The Transitional Ordo Missae (1965)

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The texts above were first introduced to Irish parishes on the 7th March, 1965. The Ordinary of the Mass remains essentially the same as the 1962 Missal but with the (partial) introduction of the vernacular and the omission of the Last Gospel and Psalm 42 in the prayers at the foot of the altar.

The 1965 Lenten pastoral letters of Irish bishops were almost wholly dedicated to explaining the reforms, most were very eager to remind the faithful that alterations to the liturgy involved no change of doctrine on the Mass as Sacrifice.

The following is the 1965 Lenten pastoral letter of the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland (slightly abbreviated):

The Vatican Council has spent several years in preparing the Constitution that regulates the manner of offering the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Fathers have had only one purpose in view: worthily to re-enact the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.

In that unique sacrifice Jesus Christ as Man acknowledged the absolute dominion of God over all creation. He made full reparation for the insult of the sins of men against the Infinite God. He gave adequate thanks to God for all His benefits to mankind. In the certainty of being heard, He entreated and obtained from God every grace that human-kind can need.

At the Last Supper, Our Divine Lord Himself established the essential rite by which the Sacrifice of the Cross would be continued until the end of time. On the Cross, once and for all, He offered Himself in actual death by the shedding of His blood as the Victim for our sins. In the Mass, He offers Himself, the self-same victim, under the sign of death, the separate consecration of the bread and wine, by the ministry of a priest. In the Mass He adores, and thanks and petitions God and applies to men the graces that He has won on the Cross. This is the Eucharistic Sacrifice that the Church has never ceased to offer exactly as Jesus Christ Himself ordained.

This is the Mass such as we find it in the first century, in succeeding ages, in our own day: in Palestine, in the lands to which the Faith first spread, in Ireland to-day, in every country of the world.

To-day in the Mass, as it is celebrated in the Latin Rite, we find a simple clear-cut division: the prayers and instructions that lead up to the Offertory: then the central offering of the Sacrifice up to recital of the Lord’s prayer, and the concluding reparation for Communion, with a brief thanksgiving.

1. The Introduction to the Sacrifice: first prayers to the Offertory.

The priest and the Faithful begin the Mass with the sign of the Cross. Many times during the Mass is that sign made upon ourselves or over the host and chalice to emphasise before our eyes the identity of this sacrifice with that of Calvary.

Priest and Faithful call on God at the very outset for His assistance and publicly confess to God that they are sinners. This lowly admission of guilt, this expression of heartfelt sorrow for sins is the essential attitude for the sinful creature who draws near the altar to adore God in this sacrifice. Thus purified in heart, priest and Faithful entreat the mercy of the Saviour in the very work that the lepers and the blind of Palestine used to obtain His healing grace: O Lord, have pity on us.

In most Masses there follows at once a hymn of praise to God the Father, God the Son, Redeemer, God the Holy Ghost, in which we adore and thank the Blessed Trinity, confident that He who alone is holy, alone is Lord, will take away our sins and hear our suppliant prayer.

The prayer proper to the Mass of the Season or the Feast succeeds. On Sundays, this entreaty is, in varying forms, a plea to God the Father that through the merits of Jesus Christ, His Son, Our Lord, He may give effective help to us, His weak and sinful creatures, and grant us at the end eternal happiness.

In the Masses said in honour of a Saint, this prayer, while making mention of the special character or apostolate of the servant of God, asks God for grace that we may be able to imitate the virtues of the Saint and merit everlasting life.

And in every prayer we expressly mention that we depend in our petitions on Jesus Christ Our Lord, Who with God the Father and God the Holy Ghost, is living and who reigns, true God, for all eternity.

The Epistle is a portion of the Old or New Testament chosen to instruct us in a mystery of our holy Faith or in the virtues that the follower of Jesus Christ is required to practice.

The Gospel is the direct word of Our Divine Master as He taught on earth, making known to us the truth about God that we must believe on the authority of God who has Himself revealed. Or, again it is the word of Jesus Christ setting out in parable or sermon the norms of Christian living.

The Creed is then recited in Sunday Mass as a fitting answer of our mind and will and heart to the teaching of Jesus Christ that we have just heard in the holy Gospel. In the Creed we humbly accept what God has made known to us about Himself and our redemption: we thank Him for the Church, one, holy, catholic, apostolic, which, through His unfailing guidance, guarantees to us all His saving revelation.

It will be noted that throughout this introductory section of the Mass, the prayers and readings, while they instruct our minds, prepare our hearts and wills to unite with Jesus Christ as He is about to offer Himself. They help to evoke the very disposition that He expressed in the sacrifice of the Cross. At no time in the prayers of the Mass is there absent the sense that we are only creatures in the presence of the infinite Creator, sinners who have offended the all-holy God, but sinners who have been most generously redeemed through the merits of the Precious Blood.

