Pastor’s Column


The dialogue Mass is when the faithful vocalize the responses given by the acolytes during Low Mass.

History: This form of the Mass was introduced under narrow conditions in the early twentieth century. Certain priests, particularly in continental Europe, took liberties with the permissions given to make it the norm in some countries. Later, Pius XII gave express permission for it in 1958. In practice, the dialogue Mass has continued in regions (such as France, Belgium, and Germany) where it had been actively promoted by the clergy, but in English speaking regions it never took root and is not the norm.

Practice in the FSSP: My impression is that the dialogue Mass is very common in our French and German districts according to the prevailing custom there. At our North American seminary (Our Lady of Guadalupe), the dialogue Mass is done every Wednesday, but the seminarians engage in it reluctantly rather than eagerly. In my experience, the dialogue Mass is very rare across our province; the priests of our province generally find it to be distracting, and they often actively discourage it at our parishes.

Practice at St Stephen the First Martyr: When I arrived here in Sacramento, I was surprised to find a fairly unique and limited version of the dialogue Mass: the faithful would respond to the Kyrie and, to a lesser extent, the Dominus vobiscum, but remain silent for the rest of the responses. But in spite of this unusual practice, it has not seemed expedient to me to interrupt what had one way or another become what people were used to.

Over the last year or two, however, the situation has grown a bit more chaotic, with some parishioners silent, some doing some of the responses as before, some doing all, and some even vocalizing the Agnus Dei or other parts of the Mass that are not typically done even in a dialogue Mass. Therefore, as this is leading to some confusion and even frustration among the faithful, and in the interest of keeping good order during the sacred liturgy, I would suggest and prefer that as a community we conform to the prevailing custom in the United States, that is, to leave the vocalization of responses of the Mass to the servers in the sanctuary.

I remind all that the servers make these responses on behalf of the faithful, not in place of them, and I encourage all, under normal circumstances, to follow along with the Mass with the aid of a Missal, and to pray the Mass actually albeit silently, uniting the heart to the sublime sacrifice of Our Lord.

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on October 23, 2022

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