Reflections on the Holy Mass DVD series available Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- As of January 14, Abbot Marcel Rooney, OSB, was thrilled to receive the first shipment of his DVD series called “Reflections on Holy Mass.”

The Orate Institute of Sacred Liturgy, Music, and Art, under the direction of Abbot Rooney, has prepared 40 reflections on the Mass that appear on eight DVDs.

How to order

The DVD series, “Reflections on Holy Mass,” may be ordered through the Orate Institute of Sacred Liturgy, Music, and Art via the institute’s Web site at or by phone at 608-203-6735. The cost per box of 40 videos in eight DVDs is $69.95, with 5.5 percent sales tax (Wisconsin shipments only) and delivery cost of $5 per box.

MADISON -- As of January 14, Abbot Marcel Rooney, OSB, was thrilled to receive the first shipment of his DVD series called “Reflections on Holy Mass.”

The Orate Institute of Sacred Liturgy, Music, and Art, under the direction of Abbot Rooney, has prepared 40 reflections on the Mass that appear on eight DVDs.

Reflections on the Mass

The purpose of the reflections is to help anyone celebrating Mass, especially those in various ministries, to know and appreciate what is going on during the celebration.

“In a word, these reflections are to help Catholics grow deeper in faith as they celebrate the Mystery of Faith, especially in this Year of Faith,” said Abbot Rooney.

He emphasized, “These DVDs are valuable to everybody. Many people do not understand fully what is going on during the Mass. The reflections are meant to help people get into a deeper spirit of prayer at Holy Mass.”

Video series

The series of 40 video reflections on the liturgy feature Abbot Rooney. The reflections are an average of 15 minutes in length.

Joe Ptak of Memory Lane Productions in Sun Prairie was the videographer for the series. The reflections by Abbot Rooney are enhanced with sacred music and pictures.

The series breaks down all the parts of the Mass from the procession to the recession. A study guide accompanies the series.

Abbot Rooney said the series could be used in parishes to train liturgical ministers, as well as for all forms of adult education, including study groups and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). It could also be used at the high school level.

“The reflections are short enough that they could be used in a class or workshop followed by discussion,” said Jeffrey Karls, co-founder and vice-president of the Orate Institute, based in Madison.

The Orate Institute

In Latin, “orate” means “pray.” More than just an invitation, it is a command to pray, says Abbot Rooney, who is the former abbot primate of the Benedictine Order.

“We feel that in the last half century, all the changes in the liturgy have led us to emphasize performance. There has been a lack of training in the spirituality of liturgy and prayer,” he observed.

This influenced Abbot Rooney to found a new service to the Church, the Orate Institute of Sacred Liturgy, Music, and Art.

The new institute is intended to respond to two particular needs:

  • Fulfilling what the popes of the last century as well as Pope Benedict XVI have requested, that is, that there be a renewal of liturgical prayer in parishes and religious communities, and in all the members of the Church, including laity and clergy
  • Fulfilling the desires and requests of many ministers and people in parishes and religious communities, who feel that in the last decades we have achieved a certain adequate level of performance of the sacred liturgy, but without achieving at the same time a deepening of the prayer-life of those who participate in that liturgy.

Therefore, the Orate Institute is dedicated to fostering catechesis of the liturgy, not merely for intellectual content, but so that “the faithful . . . be led to full, conscious, and active participation” in the liturgy as called for by the  Second Vatican Council.

“We want to help people come to a deeper grasp of the liturgy,” said Abbot Rooney, who is the founder and president of the Orate Institute.

Abbot Rooney met Karls at Magdalen College in New was serving as the college president.

Mission of the institute

Abbot Rooney has a great deal of experience in the field of liturgy. He was a professor of liturgical theology and pastoral liturgy at seminaries in the United States. He also was a professor at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome.

As abbot primate of the Benedictine Order, he had the opportunity to understand the experience of the Church across the world regarding the celebration and praying of the liturgy.

Abbot Rooney said the Orate Institute has a three-fold mission:

  • Theological — To help people understand the theology behind the liturgy. “We want people to know not only what to do, but why,” said Abbot Rooney.
  • Spiritual — To relate what we’re doing in liturgy to the interior life. “We want to not just say the words and do the actions, but get beneath to a deeper level,” said Abbot Rooney. He noted that a person could go through the liturgy and never meet God. “We’ve really got to help people pray so that they do meet God,” he emphasized. “We hope our little institute — which could be bigger — could have an impact on that.”
  • Pastoral — To do things well. Abbot Rooney points out that many altar servers, for example, don’t know why they should fold their hands or genuflect. “We want to teach them that there’s a reason for reverence,” he said.
Sense of the sacred

Karls noted that we call the Mass “the celebration of the liturgy” for a reason. “It’s meant to be an encounter with Christ. It’s a divine activity, not just a human social activity.”

He said the “sense of the sacred” in liturgy is often not understood. “The Orate Institute wants to enlighten the priests, laity, musicians, servers, readers of sacred liturgy, and others that this is prayer. We think the institute will be a great benefit to the Church.”

Serving the diocese

Abbot Rooney said that Bishop Robert C. Morlino welcomed the Orate Institute to have its residence in the Diocese of Madison, although the institute is operated independent of the diocese.

“We’re here to assist and serve the diocese, in addition to our work beyond the diocese,” said Abbot Rooney.

The Orate Institute has assisted the diocesan Office of Worship by providing a series of workshops for priests, deacons, and other liturgical ministers. The institute is also offering courses in the diocesan Seat of Wisdom Institute, including a series on the sacraments and the Second Vatican Council documents on the liturgy.

Abbot Rooney wants to be of assistance at the parish level. “I am available for parish missions and to give talks on the liturgy, especially appropriate in the Year of Faith.”

Institute needs support

To achieve its goals, the new institute needs the assistance of interested persons who will help support the institute with prayers and financial support.

To find out how to help, visit the institute’s Web site at or call 608-203-6735.

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