Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Latin Mass

My parish had a Latin Mass last Saturday in honor of our 100 years of being in existence. It as a wonderful experience to have old school meet new school. Thanks to Pope Benedict we're allowed to have Latin Masses said in a non Latin Mass church. I attempted to take pictures, but I felt strange as no one else expect the "official" photographer for our Jubilee was taking pictures. I did find the comments from the people afterwards quite amusing. Most of then expected to remember more of the Latin and I would turn and say oh I was surprised at how much I knew. The looks of why does a 28 year old know Latin would ensue and I would explain that studied Latin in college and that this wasn't my first Latin Mass.

I loved it, and despite the many "I don't want to go back to this" comments I heard, I wouldn't mind bringing back parts of the Mass, like how Communion was received, it was so much easier to receive on one's tongue while kneeling vs. standing. I was quite impressed that I could follow along with the Latin side of the program they gave us. Maybe it's my weekly Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist duties that are finally getting to me, but it was nice to just sit and enjoy Mass vs. having to jump over people to get out to distribute Communion.

Even though we are a Novus Ordo church the women coming to the Mass were asked to wear something on their head. I wore my big purple shawl that also covered the top part of me. I wasn't wearing it on my head when I walked into the Church and some guy in attendance gave me a look, I placed it on my head once I got settled. I might have also gotten the look because I was one of very few "young people" at the Mass. Considering it was a Saturday afternoon Mass I was impressed with how well dressed the majority of people in attendance were. I think I saw two women wearing jeans, everyone else was in skirts, or dress pants and nice tops, most of the men were in pants, shirts, and jackets. I wonder what happens when these same people go to Mass on Sunday.


As you will see in this picture our church still has it's "back altar" in place, and when the comment "I wonder if they will want the back altar" was made to our liturgy committee last Monday I responded with "knowing the fraternity they will want the back altar." I nearly said, what else would they use, but I know better than to be sarcastic with my pastor in those cases. I do find it amusing that the conversation was pretty much ended once I added my comment in.
The altar was very nicely decorated, well undecorated as we had to take the flowers down and honestly the altar is gorgeous on it's own. The tabernacle which is covered by a white cloth, I apologize for not knowing the technical name, and don't feel like looking it up at the moment, is the tabernacle that we use on a daily basics, so it was nice to see it used like this too. As you can see we are still decorated for the Easter season, and normally the back altar has flowers on the top part of it. The altar we normally use is the one in the front. Fr. Brian, our parochial vicar made a comment when we were discussing that the back altar would probably be used and it amused me, while it annoyed others. The comment was "the altar is not a flower holder." I love my vicar and would have loved to see him partake in this Mass, but the Holy Father trumped and he was in attendance with a few teens from the parish at the Papal Youth Rally. I don't think the comment was directed at how our church is normally decorated, I think he was simply stating what the priest from the Fraternity of St. Peter would say and honestly it's true and people need to stop getting their panties in a bunch. I also find it strangely amusing that I was the only one from the committee at the Mass, and that is simply because I got tickets to the Papal Mass on Sunday.


Fr. Joesph Howard FFSP, from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter was the main celebrant of the Mass, considering this is the Mass he says on a regular basis. Our pastor, Fr. George is on the side and I was excited to see him in full cassock and to have his biretta with him. While I have no idea what Fr. Howard was saying or doing at this point, I was able to follow the Schola Cantorum while they chanted. It was a high Mass which was great and I found the way Fr. Howard incensed the altar interesting, ovbiously he couldn't walk around the whole altar like the Novus Ordo Mass allows, but he stopped at the ends and incensed it there. I don't know why I found it so interesting, but I did.

I enjoyed watching Msgr., hence the red on the cassock and biretta, aka Fr. George partake in the Mass because he had to take the biretta on and off and carry it in. Again the simpliest things amuse me and keep me entertained. The young man, the altar boy, next to him was telling us when to sit and stand, that really amused me because at most "big" Masses it's Fr. George doing that. I must add that while I don't have a picture of him, there was one young altar boy who my mom and I both commented on how well he knew what he was doing. I also noticed how reverent this young man was especially when incensing the priest, servers and the rest of the people. I hope that he has a vocation, because that is what I thought when I saw him. I also found it interesting that Fr. George put his stole on for the Eucharistic prayer and took it off if I remember correctly before he went to receive Communion. Fr. George was the second person to receive Communion, the first being Fr. Howard, and Fr. George had to kneel directly in front of Fr. Howard who was directly in front of the tabernacle. Quite an impressive and humbling site.

Fr. Howard during the homily re-read the readings in English and spoke on the traditions of why the reading were picked and explained how we would receive Communion at the rail in front of the Blessed Mother statue, on our knees and on our tongues. I did find it amusing that the picture of Benedict 16th was also placed on that side and if it wasn't for him, the Latin Mass would not have been at our parish as Fr. Howard pointed out. It's also appropriate that it was the Fraternity that said the Mass as they began at the request of then Cardinal Ratzinger.

In this last picture Fr. Howard could be reading the Last Gospel, I'm not a hundred percent sure. Either way it's a great picture of how awesome his vestments are.


Over all the Mass was a great experience, and the only thing that was missing was the people's responses being in our booklet. While those like my parents would remember them, those like me who very rarely have been to a Latin Mass didn't know them. I told Fr. Howard that I know his chapel well because I know a family that goes there and we had a small discussion on how I know them. I dare say some Sundays I may find myself up at Our Lady of Fatima for Mass. There was food afterwards and there was also older vestments on display. The vestments compared to today's are impressive, there was so much detail put into them and it's no wonder that Papa B16 is leading us back to them. To have a Latin Mass one day and then a Papal Mass with the creed in Latin the next day made for an awesome and unforgettable weekend.

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