Rorate Caeli

SATURDAY: Solemn pontifical Mass in D.C.; final details

Tomorrow's solemn pontifical Mass at the basilica shrine in Washington, D.C., will be either the most attended, or second-most attended, traditional Latin Mass in the United States in the last 50 years.

Until now, the 2010 Mass in the same location, the upper church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, has held the top honor, with "more than 3,500 people," according to the Washington, D.C. archdiocesan newspaper.  Can it be topped?

The celebrant for the 1 p.m. Mass will be His Excellency Alexander K. Sample, who issued the following "tweet" yesterday:

I am TRULY looking forward to gathering with those who will participate in the Pontifical Solemn High Mass I will celebrate according to the 1962 Missal at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. Sat at 1:00 pm. EWTN to broadcast it live.

The following distinguished list of sacred ministers does not include clergy who will assist with other roles in the sanctuary, and the many priests, deacons, brothers and seminarians who will be in the procession and sit in choir:


The Most Rev. Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon

Assistant Priest 

Rev. Fr. D. B. Thompson, Diocese of Lake Charles (Louisiana)


Rev. Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter Pastor, St. Stephen of Hungary Parish; Allentown, Pennsylvania


Canon Andrew Todd, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest; Rector, Oratory of Sts. Cyril and Methodius; Bridgeport, Connecticut

First Master of Ceremonies 

Rev. Fr. Zachary Akers, F.S.S.P. ; Director of Development, Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter; South Abington, Pennsylvania

Second Master of Ceremonies 

Rev. Fr. Gregory Eichman, Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter; Chaplain, Mater Dei FSSP Latin Mass Community; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Deacons at the Throne 

Very Rev. Fr. Josef M. Bisig, Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter; Rector, Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary; Denton, Nebraska

Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico, ICRSS; Rector & Provincial Superior; Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest; Chicago, Illinois

Subdeacon of the Cross 

Rev. Fr. Ernest Cibelli Pastor, St. Mary Catholic Church; Hagerstown, Maryland

The music for the Mass consists of some of the finest Catholic polyphony ever written, along Greogrian chant that will most certainly be given pride of place.

Two choirs will sing before the procession and Mass: one from the Lyceum School in South Euclid, Ohio; and another from Saint John the Baptist church in Allentown, N.J.

All of the Gregorian chant propers of the Mass will be sung by the men's schola from Saint Mary Mother of God church in Washington, D.C., directed by Mr. David Sullivan.

The choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, directed by Dr. Peter Latona, will sing sacred polyphony and motets from the Renaissance period, joined by instrumentalists from the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble.  Pipe organ played by three organists from the shrine will be prevalent during the Mass, including J.S. Bach's  "Fantasia in G Major," also known as "Pièce d'Orgue."

The polyphonic ordinary of the Mass will be "Missa Salve Regina" by Father Tomás Luis de Victoria.

After the schola has chanted the Offertory proper, the shrine's choir will sing "Ave Maris Stella" by Claudio Monteverdi.

After the Communion proper has been chanted by the schola, the shrine's choir will sing "Caro Mea" by Pierre de Manchicourt, "O Sacrum Convivium" by Thomas Tallis, "Beata Es Virgo Maria" by Vincenzo Ugolini and "Magnificat" by Luca Marenzio.

The Mass is sponsored by the Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy (which organized the 2010 Mass).

An event page for tomorrow's Mass can be found here.

Donations to help defray the expenses for the Mass, which will be broadcast live and worldwide on EWTN with commentary from two monsignori, can be made here.

Previous Rorate advance coverage of the 28 April solemn pontifical Mass can be found herehere and here.

We hope to see you there.