Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

From the August AD 2003
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

    Question:  You spoke of "celebrating Mass." Isn't the concept of Mass as a celebration rather modern? Isn't the traditional Mass more solemn and respectful than would be a "celebration."

    Answer: It is unfortunate when Catholics let Modernists define the discourse by changing the meanings of words. Far from denoting a party with funny hats and noisemakers, a celebration, while joyous and festive, remains primarily a solemn remembrance of an important event. Webster's defines "celebrate" as: "1. to perform (a ritual, ceremony, etc.) publicly and formally; solemnize 2. to commemorate (an anniversary, holiday, etc.) with ceremony or festivity 3. to honor or praise publicly 4. to mark a happy occasion by engaging in some pleasurable activity." Common to all of these definitions is the calling to mind of some important person or event. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a celebration in honor of Jesus Christ, calling to mind the events of our salvation. Only the last of the four meanings might be inappropriate for a religious ceremony.

    The Roman Missal and the Code of Canon Law consistently use the words "celebrate," "celebration," and "celebrant" to refer to the Holy Sacrifice and the priest who offers It. There is an indulgenced prayer in the Missal with which the priest formulates his intention to offer Mass: "Ego volo celebráre Missam, et confícere corpus et sánguinem Dómini nostri Jesu Christi.... I wish to celebrate Mass and confect the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ...."2   Roughly half of the prefaces of the Missal have "the virtues of highest heaven and the blessed seraphim unite in exultant celebration -- sócia exsultatióne concélebrrant." One may correctly refer to the "celebration" of the other Sacraments as well, particularly to Matrimony.3

    Of course, there are other words which can be used to describe the celebration of Mass -- Mass can be "prayed," "said," "read," and "offered" -- the latter term having the benefit of referring to Its sacrificial nature. (We do shudder a bit, to hear of priests "doing Mass," or, worse yet, "doing Liturgy."

    The Church has employed the word celebrate in its official terminology for a great while. Catholics ought to make the effort to see that our language is not taken over by the forces of darkness!

1.  Cf. Missale Romanum, Rubricæ generales, Additiones et variationes, Ritus servandus, De defectibus, et al.; Codex Juris Canonici (1917) Liber III, Titulus III, Caput I.
2.  Granted by Pope Pius XI, 12 July 1935.
3.  CJC., ibid. Titulus VII.


Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
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