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Saturday, September 12, 2009
The Ceremonies of the Consecration of a Church in the Traditional Manner (1962): Part I
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The ceremonies begin with the Bishop entering the church and ordering the deacon to light the twelve candles on the walls. The Bishop with the clergy and people proceed to the place where the relics are kept, and there the clerics begin saying the seven penitential psalms, with the antiphon Ne reminiscaris Domine. When the seven psalms are completed, the Bishop with the ministers go to the entrance of the Church, where the Bishop begins, and the schola continues, this antiphon:

Be present, O God almighty, the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let us pray. Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations, and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance: that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and through Thee be happily ended. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

The cantors begin the Litanies and proceed until: Ab omni malo, Libera nos Domine.
 
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, the Redeemer of the world,have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us. Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Saint Michael, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel, pray for us. Saint Raphael, pray for us.
All ye holy Angels and Archangels, pray forus.
All ye holy orders of blessed Spirits, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
All you holy Patriarchs and Prophets, pray for us.
Saint Peter, pray for us.
Saint Paul, pray for us.
Saint Andrew, pray for us.
Saint James, pray for us.
Saint John, pray for us.
Saint Thomas, pray for us.
Saint James, pray for us.
Saint Phillip, pray for us.
Saint Bartholomew, pray for us.
Saint Matthew, pray for us.
Saint Simon, pray for us.
Saint Thaddeus, pray for us.
Saint Matthias, pray for us.
Saint Barnabas, pray for us.
Saint Luke, pray for us.
Saint Mark, pray for us.
All ye holy Apostles and Evangelists, pray for us.
All ye holy Disciples of the Lord, pray for us.
All ye holy Innocents, pray for us.
Saint Stephen, pray for us.
Saint Lawrence, pray for us.
Saint Vincent, pray for us.
Saints Fabian and Sebastian, pray for us.
Saints John and Paul, pray for us.
Saints Cosmas and Damian, pray for us.
Saints Gervase and Protase, pray for us.
All ye holy Martyrs, pray for us.
Saint Sylvester, pray for us.
Saint Gregory, pray for us.
Saint Ambrose, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Jerome, pray for us.
Saint Martin, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas, pray for us.
All ye holy Popes and Confessors, pray for us.
All ye Holy Doctors, pray for us.
Saint Anthony, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Bernard, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us. Saint Francis , pray for us.
All ye holy Priests and Levites, pray for us.
All ye holy Monks and Hermits, pray for us.
Saint Anne, pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalen, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint Catherine, pray for us.
Saint Anastasia, pray for us.
All ye holy Virgins and Widows, pray for us.
All ye holy men and women, Saints of God, intercede for us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.
 
The Bishop then rises from reclining, and standing with his miter, blesses water and salt. Finishing the blessing of the water, the Bishop sprinkles himself and those around him.
 
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be cleansed: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
 
He begins to walk around on the right hand side, proceeding with the clergy and people, and sprinkling with the same water the walls of the Church from without at their upper part, always saying:
 
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The house of the Lord is founded on the summit of the mountains, and is exalted over all the hills, and all the people shall come to it. And they shall say: Glory be to thee, O Lord. V. Coming, they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves. And they shall say: Glory be to thee, O Lord.
 
Finishing the route, the Bishop goes before the doors, standing with all facing the door.
 
Let us pray.
Let us kneel. R. Arise.
Almighty and everlasting God, who in every place of Thy dominion wholly defends and is wholly active, be present by our supplications, and be the protector of this house of which Thou art the Founder; let no wickedness of a contrary power resist Thee here, but by virtue of the work of the Holy Ghost, let here be always given to Thee that pure service which is devout freedom. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
 
The Bishop approaches the door of the church, strikes it once with the lower part of his staff, at the threshold, saying:
 
Lift up your gates, O ye princes: and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.
 
The Deacon says: Who is this king of glory?
Bishop answers: The Lord strong and mighty: The Lord mighty in battle.
 
