My friend the esteemed Fr. Robert Pasley of Mater Ecclesiae in the Diocese of Camden shared photos of their traditional use parish’s MP celebrations:
And with some of the fellows with celebratory cigars in hand:
Fr. gave a splendid sermon at the High Mass for the occasion:
“Factum est ergo magnum gaudium in illa civitate.” (Acts 8:8)
By Father Robert C. Pasley, KHS
Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, NJ
These words from the Acts of the Apostles came to my mind as I awoke this morning. “There was great joy in that city.” As a matter of fact, I really recalled the now defunct 1970’s NAB translation of this phrase, which albeit more dramatic, is a typical mistranslation, “The rejoicing in that city rose to fever pitch.” What is most important in this one case, however, is not the translation, but that at Mater Ecclesiae, in Berlin, NJ , which is, I’m sure, reflective of all such places that celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the One Roman Rite, the rejoicing and joy was so great that fever pitch doesn’t even begin to describe it.
The Church was packed; visiting priests, members, visitors from all over (as far away as Rome and Ithaca, NY), reporters and photographers. As the organ swelled and the trumpet began to sound, we processed down the aisle. I could not hold back the tears. All around me I saw smiles and tears and swollen eyes.
The Mass began and the words of the Mass for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost seemed to be personally selected by heaven to celebrate the events of 07/07/07, the 7th year of Mater Ecclesiae’s existence, on the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath, on first Saturday dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The prayers of the Mass are as follows;
The Introit – “The Lord is the strength of His people, and the protector of the salvation of His anointed,”
The Collect – O God… giver of all good things… increase in us true religion and by Thy mercy keep us in the same.”
The Gradual – “Lord, Thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation.”
The Alleluia – “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in Thy justice.”
The Gospel – “ Jesus said, I have compassion on the multitude.”
The Communio – “I will go round, and offer up in His tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation; I will sing and recite a psalm to the Lord.”
As the incense rose to heaven, and I ‘went round His Tabernacle to begin the sacrifice of jubilation,’ the choir and the people sang the Kyrie and Gloria with such gusto that I thought the walls would explode – “The Lord is the Strength of His people.” During the sermon I have never felt such rapt attention. At the offertory, the five men in the Schola sang the Ave Maria by Arcedelt, a reminder of all the Rosaries worn out in prayer over these last 40 years. The consecration came in the hushed silence of the Ancient Rite, and Our Lord, “the giver of good things had compassion on the multitude.” At communion, wave after wave knelt at the altar rail; doctors, lawyers, engineers, tradesmen, mothers, fathers, teenagers and so many little ones. Finally, after the Last Gospel, the Te Deum was intoned, the bells began to ring and the chills ran down my spine. It truly was extraordinary or should I say it is Extraordinary, the Form that is.
Off we went to Bishop DiMarzio Hall, a toast to Pope Benedict, the champagne cork popped in perfect rhythm, and the people clapped and cheered. On the cake, in beautiful Roman Script were the words, TE DEUM LAUDAMUS !!!!!!!! and the party began. Ubi Missa, Ibi Mensa. Finally, at 4:00PM, having extinguished the last Ashton on the porch, the Reverend Fathers having departed, the people having bid adieu, and about to close the door and collapse into the recliner exhausted form joy, a young father with his family returned. “Father, the boys want to say goodbye.” And I asked the oldest boy, why were we so happy today? And with a big smile he said, “Because Pope Benedict did a good thing.” Need more be said?
Kudos, reverend and dear Father. I look forward to a return trip.
Meanwhile, in back in Michigan, fellow blogger Fr. Robert Johansen joins in the cigar and potable festivities:
Fr. J opted not for The Widow, but rather for 16 year Lagavulin and 1989 Barros Colheita Port.
He gave some very good words to his flock on the occasion. Here is an excerpt:
It’s clear to me that the holy father is offering us an opportunity to enrich and deepen how we live our faith in the the liturgy. This is a great gift to the Church, and I think we’ll have a great deal to be thankful for.
That hits the right note, for sure.
Meanwhile, in yet another place, we find that celebrations are not confined to the flute or the curls of heavy smoke. Argent writes that
After the dizzying spinning that my parish priest did at Saturday’s Vigil Mass, we decided to attend the indult Mass two hours away yesterday afternoon.
It certainly helped me live into the joy. The priest let us know that our Bishop means to implement the letter and is in consultation on how to go about it. Bp. ____ was thankful for the clear and unambiguous way that the letter was written. I’m sure that this will help him with the liturgical changes that we’ve been expecting for a year now.
The pastor wanted to let you know that he was wearing buckle shoes in honor of the motu. (He actually whispered it to us, and stuck out one foot to show us). He said that he spent a whole afternoon searching for these shoes on line after you posted that article.
Then my work here is done…. I think. I should have bought stock in Veuve Clicquot and buckles.
Heading away from clergy for a moment, I got a great note from frequent participant Henry about a friend who also reads and posts here at WDTPRS about her going to participate for the first time at holy Mass celebrated with the older, extraordinary Rite. Here is some of the letter passed along to me (my emphases):
My impressions of the Traditional Latin Mass
(____, Monday, July 9th, 2007)
First sight, many young families with small children. Children were well-behaved and were quiet during Mass. Big improvement over the typical parish when children are present!
Chapel veils! Even the little girls wore them. My first experience of wearing one, and I loved it! It felt so natural and correct. It’s a custom I will adopt gladly, at least when I attend Mass at EWTN’s chapel or at the retreat house for Sister Servants of the Eternal Word (Casa Maria). My own parish has so few women wearing the veil that I would stand out, which I don’t feel is the correct thing to do.
Choir in an alcove in back of church, unobtrusive, out of sight. Adding to the liturgy without being “on stage”. Very well done!
The altar: it was so beautiful! No minimalist modern nonsense here! And in the context of such a reverent display surrounding the Tabernacle, how could a priest even consider turning his back on that to face the people? Facing the altar is just the only thing that makes sense when you have a REAL altar like that. It makes my home parish’s modern altar look so bare and anemic by comparison!
Another good effect of the priest facing the altar: it lets our worship and his look toward God, instead of our being distracted by the personality or theatrics of the priest himself. We aim our worship at God better, when not distracted by having the priest facing us and drawing our attention more onto him than onto Christ on the altar.
Liturgy of the word: I had no problem reading the English text of scriptures in my missal while the Latin version was being read aloud. And then the priest re-read them anyway in English, so I got to absorb the content twice.
Liturgy of the Eucharist: here I had to put the missal down because I couldn’t tell what stage of it we were into. For a few moments I felt the priest had left us all behind, was doing his own thing, and we were doing our own thing. But I think that initial impression is mistaken and based on lack of familiarity with the ritual.
Consecration: beautiful even without hearing the words. But I’m still trying to come to a better understanding of why it is “better” to have the priest not be heard by us at those moments. That will take some thought, prayer, and more experience before I understand this mystery.
Communion: so beautiful, so right! To kneel, to receive from a priest, not a lay person, and to receive on the tongue. Humble, child-like, reverent, perfect!
Silence: again, so right and so perfect! Time to hear one’s own thoughts and prayers at so many places in the Mass, especially following communion. And even after Mass there was silence. Nobody jumped up to rush out the door! We all remained kneeling after the priest recessed out of the church. Gradually, over a period of about 5 minutes, people began leaving (again quietly). In contrast, the get-together in the parish hall following mass was happy and noisy and again very appropriate.
Overall impression: Reverent, contemplative, God-oriented rather than oriented toward either the priest or toward the people. Again, in a word, Glorious!
Notice the stress on reverence, keeping your own personality out of the way, silence and joy.