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LICHEŃ STARY, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - A traditional liturgy conference in Poland began on Thursday.
The conference is called Ars Celebrandi, Latin for "art of celebrating." Organized by the Polish branch of Una Voce, the conference takes place in Licheń Stary, Poland. The town has several churches but is best known for the Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń — one of the largest churches in the world.
This year's Ars Celebrandi lasts for one week, ending on July 19. Mass is offered daily in the Extraordinary Form, and the conference also has a tradition of having at least one Mass in the Dominican rite.
There are lectures and workshops for altar serving and offering Mass, as well as for sacred music. Those organizing the event said in an English-language press release on Friday, "About 200 people from Poland and a dozen or so countries around the world, including Estonia, Latvia, Germany, France, Byelorussia or even South Korea learn to celebrate the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite (priests), serve it (altar servers) or sing (male and female Gregorian chant consorts)."
Archbishop Guido Pozzo will be offering Mass for the conference on July 18. Archbishop Pozzo is secretary of the Pontifical Commision Ecclesia Dei, a Vatican organization which helps those devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass.
Organizers say the visit of the high-ranking Vatican prelate will be the most important event of this year's conference.
One person in attendance, Mateusz Rezler, said he has been looking forward to the Mass with Abp. Pozzo. He told Church Militant, "I'm waiting for the visit of Abp. Pozzo and for his words. As the secretary of Ecclesia Dei, I hope that he enjoys the development of the traditional[ist] movement in Poland."
Rezler said he likes the conference for its "tradition, Latin and repentance," adding that he thinks of it "as a good retreat."
The Ars Celebrandi website states, in Polish, "The rhythm of the day is marked by numerous Masses, religious services and canonical hours, from the early morning hours until late in the evening."
In addition to the numerous liturgies and liturgical workshops, those in attendance are receiving lodging for seven days and three meals a day. The cost to attend was 690 Polish złoty per person — less than $200.
Delivering the conference's inaugural homily was Fr. Pawła Korupki. Delivered in Polish, a recording of the homily was uploaded to YouTube.
Ars Celebrandi is one of the largest conferences of its kind in Europe, the conference's Facebook page claims.
Pictures from the conference have been shared on Facebook by its organizers, depicting Thursday night's Mass. It was a Solemn High Mass (also known simply as "Solemn Mass") — a manner of offering the Traditional Latin Mass where many parts are chanted, and the celebrant is assisted by a deacon and subdeacon.
The Traditional Latin Mass begins with prayers at the foot of the altar. After beginning Mass with the sign of the cross, the priest stands with the deacon and subdeacon, while the altar servers kneel. They recite a psalm in call-and-response format ("Introibo ad altare Dei," or "I go in toward the altar of God"), followed by the Confiteor ("I confess to almighty God"). The priest bows and says the Confiteor first by himself. Then the deacon, subdeacon and servers bow and recite it together, and the priest gives the sign of the cross.
Incense is used repeatedly during a Solemn High Mass. For example, the altar, the priest and all in attendance are incensed during the Offertory.
At the time of consecration, when the bread and wine are transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, the priest bows and whispers the prayer of consecration and elevates the sacred species, genuflecting repeatedly throughout.
After the priest receives Holy Communion, he turns to face the people while holding the Eucharist out. He then says "Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi" — "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world."
The laity respond by reciting three times the "Domine non sum dignus" ("Lord I am not worthy").
Then, those who intend to receive Communion go forward to the altar rail and receive on the tongue while kneeling.
The organizers recently put out a press release on the event in English. On March 14, the organizers of Ars Celebrandi announced that they were adding an altar serving workshop for English-speaking participants.