have seen it only at an independent chapel served by a New Zealand-born priest two decades or more ago.

    I believe the usage not to be unknown among the uber-high Anglicans as well (e.g. St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square). It is not featured by the SSPX, at least in any systematic way, so it was presumably unknown in pre-war France . . . nor can it be found in the not inconsiderable number of films I have seen of Masses in central Europe in the twenties and thirties.

    With that said, it is a lovely practice. What is has not been for a very long time, if ever, is either universal or mandatory.

  3. IMHO the communion cloth would work better in conjunction with an actual altar rail. We tried this at our local (Nouvus Ordo)parish’s monthly TLM and it was hard for people to kneel, especially elderly communicants.
    We have since installed two nice big prie Dieu kneelers and bolted them to the floor (This serves three communicants on each side of the nave).

    Lastly, I don’t know how I feel about the altar boys with the capes and blue cassocks. The capes make them look like mini-prelates and blue is not a color I’ve ever seen in a cassock.

    Nice picture otherwise, God bless the Archbishop and all that serve at God’s Holy Altar.

  4. TJB says:

    He’ll always be the lion of St Louis to me!

  5. mfg says:

    dear Fr. Z: Thank you for the Holy Communion pictures, as well as TLM pictures. I put them on my refrigerator door, and since all of my extended family and friends (novus ordo all) end up in the kitchen it becomes a teaching moment. Brick by brick.

  6. Daniel Muller says:

    St. John Cantius in Chicago uses communion cloths on the altar rail.

  7. J. Basil Damukaitis says:

    The servers look utterly ridiculous. Cassock and surplice is sufficient. The psuedo-mozzetta is entirely inappropriate and forbidden for clerics, much less those who are deputed to carry out in an extra-ordinary fashion the role of minor clerics (servers).

  8. Stephen says:

    Are these servers from the Institute of Christ the King? That would explain the blue. I’ve seen the psuedo-mozzetta on torch bearers at Holy Rosary (Indianapolis), not any of the other server positions (acolyte, thurifer, etc.). That’s what this looks like too. They look young to serve on the altar based on what I’ve seen elsewhere.

  9. Ray from MN says:

    St. Agnes in St. Paul uses communion cloths attached to the altar rails.

    I’m not quite sure of their function as the altar boys use patens working with the priests/deacons who distribute Holy Communion to everyone on their knees.

    The servers flip them over the rails right before the Communion and then flip them back down afterwards. If their purpose is to catch grains of consecrated hosts that the paten doesn’t catch it doesn’t seem to work.

    Unless the communion cloth is considered a backup for the patens. Then, if a consecrated host or particle ended up on the communion cloth, the servers would not flip it back down, but handle it properly after the Mass was over.

  10. momoften says:

    I have seen the capes on altar servers at Assumption Grotto in Detroit for Christmas, and I believe they use them for Easter as well. I have never seen the blue, but really like it. I have boys serving who would like to have the capes as well for special occasions-but they are
    cost prohibitive when you buy some for all 25-30 servers.($18 apiece or so) LOVE that picture!Thanks Fr Z

  11. Dr. Eric says:

    At St. Francis De Sales Oratory in St. Louis they use the Altar Rail cloth as well. It is ran by the Institute of Christ the King.

    In the Churches that use the Byzantine Rite, there is also a cloth used to “catch” anything part of the Eucharist that might not get into the mouth from the Liturgical Spoon.

  12. Love Archbishop Burke. Very saintly man.

    Mother Angelica’s Shrine uses the white cloth, as do the Carmelites up in Cody/Powell, WY. I’ve seen ’em use it and I know the Carmelites pray against Modernism.


  13. Berthold says:

    These large collars for servers (they are much smaller than Mozzettas) used to be very common in Bavaria; some had even a yellow-golden lining.

  14. TJM says:

    As always, Archbishop Burke looks fabulous because he is fabulous.

    By the way, this nit-picking about the altarboys attire is getting tiresome. Would you
    prefer that the picture disclosed both altarboys and altargirls, wearing burlap alb-like
    creations with tennis shoes sticking out, like they would be if I were posting photos from my parish? Come on.


  15. Lourdes says:

    As someone who is fairly new to the extraordinary form, I agree with TJM, it really sounds petty and mean spirited to be nitpicking about the altar boy dress. It perpetuates the idea among us newbies that the “trads” are too caught up in judging the perceived “rule breakers” and missing the “charity” part of our faith.

