Monthly Requiem Mass: Missa “Requiem aeternam“
The Requiem Mass is an expression of the Communion of Saints, the Church Militant (on earth) prays for the souls of the departed expressing Christian hope that they, the departed, will become members of the Church Triumphant (in heaven). Essentially the Church pleads Christ that His promise to the “repentant thief” at His crucifixion [Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” 23:42-43] will be granted those who have departed this life marked with the “sign of faith” i.e. the Cross and for any for whom we might pray, trusting in the Divine Charity and mercy of God.
The monthly Requiem Mass is offered for those souls whose anniversaries of death occur in the month and for the souls of those who have recently died since the previous Requiem.
[The ascetic Saint kneeling in the Icon (left) is Sisoes the Great, depicted much larger over the dead bones in Alexander the Great’s open tomb. The inscription found on these icons explains the scene:
Sisoes, the great ascetic, before the tomb of Alexander, King of the Greeks, who was once covered in glory. Astonished, he mourns for the vicissitudes of time and the transience of glory, and tearfully declaims thus: “The mere sight of you, tomb, dismays me and causes my heart to shed tears, as I contemplate the debt we, all men, owe. How can I possibly stand it? Oh, death! Who can evade you?”
It is, therefore, a Greek memento mori (Latin: “Remember your mortality”), made more powerful by showing one of the greatest rulers in history – who conquered half the known-world – as a pile of bones. As an unknown quote declares of Alexander: “A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.”]
A Mass for the Dead has many features which distinguish it from others. These are in part reminiscences of otherwise obsolete liturgical customs, and are in part suggested by the mournful character of the rite. Thus, incense is not burned at the Introit and at the Gospel; the psalm Judica me Deus… is omitted; the kiss of peace is omitted; the deacon chanting the Gospel is not accompanied by the usual acolytes bearing candles, and no blessing is given.
INTROIT Ps. 119
Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. (Ps. 64. 2-3). A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Sion; and a vow shall be paid to Thee in Jerusalem: hear my prayer; all flesh shall come to Thee. V. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them
COLLECT FOR DECEASED BISHOPS AND PRIESTS
O God, who wast pleased to raise Thy servants to the dignity of the episcopate or priesthood: vouchsafe to number them with Thy bishops and priests for evermore. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
COLLECT FOR DECEASED BRETHREN, RELATIONS AND BENEFACTORS
O God, the Giver of pardon, and the Lover of the salvation of mankind, we beseech Thy mercy, that through the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin and of all the Saints, Thou wouldst grant to the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens, who have passed our of this life, the fellowship of everlasting bliss.
COLLECT FOR ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful: grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens the remission of all their sins: that through devout supplications, they may obtain the pardon which they have ever desired. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
EPISTLE Apoc. 14. 13
Lesson from the Book of the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle. In those days: I heard a voice from heaven, saying to me, Write, Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their works follow them.
GRADUAL/TRACT Psalm 127. 3
Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. V.(Ps. 111. 7): The just shall be in everlasting remembrance; he shall not fear the evil hearing. TRACT Absolve, O Lord, the souls of the faithful departed from every bond of sins. V. And by the help of Thy grace may they be enabled to escape the avenging judgment. V. And enjoy the bliss of everlasting light.
SEQUENCE may be omitted
Day of wrath and doom impending,
David’s word with Sibyl’s blending,
Heaven and earth in ashes ending.
O what fear man’s bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.
Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth,
Through earth’s sepulchres it ringeth,
All before the throne it bringeth.
Death is struck, and nature quaking,
All creation is awaking,
To its Judge an answer making.
Lo, the book exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded,
Thence shall judgment be awarded.
When the Judge His seat attaineth,
And each hidden deed arraigneth,
Nothing unavenged remaineth.
What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding
When the just are mercy needing?
King of majesty tremendous,
Who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us.
Think, kind Jesus, my salvation
Caused Thy wondrous Incarnation,
Leave me not to reprobation.
Faint and weary Thou hast sought me,
On the Cross of suffering bought me,
Shall such grace be vainly brought me?
Righteous Judge, for sin’s pollution
Grant Thy gift of absolution,
Ere that day of retribution.
Guilty now I pour my moaning,
All my shame with anguish owning.
Spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning.
Through the sinful woman shriven,
Through the dying thief forgiven,
Thou to me a hope hast given.
Worthless are my prayers and sighings,
Yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
Rescue me from fires undying.
With Thy sheep a place provide me,
From the goats afar divide me,
To Thy right hand do Thou guide me.
When the wicked are confounded,
Doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
Call me with Thy Saints surrounded.
Low I kneel with heart’s submission,
See, like ashes, my contrition,
Help me in my last condition.
Ah! that day of tears and mourning,
From the dust of earth returning,
Man for judgment must prepare him,
Spare, O God, in mercy spare him.
Lord, all-pitying, Jesus blest,
Grant them Thine eternal rest.
GOSPEL John 6. 51-55
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John: At that time: Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews, I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My Flesh for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this Man give us His Flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath everlasting life; and I will raise him up in the last day.
O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the bottomless pit: deliver them from the lion’s mouth, that hell swallow them not up, that they fall not into darkness, but let the standard-bearer, holy Michael, lead them into that holy light; which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed. V.: We offer to Thee, O Lord, sacrifices and prayers: do Thou receive them in behalf of those souls of whom we make memorial this day. Grant them, O Lord, to pass from death to that life which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed..
SECRET FOR DECEASED BISHOPS AND PRIESTS
Receive, we beseech Thee, O Lord, for the souls of Thy servant Bishops or priests the sacrifice we offer: in this world Thou didst raise them to pontifical or sacerdotal rank, bid them now to enter into the company of Thy Saints. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
SECRET FOR DECEASED BRETHREN, RELATIONS AND BENEFACTORS
O God, whose mercies are without number, graciously receive our humble prayers, and through these Sacraments of our salvation, grant to the souls of all the faithful departed, to whom Thou givest to confess Thy Name, the remission of all their sins.
SECRET FOR ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED
Mercifully regard, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the Sacrifice for the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens: that to those to whom Thou didst grant the favor of the Christian Faith Thou wouldst also grant due reward. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity…
PREFACE for the faithful departed
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through Christ our Lord. In whom the hope of a blessed resurrection hath shone forth unto us; so that those who are saddened by the certain lot of dying, may be consoled by the promise of a future deathless life. For to Thy faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away: and when the home of this earthly sojourn is dissolved, an eternal dwelling place is being prepared in the heavens. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:
May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord, * With Thy Saints for evermore, for Thou art gracious. V.: Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them * with Thy Saints . . .
POST COMMUNION FOR DECEASED BISHOPS AND PRIESTS
O Lord, may Thy mercies which we implore, avail Thy servant Bishops or Priests departed. In Thee they hoped, in Thee they believed: may they, in Thy mercy, be united to Thee for evermore. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost…
POSTCOMMUNION FOR DECEASED BRETHREN, RELATIONS AND BENEFACTORS
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty and merciful God: that the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens, for whom we have offered to Thy Majesty this Sacrifice of praise, being freed by the power of this Sacrament from all their sins, may, of Thy mercy, receive the bliss of eternal light.
POST COMMUNION FOR ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED
May the prayers of Thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, avail for the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens: that Thou mayest both deliver them from all their sins and make them to be sharers in Thy Redemption. Who livest and reignest…