The Bishop again goes around the church with the clergy and people, beginning on the right side, sprinkling the walls near the foundation:
 
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
 
Meanwhile, the schola sings the following response:
 
Bless, O Lord, this place which I have built in thy name. For thy people who shall come into this place, * Hear their prayers on high for thy sole glory. V. O Lord, if thy people turn to thee again, may they also do penance and may they offer prayers, coming into this place. * Hear.
 
Finishing going around, the Bishop again goes before the door, standing before it saying
 
Let us pray.
Let us kneel. R. Arise.
 
Almighty and everlasting God, who through thy Son, namely the cornerstone, has joined two walls, coming from diverse places, from circumcision and uncircumcision, and has joined two flocks under one and the same shepherd, give to thy servants, through these rites of our devotion, the indissoluble bond of charity, that there be no division of minds. And let us, who are all one flock under the guidance of one shepherd, and are enclosed in one fold under thy protection, be separated by no sort of perverse disagreement. Through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.
 
He approaches the door and with the crozier strikes the threshold a second time, saying as before:
 
Lift up your gates, O ye princes: and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.
 
The Deacon says: Who is this king of glory?
Bishop answers: The Lord strong and mighty: The Lord mighty in battle.
 
The Bishop goes around the church a third time with the clergy and people, beginning on the left side, and proceeds, sprinkling the walls in the middle, saying:
 
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
 
Meanwhile the schola sings the Response:
 
Thou, Lord of all Creation, who hast nothing unworthy, and hast desired thy temple to be among us, * Preserve this thy house, O Lord, immaculate through eternity. V. Thou hast chosen, O Lord, this house, that thy name may be invoked in it: that it may be a house of prayer and supplication for thy people. * Preserve. After the chant is finished, the Bishop returns to the door saying:
 
Let us pray.
Let us kneel. R. Arise.
O almighty and merciful God, who hast conferred on thy priests such outstanding grace that whatever is done worthily and righteously by them in thy name is believed to be done by thee: we beg of thy immense mercy, to visit whatever we shall visit, and bless whatever we shall bless, so that it be to the increase of our humility, the merit of thy Saints, the flight of demons, and the entrance of angelic peace. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
 
The Bishop approaches the door a third time and strikes it at the threshold with his staff, saying:
 
Lift up your gates, O ye princes: and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.

The Deacon says: Who is this king of glory?
The Bishop and all the clergy respond: The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.
Adding: Open, Open, Open.
 
The Bishop makes the sign of the cross on the threshold with the lower part of his staff, saying:
 
Behold the sign of the cross, let all phantasms flee from it.
 
The door is opened; the ministers, clerics, choir and faithful enter the church. The extra clergy and people are left outside and the door of the church is closed.
 
Bishop: Peace be unto this house.
Deacon: And to those who enter. All: Amen.
 
The schola with the cantor sing the Antiphon:
 
Peace eternal from the Eternal be unto this house. May the unending peace, the Word of the Father, be peace unto this house. Peace may the loving Comforter grant unto this house. Zachaeus, make haste and come down; for this day I must abide in thy house. And he made haste and came down from there, and received him with joy into his house. This day has salvation been given to this house by God, alleluia.
 
While this is sung, the Bishop proceeds to the middle of the church, where a faldstool is prepared; and at the end of the preceding antiphon, begins the following hymn with the schola following.
 
COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest, and in our souls take up Thy rest; come with Thy grace and heavenly aid to fill the hearts which Thou hast made. O Comforter, to Thee we cry, O heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, and sweet anointing from above. Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known; Thou, finger of God's hand we own; Thou, promise of the Father, Thou Who dost the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, and make our hearts overflow with love; with patience firm and virtue high the weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, and grant to us Thy peace instead; so shall we not, with Thee for guide, turn from the path of life aside. Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow the Father and the Son to know; and Thee, through endless times confessed, of both the eternal Spirit blest. Now to the Father and the Son, Who rose from death, be glory given, with Thou, O Holy Comforter, henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.
 
Meanwhile, one of the ministers spreads ashes on the floor of the Church in the shape of a cross.
 
