Sunday, June 01, 2008


So the ordination in Helena this afternoon was nice. I didn't know most of the hymns; even so, I found all but one singable. The ordo was hard to follow, especially if you weren't familiar with an ordination service. The incense bothered some people, but not terribly; and I personally found it to be just the right amount.

The cantor for the ordination litany had a lovely voice. The choir was superb. The reception was nice. And one of the ordinands is a person who's commented here occasionally, so I got to meet her in real life.

Where the clergy were seated, we couldn't see the altar (I think it's a bad architectural design when people in the pews can't see the altar). I bring this up because I don't know if the new deacons did the liturgical equivalent of running their finger nails down a chalk board.

Let me ask a question: When you have people over to your house for a nice dinner, say, Thanksgiving, what happens? You prepare the meal, you have the table all set up nice with your best china and prettiest table cloth, and you invite people to share that meal.

Afterwards, what happens? Everyone stacks their dishes in the kitchen (some ambitious people clean up immediately), you have dessert and chat about the good times.

What doesn't happen? Nobody rinses their dishes off and then re-sets the table with them. Why, then, do some priests and deacons feel the need to re-set the altar after communion? What's with that?? Everything should get stacked over on the credence table and the altar should be left bare except for the altar book.

So . . . because of where I was sitting, I don't know if either of the new deacons re-set the altar after communion. I hope not.

Rant over . . . Did I mention that the ordination was really good? The ordination was really good.


Father John | 11:38 AM, June 02, 2008  

OI!.. is this a game of of Limbo.. "How low can you go?!?" I think not!

Oh well... I checked my sources on this one: Blessed Ritual Notes, 9th edition, 1946 (a very liberal source); A Priest's Handbook, Michno, 1992 (post-Vatican II for crying out loud), and Ceremonies of the Eucharist (It is a paperback - Need I say more?)

All but the last have the ablutions and cleaning being done at that altar during the service... None the less.. I see your point. BUT ...

1) Michno makes an excellent point, "The cleansing of the vessels may be done in a number of ways. Whichever method is used, it should be done reverently, simply and quickly." That is the key to the problem. It has been my experience that most deacons are so inexperienced at this task that for the most part it seems they are trying to put together a 500 piece puzzel as opposed to doing something they should be able to with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their back.

2) I also think this is a bit of instruction for our congregations. The time immediately following Communion should be a time of their deepest devotions. Instead of speeding things up, I look forward to the day when the congregations ask for more time to contemplate their Lord.

Reverend Ref + | 3:38 PM, June 02, 2008  

All but the last have the ablutions and cleaning being done at that altar during the service...

It's not the ablutions and cleaning at the altar that I object to; it's the resetting of the table that makes me cringe.

My point is that the used chalice and paten should not be re-veiled and left on the altar.

Sophia | 12:20 AM, June 03, 2008  

I'm not a huge fan of ablutions at the altar either, and I definitely agree with you on the resetting of the table. It's just weird. It's also something we definitely don't do here!

Susie/Nueva Cantora | 9:48 PM, June 03, 2008  

I think it's odd too... but at the church I was at on Sunday, there was no credence table (seriously, the offering plates went on the floor...) Anyway, it seemed like a better choice to re-set than the just leave the stuff all on the altar.

Reverend Ref + | 11:15 PM, June 03, 2008  

No credence table? Hmmm ....

Not sure what I would have done. I know that St. Augustine's in Wilmette (where I attended while in seminary) put everything in their side chapel after communion.

I might have asked the acolyte to move everything into the sacristy. But then, I don't know what the church building looked like.

I would agree, though, that re-setting the altar would be a better option than stashing everything on the floor.

Jane Ellen+ | 7:38 PM, June 04, 2008  

Also from Michno: "When all of the cleansing is completed, the vessels are returned to the credence (or left on the side altar if ablutions are done there)..."

That said, it was the practice in my sponsoring parish for acolytes & LEMs to take it all to the sacristy afterward. That seemed to work well.

But anything is better than the floor!

J | 10:04 AM, June 05, 2008  

Fear not. There was no revesting and everything was moved ot the credence table with alacrity, leaving only the altar book on the altar.

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