Monday, 10 February 2020

The Memoriale Rituum

The following is a translation of the Preface to a small liturgical book from times past titled the Memoriale Rituum  :

A Particular Congregation for determining certain matters concerning the Sacred Visitation of the parochial Churches in Rome was held by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XIII. on 4th December 1724.

The visible signs of religion and piety are rites and holy ceremonies by which the minds of the faithful are drawn to the contemplation of spiritual things.

His Holiness in the aforesaid Congregation confirmed a Decree ordering this Memoriale Rituum to be printed and to be observed by Rectors, in order that uniformity and exactness might be secured in the smaller parochial Churches in Rome, and at the same time to guard against omissions - by reasons of the fewness of clergy or insufficient knowledge of ceremonies - of those ceremonies by which our Holy Mother the Church brings to our remembrance the most noteworthy of [being] the mysteries of the Passion.

The Memoriale combines exactness of rites with a very small number of servers. *  Generally three are sufficient, four being seldom necessary.  It is the duty of the parish Priest to give timely instruction to these servers, in order that that they may act quickly, but with attention, and so prevent aimless wandering to and fro.

He will teach them also those Psalms, Antiphons and Hymns which are to be recited or chanted in procession, endeavouring to obtain vocal uniformity; hence for greater convenience these Antiphons, etc., are inserted in the Memoriale, each in its own proper place, so that one and the same book contains directions as to what is to be done and also those Hymns, etc., which are to be recited.

Six functions occur in the course of each year are here set out :

Part I       The Blessings of Candles on the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Part II      The Blessing of Ashes at the Beginning of Lent.
Part III     Palm Sunday.
Part IV    Thursday, the Day of the Lord's Supper.
Part V      The Friday of the Passover.
Part VI     Holy Saturday.  

From these it will not be difficult to deduce a method for carrying out similar functions, so that in all things and at all times due regard for the sacred ceremonies may always be apparent.

* In the Latin, the term presumes the servers are clerics.

Only 150 years after the publication of the Missale Romanum by Pope S' Pius V, this interesting document describes the state of the Sacred Liturgy in the churches of the City of Rome.  It would seem that, although the Rites of Holy Week - and other important Feasts of the Year to which were attached particular rites - were detailed in full in the Missale Romanum, the observance of these Days had generally degenerated and required a reform.

What was intended as a Ritual guide to be observed only in the city of Rome, came to be used world-wide.  It was especially important for missionary countries and rural churches which had but one priest and a small group of altar servers.  This was a provision for smaller churches which did not have the means to celebrate these Rites in their fuller solemnity.  It was a small book obviously intended to be hand held by the celebrant and his ministers.  The Memoriale Rituum was published in several editions and in translations, the last being published by the Holy See in 1950.

Noteworthy in this ritual guide is that, although it was preferred that the Rites would be sung, it was nevertheless permitted that they be read (either in part or entirely) or sung recta tono with some inflections. The Memoriale Rituum does not seem to envisage any choir chanting the rites - for example, the hymns, antiphons, psalms, but that they be chanted by the Celebrant and his ministers.

In the present pre-occupation amongst Traditionalists with the use of the pre-1955 Rites of Holy Week, it is important to remember that the rites detailed in the Memoriale Rituum were the usual observance of Holy Week throughout the entire Church.  In greater churches, monasteries &c., the more solemn celebration of these rites, as detailed in the editions of the Missale Romanum would - of course - have been observed.

When the reformed rites of Holy Week were first celebrated in 1956, the rites as detailed in the Memoriale Rituum were suppressed.  Furthermore, the Restored Rites of 1956 allowed for a solemn or simple celebration of Holy Week, but they were always to be sung : there was no permission for a form of Holy Week which was read.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

To What Purpose Sacred Vestments?

Solemn Mass at the Abbey of 
Saint Madeleine, Le Barroux.
If we were to accept the notion that a priest is the "president of the christian assembly" then what he wears to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy would be merely an expression of his personality or tastes. The notion of presider is an entirely modern (and a protestant) concept. A priest, bishop or Pope celebrates the Sacred Mysteries. In the East, the term used is to serve.

Because the celebrant is least of all a "presider", what he wears during the Sacred Liturgy should not essentially be about his own preferences and personality.  The most important view of the vestments is not that of one looking in the mirror. 

Might the celebrant ask of himself :

Is what I am wearing worthy of my ministry standing between God and man to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy?

Will what I am wearing draw those who look upon me during Mass into a closer appreciation of the Sacred Mysteries, in other words, will it raise their hearts and minds to God?

Or will it act as a distraction - for various reasons - to the Faithful attending Mass?

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Vestments in the Borromeon form

Borromeon vestments
Figure 1.
We are pleased to present a set of vestments made for a returning customer of the Saint Bede Studio.  These vestments, in the Borromeon form, were made from a distinctive lampas in a shade of silver with bronze-coloured woven embroideries. The ornament, in the Roman manner, was formed from the Studio's Saint Columba brocade in colours of red, burgundy and gold, outlined with golden galloons. The vestments were lined in a rich golden taffeta.

The Saint Bede Studio
Figure 2.



The Saint Bede Studio
Figure 3

Borromeon vestments
Figure 4


Figure 5
Our customer wearing his new vestments to celebrate
the wedding of his sister.
Image supplied by Father Thomas Quinn.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Ordinands 2021

2021 is still a long way off, but if you are interested in commissioning vestments with the Saint Bede Studio for your Ordination in that year, NOW is the time to contact us to begin discussions.

Every year - regretfully - we have to refuse work from ordinands because they have left enquiries too late for us to fit into our over-crowded schedule.

Contact us now to avoid disappointment.  Please show this notice to ordinands who may be thinking of vestments.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com


Friday, 17 January 2020

Bushfires in Australia

Australian bushfires
The fiery sun shrouded in the smoke of bushfires
as seen from the Saint Bede Studio
December 2019.
The season of Summer in Australia - since the documentation of weather commenced after white settlement on this continent in 1788 - has always been harsh and unforgiving.

Our climate has become more erratic in recent years, but we have always experienced prolonged and crippling droughts, all-consuming fires and unstoppable floods here in Australia.

Since the very beginning of this summer, large areas of Australia have been devastated by massive bushfires and, unfortunately, this is likely to continue.  This has as much to do with the unpreparedness of government as it has to do with extreme conditions.  Despite certain claims, arson has had very little to do with the fires recently experienced.  Meanwhile, Supporters and Deniers of the various theories of climate change continue to scream at each other.

The quiet suburb of Wallsend in the eastern coast provincial city of Newcastle is the location of the Saint Bede Studio.  Newcastle and its surrounds have not up to this time been affected by fires, but we have had very bad air-quality as a result of conflagrations elsewhere.  Thank you to all those who have written to enquire after our well-being.  

Please pray for all those affected by this devastation and for the Blessing of rain.

The quiet garden of the Saint Bede Studio

Climate change Australia

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Silver Vestments

For our first post of 2020, we are pleased to present a special Commission completed by The Saint Bede Studio during 2019 for a returning customer in Texas (USA).  This commission was for a Borromeon chasuble made from silver brocade and decorated in a grey / silver  theme.

This commission posed some difficulties for us in locating a metallic silver brocade which had sufficient suppleness.  After exploring many avenues, the Studio finally obtained a brocade made of silk with metallic threads.

The ornament was formed from a cotton jacquard in colours of silver and ivory.  This was outlined with a grey and silver braid to form the Roman TAU at the front and a column at the back.

The finished product was distinctive, elegant and lightweight.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.