Papal Mass

A Papal Mass is the Solemn Pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Pope. It is celebrated on such occasions as a papal coronation, an ex cathedra pronouncement, the canonization of a saint, on Easter or Christmas or other major feast days.

Until the 1960s, there were numerous special ceremonials that were particular to the pope. Many have fallen out of use; some were last celebrated by Pope Pius X (reigned 1903–1914) or Pope Paul VI (reigned 1963–1978).

Ceremonial in the past

A papal Mass celebrated in the early 20th century, before the liturgical reforms of Popes Pius X and Paul VI, took this form:

Assistant ministers

In the papal Mass a cardinal-bishop acted as assistant priest; this honor fell on the most solemn occasions to the Cardinal-bishop of Ostia, the Dean of the College of Cardinals. Cardinal-deacons acted as deacon and assistant deacons. An auditor of the Sacra Rota served as subdeacon. There were also a Greek-Catholic deacon and subdeacon, vested according to the Byzantine Rite. The other offices were filled by the assistants to the pontifical throne, the members of the prelatical colleges, etc.


Before the beginning of the ceremony, the pope was vested in the falda (a particular papal vestment which forms a long skirt extending beneath the hem of the alb), amice, alb, cincture, pectoral cross, stole, and a very long cope known as the "mantum" (or "papal mantle"). Finally, the papal tiara was placed on his head.


The pope's solemn entry into St. Peter's Basilica was accompanied by the Silveri Symphony, a fanfare played on the trumpets of the Noble Guard. The entrance procession was headed by the cardinals, bishops, prelates, and those who composed the pontifical capella, vested according to their rank and in their prescribed order of precedence. A thurifer and seven acolytes accompanied the cross-bearer, and the apostolic subdeacon carried the Gospel Book (a function now reserved to a deacon). At the end of the procession the pope was carried into the basilica on the sedia gestatoria and with the two flabella borne on either side. He was accompanied by an entourage which included the Swiss Guards in their colorful uniforms and members of the Roman nobility in formal court dress. At times, a canopy was carried above his head. Two protonotaries apostolic raised the front of the falda as the pope walked to and from the sedia, and two papal chamberlains carried the train. The dean of the Rota carried the jewelled mitre (the mitra pretiosa), and finally two patriarchs or archbishops carried the book and bugia (hand-candle) respectively.[1]

The pope was received at the door by the cardinal-priest and the Canons of St. Peter's. He then knelt briefly, leaning on a faldstool, to adore the Blessed Sacrament. Fittingly, this often took place at the St. Gregory's Altar in St. Peter's. He then went to the small throne for the chanting of Terce, during which he received the obedience of the cardinals, bishops, and abbots. While the psalms of Terce were being chanted, he read the prayers of preparation for Mass, during which his buskins and papal slippers were put on. He then sang the prayer of Terce.

After Terce, his outer vestments were removed, leaving only the falda, amice, alb, and cincture. The pope washed his hands, and put on the following vestments (in order), assisted by the deacon:

(He did not use the crosier or the bugia at this point.) He then gave the kiss of peace to the last three of the cardinal-priests.

The Mass

The Elevation during the papal form of solemn pontifical high Mass celebrated by Pope John XXIII in St. Peter's Basilica in the early 1960s. Note the mitre and the papal tiaras placed on the high altar. The Greek clergy are standing - as is customary - while the others kneel.

The Mass proceeded according to the order of a solemn pontifical high Mass with the following differences:

At the Confiteor, the cardinal bishop stood to the right of the pope, the cardinal deacon to the left, with the other ministers behind. The pope then put on the maniple. The Pope wore a special maniple intertwined with red and gold threads, symbolizing the unity of the Eastern and Western rites of the Catholic Church. After the first censing, the cardinal deacons kissed the pope on cheek and breast, and the Pontiff retired to the throne before the Chair of Saint Peter in the apse.

The senior deacon, who wore a mitre, sat on a faldstool before the altar and facing the throne; the apostolic subdeacon, together with the Greek ministers, sat on the steps of the altar; while the assistant bishop and the two assistant deacons remained near the throne.