2. The Sacrifice: the Offertory to the Our Father.

We enter now upon the offering proper of the holy Sacrifice with the touching prayer said by the priest, as he presents to God the bread that soon will become the very body of Jesus Christ. The unworthy minister of Christ recalls his unnumbered sins, his stumblings and his negligences. To God he will offer the sinless Victim, Jesus Christ, in reparation for his own sins, in petition for the needs of all the Faithful present at the Mass, in fine, of all the Faithful living or dead.

The priest then pours into the chalice the wine that soon will be changed into the very Blood of Jesus Christ. He adds a tiny drop of water.

Raising the chalice, the priest prays in his own name and in union with the Faithful who have been symbolised by the mingling of the water with the wine. The blood of Jesus Christ offered by Himself cannot fail to be acceptable to God the Father. Our offering, however, because of our unworthiness, may well prove unacceptable. Therefore, the priest implores God’s clemency that the sacrifice may avail for our salvation and that of all mankind.

Bending low, the priest requests with humble, contrite heart, that we may be received by God, in such wise that our sacrifice may to-day be pleasing in His sight.

Then raising his hands and eyes to the figure of the Crucified, the priest invokes the Holy Ghost, eternal source of holiness. Once by His almighty power, the Spirit of infinite love wrought in His humble handmaid the miracle of the Incarnation. Now He is called upon by the priest to change by an act that is properly divine, the substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, that they may become a holy sacrifice offered to the glory of His name.

As a sign of the purity of heart that should prepare us for the act of sacrifice, the priest washes his hands, protesting that in the company of the holy, apart from the enemies of God, he will walk in innocence.

Again the priest inclines in humble reverence, and asks the Blessed Trinity to accept the offerings of bread and wine that we, both priest and Faithful, make to God in memory of the blessed Passion and mysteries of Jesus Christ. Celebrating the memory of the Blessed Virgin and all the Saints, we pray that this sacrifice may redound to their honour for they have triumphed through the merits of the Precious Blood.

Kissing the altar, which represents Jesus Christ, the Victim laid upon the Cross, the priest salutes the Faithful to gain their reverent attention. As the priest is about to enter the Holy of Holies, he calls on them to pray that his sacrifice and theirs may be received by God. And the Faithful answer their priest.

Then follows the prayer addressed as a rule to God the Father through Jesus Christ. It is called secret or mysterious because it is a preface to the great mystery of the Sacrifice. For the most part this prayer begs God to look favourably upon the bread and wine laid on the altar and by His grace to render us worthy to become ourselves, a victim pleasing to Him.

At once the priest invites the Faithful in the Preface to the great prayer and action of the sacrifice, to raise their hearts to God and thank Him for the miracle of mercy that will be wrought in the Consecration.

The Canon at once succeeds, the unchanging, central section, that derives from the words of Jesus Christ Himself, from the tradition of the Apostles and early Popes and Bishops. All the Canon is explained by the Consecration, the sacramental rite that makes present what it signifies, the sacrifice of the Cross. Thus understood the Canon is not merely a prayer, the prayer of prayers, but also an action of sacrifice by which Christ Who offered Himself in the blood of death upon the Cross is now made truly present, now truly offers Himself again to God, under the sign of bread and wine, by the ministry of a priest.

Kissing the altar, for on it soon will rest the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the priest makes the sign of the Cross over the bread and wine, entreating God the Father to bless, through the merits of Jesus Christ, this oblation, His gift to us, our offering to Him, the sacrifice of stainless holiness.

The priest then begs Almighty God to be mindful in His mercy of those for whom the Mass is being especially offered, and for all those present at the Mass, in whom God finds true faith and genuine devotedness.

Inspired by the confidence that this community of the Blessed in Heaven and the Church on earth, the priest, together with the Faithful, prays that God may receive with favour the oblation that is made by us His servants whom He has redeemed by all the Church. May He grant us to spend all our days on earth in peace. May He save us from the final loss, eternal death, and set us at the last in the company of the elect.

Making three times the sign of the Cross over the bread and wine to show that it is through the merits of the Cross that we have been given this blessed and immaculate sacrifice, the priest entreats God to pour forth His blessing, that what now is only bread and wine may be made for us the Body and the Blood of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Then, taking in his hands the bread, the priest recites the story of what Jesus did in the Last Supper, the night before He died. In the person and the name of Jesus Christ, using the self-same words of Jesus Christ, the priest asserts: “This is My Body”. The substance of the bread, by the power of God, has become the Body of Jesus Christ. The Sacred Host is silently adored, as it is briefly shown in the elevation.

