Posts Tagged ‘latin mass’

…and it was interesting.

When we entered the church I had expected more people since it is the only mass of it’s type in the area but attendance seemed sparse, lower than what I would expect at the regular 8 a.m. mass at my own church. (then again Immaculate Conception is a weaker and smaller parish.)

There were veils available for the women at the entrance to Mass. I was unaware that women were expected to either wear hats or veils when attending, that caught me by surprise.

My mother attended ahead of us and unfortunately sat in a location that put me behind a pillar during most of the mass so it was harder to see what was going on.

A very helpful young lady gave us new Mass books with the Latin/English pages. I actually had two of the old ones from the 40’s on me. The old ones were useful because they had the reference reading for the particular week as opposed to a generic reading at the various locations.

There were a LOT of alter boys and they were kept busy all during mass.

Since there is no alter rail a series of kneelers were lined up at the front during communion.

The mass ran 90 minutes considerably longer than a vernacular mass. The sermon was long as well. The mass was celebrated not by the pastor of the parish but by another priest who I never saw before.

My impressions.

Most of what the priest said was inaudible, I’m still unsure if that was by design or just the acoustics.

The choir was nice and the changes echoed well.

I like receiving kneeling down it reinforces the solemnity of communion and the fact that we are getting the body of Christ.

But overall, I can REALLY see why they changed to the vernacular. It is VERY hard to follow and although my sons have both had either two years of Latin or are in their 2nd year they were constantly lost.

Other than the various standing and sitting on cue there was almost nothing to do. I remember reading this line from the reviews of the pass from my earlier post:

I had the distinct impression that Father, the altar servers, and the choir were actually praying (not acting out roles) as they solemnly carried out their offices with unaffected reverence.

That is true, but unfortunately that doesn’t extend to the people. The Mass is the single greatest prayer to God there is and the public who was there wasn’t praying they were attending, it felt like a mandatory meeting at work rather than the celebration of Mass. I can’t see myself going again and my wife and family are even less inclined to do so.

Now does that mean that the Latin mass shouldn’t be offered? Certainly not!

You have to remember the reasons for Mass:

To worship God

To receive communion

To preach the Gospel and to teach

And the overall purpose of all of these things is the saving of souls. That is the bottom line of the Church. All it does should be toward that goal. As Paul says:

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law – though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ – to win over those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it. 1 Cor 9:19-23

For some the Latin Mass bring them closer in their faith journey to the Lord, to others it may seem an obstacle. Remember what I said once before:

You know we Catholics have daily mass, we have the sacrament of confession, we have the Holy Eucharist, we have the Rosary, we have Sunday mass, we have the Blessed Sacrament, we have Sacred Scripture.

All of these things are there on a daily basis waiting for us to take advantage of them to bring us closer to Christ. How many Catholics take advantage of them?

The Latin mass has a place in bringing people to Christ as does all the other tools that the Church provides. If it is a useful tool for you than by all means take advantage of it. If not that’s fine too but lets not throw it away.

Update: Consider this:

“ ghorgh SoH tlhob, jatlh, ‘ maj vav Daq chal, may lIj pong taH polta’ le’. May lIj Kingdom ghoS. May lIj DIchDaq taH ta’pu’ Daq tera’, as ‘oH ghaH Daq chal. | nob maH jaj Sum jaj maj daily tIr Soj. | Forgive maH maj yemmey, vaD maH ourselves je forgive Hoch ‘Iv ghaH indebted Daq maH. qem maH ghobe’ Daq temptation, ‘ach toD maH vo’ the mIghtaHghach wa’.’”

That is believe it or not, the Our Father. In the end it doesn’t matter if you say it in Latin, English or as above in Klingon. If you say it in prayer to the glory of God, it will be heard.

Just across the river and the bridge that spans from where I live is Water Street. It’s was once the Italian section of town known as “The Patch”. It is also the place where there are three Catholic Churches all within 600 yards of each other. The First is Immaculate Conception parish located right on the river and one of the most beautiful churches in the area. The second is St. Bernards, the oldest Catholic Church in Fitchburg. The Third is my parish St. Anthony di Padua, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and is still about 50% made up of the children and grandchildren of the Italian Americans who founded it.

As you can see from the google map link barely 1/2 a mile separates the three.

With three parishes so close it is VERY likely that at least one and more likely two of us will get the chop with next years parish closing. Immaculate Conception buries more people than they baptize so it doesn’t look good for them.

St. Anthony’s & St. Bernard’s morning mass are at 7 a.m., due to the schedules of the wife and kids 7 a.m. is more tricky for me so for the indulgence I mentioned yesterday I went to Immaculate Conception as their thrice weekly morning mass is at 8:15.

A few weeks ago someone mentioned to me that they offer the mass in Latin there. I’m 46 so I have no living memory of it. (My mother tells me St. Anthony went to English before I was born. I’ve always wanted to attend one. It is a connection to centuries of Catholic tradition and history, both of my boys either took or are taking Latin in high school and frankly I’m curious.

So today after earning the Plenary indulgence for the Mother in law (if that doesn’t get you in her good graces nothing will) I asked the priest if the Latin Mass was offered. (I know the web site says so but it looks like that web site hasn’t been touched since the day it went up). To my surprise Fr. Thien confirmed it.

And apparently if I had been paying more attention I would have known it already. Fr. Z’s blog mentioned it here, and commented on the first Latin mass celebrated in June:

It is one thing to have A MASS celebrated, even at a convenient time and place. It is entirely another to have the whole life of a parish and access to all the sacraments with the older forms – in a community of people who have the same aspirations – opened up for you.

La Solette Journey Covered it as well.:

Father will hear confessions at 7:30am before Mass, and the Rosary will be prayed aloud at that time. Father will also hold spiritual conferences and traditional devotions, and administer the Sacraments according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Hmmm his name is Melanson, I used to live near a bunch of Melansons when I was 5 years old.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriem covered it too:

“I think it’s fair to call this the beginning of the restoration of the immemorial Holy Mass codified by St. Pius V to the church of the Immaculate Conception. I’m glad to say that our (my family’s) hopes were high, but we were entirely unprepared for the palpably sacred ambience that persisted in the church throughout the sacred liturgy and which accompanied us right out the door and into the church hall (where I spent most of my time talking about the Mass, I think). It brought back a flood of memories of the best days I’d seen when I was a boy and the blessed years we had the privilege of going to Mass at Holy Trinity in Boston (where our two girls were baptized). I had the distinct impression that Father, the altar servers, and the choir were actually praying (not acting out roles) as they solemnly carried out their offices with unaffected reverence.(emphasis mine)

That is the single most powerful statement that I’ve ever heard said about a mass. If that is not a reason to attend I’d like to know what is.

Ironically I would not have been able to attend that first mass even if I knew about it since I’m involved in a monthly parish activity at St. Anthonys that takes up my mornings on the last Sunday each month (all are invited).

While writing this post I called my 84 year old mother and told her about it, she mentioned how when she was younger everyone wanted it in English because the didn’t want to learn Latin but is very interested in going this week. She also reminded me of the fact that our pastor will be leaving for Italy for a week starting Friday and neither her nor my boys are serving this month.

If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is, so I think I’ll be attending Immaculate Conception this week and might consider going once a month for the Latin Mass.

This is a lesson. I should pay more attention to my own neighborhood instead of always concerning myself with the events of the world or the blogoisphere.