Peregrinus Gasolinus: the rubrical adventure continueth

Some of you who pay attention to matters liturgical – in detail – might get an edifying kick out of Peregrinus Gasolinus. The nice folks from Romanitas Press have been reproducing it. Here is a note I received:

Dear Father,

Just thought that you might interested to know that I recently posted a new chapter of Peregrinus Gasolinus on my website (, which covers a topic that many of your readers may be interested in: The Care of Holy Oils.

Likewise, your readers might also be interested in some of the (often little known) rubrical facts contained in this article on Blessed Sacrament processions: Hold the flower girls, please!

Until next, Father, God bless.

Some of the Peregrinus Gasolinus conversations remind me of real-life debates I have had about things liturgical, and though they are very particular, you can learn a great deal about the principles that lie at the root of liturgical laws, even the laws that have been superseded.

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  1. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Very interesting Romanitas website. I’ve always thought that backwards thurible-swinging looked like an accident waiting to happen. Walking or crawling three or paces backwards is do-able; more is dangerous. (Does anyone recall the 1950s when it was demanded that altar boys should descend the altar steps backwards at certain moments of the Mass? Later rescinded.)
    I’m guessing here: the flower girl ceremony sounds colourful and bizarre enough to have been an ancient Roman festival custom. (Here I mean ‘ancient Roman’ as in Crassus, Augustus Caesar, maybe even earlier.)

  2. DLe says:

    I greatly appreciate the processions article. Not too many years ago, I was a thurifer in a Holy Thursday procession. I had a fellow thurifer with me, and we were told to link our non-incensing arms together so that while one of us walked forward, the other (walking backward, incensing the Blessed Sacrament) would be steered in the right direction! Thankfully, the procession proceeded without incident. I’m glad to know that this backward-walking is not the recommended norm!

  3. samgr says:

    I was one of those backwards-walking censer-swinging altar boys in Holy Thursday processions some decades ago. A pilar of the parish, a highly respected real estate and insurance broker, always made really better-than-Sid-Cesar faces at me in an effort to break me up. Little did he realize that even then I was too nearsighted to appreciate his efforts fully. What a great, if irreverent, guy!

  4. VexillaRegis says:

    On the topic of flower girls, a lutheran vicar friend told me what happend at a wedding a couple of years ago. The custom here is to have children walking in before the bridal couple just carrying small bouquets of flowers, not throwing any petals on the carpet. On this occasion there were going to be flower girls (they must have bribed the cleaninglady:-)) on the way out.

    So, first two lovely little girls sprinkling petals like mad, then the bride and groom and last my elderly vicar friend. Then suddenly one of the girls got her hands mixed up and threw away the basket, backwards! My friend saw when it flew over the bride and groom and he made a nice catch with one hand! On all the pictures from outside the church you can see an old vicar holding a white basket decorated with pink bows.

  5. Phil_NL says:

    Tongue somewhat in cheek:

    It appears to me that the problem of flower girls can be simply solved by forming a special lay confraternity (well, technically, consorority?) of which said flower girls are to be members, and having them walk (well) in front of the liturgical space doing their thing. The real problem seems to me to find a name for this consorority that excludes any hippy references….

  6. Phil_NL says:

    PS: of course, a consororirty specifically devoted to the Blessed Sacrament – “they would process behind this banner as a group (but ahead of the crossbearer who marks the boundary of the liturgical group). “

  7. vetusta ecclesia says:

    At the State Opening of the British Parliament the Lord Chancellor, in full robes, presents the speech to the monarch and then walks backwards down the steps of the throne. Only Lord Haisham, on two crutches following a riding accident, was given permission to turn his back!

  8. AnAmericanMother says:

    I have had a splendid time reading the adventures of the flivver-riding fathers.

    My father in law (may he rest in peace) had an old Ford Model A (with a rumble seat!) and hand-cranking it was always a new adventure every time. Gosh we loved that old car!

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