  16. Gianna W says:

    The Shrine of Christ the King Soveriegn Priest (ICK) in Chicago uses altar clothes and only says the Latin Mass :)

    We love the Institute and Archbishop Burke!

  17. Very, very interesting. I have never seen anything other than a red or black cassock. And even that is rare compared to the ever-present poorly fitting alb that only extends to just below the knee that most parishes seem to use.

    But, I have wondered in the past if it would be appropriate to match the cassock to the Liturgical Season – i.e. green cassock in Ordinary Time / Time after Epiphany, violet cassock in Advent and Lent, etc.

    Has this ever been done anywhere? Or is my passing thought too stupid to even consider?

  18. Gianna W says:

    *Correction: The Shrine uses Communion rail cloths.

  19. Dino says:

    A very nice picture. If someone had not mentioned it, the “blue capes” could go unnoticed.
    James Straight: I my parish, the altarboys and altargirls wears albs, some with and some without monastic hoods. Today a three-foot-tall altargirl kept tripping over the cincture (rope) that was holding the alb up enough that she didn’t trip over the white vestment.

  20. J. Basil Damukaitis says:

    No, it is not nitpicking to address altar boy vesture or anything else liturgically!!! The liturgy is the central act of worship. Everything has significance and meaning. THAT is why it is sacred. If we make it our playtoy so widespread in the novus ordo, it becomes no different than the Anglican Communion where they do things because it is “pretty”. “Pretty” in and of itself is not a liturgical principle.

    It was custom to dress servers (the proper term) in the livery of the clergy running the parish. This is why different color cassocks developed, and why red cassocks were so popular, because there was a law that when a bishop celebrated, the servers wore “purple” or “red” as the livery color of the bishop. There is legitimate room for diversity among servers’ dress, but mozzetta type garments are strictly forbidden by The Sacred Congregation of Rites. I am looking it up, I think it was in Nainfa.

    We must veer aware from the modernist mentality about what we can and can’t be “nitpicking” about. The liturgy has developed over centuries and legitimate universal and local customs are a part of it, but that is different from making something up without approval. That is Protestantism.

    Mr. Straight:
    Laudable comments. However cassocks do not reflect the liturgical season. They should normally be black. I might suggest having festal surplices of lace or nicer surplices in general for feasts. Remember too, even in “the old days” there were liturgical abuses. We don’t think of that because compared to the modern age of liturgy, they seem so minor. Ask an Orthodox Christian about liturgy, they will tell you how precise it is, which is why they look at us with bewilderment on how we treat our liturgy.

  21. Peg says:

    We were in Lourdes last Saturday and part of Sunday…bad timing. We were subjected to a guitar Mass in the Grotto and had to leave before the EF Mass at 9:30am Sunday. I’m sure the atmosphere was much different (better) with Archbishop Burke and the FFSP in Lourdes this weekend.

  22. ssoldie says:

    Is not blue associated with our Blessed Mother? The picture is is beautiful and wonderful, Thank you Fr.Z and also the beautiful Alter of the Saint Paul Cathedral.

  23. Vincent says:

    The blue is to match the ICRSS choir cassocks, which are themselves designed to look like pre-Revolutionary French prelate costume. Thus one of the above commentators was spot-on to say that the boys look like mini-prelates. That this is all a tad to the ridiculous seems self-evident to me.

    Those shoulder capes are permitted for torch-bearers (in the color gold) for major feasts, such as Easter, Christmas, and Epiphany. I too have seem them at Holy Rosary in Indianapolis (it was Epiphany of 2008 if memory serves). They used to use the communion rail cloth there as well but have not yet installed it on their new communion rails, which I think a shame. The only time I have seen the cloth employed in this manner has been for First Holy Communions (incidentally, I was just today at what we believe to be the first of these in the Extraordinary Form in our diocese since the Council — just another great fruit of Summorum Pontificum).

  24. John Polhamus says:

    “…communion cloths attached to the altar rails.”

    I believe the traditional English term for communion-cloths attached to altar-rails on the sanctuary side and flipped over to be held by communicants while receiving (which term also reflects mediaeval English Catholic practice) is “housling-cloths.”

  25. Brendan says:

    What is all over the wall in the background? Are those hearts?