At the end of the hymn, the Bishop and the schola again begin and continue the Litany of the Saints, in which Litany in his place is named twice that Saint in whose honor and name the Church or altar is dedicated, and those whose relics are to be included in it
 
That thou visit this place R. We beseech thee to hear us.
That thou set a guard of Angels for this place R. We beseech thee to hear us.
 
Extending his right hand up, together over church and altar to be consecrated, he makes three successive signs of the cross, saying first:
 
That thou vouchsafe to bless this church consecrated to thy honor and in the name of Saint N., and this altar consecrated to thy honor and in the name of Saints N.
R. We beseech thee to hear us.
 
Saying second:
 
That thou vouchsafe to bless and sanctify this church consecrated to thy honor and in the name of Saint N., and this altar consecrated to thy honor and in the name of Saints N.
R. We beseech thee to hear us.
 
Saying third:
 
That thou vouchsafe to bless, sanctify, and consecrate this church consecrated to thy honor and in the name of Saint N., and this altar consecrated to thy honor and in the name of Saints N.
R. We beseech thee to hear us.
 
At the end, the Bishop stands facing the main altar and says:
 
Let us pray.
Let us kneel. R. Arise.
Guide us, we beseech thee, O Lord, by thy mercy, and by the intercession of all thy Saints, anticipate our prayers with thy mercy. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.
 
Let us pray.
O Lord our God, be magnified in thy Saints, and appear in this church built for thee, that thou, who worketh all things in the sons of adoption, may always be praised in thy inheritance.
R. Amen.
 
After the end of the prayers, the schola begins and continues this antiphon ("O quam metuendos, etc.") and the canticle.
 
O how fearful is this place! Truly this is no other than the house of God and gate of heaven.
 
Canticle of Zacharia. Luke 1.
 
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people:
And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, * in the house of David, his servant:
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:
Salvation from our enemies, * and from the hand of all that hate us.
To perform mercy to our fathers, * and to remember his holy testament,
The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, * that he would grant to us,
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, * we may serve him without fear,
In holiness and justice before him, * all our days.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: * for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:
To give knowledge of salvation to his people, * unto the remission of their sins:
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, * in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: * to direct our feet into the way of peace.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
 
While this is being sung, the Bishop writes the letters of the Greek alphabet in the ashes with the tip of his crozier, beginning at the left side from the entrance. In the same manner he inscribes the letters of the Roman alphabet in the ashes at the right side of the cross beginning near the door.
The Bishop goes towards altar to be consecrated; at a distance from it, he kneels and says:
 
O God, come to my assistance.
 
The Bishop rises and the choir responds:
 
O Lord, make haste to help me.
 
The Bishop says:
 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
 
The choir responds:
 
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
 
It is done in the same manner and place a second and third time, the voice louder each time. When finished, the Bishop blesses water and salt, ashes and wine.
 
I exorcize thee, O creature of salt, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said to his Apostles: Ye are the salt of the earth, and through his Apostle said: Let your speech be always taken with a grain of salt; that thou be made holy for the consecration of this church and altar, to expel all temptations of evil spirits; that all who partake of thee be wholly clean in soul and body; and that thou be a protection and confirmation of salvation. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.
R. Amen.
 
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
 
Let us pray: Lord God, Father almighty, who hast vouchsafed to give this heavenly grace to salt, that by this all things may be preserved which thou hast given to men for food, bless this creature of salt so that it may drive away the enemy, and grant to it a healthful property, that it may bring those partaking of it to health of soul and body. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.
 
I exorcize thee, O creature of water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, that thou repel the devil from his goal, the just, lest he be present in the shadows of this Church and altar. And thou, O Lord Jesus Christ, impart the Holy Spirit to this thy Church and altar, that he may strengthen the health of the bodies and souls of those worshiping thee, and that thy name be magnified among the nations; and let those doubting in heart be converted to thee, and have no other God before thee, the only Lord, who shall come to judge the quick and the dead, and the world by fire.
R. Amen.
 
