The following is a brief summary of the texts and music that will be used in the liturgies that Pope Francis will celebrate during his visit to the Archdiocese of New York this September:
Thursday, September 24 – Vespers with Priests and Men and Women Religious at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick
The texts of Vespers will be those of the current day (Thursday, Week I), in English, Spanish, and Latin. Pope Francis will offer a homily after the short reading. Following the homily, the Cathedral Choir will sing a motet in place of the responsory.
Friday, September 25 – Multireligious Prayer Service at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum
This prayer service will include a version of the prayer of remembrance first used by Pope Benedict XVI during his April 2008 visit to Ground Zero. In addition, prayers for peace will be offered in multiple languages according to the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, and Muslim traditions. The Kaddish from the Jewish tradition will be sung by a cantor.
Mass for the Preservation of Peace and Justice at Madison Square Garden
The second option of the Collect for the Mass “For Peace and Justice” will be used. Inasmuch as this is a daily Mass, neither the Gloria nor the Creed will be said. The First Reading will be proclaimed in Spanish and the Gospel in English. Eucharistic Prayer II will be prayed in Latin.
The papal liturgies in New York will include several unique liturgical elements that highlight various aspects of the Petrine ministry. Among these are:
-the Papal ferula: This pastoral staff is distinguished from the crozier of bishops by its lack of a crooked top, and was first used in the 10th century to signify the unique role of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. By the 13th century, the ferula was used only on special, ceremonial occasions. In recent years, Blessed Pope Paul VI reintroduced the regular use of a pastoral staff to signify the ecclesial communion the Pope shares with the other members of the episcopal college and to emphasize the Pope’s role as a pastor of souls.
-solemn reception: The Ceremonial of Bishops indicates that a bishop may be solemnly received when making a pastoral visitation as a sign of the love and devotion of the faithful toward their good shepherd. On his arrival at the church doors, the bishop is welcomed by the pastor, who invites him to sprinkle the faithful with holy water. The bishop is then escorted to the Blessed Sacrament to offer a brief, silent prayer before moving to the sanctuary to greet the people. Pope Francis will be welcomed in this way when he visits St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
-seven acolytes: Papal Masses typically begin with an entrance procession that includes seven acolytes carrying candles. This practice is attested to in the 7th-8th century document Ordo Romanus primus, which suggests that these acolytes represent the seven ecclesiastical districts into which Rome was divided at the time. As such, this practice signifies the Pope as the Bishop of Rome. At the Mass at Madison Square Garden, seven seminarians who are studying for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary will serve as acolytes to the Holy Father.