The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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Trying to absorb it all

Canisius | 05 June, 2007 20:27

I am woefully uneducated in liturgical history. Today's reading from Dom Fromage contained so much new information that I had to reread certain several times to absorb it all. Here are some salient bits (all from X,160-162):

1) In the earliest days of the Church, priests did not (or were not supposed to) celebrate the Mass apart from their bishop.

2) At this point, it was customary for the bishop to have twelve priests in the city with him, representing the twelve apostles.

3) Towards the end of the first century, when the book of Revelation would have been written, the city of Rome had double the number twelve, that is, twenty-four priests celebrating Mass around the altar with one bishop. This may be connected to the twenty-four elders mentioned in Revelation 4:3, 4:10, 5:8, 11:16, and 19:4.

4) When cities became so big that priests could not all celebrate Mass with their bishop, they brought with them a bit of a host consecrated by the bishop and mixed that with what they offered themselves.

5) Bishops of those days expressed communion with each other by sending one another gifts of consecrated bread, so that the various bishops literally received communion from each other.

All of these tidbits are fascinating, but with regard to the last two in particular I wonder why they fell out of use. Was there a theological reason, or did it just become inconvenient?


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