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
 
Let us pray. O Lord God, Father Almighty, creator of all the elements, who through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord caused to be made this element of water for the salvation of all mankind, we supplicants entreat thee that, hearing our prayers, thou wouldst sanctify it by the countenance of thy holiness; and thus cause to depart from it the assault of all unclean spirits, and wheresoever it shall be sprinkled in thy name, cause the grace of thy blessing to come, and cause all evils to withdraw far away, for the sake of us beseeching thee. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, God, world without end.
R. Amen.
 
The blessing of the ashes:
 
O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
 
Let us pray. O almighty, eternal God, spare those that are penitent, be merciful to Thy suppliants, and vouchsafe to send Thy holy angel from heaven to bless and sanctify these ashes, that they may be a wholesome remedy to all who humbly call upon Thy holy name, and who, accusing themselves of their sins as their consciences accuse them, deplore their crimes before the face of Thy divine clemency, or eagerly and humbly entreat Thy excellence and goodness; and grant, by the invocation of Thy most holy name, that all who shall sprinkle these ashes on themselves, for the remission of their sins, may receive health of body and salvation of soul. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.
 
Then the Bishop takes salt and mixes it in the ashes in the form of a cross, saying:
 
Let this mixture of salt and ashes be made one, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.
 
He receives the container of salt and ashes and pours in water in the form of a cross, three times, saying:
 
Let this mixture of salt, ashes and water be made one, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.
 
The blessing of the wine:
 
O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
 
O Lord Jesus Christ, who in Cana of Galilee made wine out of water, and who art the true vine, increase thy mercy on us; and vouchsafe to bless and sanctify this creature of wine, that wherever it is poured or sprinkled may be replenished and sanctified by the abundance of thy blessing. Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, God, forever and ever.
R. Amen.
 
The wine is mixed into the water in the form of a cross, saying:
 
Let this mixture of wine, salt, ashes, and water be made one, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
 
Let us pray. Almighty eternal God, creator and preserver of all mankind, and giver of spiritual grace, and bestower of eternal salvation, send thy Holy Spirit upon this wine mixed with water, salt, and ashes, so that, armed by the protection of heavenly power, it may assist in the consecration of this church and of thy altar. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end.
R. Amen.
 
The Bishop says over the blessed water:
 
Be sanctified through the Word of God, O water of heaven; be sanctified, O water, that was walked upon by the footsteps of Christ; O water, which though held by mountains art not cut off; O water, which dashed against cliffs art not destroyed; O water, which though scattered on the lands dost not vanish. Thou dost sustain the dry land, thou dost bear the weight of the mountains, nor art thou overwhelmed; thou art contained by the height of heaven; thou, flowing around all, dost wash all things, but art not washed. Thou wast bound in a solid mass for the fleeing Hebrew people: unbound anew, thou didst destroy by the salty vortices of the Nile those dwelling nearby, and thou didst pursue the enemy throng with a raging sea: one and the same, thou art salvation for the faithful and punishment for the criminal. The rock struck by Moses spewed thee forth, and thou wast not able to hide in the secret crag; with majesty thou didst come forth by command. Thou dost make fruitful the fields by pleasing rain carried in clouds. Through thee, for bodies parched by heat, a drink is provided, sweet for mercy and salutary for life: thou dost come flowing from the depths and thou dost preserve whether thou dost provide the spirit of life within or the fertile juice without; lest the earth, lifeless with desiccated viscera, deny the annual harvest: let th beginning and the end exult in thee; or rather, it is from God, that we may not know thy limits, or, O almighty God, whose powers are beyond knowing, Feils are working on this Thou art the author of blessing, thou the source of health: we humbly entreat and beseech thee, that thou pour down the shower of thy grace upon this house with the abundance of thy blessing; bestow all good things; grant prosperity; repel adversaries; destroy the demon of evil crimes; and establish the Angel of light as friend, defender, and provider of good things. This house, begun in thy name, and perfected by thy help, may thy blessing uphold for a long endurance. May these foundations, the roof, the entrances, and innermost recesses be worthy of thy protection. May the walls be strong and the place useful for men by the light of thy countenance.
 