  26. rcesq says:

    The hearts are votive offerings by the faithful in gratitude to the Immaculate Conception, whose basilica this is. You can find such silver or gilded hearts and crosses and flames and other shaped offerings in Catholic chapels and churches everywhere (except, of course, in post-Vatican II structures where expressions of simple piety like this are just not done). In Assisi, for instance, the chapel of St. Anthony has not just votives but photographs, letters, and even prosthetic devices and items such as canes and crutches, thanking the Saint for his intercession. The Lourdes grotto used to be lined with crutches and canes — but I’ve been told that because of liability concerns they were removed. Too bad, because they were certainly a vivid testimonial to the healing powers of this sacred site.

  27. Clinton says:

    Mr. Damukaitis, my impression is that the server’s capelets have only a superficial resemblance to mozzettas. I’ve seen
    such capelets on servers before, usually in parishes with a strong Central European population. I’ve never known anyone
    to confuse such server’s garb with that of prelates. I think it is an attractive aspect of the Church that She has room for
    venerable regional customs like this.

    I was interested to read your observation, Mr. Damukaitis, that servers are often vested in the livery of that parish’s clergy.
    Since, as ssoldie noted, blue is associated with the Blessed Virgin, and this parish is Lourdes, then perhaps the servers are
    wearing blue as a mark of especial devotion to Our Lady? Vincent mentions that they are blue to match the ICRSS choir
    cassocks, but I see only black cassocks on the adults in the shot…

    I think the photo is stunning. What do we see? Fine young men engaged in the central Act of our Faith, taught and
    supported by reverent and venerable custom at the hands of Archbishop Burke, a lion of the Church. There is so much
    in that picture to be thankful for!

  28. Tim Ferguson says:

    In charity, I think those who find the “liturgical abuse” in the picture above have an obligation to inform the proper authorities of such an abuse (see Redemptoris sacramentum, paragraph 184) so that it can be addressed and, if necessary corrected. Merely “tsk-ing” in a blog post serves no healthy purpose whatsoever, other than scandalizing the faithful.

    That aside, this is a wonderful picture – and though he’s gone from St. Louis, it’s good to see that we’re sharing Archbishop Burke with the rest of the world! I look at that picture and can’t help but imagine that not a few of those very attentive-looking young man will find the inspiration to discern a vocation to the priesthood if they continue hanging around the likes of Archbishop Burke.

  29. Irish says:

    I think those are reliquaries on the back wall.

  30. TLH says:

    Oh,don’t mind Basil…he’s notoriously famous for raining on everyone’s liturgical parade, here and elsewhere. We call them spoiled sports where I come from…they’re not happy unless they’re making everyone else unhappy.
    The blue is indicative of the Institute and is worn in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
    The “adults” are Institute seminarians and they don’t wear blue cassocks.
    The blue cassoks were adopted by the Institute for altar boys only.
    As masters of ceremonies, they wear black cassocks.
    And the “mozzetta” is actually a short shoulder cape open in the front…not a mozzetta.

  31. Josephus muris saliensis says:

    Brendan/Irish: they are not relics, they are “ex-votos”, thanks offerings from people for graces granted. The heart shapes are silver, mostly 19th century, up to the 1940s.

    Momoften: then make them, much cheaper. That is what most traditional parishes do. If you contact ICKSP they would probably send you the pattern.

  32. irishgirl says:

    A wonderful picture!

  33. TJM says:

    Basil must be perfect. Therefore, I will forward his name and cause to Rome for immediate canonization! I believe the proper focus should be
    on Archbishop Burke. If the good Archbishop thought there was something wrong with the altarboys vestiture, I think he would let them know.
    Archbishop Burke is not a shy and weak prelate. Tom

  34. J. Basil Damukaitis says:

    Omnes gentes:
    I don’t mind taking a beating. I am saddened however to see the pervading attitude that “if it looks nice, do it”. That is NOT a liturgical principle. For the record, there may be a precedent for blue cassocks, as I clearly stated above. My issue is with the psuedo-mozzetta.

    Now, you can all criticize all you want, but I raised a legitimate (liturgical) and academic concern. The lack of charity for criticizing or legitimately questioning a practice is sad, and show’s who the TRUE Christians are. My intention is not to “rain on anyone’s parade” nor to hold myself up as perfect. BUT I DO HAVE PRINCIPLES, and they are the Church’s principles. And as much as there a lot of things I would prefer or like to see done, it would be inappropriate because they do not conform to the Church’s discipline on such matters.

