Friday, November 02, 2007

The ground did not open up...

...even though, today, for All Souls Mass in Saint Boniface church, I wore new, black vestments.

Pausing for all those who were so overcome with shock to recover.

Black vestments are not a big deal to me, but apparently they are to some folks, who react like Dracula just showed up. The fact is, they are a legitimate option for funerals, Mass for the dead, and All Souls.

So why did I order a vestment in black?

First, because it is a legitimate option; therefore, I think the faithful are entitled to have it if they ask; so we should have it, to provide the option. Second, as a wise priest, but not a "traditionalist," said once, not everyone is all about resurrection by the day of the funeral--purple or black may better match their mood. Third, because a parishioner approached me about donating some vestments, and so I got three we most needed: a new gold one, a rose one, and a black one.

Mass this morning was simple. We had Mass at church, rather than the chapel, because I didn't know if more folks would show up. (They didn't, but then this wasn't a regularly scheduled Mass for Friday.) We chanted some of the Mass--i.e., I chanted the opening and communion antiphons, and the Kyrie, the amens, the Alleluia and the Mystery of Faith. I used the Roman Canon, with all the saints mentioned, as I did yesterday for All Saints (that seems a no-brainer for me).


p8 said...

I've seen black "fiddlebacks" before, but not black Gothics--where did you get yours?

I didn't make it to All Souls' Mass today, but yesterday at All Saints' Mass, I went to another parish across town and the new priest (freshly minted from the PNAC in Rome) was wearing GOLD--I was pumped--and he chanted a whole lot of the Mass, which no one in town does.

Every time Gaudete and Laetare Sundays roll around, I threaten to buy our pastor a "pink" chasuble (yes, I know it's "rose"), he just rolls his eyes.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get to All Souls Mass today, but went to All Saints last night.

Incidentally, today I did pick up a book ("The Shawnees and the War for America")at the library and noticed when I opened it that it mentioned Piqua. It says that in 1773 a Rev. David Jones, a Baptist minister, entered Shawnee country to "bring the word of God to the Indians living west of the Ohio River." It says -- "passing Piqua, a Shawnee community of about one hundred people and a 'most remarkable town for robbers and villains...' " Amused me :-)

Anonymous said...

I personally do not like the black vestments because of "black masses" or devil worshipping. It will probably always shock me because of that.

Anonymous said...

Last evening I was honored to be able to attend, at my own home parish no less, a Solemn Requiem Mass, with propers sung by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, and the entire class of seminarians from Conception Abbey (Conception, MO) in attendance.
The celebrant wore black vestments... absolutely stunning. And a black cope with gold embroidery. Also gorgeous. Praise to all who are not afraid to retain the beauty of our history as Catholics!

Catholic Bibliophagist said...


Black vestments have nothing to do with black masses. That sort of connection would never have occurred to people back in the days when their use was common.

We had black vestments at our All Souls Mass. My current parish is one which offered a weekly Latin Mass even before the motu propio, so I suppose that's why they had it on hand.


You are right about the black vestments at funerals. They really do speak better symbolically to people who have suffered a death in the family. (I have first hand experience in our previous parish.) I understand the reasoning behind using white ones, but to me the white ones seem a bit unsympathetic to the grieving.

And I wonder, with the white vestments and all the emphasis on the resurrection of the body, could that be why in many parishes we've seen a shift in attitude at funerals to an common pressumption that the deceased is already in heaven and doesn't need our prayers?

BTW, just in case anyone is thinking that I'm a grumpy traditionalist who went parish hopping, we just happened to move near our current parish, attended there by chance our first weekend here, and liked it so much we registered here. I normally attend the ordinary Sunday Mass in English (mostly because the Latin one is so crowded). But the English Masses are as reverent as the Latin one so I'm a happy camper. It is such a restful change from some of the other parishes I've been to in the past. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

They do mean that to me; now, if there were more used (take the picture on Fr. Z's website which is a BEAUTIFUL vestment) maybe I wouldn't feel they were so, odd.

Mara Joy said...

I'm interested in your comment about how using the Roman Canon (with the names of the Saints) was a no brainer for All Saints.
My priest said in his homily that we commemorate (or celebrate, or whatever the appropriate word is,) all of the saints whose names we do *not* know on the Feast of All Saints. (but, by the very title, I suppose that would include ALL saints, those we know and those we don't.) But I had never thought of it in that way before-all of the Saints we do know already have their own feastday!

Anonymous said...

I wore black vestments for All Souls - Gothic style- which I had made by C.M. Almy a couple of months ago. I cannot understand anyone making a connection with black vestments and a so-called
"black Mass" and devil-worship.
I celebrated the Extraordinary Use with about 65 people in attendance on All Souls evening. Earlier in the day, I celebrated in the Novus Ordo. With regard to All Saints, that day is a commemoration of ALL Saints not just the unknown ones. The Roman Canon does list the names of some early saints, but also says, at the end of both lists, "... and all the saints." So, I think it's use on ALL Saints day is a "no brainer" too.

frival said...

I'm glad to hear that black is making somewhat of a comeback. I was quite taken by surprise several years ago when I was told by two priests that black vestments were no longer allowed. I have no idea where they derived that idea as I haven't seen anything that says that. Regardless, I think if properly used it can be a very effective liturgical color.

ignorant redneck said...

Bibliophagist and Fr. N,

The idea of the "blackmass" comes from a late medevil/early renaissance practice. Renegade and/or corrupt priests would, for a larg fee, celebrate a requiam mass "for" a designated person, in the belief it would hasten their death. That's where the idea of the black mass comes from: a particularly nasty liturgical abuse.

The later additions were products of fevered and depraved minds, afflicted with satanism as defined in the DSM if mental Illness. although, the "naked woman" on the altar may have been something surviving from the adamite heresy.