The Closing Mass of the Jubilee: Preparations – Part 2

As part of our preparations for the Closing Mass of the Jubilee, let me propose a perspective to our January 21 liturgical celebration. Properly speaking, even though we are incorporating into it some Dominican traditions which have nourished us for centuries, it will still be a Pontifical Mass.

The first element of the Dominican tradition is the prayers and readings of the Mass. We will use the Votive Mass to Saint Dominic, composed around his canonization in 1234. These texts are among the oldest testimonies of the Dominican liturgy, dating even before its unification in 1256 which would shape Dominican way of prayer for centuries.

During the Eucharist we will sing a selection of new compositions in three official languages of the Order. As the entrance chant we will use “Mon Dieu, ma Misericorde”, remembering Saint Dominic’s prayer under the cross: “Lord, what will happen with the sinners?” Compelled by the same zeal we are encouraged to bring our loved ones and the difficulties in our lives, and unite them with the sacrifice of the cross. For offertory we will sing “El Pan de San Sixto” which takes us into the refectory of the first Roman foundation, recalling the miracles of Saint Dominic when he multiplied bread for his hungry brothers. For communion, filled with joy and gratitude, we will sing “Thanks Be to You, O Lord!” At the end of our celebration we will sing two well-known antiphons: “Salve Regina” to Our Lady and “O lumen Ecclesiae” to Saint Dominic, asking for their intercession.

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The Closing Mass of the Jubilee: Preparations – Part 1

On 21 January at 4 pm in the Lateran Basilica, Pope Francis will preside over the closing Mass of the Order of Preachers’ 800th Anniversary, an important event which should not only direct our thoughts toward the Order’s history but nourish us for the future as well. Since every Eucharist is the celebration of the Church – in this case particularly one of the Dominican Family – it is good to prepare well for such an event so that we may truly celebrate together, in the fullest sense of the word, remembering that the liturgy is not only about who the celebrant is or who gets to sing in the choir, but rather that it engages and expresses the entire Church with the richness of diverse roles and vocations! Let me thus explain some particularities of this unique celebration.

Before Mass we will pray the Rosary, a prayer so important in our Dominican tradition. It will be led in five different languages by fra Bruno Cadore, the Master of the Order. Obviously, our Dominican Family speaks more than five languages and is composed of more than five cultures, so the response parts will be recited in Latin in order to better express the universality of our heritage and the unity of the Dominican prayer. Before each mystery there will be a short choral piece to help us enter into meditation. At the end of the Rosary we will chant to St Dominic: Imple Pater quod dixisti – believing that he intercedes for us, as he promised on his deathbed and has fulfilled for almost 800 years.

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