The Epistle was sung first in Latin by the apostolic subdeacon and then in Greek by the Byzantine Rite subdeacon, following the ritual of the Greek Church. After the Epistle, the two subdeacons went together and kissed the feet of the pope. Likewise the Gospel was chanted first in Latin by the cardinal-deacon and then in Greek by the Eastern Rite deacon. The Latin Gospel was accompanied by seven candles, the Greek Gospel by two. After the Gospel both Gospel books were brought to the pope, who kissed both of them.

While elevating the Host and the chalice the pope turned in a half circle towards the Epistle and Gospel sides, respectively, as the "Silveri Symphony" was played on the trumpets of the Noble Guard (an honorary unit which was abolished in 1970). Eight prelates held torches for the elevation, but no sanctus bell was used at any time in a papal Mass.

It was customary for some of the bread and wine used at the Mass to be consumed, as a precaution against poison or invalid matter, by the sacristan and the cup-bearer in the presence of the pope, first at the offertory and again before the Pater noster in a short ceremony called the praegustatio.[2]


After giving the kiss of peace to the assistant priest and assistant deacons, the Pope went to the throne, and there received Communion, standing.

The master of ceremonies placed a twelve-rayed asterisk on the paten, to cover the Host. The cardinal deacon elevated the paten to the height of his forehead so that it was seen by the people and the pope. He then placed the paten in the hands of the subdeacon, which had been covered with a richly embroidered veil known as the linteum pectorale, so that the subdeacon could bring it to the pope at the throne. The deacon then elevated the chalice in the same manner as the paten, the master of ceremonies covered the chalice with an embroidered pall, and the deacon carried it to the throne. The pope consumed the smaller portion of the Host, and communicated from the chalice through a thin golden tube called the fistula. He then divided the remainder of the Host, gave communion to the deacon and subdeacon; the deacon stood to receive communion and the subdeacon knelt. They then kissed the pope's ring, and he gave them the kiss of peace. Only these three individuals received communion.


After communion, the pope received the wine of the purification from another chalice and purified his fingers in a little cup. The deacon and subdeacon returned to the altar and partook of the chalice through the fistula, the subdeacon consumed the particle of the Host in the chalice, and both the deacon and the subdeacon consumed the wine and the water used in the purification of the chalice.

The pope then returned to the altar to finish the Mass. After the blessing, the assistant priest of the Mass published a plenary indulgence for all those in attendance. At the end of the "Last Gospel" (usually John 1:1-14), the pope went to the sedia gestatoria, put on the tiara, and returned in procession as he had entered, with the same escorts.

Modern day

Modern papal Mass in São Paulo, Brazil

The full ceremonial detailed above has not been used since early in the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, who abolished many of the offices of the papal court previously required for the celebration of the papal Mass.

Soon after his coronation, Paul VI ceased using the papal tiara. He discontinued the use of many traditional features of papal dress, including the papal slippers and pontifical gloves. However, he did carry a distinctive form of papal ferula, silver in colour, which Pope John Paul II also used. Pope Benedict XVI carried a golden ferula with a central image of the Lamb of God and without a figure of Christ crucified.

On certain occasions, Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI wore the fanon while celebrating Mass. The custom of having the Gospel chanted in Greek by a Greek Catholic deacon on certain occasions is practiced on occasion, most notably during canonisations.

Latin is used for most papal Masses in Rome, but the local vernacular has been used with increasing frequency in recent decades, especially when the pope is abroad. However, in the last years of his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI always used Latin for the Eucharistic Prayer when celebrating Mass abroad. Under Pope Francis several Papal Masses in Saint Peter's Square have used the Italian language. On Palm Sunday 2014, Latin was only used for the readings and some of the responses, while the next year's Palm Sunday service was for the first time said entirely in Italian.

In the earlier papal Mass, only the pope, the deacon, and the subdeacon received Holy Communion. In modern papal Masses many receive, some from the pope himself.

It has become common for the pope to celebrate Mass in stadiums or sports arenas abroad, so as to accommodate a larger number of pilgrims. It is also current practice to celebrate some Masses in Saint Peter's Square. However, much more often, papal Masses in Vatican City take place inside Saint Peter's Basilica. These Masses, with participants from many lands, point to the universality of the Roman Catholic faith. The intentions of the Universal Prayer are spoken in a variety of vernacular languages, while the invocation sung in Latin. The Midnight Mass at Christmas normally takes place inside Saint Peter's Basilica and is telecast worldwide.

