Yesterday I had the great privilege of participating in the consecration of the new abbey church of the monastic community of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles near Gower, MO. The rites of consecration and the Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool after took over 7 hours.
The prayers and gestures of the Pontifical Mass, according to the pre-1961 Pontificale Romanum, are of stunning beauty and mystical depth.
Here are a few pics. I am still gathering my thoughts about what to write about the profound rites themselves. There were moments when I found it hard to breathe. There were moments when I had to wipe away tears. Most of the time, I beamed at the spectacular symbolism and significance of the event.
A foreward: This community has been here for about 10 years. They have grown to over 40 nuns and now must found a daughter house. If memory serves, over 10 new gals will join this year. They have built a church and it has been raised to an abbey. Today, the day after the church’s consecration, we return for the consecration of their new abbess.
They were will cleaning. Mother said that the altar, made in Italy, was still on the boat just over a week ago. But they got it in time and it was assembled in record time.
And the acoustics are breathtaking.
I’m working mainly on my phone to make this post and a friend “airdropped” some pics and videos, so things are not in chronological order.
Some of the things that will be used in the rites… the tapers and incense to be burned in the altar after it is anointed with Oil of the Catechumens and Chrism. The stone to cover and seal the altar’s “tomb” into which the relics are placed.
Bp. Johnston of Kansas City-St. Joseph watches as four priests bring the relics to the church.
The bishop anointed the walls at 12 points. Candles will burn there on the anniversary of the consecration.
With Peter Kwasniewski. Both of us rather blown away and pleased.
The Benedictine Monks up the road at Conception did a live stream of the consecration and Mass. The video is 7:43:00! But YouTube only allows 4 hours at at time, so they will post the first part, hopefully, today. Here is the second part. They helpfully put “subtitles” in so you can see at what point they’ve arrived in the rite. They have the “worship aid” HERE.
For a hint at a super cool element of the rite, to about, say, 00:10:45. You will see that a priest is constantly “orbiting” and incensing. He does this continuously for a long time. Occasionally he pauses and one of the servers hands him a newly charged thurible, which he blesses. Then he continues.
BTW… after the first part of the rites were completed outside, the religious and clergy entered and the doors were closed on the laity. Everything started at 9 and they were told that they would probably be allowed in for the rest of the rites at around 10:30. But at that time, there were still 15 pages to go in the booklet to the right moment. Eventually, they came in, with the procession of the relics.
There were many exorcisms and blessings and prayers around and around the outside and the inside to prepare the space. So, only the consecrated persons and servers were inside at first, preparing the space for the laity to enter. Then they came in to a blessed place, freed from the demonic influences of the Prince of this world. Then the altar was prepared in the heart of the space.
Think NUPTIAL imagery. The bridal chamber was prepared first for the entrance of the people with the relics (Church Militant together with Church Triumphant. Then the truly nuptial place was readied. Afterwards, the consummation of the space was accomplish with Holy Mass.
I have lot more to say about this, but I have to go to Gower for MORE!