And now, the first funeral with the new missal…

A lifetime parishioner — baptized in our church, in fact — and longtime trustee of the parish died just before Thanksgiving.  This morning, we had his funeral, the first with the new Roman Missal.

There was a substantial turnout, and a sizable crowd in the sanctuary, too: four priests, two deacons, six altar servers, and one seminarian, who hovered over the new missal and served in an important new liturgical ministry: Turner of the Page.

After the first “and also with you,” we all quickly realized we’d bungled it.  After that, one of the priests boldly made sure he enunciated (no, proclaimed) the new responses loudly, for every prayer, at every moment.  We all followed along, remembering what we could, when we could.  It was impossible to tell how many of the people in the pews were regular Mass-goers, or how many even realized we were using a new version of the Mass.  (At times like that, people have other things on their mind.)

But it marked another little milestone for us.

Later, my pastor and I were talking about the experience over coffee — and I noted an interesting quirk.  “Just think: Bob was buried with a Mass he’d never heard before,” I said.  “I hope he liked it.”


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9 responses to “And now, the first funeral with the new missal…”

  1. 1. Is Turner of the Page an ordained or non-ordained ministry?
    2. If the former, how long is the formation?
    3. Are arthritis or a lack of ordinary number of fingers canonical impediments to being accpted into this ministry?

  2. We have two funerals tomorrow. Our first since Sunday. It should be interesting. Unless the priest makes a point of telling the people before mass to read along with the pew cards I don’t think we will be hearing too much of the new assembly responses. Today at our daily masses more people were saying the old responses rather than the new. I also found that they missed “cues” with regard to posture changes.

  3. While “turner of the page” makes for a nice laugh, it’s one of the functions of the duly instituted acolyte. A Master of Ceremonies also performs this function at pontifical or concelebrated Masses.

    It is also something a Deacon can and sometimes should do.

  4. I have been involved in correctional ministry for some time. Last evening, I was at a jail and used the new translations during a communion service. I had brought along some music CDs and used them at the appropriate times. After a discussion about the new translations, one of the inmates asked if I had any Gregorian Chant CDs. I had expected praise and worship music would be appreciated by the inmates. We would up listening to Christmas Gregorian Chant – go figure!

  5. meant tosay – we wound up listening to Christmas Gregorian Chant – go figure.

    Sorry for the error.

  6. I ordered 150 extra new translations response cards for funeral Masses. I have put them in the vestibule in the ushers’ closet, in a box marked FUNERAL DIRECTORS, and the funeral directors know to get them out and pass them to the mourners as they gather in the vestibule before Mass. That way we know their attention has been directed to them. The pall bearers collect them afterwards and return them to the box. I’v celebrated one funeral, yesterday, and the family did pretty well with it (in fact I think it might have made them more comfortable to have the cards).

    The Page Turning Ministry made me chuckle. Sunday night I was stretched out in bed reading a book when something occurred to me. The people preparing the Roman Missal in English obviously took to heart that this was to be as close to the Missale Romanum as possible. This extended to the very layout of the book.

    The Latin Missal (which is so big and fat they should have put wheels on it so the sacristan doesn’t get a hernia) is laid out with curious repetition. The invitation to the Lord’s prayer is set out with chant notation; it is then repeated without notation. The Lord’s Prayer follows with chant notation — then repeated without. The “Deliver us, Lord, from all evil” likewise; everything that can be chanted is set out with chant notation, then repeated without. It is entirely unnecessary. In the recently emeritus-ed Sacramentary, you read the words under the music whether or not you were singing it. Sensible.

    The result in the new English book is that you feel as though every time you say anything you are turning a page. The Latin Missal, because of the way it is laid out, is less awkward; its format was slavishly followed but ineptly set out by someone who didn’t think to ask how convenient the format would be for the priest at the altar. And, of course, we’re not used to the new altar book yet: it isn’t instictive yet.

    A bit of wisdom from the past: I have an altar missal for the Traditional Mass which is well-bound, handy, compact — easily fits in my bag, and it contains the Masses and readings for every day of the year. The big difference? Double-columned pages. The single-column format adds much bulk to the book.

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