What is a Requiem?
The mass is the celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist
or Lord's Supper, and is the chief act of Roman Catholic worship. Generally
it is performed daily by every priest, as a sacrifice commemorating and
perpetually repeating Christ's sacrificial death.
The Mass, the rites for which are set forth in the Missal, has for many
centuries been said or sung in Latin (except in eastern churches where Greek,
Old Slavonic, Syriac or other Oriental languages are used), but the use of a
vernacular language (such as English) was sanctioned by the General Council
(Vatican II) in 1963.
The Requiem Mass, as such, was not a reality much before the end of the
10th Century, and the special day for the commemoration of the dead,
November 2nd (All Soul's Day), was instituted by St Odo, the
Abbot of Cluny in 998 AD. This commemoration was observed everywhere
by the 13th century, when the doctrine of Purgatory taught by
St.Thomas Aquinas and other theologians, and foreshadowed since
the 3rd Century, was universally accepted and Masses for the dead became
a general feature of parish life. It would be true to say that the Mass
for the Dead, stemming from the Roman Missal promulgated by
Pope St. Pius V in 1570, by virtue of the Council of
Trent, is of Franco-Gallican origin.
The church official (officiant) is assisted by a deacon and subdeacon, with
musical accompaniment and elaborate ritual.
Celebrated without music or clerical assistants.
Offered for the dead in Purgatory. The Requiem Mass is celebrated in
memory of the faithful departed on All Soul's Day, 2nd November
and is classified with the votive masses (not related to the Office of
the Day). It may be sung also on the day of burial and on
succeeding anniversaries as well as on the third, seventh and 30th days
following the death.
"Eucharist" comes from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning "thanksgiving".
Eucharist is the name given (especially in the Roman Catholic church) to the
service of Holy Communion, especially when celebrated with music and
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Last updated: 8th June 1997