July 28, 2008

Where I Was Last Week

This is the chapel at Mount Alvernia retreat center, where my community, the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, gathers every year for its convocation. It was good to spend time with my brothers there, and now we are all strewn literally to the four corners of the world again, taking up our local ministries in the spirit of being servants of the servants of God.

Here we are arranged on the steps outside the chapel. It is a very diverse group of servants, with a variety of skills and talents. We try to make the most of them.

And that's me censing the altar at the eucharist last Saturday. And yes, Virginia, that is a maniple. As the appropriate vestment symbolizing service I think its use is important, especially by clergy, to help remind us of our primary task.

Tobias Haller BSG


G said...

The closest I've come to a brush with cyberfame was by creating a Facebook group called "Every time you celebrate Mass without a maniple, God kills a kitten." I still see references to it in the blogosphere from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Now Tobias, we've been through this before: ad orientum makes the angels weep! I am unanimous about this! ;-/

(And can't I see a Communion Table in the top photo? Until they pry the marble altar off the wall, that is. I'll get a crow-bar, and if we both push...)

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks Geoff.

JCF, that is the organ console. I know your feeling about the posture of the clergy; actually, the angels weep when the celebrant faces the congregation a la Julia Child. On the occasions I've been in that position, I have seen their tears spattering the mensa, and heard their plangent appeals to "Turn East!" ;-)

Anonymous said...

You see: here is living evidence that vast gulfs can be bridged by grace and massive differences overcome by faith!

I mean, if I can actually deeply love and massively respect even an idiot who faces east and wears maniples, a mere thing like gay bishops should be no impediment to reconciliation!

(But you will pay for your errors, Tobias: you can't even buy a set of eucharistic vestments these days without paying extra for a maniple! Ha!)

Best love,


Country Parson said...

OH NO! A Maniple! I just knew you were one of THEM.

PS I've got one in the sacristy closet, which is where it's likely to stay.

Anonymous said...

Glorious and ever-bountiful St. Julia, pray for your wayward (he wandered off to the east somewhere) son Tobias.

May the Light of Christ, rising in the eschatological east, POINT THE FRICKIN' WAY back west, where God's People wait (patiently, patiently) for him.

Forbid, O Lord, your child Tobias be blinded, by looking in the direction only fools and "Buy this Virgin-Mary-in-a-Cheese-Danish on Ebay!" types do.

And if your servant then feel embarrassed---upon recognizing his gawdawful first-year seminarian "I'm more re-ver-ent than thou!" error---may he learn how convenient it is to hide his reddened-cheeks behind his maniple. Amen!


Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

I can to some extend understand the dislike for the Eastward Position, although I think it to be based on a mistaken premise (the the priest is the focus of the Eucharist and/or that the whole congregation including the priest facing the same direction is somehow elitist -- I think the contrary to be true, btw; and it has nothing to do with personal reverence) but I don't understand the opposition to the maniple.

It is the ancient symbol of service --- as a friend of mine used to say, when Rome did its liturgical dance and changed the three sacred orders from subdeacon, deacon, and priest to deacon, priest and bishop (in the former understanding the bishop had been seen as a higher level of priesthood -- hence they were consecrated not ordained) and so removed the vestment conferred at ordination to the subdiaconate, the maniple: "Leave it to Rome to get rid of the symbol of service and retain the symbol of authority."

For those who are interested, I also continue the old custom of wearing my priestly stole crosswise -- in the old dispensation only bishops wore the stole hanging straight down both sides, through the cincture loops.

June Butler said...

Perhaps a change of subject is in order. We could be torn apart if the discussion of East-facing Eucharists and maniples continues.

I prefer that the priest face the congregation, but I must add that you, Tobias, do an excellent East-facing liturgy. I didn't find yours distracting at all. And then, you have such a nice back.

As to the vestments, I don't have a preference.

Davis said...

Everything done decently and in good order. Never apologize for the maniple - The - Eucharistic vestment.

Raven~ said...

unless ... of course ... you happen to knock over the chalice with it (which -- yes -- I have witnessed ;-D)

Fran Wingate O'Gorman said...

Funny comments about the maniple, etc... never knew vestments and postures could be a source of such controversy! :-)
Anyway 'twas fun seeing the picture of you all together and see Brothers Tom and James there with you.. Tom is one of our deacons and also choir director and James an occasional preacher/teacher and all around wonderful presence in the parish (also a fellow librarian!)- they're both such a blessing to St. james.. we're so fortunate having them..
Anyway thanks for sharing the pictures and God bless your new year of work and all that you all do.