The priest lifts the chalice and again narrates what our Divine Redeemer further did with the cup of wine at the Last Supper.

Again in the person and name of Jesus Christ, using the self-same words of Jesus Christ, the priest asserts: “This is the chalice of My Blood. ” The Substance of the wine, by the power of God, has been changed into the Blood of Jesus Christ. Genuflecting in adoration the priest repeats the command of Christ: as often as you shall do these things, do them in memory of Me. Silently the Faithful adore, as the priest raises aloft the Precious Blood.

The Sacrifice of the Cross has been re-enacted before our eyes. On the altar are present the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, as truly as in His actual death upon the Cross. Having obeyed the command of Jesus Christ to offer sacrifice in memory of the Passion, source of all our blessings, the priest, uniting with God’s holy people presents to God the Father the Victim without stain. That Victim lies indeed before us on the altar, under the sign of death that recalls His bitter Passion. He is present under the separate appearances of bread and wine, a separation that signifies the rending of his soul and body in the death of Calvary. But He is none other than the glorified Christ, true God, true man, Who rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. The bread and wine become the Body and Blood that are substantially united to the divine Person of God the Son, that by the sacrifice we may achieve the unending happiness of eternal life.

In Himself, this Victim is all-holy, but is presented to God by the hands of sinful men. Therefore the priest beseeches God to regard with gentleness of mercy this our sacrifice as once He graciously accepted the offering of Abel and Abraham and especially the sacrifice of Melchisedech.

Bending deeply in supplication the priest, in his own name and in the name of the Faithful present, recites the lovely prayer that Pope Innocent III has declared to be so rich in meaning that the human mind can scarcely penetrate its depths. The priest entreats Almighty God mysteriously to bid that Jesus Christ, Himself, the most holy Envoy sent by Him, should, with His own pure hands present the sacrifice of His Body and Blood before the throne of God, that we, who later shall in Communion receive that Body and that Blood, may by our union with Jesus Christ, Our Lord, be filled with grace of every blessing.

Before the Consecration, we had asked God’s indulgent help for all the living members of His Church, who can still unite themselves with the priest of Christ in actively offering the sacrifice. Now after the Consecration, we beg God to be mindful of the dead who can only share in the fruit of the sacrifice. Therefore we pray for those who have gone before us with the sign of Baptism, after a life of Faith, who now have rest in the peace of communion with the Church.

As he draws now to the conclusions of the Canon, the priest makes the sign of the Cross over the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood to indicate that every grace of ours must be attributed to Calvary. He proclaims that it is through Jesus Christ that God has created every good of life. Of those good things, in particular, bread and wine have been set aside for a sacrifice to God, have been, by the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ, have become thereby for us the source of supernatural life.

Thus, through Jesus Christ, the Chief Priest, who principally offers this sacrifice in union with His act of sacrifice, in grace that He alone has merited on Calvary, the Church exclaims aloud: through Him, with Him, in Him, who is God the Son, made man is highest glory given in the Blessed Trinity.

Amen, the Faithful answer, in full assent to all the prayer and action of the Sacrifice.

3.  Conclusion of the Sacrifice: The Our Father to the Last Blessing.

Then begins the preparation for the communion by which we shall intimately share in the holy Sacrifice. We shall receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ made present on the altar by the words of Consecration. The priest and the Faithful recite the perfect prayer which first was spoken by the lips of God made man Himself.

The prayer that succeeds is but a development of the petitions of the Lord’s prayer. We ask to be delivered from the effects of sins we have committed, the troubling vestiges of past offences. We crave to be freed from whatever now afflicts our soul and body, from anything that in the future could prove to be our hurt. And in our petition we rest once more, as in the beginning of the Canon, on the most powerful intercession of the most holy Virgin, Mary, Mother of God. May She, the Apostles and the Blessed aiding, obtain from God’s mercy such a gift of peace that we may be freed from every sin, and exempted from the anguish that is the consequence of evil.

Then, after the example of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, the priest breaks the Sacred Host, praying that Christ, Who is our peace, may be always present to assist us. At once the priest mingles the particle of the Sacred Host with the Precious Blood, signifying to us that the Body and Blood, lying separate on the altar, in virtue of the separate consecration, are truly one, the living, glorious Body of Jesus Christ in Heaven.

The two prayers that follow are an immediate preparation for the communion.

Addressing Jesus Christ directly as Son of the living God, Who is the source of life, the priest prays that, as Jesus Christ gave life of grace to the world by His death upon the cross, in obedience to His Father, so now, through this holy sacrifice of His Body and Blood He would free us from every wickedness, from all that leads to sin: would establish us in the love of His commandments, nor suffer us ever to be separated from Himself.

