VIDEO & PICS – Pre-1961 Rites of Consecration of new Abbey Church!

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!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I got home from 9:00 a.m. Mass yesterday not only to find that the ceremony was still going on, but that they hadn’t even had Mass yet (the length of the four- hour-long ICKSP ordinations in St. Louis this past August paled in comparison). At one point, watching the live stream, I believe I saw you, Father, with your phone out, taking pictures. My mom and I loved it! :)

  2. Lusp says:

    My father attended and told me, “after attending the ceremony, it makes me even more outraged when they ‘wreckovate’ old monasteries… “People spent their whole day consecrating that building, don’t destroy it!” Congratulations to the Sisters and I have holy envy for you Fr. Z!

  3. Malta says:

    Think what you want about Vatican II, but I wrote this piece over ten years ago:

    I defied the over 2,200 Bishops who signed those documents. Not that there aren’t good things said; but the devil is in the details. I’m glad there are pockets of resistance, and the Church is rising from the ashes.

  4. teomatteo says:

    That fifth photo from the top… the feminism that will pray our church and country towards the Lord. I can support that! (my diocese right now- not so much).

  5. benedetta says:

    This is so beautiful to see! I’m so happy to see the Benedictines of Mary, whose chant has accompanied me through many a liturgical season, settled into their new spiritual home. I am a particular fan of their newly named Abbess, who was, like me, a French horn player in past life.

  6. Johann says:

    I was literally in tears after reading this story. After all the horrific negative news coming out we need a good uplifting story like this, about the restoration of beauty in the Church, to give us hope and remind us that God is still with us. Thank you Father for sharing this.

  7. Thomas says:

    Thanks. Nice to have some good wholesome news!

  8. Legisperitus says:

    Wow, that consecration and investiture today was absolutely beautiful.

  9. Elizabeth D says:

    I am crying and crying thinking of what it would be like being deemed “not a consecrated person” and locked out of “the bridal chamber”. Please God let heaven be governed by something higher than canon law and run by Someone with higher authortity than who tells me I may not come to Mass wearing my chapel veil while they let religious sisters come to Mass with theirs or define who’s loved by Christ as bride by who’s a virgin. Even the little dogs eat the scraps that fall from the children’s table, and are not locked outside.

  10. tho says:

    If our Bishop’s and Pope had the character and faith of these Nuns, I think that many of the problems now facing Holy Mother Church would quietly melt away.

  11. ogn.i.zhupel says:

    The reverence and beauty uplifted my spirit. This is the Latin Church and the Latin Rite, not that… other thing. Thank you for this, padre, I needed it!

  12. Dominicanes says:

    This is awesome and even in pre Vatican II days would not have been common. Most churches were only blessed not consecrated.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Majestic, a Gift from God. Thank you for this Fr. Z.

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