Sunday, June 3, 2007

Ite Missa Est

Today we introduced a new 'traditional' element into the Sunday morning Mass at Forest Hall.

The formal ending of the Mass consisting of the words ‘Ite missa est’ (‘Go, you are dismissed’) answered by ‘Deo gratias’ (‘Thanks be to God’) follows the final blessing in the Novus Ordo. The use of ‘missa’ in the sense of dismissal is very ancient and may be as old as the Latin Mass itself; it certainly dates from at least the 4th century. In fact the very term ‘Mass’ (missa), is taken from this phrase.

A number of melodies for the Ite have survived. In the Edition Vaticana, most of the Ite chants are identical to the Kyries in each Mass setting thus creating a noteworthy musical unity. This tradition of adopting Kyrie melodies for the Ite, whilst not as ancient as the Ite as an element of the Mass, had developed by the 14th century.

We followed that tradition today by singing the Ite Missa Est set to the same music as the Kyrie, which was from Mass VIII (Missa de Angelis).

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