Friday, September 19, 2008

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Last Sunday, I celebrated the Masses of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross ad orientem, as I did the previous weekend. These celebrations are to commemorate the restoration of the high altar and Mary altar here at St. Stanislaus.

This weekend, we did it up a little bit "higher", liturgically speaking, than last. The 11:00 Mass on Sunday was sung, with incense.

Incensing the Altar at the Procession
(all photos may be viewed full-size by clicking on them)

Chanting the Collect

Speaking of incense, I usually use either the "Regal Jasmine" or "Bulgarian Rose" from Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Holy Transfiguration Monastery is an Orthodox monastic community descended from Mount Athos. Their incenses are hand-made of frankincense and natural fragrant (mostly floral) oils, period. I've never encountered sweeter and more fragrant incenses anywhere. Many people who ordinarily say they don't like incense or can't tolerate it have been pleasantly surprised by these incenses.

Here I'm incensing the altar at the Offertory:

The vestments I'm wearing are my own. I really love the darker burgundy color. They're from The House of Hansen in Chicago. I have many vestments, and a cassock, from House of Hansen, and I'm extremely happy with them all. The staff there are excellent and their workmanship is of the highest quality. Not only that, but, compared to other high-quality makers, their prices are quite reasonable.

Chanting the Canon

I had many positive remarks about the liturgies of this weekend. Many parishioners complimented the beauty of the high altar, and there were a number of positive remarks about the ad orientem celebration. One visitor to the parish exclaimed to me after Mass, "I love coming to this parish!". I replied, "Well, come back, then!"

I have made a few observations about these celebrations of Mass ad orientem, the first such public celebrations at my parish in 35+ years. I'll share those in a post next week.