After the end of the Second Vatican Council, several of the particular ceremonies and vestments used in papal Masses were gradually discontinued. Pope Benedict XVI revived some of these traditions. One example was the playing of the Papal Anthem on brass instruments from the loggia of the interior of Saint Peter's Basilica to announce the arrival of the Pope, followed by the chanting of "Tu Es Petrus" by the Sistine Chapel Choir when appropriate.

See also


  1. ^ An unfavourable description is given in Robert Willis, The Democracy of God: An American Catholicism (iUniverse, 2006), p. 106.
  2. ^ King, Archdale A. (1957). "Appendix I: Solemn Papal Mas". Liturgy of the Roman Church. Milwaukee: Bruce. Retrieved 2007-07-21.

External links

Abel de Gullane

Abel de Gullane [Golynn, Golin] was a 13th-century Bishop of St Andrews. He had been archdeacon of the diocese, and subsequently a Papal chaplain. In early 1254, after quashing the election of Robert de Stuteville, the Pope provided Abel to the bishopric, a decision not universally popular in Scotland. His first appearance back at St Andrews as bishop was on 29 June 1254, when he is recorded as celebrating the Papal mass. He died only a few months later, on 1 December.

Altar candlestick

Altar candlesticks hold the candles used in the Catholic liturgical celebration of Mass.

Apostolic Deacon

In the past, an Apostolic Deacon was a cardinal deacon who served at a Papal Mass. The Apostolic Deacon performed the role in the Papal Mass that is ordinarily performed by a Deacon at a regular Mass.

Apostolic Subdeacon

Historically, an Apostolic Subeacon was a cardinal deacon who served at a Papal Mass. The Apostolic Deacon performs the role in the Papal Mass that is ordinarily performed by a Subdeacon at a regular Mass.

Candlestick Park

Candlestick Park was an outdoor sports and entertainment stadium on the West Coast of the United States, located in San Francisco's Bayview Heights area. The stadium was originally the home of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, who played there from 1960 until moving into Pacific Bell Park (since renamed Oracle Park) in 2000. It was also the home field of the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League from 1971 through 2013. The 49ers moved to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara for the 2014 season. The last event held at Candlestick was a concert by Paul McCartney in August 2014, and the demolition of the stadium was completed in September 2015. As of 2019 the site is planned to be redeveloped into office space. The stadium was situated at Candlestick Point on the western shore of the San Francisco Bay. (Candlestick Point was named for the "Candlestick birds" that populated the area for many years.) Due to Candlestick Park's location next to the bay, strong winds often swirled down into the stadium, creating unusual playing conditions. At the time of its construction in the late 1950s, the stadium site was one of the few pieces of land available in the city that was suitable for a sports stadium and had space for the 10,000 parking spaces promised to the Giants.

The surface of the field for most of its existence was natural bluegrass, but for nine seasons, from 1970 to 1978, the stadium had artificial turf. A "sliding pit" configuration, with dirt cut-outs only around the bases, was installed in 1971, primarily to keep the dust down in the breezy conditions. Following the 1978 football season, the playing surface was restored to natural grass.

Catholic Church in North Korea

The Catholic Church in North Korea is not officially part of the worldwide Catholic Church or under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. It allegedly does not belong to the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.The church is administered by the Korean Catholic Association (KCA), created by the Communist government in June 1988 as a means of control over Catholic life. The remaining Catholic churches are inactive.According to reports from within North Korea, courtesy of the KCA, there are approximately 3,000 Catholics in the country. However, experts from other countries place the figure closer to 800. Christianity in North Korea is partly an underground movement, allegedly not receiving missionaries from southern China.Kim Jong-il invited Pope John Paul II to Pyongyang after the 2000 inter-Korean summit, but the visit failed to materialize. A similar invitation to Pope Francis was made by Kim Jong-un following a series of inter-Korean summits in 2018.An invitation for the KCA to attend a Papal Mass in Seoul on 18 August 2014, during a 4-day visit to South Korea by Pope Francis, was declined by the association.

Catholic Church in the United Arab Emirates

The Catholic Church in the United Arab Emirates is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.

