Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The St. John Fisher Missale for the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite
The name ‘Saint John Fisher Missale’ for this website was chosen because most of its contents were originally made for the use of the faithful at Fisher House, the Catholic Chaplaincy of the University of Cambridge, which a few months after the promulgation of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum established a weekly Mass according to the Extraordinary Form.
The University Chaplaincy, founded in 1895, is fittingly named after St John Fisher, who was not only a Saint and a Martyr, but also one of the most important figures in the history of the University of Cambridge.
John Fisher, the son of a merchant, came up to Michaelhouse (later suppressed and taken over by Trinity College) in 1484 and eventually became head of several colleges, Proctor, Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor of the University. He was instrumental in transforming the late-medieval University into a centre of the modern, humanist scholarship, and persuaded his friend Erasmus of Rotterdam to work for a while at Queens’ College. Fisher became confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort (+ 1509), the mother of Henry VII, and through her patronage he was able to found two colleges (Christ’s College and St John’s College) and to endow academic positions that could support a true Catholic reform of the Church, including a chair in Biblical studies and a preachership. In 1504 he was appointed Bishop of the small and impoverished diocese of Rochester, and in the following years he worked there as a zealous pastor, several times refusing to exchange it for a better-endowed see.
When King Henry VIII moved with increasing aggressiveness against the Church — both to use her endowments for his wars and to divorce Queen Catherine of Aragon — John Fisher was the only bishop in England who remained loyal to the Holy Father and opposed the King’s plans. Having been imprisoned several times in the early 1530s, Fisher was eventually arrested as a traitor because he refused to acknowledge the King’s supposed marriage to Ann Boleyn. In 1535 he was created Cardinal Priest of S. Vitale by Pope Paul III, and this fact enraged the king so much that he had him sentenced to death for refusing to acknowledge him as Supreme Head of the ‘Church of England’. St John Fisher was beheaded on June 22, 1535, dying as a martyr for the freedom of the Church and the sanctity of marriage. He was beatified in 1886 and canonised in 1935.
It's an interesting project, because it's all on-line and the materials are designed for individuals to print on an as needed basis:
The digital version of the St John Fisher Missale is a work in progress. In its complete form it will consist of a number of PDF-files with the following elements:
~The Ordo Missæ (available with and without a short Kyriale)
~The Order of Requiem Mass with some Propers of Masses for the Dead
~A selection of the Kyriale containing music for several Mass Ordinaries, Creeds and some other chants
~Proper texts for all Sundays, all feasts of First and Second Class, and some other occasions (like Ember Saturdays or Rogations)
For instance, here are links to the Propers for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14) and the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 15).