Rehearsing the Mass

The rehearsal for tomorrow’s Pontifical Mass.

The bishop is here.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Father, I always prefer to use the word ‘practice’ or ‘logistical training’ rather than rehearsal.

    Aside, I was at one Pontifical Mass practice (including an ordination) where the practice took longer than the actual ceremony. We may as well have had Mass then and there. The Bishop in question wanted to practice everything. The only this he didn’t do was consecrate.

  2. I will be there tomorrow.

    There will be a little bit of nerves and an ocean of graces. Thank you to all involved.

    The Maccabees have returned!

  3. Consilio et Impetu says:

    Does anyone know if EWTN plans to broadcast the Mass.

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    If you check the EWTN schedule for April 24 at

    you’ll see the entry


    listed in the 12:30-3:30 pm time slot.

  5. Mitchell NY says:

    I can’t be in Washington tomorrow but pray for a huge turnout..I hope it moves round to St. Patrick’s in New York. 1996 was so long ago, too long to wait for Tridentine Mass in out Cathedral. I wish everyone a wonderful, prayer Mass tomorrow. Thanks to the Bishop who stepped in. I hope it is packed. I have a feeling all the Priests, servers, and clergy are so excited for this, as it has been 45 years. It truly makes one excited to be a Catholic, restoring a sense of the sacred and healing wounds that have been around a long time. We probably have a long way to go until the Tridentine Mass becomes a part of Sunday worship in our Cathedrals and parishes again, but we are on the way. Once restored to a regular schedule and into parish life as an option people will settle in and start to believe in Bishops, Priests and the Church again. A sense of stability will prevail and little by little confidences will return. I am truly convinced this is the way for the Church to mend herself, through her people and the TLM. Could it be that its’ suppression is what saved it? To once again draw people to the Faith? Now it has the legal right to do so.

  6. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Neat pictures Father. Interesting to see the ‘behind-the-scenes’. Any more?

  7. Looking forward to this…wish I could be there…I have to give a marriage preparation talk beforehand and then maybe I can get to the tv!
    Jesus, bring many souls to Your Sacred Heart by this transmission of the “usus antiquior”…Amen!

  8. revs96 says:

    It’s awesome to see the low altar removed. The sanctuary looks so much neater now. I didn’t know it was movable, I always thought it was fixed, but it’s great to see it gone. It is a proper sanctuary now. Can’t wait to see it on EWTN tomorrow. After seeing so many OF Masses from there on EWTN (and even being at one years ago) it will be beautiful beyond words to finally see an EF Mass, the original Mass of this Basilica.

  9. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    It may be my imagination, but that looks like Fr. Denis Kolinski and Fr. Bart Juncer of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago. Can anyone confirm what group of Canons is assisting His Excellency?

  10. Bthompson says:

    I am definitely making the epic 200 yard journey across the street to attend this!

  11. Andy Milam says:

    Two things,

    1) I love seeing all the cassocks in the sanctuary. It is heartening to see priests dressing and acting like priests again.

    2. It is even MORE lovely to see the CRAMNER table out of the sanctuary. It is so unnecessary to have a duplication of symbols, especially when the orignial altar of sacrifice is free standing….

    That is all.


  12. Bthompson says:

    I am definitely making the epic 200 yard journey across the street to attend this!
    I am very curious, I have never seen a solemn high mass before. I have attended maybe 3 or 4 low masses, but never something this grand.

  13. wanda says:

    Oh man, have the shortest commute out of everyone! Be blessed.

  14. teaguytom says:

    Andy Milam, ditto on your comment about the “cranmer table.” Very out of place with the style of architecture.

  15. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    So. Cool.

  16. JimGB says:

    I have been to the Basilica many times in the last 20 years and I have never seen the sanctuary without the low altar used for the OF masses until today. The sanctuary looks so much grander without that altar and the rows of blue chairs that are usually placed behind it. Can we start a movement to emulate what the Archbishop of Westminster did, namely promote the permanent removal of the low altar and use the high altar for all Masses? Seems there is plenty of room behind it to celebrate facing the congregation. And the views of the altar will probably be better because the Church was designed with continuous use of the high altar in mind.

    And, maybe we can get Archbishop Dolan in New York to return to use of the high altar in St. Patrick’s!

  17. Lucas says:

    JimGB: They removed the table a few years ago, and used the high altar and got people’s feedback. Unfortunately most people complained that it was hard to see the celebrant and they didn’t like it.