There are nearly 1,000,000 expatriates in the country who are Catholics, representing around 9% of the total population, largely Filipinos, Indians, South Americans, Lebanese, Africans, Germans, Italians, Ukrainians, Portuguese, Spanish, French and other Europeans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans . The United Arab Emirates forms part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia and the Vicar Apostolic Bishop Paul Hinder is based in Abu Dhabi.

Cherry Creek State Park

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DF Concerts

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DF Concerts promote and manage T in the Park festival and owns and manages King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. They were previously behind the now defunct The Edge Festival and Connect.

They are one of the three major promoters in Scotland, the others being Regular Music and CPL (Cathouse Promotions Limited).

DF Concerts organised the Papal Mass in Bellahouston Park for the Pope's visit in 2010.The current CEO of DF Concerts is Geoff Ellis, who took over from founding CEO Stuart Clumpas in 2001. Since 2008, DF Concerts have been majority-owned by LN-Gaiety Investments, a joint venture between Live Nation and Denis Desmond, an Irish music promoter.


The funghellino (Italian for "small mushroom") is a short mushroom-shaped stand used in the Roman Catholic liturgy. It is placed on the altar at a Pontifical Mass to hold the bishop's and higher prelates' skullcap (zuchetto) during the Eucharistic prayer.


A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. In Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a homily is usually given during Mass (Divine Liturgy or Holy Qurbana for Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, and Divine Service for the Lutheran Church) at the end of the Liturgy of the Word. Many people consider it synonymous with a sermon.

Magnetic Hill Concert Site

Magnetic Hill Concert Site is a live music venue in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. It is one of the largest music venues in Canada.

Originally built in 1984 for Pope John Paul II to hold a papal mass during his tour of Canada, the site was redesigned in the 1990s as a concert venue. The site has hosted annual or biennial summer concerts since the mid-2000s. Additional permanent infrastructure was installed following the 2005 concert headlined by The Rolling Stones. In 2011 a concert headlined by U2 saw the first use of the marketing term Magnetic Hill Music Festival.

Nationals Park

Nationals Park is a baseball park along the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It is the home ballpark for the Washington Nationals, the city's Major League Baseball franchise. When the Montreal Expos franchise relocated to Washington, D.C. and became the Nationals, they temporarily played at RFK Stadium until Nationals Park was completed. It is the first LEED-certified green major professional sports stadium in the United States.

The ballpark, designed by HOK Sport and Devrouax & Purnell Architects and Planners, cost $693 million to build, with an additional $84.2 million spent on transportation, art, and infrastructure upgrades to support the stadium for a total cost of $783.9 million. The stadium has a capacity of 41,339. The Washington Monument and the Capitol building are visible from the upper decks on the first base side of the field.

The park's name echoes that of the early-1900s ballpark used by the Washington Senators, National Park, until it was rebuilt and renamed Griffith Stadium.

Nationals Park hosted the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the first All-Star Game to be played in Washington, D.C. since 1969.

New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) is an independent authority established by the State of New Jersey in 1971 to oversee the Meadowlands Sports Complex, but which now contains the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, a regulatory, planning, and zoning agency, in addition to its original duties. Originally consisting of Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack in 1976, Meadowlands Arena was added to the complex in 1981 and New Meadowlands Stadium (now MetLife Stadium) replaced Giants Stadium in 2010. Its first Chairman and CEO was David A. "Sonny" Werblin. Its present Chairman is Carl Goldberg and its CEO is Vincent Prieto.

Over the years, the NJSEA's purview expanded to include Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport and the Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood. In Atlantic City, the Authority oversaw the construction and development of the Convention Center and the renovation of the historic Boardwalk Hall, the long-time home of the Miss America Pageant.

In the 1990s the NJSEA built the New Jersey State Aquarium (now known as the Adventure Aquarium) in Camden. The NJSEA also contributed to the construction of the Meadowlands Environment Center in Lyndhurst, just across Berry's Creek from the Sports Complex.

The 16-member Board of Commissioners is appointed by the Governor to four-year terms, subject to confirmation by the New Jersey Senate and it includes three ex officio members: The Authority President, the State Treasurer and a designated representative of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. The Authority holds regularly scheduled meeting which are open to the public. The minutes of all Authority meetings are subject to approval by the Governor. Joe Plumeri, owner of the Trenton Thunder and CEO of Willis Group Holdings, was Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority from 1997 to 2004.The NJSEA facilities are home to the New York Giants and Jets, which also serves as major venues for concerts and family shows. Since 1976, NJSEA buildings have hosted many major events, including seven games of the 1994 World Cup, the 1996 Men's Final Four, NFL playoff games and Super Bowl championship celebrations, the 2002 and 2003 NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Finals of 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003, the 1999 Women’s World Cup, many other international soccer matches - including Pele's farewell game, a 1995 Papal Mass by Pope John Paul II and countless major concerts.

