Thursday, May 04, 2006

The ACH on the First Tridentine

Alexandria Church Filled for First Latin Mass

Last weekend the first of the weekly Tridentine Masses was celebrated at St. Lawrence Church in Alexandria. In March, Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde granted permission to two parishes to celebrate the pre-Vatican II form of Mass. The Mass was offered on the feast of Pope St. Pius V.

The Tridentine form is celebrated in accordance with the 1570 Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Pius V for the Latin West and revised in 1962. Ancient rites, those older than 200 years, were able to retain their traditions. Following the Council of Trent, Pope Pius wanted to standardize worship in order to “unite us all together in one common profession of faith — one common worship,” Father Paul deLadurantaye, diocesan director of sacred liturgy, said in his homily at the Mass.

In celebrating the Tridentine form, he said, “we unite ourselves with those who for centuries celebrated this Mass, particularly the saints.”

Nearly 600 Catholics, young and old, from around the Washington Metropolitan area attended the 12:30 p.m. Mass at St. Lawrence Church.

“We were getting a lot of phone calls so I was expecting a large crowd,” said Father Christopher Mould, pastor of St. Lawrence.

While some came for nostalgic reasons, others who had never experienced a Tridentine service came out of curiosity.

“I love the beauty and the awesomeness of the prayers,” said Gigi Strube, a Catholic from Centreville who had been attending Tridentine Masses in Washington. “They’re God-centered, not people-centered. They lift our hearts up to God.”

John Stinson, a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Washington, attended the Mass with a few friends. He hadn’t been to a Tridentine Mass since before Vatican II and while he didn’t remember all the rubrics of the Mass, he remembered parts of the Latin.

“There are a lot more ups and downs, ringing bells and all the old stuff,” he said, comparing the Tridentine Mass to the current vernacular celebration. “It was interesting explaining things to my daughter. She’s 18 and has never seen anything like this.”

Also among the attendees that hadn’t experienced a Tridentine Mass was Casey McEnelly, a member of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Falls Church.

“It was much different than any Mass I’ve experienced before and from what I expected,” he said. “It seemed much more prayerful because there was more silence. I hope as I attend more I’ll become more aware of when to participate and when to be silent.”

McEnelly said he had been curious about the Tridentine Mass but had never made it to the Archdiocese of Washington to attend one.

“I won’t be coming every week, but definitely will make it back,” he said.
He also said he was surprised at the number of young people at the Mass. Being an older form of the Mass, he expected the congregation to be mostly people who remember celebrating the rite before Vatican II.

For the first Tridentine Mass at St. Lawrence, Father Mould said they wanted it to be more festive, so instead of a low Mass, recited entirely by the priest, a Missa Cantata, or “sung Mass,” was celebrated. The Schola of Greater Washington, which also sings at the Tridentine Masses in the Archdiocese of Washington, served as the choir. Father Mould is looking for volunteers, both altar servers and adult men, to assist during future Tridentine Masses. For the first Mass, seminarian Rob Martin rounded up young men to volunteer to serve at the altar.

St. John the Baptist Church in Front Royal will begin celebrating weekly Tridentine Masses on Aug. 6.


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Well this is good news. And I'm happy that many young people were there. Perhaps it will send some sort of a message, especially if these young people persist. But I'm afraid I rather choked when I read poor Casey McEnelly say he looked forward to getting to know the Old Mass better in order to know when to be silent and when to participate. You've got the Leonine prayers to say, bud, that's it.
He says he won't make this his every week Mass, but will be coming back. I wonder when he finds out everything but the Leonine prayers are left to the priest and to the altar boy, if he'll be back at all?

Via Fr. Jim