    And I’m the guy who designed Archbishop Burke’s enthronement set, just so you understand where I am coming from. Few are more “High Church” than me!

  35. J. Basil Damukaitis says:

    And TLH….
    Regarding the “mozzettas”. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck….IT’S A DUCK!

  36. M.E.G. says:

    And TLH….
    Regarding the “mozzettas”. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck….IT’S A DUCK!

    Comment by J. Basil Damukaitis

    You need to reexamine what you think is a “duck”. Those are SHOULDER CAPES.
    The servers at the Dominican parish I attend also wear shoulder capes. They’re black.

    Great picture! Thanks Father.

  37. Tim Ferguson says:

    Again, I would encourage you to share your concerns about what you perceive as liturgical abuse with someone who can actually ACT on the matter, rather than make swipes on a blog. Certainly the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes would be able to act on a complaint, or the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship, or the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei are more able to stamp out such rampant liturgical abuse as shoulder capes on servers than the readers of a blog. That does, of course presume that you are interested in correcting abuse, rather than merely tsk-ing from the gallery.

  38. TJM says:

    Basil, if you designed Archbishop Burke’s enthronement set, then you know what a fine and devouted Churchman he is. If there was a problem with this vestituture Archbishop Burke is certainly the man who would let them know. I’m not sure where you grew up but in many parishes in the US pre-Vatican II, the
    vestiture these altarboys are wearing were not altogether that uncommon, particularly in some of the ethnic parishes I was familiar with in those
    days. I believe there was a great deal of diversity of practice all of which was legitimate in terms of altarboy vestiture. When I was an altarboy,
    we actually did wear different colored cassocks depending on the liturgical season. However, following the Council in the name of “noble simplicity”
    we shifted entirely to black cassocks. Today, in that same parish (of which I am no longer a member) they wear burlap looking albs, with tennis shoes and all. I suppose that’s why many of us are perplexed by your focus on this. Tom

  39. QMJ says:

    Great picture!

    At Holy Rosary in Portland, Oregon, they have a communion rail and use a communion cloth. The altar servers (maybe just the torch-bearers) wear black shoulder-capes.

    It’s great to hear about parishes in the US using these rich traditions.

    Any more out there?

  40. leo says:

    could the servers cassocks have coloured buttons i was thinking of marian blue

  41. David Osterloh says:

    when I first served mass it was a point of pride to be able, with your fellow server, to flip the communion rail cloth or “housling-cloths?” over in one flip, smartly and quickly, sign of professionalism ;>)

  42. Ioannes Andreades says:

    TJM said, “As always, Archbishop Burke looks fabulous because he is fabulous.”

    Perhaps fabulouser in crimson, Tom?

  43. Fr. BJ says:

    Does anyone have an American source for altar server capes? I would love to get a few to have as models that a skilled seamstress could reproduce at a lower cost.

  44. TJM says:

    Joannes Andreades, Archbishop Burke would look much “fabulouser” in crimson, and perhaps a long way off, in white! Tom

  45. Archbishop Burke would look much “fabulouser” in crimson, and perhaps a long way off, in white!

    The Archbishop will be joining the Dominicans ? Just kidding…but if he does get to wear white (and may this be many, many, many years from now), I hope he’ll reinstate the wearing of the triple tiara and have a proper coronation .

  46. Oooo… Triple Tiara. I like that.

    Just a note for whom this makes a difference. These boys here didn’t serve the Mass at all outside of providing a perfect example of activity receptivity before/in union with the Sacred Mysteries. As did everyone else.

    Of all the pilgrimages that come to Lourdes, this is my favorite.

  47. Antiquarian says:

    When I was an altar boy, which started before Vatican II, we wore gold shoulder capes over cassock and surplice during the Holy Thursday and 40 Hours processions, and blue ones during the May procession. Our cassocks were red except for funerals, when we wore black ones.

  48. The archdiocese of Toronto is the fourth or fifth largest archdiocese in North America (counting Mexico City). It is also what is referred to a a red hat diocese. In the Cathedral it has been the custom since time immemorial for the servers and the well known men and boys choir to wear maroon cassocks and surplices with maroon capes.