    So they put the table back.

  18. Raymond says:


    I lived in D.C. from 2007-09 and frequently attended the Solemn Sunday noon Mass with full choir at the Basilica. The rector, Msgr. Walter Rossi, “experimented” on a few Sundays by removing the portable altar and using the baldachin High Altar for (OF) Mass ad populum. He explained to the congregation before Mass that rubrics called for only one altar to be present in the sanctuary, the permanent one being the baldachin altar, and that he was seeking feedback by means of email, if they preferred this setup or the other. I’m thinking he probably didn’t get enough positive feedback.

  19. revs96 says:


    This is already done at the Cathedral in Philly. They only have one altar (the high altar) and there is a small amount of space behind it, so it can be used in both directions.

  20. JimGB: I agree.
    I hate that “altar table” that is used for the EWTN Masses for special events.
    I’m very glad they’re using the high altar. That’s what it is there for…not just decoration.
    Pray God, this will maybe be a “sign post” for the future. Pray God.

  21. doanli says:

    Love seeing the cassocks as well…my parish priest wears his (along with the hat—don’t know the name of it. I’m a post V2 baby after all. :D)

  22. Central Valley says:

    I love seeing all the cassocks in the sanctuary. It is heartening to see priests dressing and acting like priests again…………A M E N !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. edwardo3 says:

    If memory serves, and it’s been 20 years, I remember there being relics embeded in both the front and back sides of the Mensa of the High Altar for Mass in either direction. The High Altar and Baldichino are really beautiful, especially the mosaics inside the dome of the Baldichino. Also, pictures from the old days show the Chancel with long rows of pews set up in choir, it was very cool.

  24. Andy Milam says:

    @edwardo3 – You are correct. I spent a lot of time at the National Shrine in 1999-2000. I can confirm that the intent of the Baldachin altar was to have the Mass celebrated both ad orientem and versus populum. Remember, there are provisions in the 1962 Missal for the Mass to celebrated “facing the people.”

    As an aside, to call the altars “High” altar and “Low” altar is incorrect. I would offer this; I would refer to whichever altar as being used as the altar of sacrifice and the altar not being used as the “adjacent” altar. It is a matter of respect for the fact that the Sacrament is confected on said altar. This does need to be taken tongue in cheek as I do refer to the forward altar as “a Cranmer table.”

    My view is this, only one altar should be used. If there is a permanent altar, then that should be the one used. There is no need for the permanent altar to be superceded for another. I am of the opinion that Sacrosanctum Concilium is of the same mind.

  25. New Sister says:

    dismayed to hear about the rector basing liturgical decisions on “positive feedback” from opinion polls…we’re too STUPID to know better so why ask us?
    Also agree about the cassocks! Recent story: I invited a friend of mine (fallen away Catholic) to attend a fundraiser for the EWTN broadcast of today’s Mass — the military officer in him responded to seeing priests in their cassocks, inspired his trust and motivated him to get to Confession – Deo gratias! (It was an FSSP priest)

    I will be grateful to all who can say a pray for the safe travels of Father Collins, who is driving a long way to hear confessions/celebrate Holy Mass at my parish this evening & allow our TLM-savvy pastor to attend this hitoric Mass.

  26. dimsum says:

    Thanks for sharing these pictures Father. I am dissapointed at not being able to attend, as originally planned.

  27. New Sister says:

    Awh – dismsum, tune in live to EWTN and I’m given to understand you will HEAR Fr Z narrate the event!

  28. Jim of Bowie says:

    Msgr. Pope has a very good post about the TLM on the ADW Blogsite.

  29. dimsum says:

    New Sister, thanks, yes I will be watching and also recording it.

  30. irishgirl says:

    I’ll be watching online!

    Oh, it will be soooo cool to hear Fr. Z as narrator!

    If I could bilocate, I’d be there…but I can’t. So on the computer I will go!

  31. vincentuher says:

    Bishop Slattery is a great and holy shepherd of Christ’s flock. I feel this is such a significant moment for the Church in the States and for the USA itself. Laus Deo!

  32. Profound homily. Very profound and moving homily. I am assuming the text will be released soon, and hope so.

  33. dimsum says:

    Father Z.,

    Magnificent Mass. It was wonderful seeing the high altar being used. I wish I had been there. You were a great commentator/narrator.