With the poignant, humble words of the pagan centurion whose slave Our Divine Redeemer cured, the priest receives the Body of Jesus Christ. Then calling on the name of God His Saviour, Who will deliver him from all the enemies of salvation, he receives the Precious Blood that will guard his soul for all eternity.

The priest at once gives the Faithful the Body and Blood of our Divine Saviour in the abasement of the prayer of the Centurion and calls on the Faithful to behold the Holy Victim, Who by His death has destroyed the power of sin and given peace. Offering to each person the Sacred Host, he makes an act of Faith: “This is the body of Christ”. And each, assenting in his personal act of Faith, replies:  Amen.

The thanksgiving of the Church for the holy Sacrifice and for the unspeakable privilege of Communion first takes the form of a short verse from a psalm or other portion of the holy Scripture. Then, having saluted the Faithful in order to ensure that they give heed, the priest gives thanks to God for the ineffable mystery of Holy Mass and prays that he and all the Faithful, who with him have offered up the sacrifice, may preserve its fruit in sanctity of life, through the grace of Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

The priest invokes the blessing of the Most Blessed Trinity on all the Faithful present and the Mass in finished. As the Sacrifice began with the sign of our salvation, so it concludes with the same profession of our Faith in Jesus Christ Our Lord, Who offered Himself to God for us in the sacrifice of the Cross.

The Mass is finished, but now begins for each of us the life of which the Mass is the exemplar and the fountain.

It can avail us little to use more simple ceremonies and a language that we more easily understand, if, in the performance of the Holy Sacrifice, our dispositions have not been exactly those of Jesus Christ.

To God the Father, as once in Calvary now again in Holy Mass, Jesus Christ offers the total submission of His human will, in acknowledgment of God’s supreme dominion as Creator. To God He gives due thanks for every benefit of nature and of grace. From God, by the merits of His infinite satisfaction, He obtains for each and every soul the assistance that we need in our pilgrimage to Heaven.

On us, then, who have the privilege of assisting in active Faith at the daily renewal of the sacrifice of the Cross, there lies the bounden duty of striving, with the help of grace, to carry our daily cross like Jesus Christ in the self-denial of the Christlike virtues.

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Posted on March 23, 2011, in Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, Bishops' Pastorals, CATHOLIC PAMPHLETS, Eucharist, Irish History, Liturgy, Mass, Purity, Redemption, Repentance, Second Vatican Council, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Very interesting indeed, but… there was an amended version which came in the following year (I think it was common to both Ireland and Britain). I remember it because we had to learn it off by heart for 1st communion. Thus it was:

    P: I will go to the altar of God
    R: The God of my gladness and joy
    P: Our help is in the name
    R: Who made heaven and earth

    Glory be to God on high: and on earth peace to men who are God’s friends (horrible!). We praise thee, we bless thee, etc.

    Holy, holy Holy, Lord God of hosts, thy glory fills all heaven and earth…

    Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,…

    Lord, I am not worthy to receive Thee under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed (striking breast)

    The offertory and canon were still entirely in Latin, also the prayers of the priest leading up to communion, with the exception of the Agnus Dei and Domine non sum dignus said by the people in English. I think that changed some time in 1967 when the current version of EP I was introduced, (still retaining the institution narrative as in the Roman canon, of course) and therefore everything was in English. Around about 1968/9 they introduced the acclamation after the consecration, which was restricted to “My Lord and my God”. And that was it up to January 1970 when… well, yeah, ok.

    I clearly remember the distinctive blue “People’s Mass Book” that came out in ’66 – my mother bought mine in Woolworths where they were on sale in large quantities (she and my father blithely continued to use their old missals). It lasted me up to 1970. I later also had a more formal hardback version with parallel Latin & English given to me by a priest uncle, and promptly appropriated by my older sister. It’s still around somewhere.

  2. Thanks for that Jaykay. Very interesting. I have one of those blue missals at home; the translation is very good. If only they had stuck to that instead of the ICEL rubbish!

  3. Shane: ahhh yes! With the “modern” chalice and host on the front? A precursor of the horrors to come, if only we’d known! I know it would be putting a lot of bother on you but I’d dearly love to see that again!

  4. btw: I have the 1965 Irish version which I’d be happy to scan and send to you, if you don’t have it already?

  5. jaykay, that’d be brilliant, thanks. I’m email you the blue missal when I get it scanned (though I won’t be at home for another few days).

  6. consider it done, Shane. I found it inserted in the back of my mother’s old 1930s missal, along with all the Mass cards she used as markers. “An Aifreann naomtha i bhfeidhm on gcead la den gcharghais 1965″. Same format as the English one you posted.

  1. Pingback: Ord an Aifrinn, 1965 | Lux Occulta

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