The Meadowlands Racetrack, a leading standardbred racing and simulcasting facility, is home to harness racing’s prestigious Hambletonian Stakes and hosts a fall thoroughbred meet.

Historic Monmouth Park is the site of a summer thoroughbred meet highlighted by the Haskell Invitational won in dramatic fashion in 2009 by the filly, Rachel Alexandra.

The NJSEA also operates the Off Track Wagering (OTW) facility, Favorites at Woodbridge, and has received approval to open a second OTW in Bayonne.

The NJSEA also provides in-house security and emergency medical services staff to the entire Meadowlands Sports Complex, including MetLife Stadium, the replacement for Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex built privately by the Jets and Giants, as they have done in the past at Giants Stadium.

The NJSEA owns the land beneath the American Dream Meadowlands shopping complex. It issued $1.15 billion in municipal bonds to support the project. In February 2018, it was announced that Vincent Prieto, former Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly would step down from his post and succeed Wayne Hasenbalg as President and Chief Executive Officer, a position that will pay him a $280,000 per year annual salary.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and occasionally abbreviated in print and online as OPACY, is a Major League Baseball (MLB) ballpark located in Baltimore, Maryland. Home to the Baltimore Orioles, it is the first of the "retro" major league ballparks constructed during the 1990s and early 2000s. It was completed in 1992 to replace Memorial Stadium.

The park is situated in downtown Baltimore, a few blocks west of Inner Harbor in the Camden Yards Sports Complex. The Orioles celebrated the ballpark's 20th anniversary during the 2012 season and launched the website as part of the celebration. Historically, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is one of several venues that have carried the "[Oriole Park]" name for various Baltimore franchises over the years.

Pontifical High Mass

In the context of the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Catholic Church, a Pontifical High Mass, also called Solemn Pontifical Mass, is a Solemn or High Mass celebrated by a bishop using certain prescribed ceremonies. The term is also used among Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. Although in modern English the word "pontifical" is almost exclusively associated with the Pope, any bishop may be properly called a pontiff. Thus, the celebrant of a Pontifical High Mass may be any bishop, and not just a pope.

Use of Hereford

The Use of Hereford or Hereford Use was a variant of the Roman Rite used in Herefordshire before the English Reformation. When Peter of Aigueblanche, Bishop of Hereford, returned to his native Savoy he used it in his church in Aiguebelle.

Vidi aquam

Vidi aquam is the name of an antiphon, which may be sung during the Latin Rite Catholic Mass. It accompanies the Asperges, the ritual at the beginning of Mass where the celebrant sprinkles the congregation with baptismal water.

It is sung from Easter Sunday throughout the liturgical season of Eastertide until the feast of Pentecost.

The text refers to the words of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:1), who saw the waters gushing forth from the Temple as a sanctifying flood that flows through the earth.

If the sprinkling rite occurs outside Eastertide, the simpler antiphon Asperges Me usually replaces Vidi aquam.

WrestleMania III

WrestleMania III was the third annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The event was held on March 29, 1987, at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. There were twelve matches, with the main event featuring WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan successfully defending his title against André the Giant.

WrestleMania III is particularly notable due to the WWF claiming a record attendance of 93,173 and the largest recorded attendance of a live indoor event in North America at the time. This record itself stood until January 27, 1999 when it was surpassed by the Papal Mass presided over by Pope John Paul II, held at the TWA Dome in St. Louis, MO, which drew an audience of 104,000 people. The only WWF/E event with an official higher attendance was WrestleMania 32, held at AT&T Stadium. The event is considered to be the pinnacle of the 1980s wrestling boom. The WWF generated $1.6 million in ticket sales. Almost one million fans watched the event at 160 closed-circuit locations in North America. The number of people watching via pay-per-view was estimated at several million, and pay-per-view revenues were estimated at $10.3 million, setting a record for the time.

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