  34. TJerome says:

    Too bad the Church didn’t listen to “feedback” in the 1960s. A lot of the nonsense would have stopped if it had.

    I watched the Mass on EWTN and it surpassed my expectations. The beauty, the grandeur, and the music was truly inspiring. It was very generous of Bishop Slattery to step in at the last minute. He did a wonderful job and his sermon was quite moving.

  35. irishgirl says:

    I just watched the Mass-WONDERFUL!

    Thank you, Holy Father Benedict! We give thanks for your being our Shepherd! Thank you for Summorum Pontificum!

    Thank you, Bishop Slattery, for being able to come and say the Mass! What a profound homily!

    Thank you, EWTN, for broadcasting this! [I hope it will come out on DVD, so those of us who couldn’t come can see it again and again].

    And THANK YOU, Father Calvin Goodwin AND Father Z, for your informative and insightful commentaries!

    TE DEUM LAUDAMUS! Ineffable!

  36. wanda says:


  37. TomB says:

    Yes, Fr. Z, we noticed that word slipped in there!

  38. I just dropped a comment in this combox over at the Diocese of Tulsa. It’s moderated so I don’t know when it will show up, but perhaps others will want to leave some kind words for the good bishop.

  39. sanctus3 says:

    First of all, I would encourage everyone to send a note of gratitude and appreciation to all that were responsible for airing of this holy Mass. If you have taped this Mass, the credits are listed at the end.

    Father, could you possibly help us out by also listing the many people who diligently and tirelessly were responsible for providing us with this beautiful telecast?

    Secondly, the procession and vesting ceremonies were and inspirational and something most have not seen.

    Third: Bishop Slattery’s homily on suffering was magnificent. This homily will be one that will be referenced time and time again in the future.

    Fourth: Thank you Father Z and Father Goodwin for your commentary. The rubrics and the detailed explanations offered will be an outstanding means of introducing, acquainting and educating others to the Extraordinary form of the Mass.

    Last, but not least, is a special thank you to Bishop Slattery for offering to celebrate this Mass on such short notice.

    If you go to the website of the Diocese of Tulsa, you will realize how caring he is. He was detained in Rome because of travel restriction imposed, and arrived back in Tulsa I believe Tuesday or Wednesday. Secondly, he had many many confirmations scheduled.

    May God bless Bishop Slattery!!

  40. Andy Milam says:

    And one wonders why (seriously, WHY) we ever abandoned this? I mentioned Sacrosanctum Concilium in a previous post….the deeper and deeper I come to understand the Extraordinary Form, the more I wonder….”Was Sacrosanctum Concilium even necessary?”

    Fr. Z, I now understand the position you held (and still hold) so close while sitting at table in the rectory….STLSTW!!!!

    NB. This does not mean that I don’t accept Vatican Council II, to the contrary, but I am perplexed as to the “real” reason for the abandonment of this glorious Mass.

  41. Henry Edwards says:

    Andy: Of course, all of us here accept Vatican II, especially in its call for a renewal of actual prayerful participation in “this glorious Mass”, and for renewal emphasis on Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. Which most ordinary Catholics rarely if ever heard in the years prior to Vatican II; for instance, I don’t recall ever having heard the introit and gradual, offertory and communion antiphon chanted by a schola in those days, while now I’d hardly consider it an authentic high Mass without them.

    And of course you know that the real reason for the abandonment of “this glorious Mass” was that the implementation of Vatican II was hijacked by those who opposed these true goals of the Council and gained control of the process of implementation, thereby blocking rather then carrying it out.

  42. wanda says:

    Ineffable. (I apologize for the mis-spelling in my 2:36.)

  43. LouieJ says:

    Please post many pictures of the mass Father.

  44. Andy Milam says:


    You’re quite correct. And yes, I am painfully (literally) aware of the reasons for abandoning the EF. Hijacked is the correct term….

    Praise God for priests like Fr. Z and his ilk. They are very important for the Church….as Willy Wonka said, “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.” It is precisely this attitude that clarified the status of the EF.

  45. Dopes anyone know if there is a link to watch this online?
    I’ve rootled through EWTNs archives ( which I find very confusing) and can’t find anything.
    If anyone has a link, please share!

  46. Liz F says:

    Seeing priests in cassocks is so neat. It’s like seeing religious in full habits. There is just something cool and inspiring about it! I love it!

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