Then the Bishop goes to the door of the church, and makes the sign of the cross on the upper part of the door with his crozier, and again on the whole lower part.
 
Let the invincible cross be placed on the threshold; and let the doorposts on both sides be sealed with the inscription of thy grace; and through the multiplicity of thy mercy, for the visitors of this house let there be peace with abundance, sobriety with modesty, and an overflowing with mercy. Let all restlessness and calamity depart far away. Let poverty, pestilence, disease, sickness, and the assault of evil spirits depart by thy ever present visitation, so that thy grace, poured into this place of visitation, may run throughout its extended boundaries and halls; and through all its corners and recesses let it be a purification through the washing of this stream, so that always in this place there may be joy of quiet, grace of hospitality, abundance of fruit, reverence of religion, and plenteousness of salvation. And, where thy holy name is invoked, let follow an overflowing of all goodness, and let flee far away the trial of evils; and let us be worthy to have with us the angel of peace, chastity, charity, and truth, who may always guard, protect, and defend us from all evils. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.
R. Amen.
 
He then returns to the place where the water was blessed, and standing facing the main altar, he says:
 
Beloved brothers, we humbly beseech God the Father almighty, in whose house there are many mansions, that He vouchsafe to bless and preserve this house through this sprinkling of water mixed with wine, salt, and ashes. Through our Lord Jesus Christ His Son, who with Him lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
 
After this the Bishop proceeds to the altar; and with the schola, begins the following antiphon, repeating the antiphon between each verse of Psalm 42, as needed:
 
Next follows the Consecration of the Altar, which will be the topic of a subsequent post.
 
Commentary from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
By a decree of the Council of Trent (Sess. XXII), Mass should not be celebrated in any place except a consecrated or blessed church. Hence it is the wish of the Church that at least cathedrals and parish churches be solemnly consecrated, and that smaller churches be blessed (Cong. Sac. Rit., 7 Aug., 1875), but any church and public or semi-public oratory may be consecrated (Cong. Sac. Rit., 5 June, 1899). Both by consecration and by blessing a church is dedicated to Divine worship, which forbids its use for common or profane purposes. Consecration is a rite reserved to a bishop, who by the solemn anointing with holy chrism, and in the prescribed form, dedicates a building to the service of God, thereby raising it in perpetuum to a higher order, removing it from the malign influence of Satan, and rendering it a place in which favours are more graciously granted by God (Pontificale Romanum). The blessing of a church is a less solemn rite, which may be performed by a priest delegated by the diocesan bishop. It consists in the sprinkling with holy water and the recital of prayers, thus making it a sacred place, though not necessarily in perpetuum. Consecration differs from mere blessing in this, that it imprints an indelible mark (St. Thomas, II-II:34:3) on the building by reason of which it may never be transferred to common or profane uses.
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Text and description:
St. Frances de Sales (FSSP)
Images: Taken from NLM of St. Parick Oratory (Kansas), which will have the proper attribution


6 comments:

del_button September 15, 2009 at 11:32 AM
Anonymous said...

This wasn't St.Fransis. This was a the ICKSP church in Kansas. It was St.Patrick's Oratory.

del_button September 15, 2009 at 12:23 PM
Matthew said...

You are correct. The images are of St. Patrick's Oratory in Kansas while the text is from St. Frances de Sales in Georgia.

del_button March 9, 2011 at 6:17 PM
Chris Whittle said...

Do you have Part II of "The Ceremonies of the Consecration of a Church in the Traditional Manner"?

del_button October 19, 2012 at 7:47 PM
Fr. Ed said...

Have you been able to post Part III of "The Ceremonies of the Consecration of a Church in the Traditional Manner" as yet?

del_button October 20, 2012 at 5:01 PM
Matthew said...

Thank you for the reminder, Father. Part III is available here http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-ceremonies-of-consecration-of.html

del_button October 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Fr. Ed said...

Thank you for posting it and for answering so promptly.

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