    Such capes are normally attached to the cassock like the one worn by all ranks of clergy including the Holy Father.

    A mozzetta is a completely separate item which is worn over a prelate’s rochet. It is buttoned in front and until 1968 had a small hood (the pope’s mozzetta still has).It is not attached to the cassock and is considerably larger than the small cape.

    So most of you complainers are merely showing your ignorance about mozzettas. Of course you don’t HAVE to like the blue sassocks and caplets. You may even prefer the phoney white monk’s habits or those ungirded cassock albs (calbs?), both post Vatican II inventions of the Litgurgical haberdashers.

    But try to learn what you are talking about.

  49. The Communion cloth has always been used on it’s own when it is used for those who are within the altar rails e.g. the sanctuary party or those sitting “in choir” such as altar boys who never received at the rails. This did not exclude also having cloths (called houseling cloths)on the rails for the laity.

    In practice most parish churches tended to neglect this extra reverence, even those who had the houseling cloths on the rails.

  50. ssoldie says:

    ViVa- beautiful T.L.M. ‘Gregorian Rite’ ViVa-beautiful Tradition
    cassocks, mozzeta’s, alter boys, capes, communion rail clothes, etc, etc.

  51. Brendan says:

    One doesn’t have to go much further than Wikipedia to find out about the shoulder capes the servers are wearing.

    In the picture on the Wikipedia page, notice how the mozzetta is closed in the front. If you see other pictures of ICRSS servers from the front, you can see that they are wearing shoulder capes, since they are open in the front. In fact, there’s even a section on the Wikipedia article on this:

    “A shoulder cape is shorter than a mozzetta and is not buttoned over the chest. …In some countries it is customary for altar servers to wear a shoulder cape over their cottas or surplices while serving.”


  52. TJM says:

    Brendan, thanks for your research. Anyone dispute this now? Tom

  53. inillotempore says:

    Just a note for whom this makes a difference. These boys here didn’t serve the Mass at all outside of providing a perfect example of activity receptivity before/in union with the Sacred Mysteries. As did everyone else.

    Looks like many of us fell for a fallicy in logic in assuming those First communicants were altat boys.

    “The Philosopher” says:

    Accident often appears to be using deductive reasoning deductive reasoning and hence seems to carry reasonable logic.

    We have a deep need to explain things that happen, which leads to many people accepting a general rule as explanation for a specific case, even when that rule clearly does not apply.

    I have seen the acolyte capes used at a local Polish parish.

  54. Stephen says:

    I know there is a tradition in some parts of Mexico of servers and seminarians wearing a blue fascia cincture(not the soft powder blue of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest pictured above)with their cassock. This is a particular Marian Devotion. I assume the blue of the Institute is also a Marian Devotion but not the big reason the servers wear the blue. It is a beautiful color of vestment though isn’t it?

  55. Angels stole my phonebox says:

    The blue signifies both the colour of the Institute patron, St Francois de Sales and their devotion to Our Lady in her Immaculate Conception

  56. fh in Houston. says:

    I would never quote Wikipedia as a reliable source, but the debate is over.

    TLH excellent link. This is what ended the debate for me. LOL!

  57. dymphna says:

    I’ve had enough of all this nitpicking. Some people are never

  58. Pharisee says:

    GORGEOUS IMAGE. The red of the Archbishop wonderfully contrasts with the blue of the servers! You people bad mouthing this image, I just cant understand that. The beauty is self evident, stop with your hyper active obsesive thoughts for one SECOND and wonder at Mother Church in all her splendor. The red brings the Sacred Heart to mind and all the blood mercifully pouring from the side of Christ. The blue reminds of the Immaculate Heart, the humble handmaid whom the Church must love and imitate. We kneel before Christ and receive His Mercy into our hearts in all joy as at the Annunciation for the Lord has done great things for us.

    Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.

    And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
    He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
    He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
    He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
    He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:

    My Own Heart Let Me More Have Pity On


    My own heart let me more have pity on; let
    Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
    Charitable; not live this tormented mind
    With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
    I cast for comfort I can no more get
    By groping round my comfortless, than blind
    Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
    Thirst’s all-in-all in all a world of wet.

    Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
    You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
    Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; and let joy size
    At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
    ‘s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather — as skies
    Betweenpie mountains — lights a lovely mile.

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