Solemn High Mass
in the Dominican Rite
Solemnity of St. Peter and Paul
Due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, seating is limited.
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What is the Dominican Rite?
The Dominican Rite is the liturgy of the Order of Friars Preachers, as it was in force from the thirteenth century until the late 1960s. The Dominican Order had its own proper Missal and Breviary, along with several other liturgical books, that were part and parcel of its conventual life and preaching mission. The Dominican Rite Mass was the form used by countless friars over the centuries, including most of the familiar Dominican saints. Its ethos and prayers are an invaluable part of the Dominican spiritual patrimony.
How is it different from Mass as it’s normally celebrated?
Some things will seem obviously different from typical Masses of today: the Dominican Rite is in Latin, the priest and the people pray facing the same direction, and there are more elaborate/prescribed ritual gestures and movements. But in essence, the two forms present the same sacrifice and celebrate the same mystery. You’ll recognize the same basic structure of the Mass, though learning to pray the Dominican Rite may stretch a different set of spiritual muscles.
How is it different from the Extraordinary Form/the Traditional Latin Mass?
If you’re familiar with the ‘Tridentine Mass’ (often called the Extraordinary Form, or the Traditional Latin Mass), the Dominican Rite will seem quite similar. The Dominican Rite is an older form of the Mass, which was preserved because of its antiquity after the Council of Trent. There are some textual and rubrical differences with the Extraordinary Form, mainly reflecting the medieval roots of the Dominican usage. If you’re interested in studying these differences in detail, you’ll find a wealth of information at the website of Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P.
I don’t understand Latin; how can I participate?
Don’t worry about it! Assisting at Mass isn’t about understanding each and every word: it’s about deepening your union with Christ, and being swept up in the great drama of salvation that is represented at every Mass. Pew booklets with the ordinary of the Mass in Latin and English will be available for your use, so you’ll be able to follow along. But most of all, unite your heart and mind to the sacred action taking place in the sanctuary. The Dominican Rite is a beautiful liturgy that invites everyone participating—friars and the lay faithful—to experience the peace and joy of transcendent worship.
Why should I come?
The greatest draw of praying the Dominican Rite is to be able to worship in the same manner as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Pius V, of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Martin de Porres. The beauty, solemnity, and sobriety of this ancient form of the Mass is not only of historical and aesthetic interest, but is a powerful means of deepening your spiritual participation in the Mass. Many who attend such Masses come away with a deeper reverence and awe for the mysteries presented by every Mass, including the modern form. Assisting at the Dominican Rite can require patience and perseverance: it’s a liturgy that demands more of us, but offers rich spiritual reward.