Wonderful article about that Solemn Mass in Vermont

The Burlington Free Press (vermont) has a good article about the wonderful Mass celebrated by His Excellency Most Reverend Salvatore Matano.

My emphases and comments.

 

A sense of the sacred

Published: Sunday, August 19, 2007
By Gail Callahan
Correspondent

For the first time in more than 30 years, Roman Catholics in Vermont had a chance to attend a traditional Latin Mass last week, and the overwhelmingly positive response means there likely will be more to come.

About 1,000 Catholics from across Vermont, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire packed the pews at Burlington’s St. Joseph Co-Cathedral on Wednesday, spilling out into the vestibule for the 90-minute ceremony.

The Mass, celebrated by the Most Rev. Salvatore Matano, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, was filled with tradition: Incense billowed toward the ceiling; worshipers brought black leather-bound missals containing prayers in Latin and English; women donned lace mantillas, or veils, as a sign of respect; and a 14-member choir sang Gregorian chants.

Gloria Gibson, director of the diocese’s office of communications, said the bishop and church officials will study response to the Mass and decide how often the celebration will be offered in Latin.

"This is wonderful," Gibson said. "I’m just delighted."

This form of the Mass was common from the late 1500s to the mid-1960s, when the Second Vatican Council called for reform.

When the Latin Mass was celebrated, the priest faced the altar rather than the congregation [sigh] and worshipers knelt for Communion and received the host on their tongues instead of having the option of receiving it in their hands. [No, they still had that option.  It's just that it is unlikely the folks going to that Mass would choose that sad but legal option.]

A Latin Mass has been on the drawing board since early July. Matano decided to celebrate it on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary — a holy day of obligation for Catholics — because of the significant role the mother of Jesus plays in the diocese.  [YAY!]

During his 15-minute homily, Matano reminded the congregation about the importance of faith and prayer in daily life. "The Mother of God was faithful and a woman of compassion," he said. "She was there to experience the important events in her son’s life. We can turn to her and ask for help. People call out in prayer to Mary from all corners of the world."

Looking out on the overflowing congregation, Matano promised to invest time in similar ceremonies. "If this is what it takes to fill our churches, then so be it," he said. "I will do whatever I can to fill our churches."  [He's gets it, doesn't he!]

For Mary Alexander, 41, of Townsend, Mass., worshiping at the Old North End church was a homecoming. Alexander and her husband were married in St. Joseph’s and their oldest daughter was baptized there. After Communion, the mother of eight stood on the front steps, watching two of her sons assist at Mass.

"I think this is reverent," she said. "It’s a sense of the sacred. We’re here to worship God."

For David Allbee, 34, of Winooski, who came with his wife, Kim, and their 14-month-old daughter, Gabriella, the celebration underscored the importance of community.  [This is interesting.  Critics of the older Mass claim the newer Mass underscores community better, the horizontal dimension, the immanent, while the older Mass is more individualistic, stressing the vertical and trascendent.  However, everywhere I have been where the older Mass is celebrated I note that after Mass many people hang around and talk and talk and talk, their families are often together socially....   That sounds like community to me.  It is just that they focus on community after Mass rather than during.  That doesn't mean that the vertical can't be stressed during the Novus Ordo Mass, or that community can't be felt during the older.]

"This experience is part of the church’s legacy and tradition," he said. "It’s important to remember we’re here for Jesus."

 Remember two of the Rules:

3) Show genuine Christian joy.  If you want to attract people to what gives you so much consolation and happiness, be inviting and be joyful.  Avoid the sourness some of the more traditional stamp have sadly worn for so long.

4) Be engaged in the whole life of your parishes, especially in works of mercy organized by the same.  If you want the whole Church to benefit from the use of the older liturgy, then you who are shaped by the older form of Mass should be of benefit to the whole Church in concrete terms.


All in all that was a thought provoking article.

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21 Responses to Wonderful article about that Solemn Mass in Vermont

  1. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    When I was Diocesan Director of Family Life I coordinated a family pilgrimage to the National Shrine in D.C. I wanted to use the communion rail but I realized the Shrine personnel would have a fit.Leaders in the Marriage Encounter came to me and asked if they could kneel as families at the rail for communion.We did.I remember whenI was a child my family would make certain we were all together and then kneel side by side for Holy Comminion.That in my mind is community. Fr.Z your comment seems to indicate that the faithful have the option for communion in the hand at the extraordinary rite.Is that correct? I detest that option but I dont want to prevent them if they have the right.I am speaking of the usus antiquior.Thanks,

  2. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    When I was Diocesan Director of Family Life I coordinated a family pilgrimage to the National Shrine in D.C. I wanted to use the communion rail but I realized the Shrine personnel would have a fit.Leaders in the Marriage Encounter came to me and asked if they could kneel as families at the rail for communion.We did.I remember whenI was a child my family would make certain we were all together and then kneel side by side for Holy Comminion.That in my mind is community. Fr.Z your comment seems to indicate that the faithful have the option for communion in the hand at the extraordinary rite.Is that correct? I detest that option but I dont want to prevent them if they have the right.I am speaking of the usus antiquior.Thanks,

  3. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    When I was Diocesan Director of Family Life I coordinated a family pilgrimage to the National Shrine in D.C. I wanted to use the communion rail but I realized the Shrine personnel would have a fit.Leaders in the Marriage Encounter came to me and asked if they could kneel as families at the rail for communion.We did.I remember whenI was a child my family would make certain we were all together and then kneel side by side for Holy Comminion.That in my mind is community. Fr.Z your comment seems to indicate that the faithful have the option for communion in the hand at the extraordinary rite.Is that correct? I detest that option but I dont want to prevent them if they have the right.I am speaking of the usus antiquior.Thanks,

  4. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    In the hundreds of Classical Rite mass’s I have attended I have yet to see anyone recieve our Blessed Lord in their hands. Is this because they do not know that they have the legit option of receiving God in this profane manner?
    God bless you

  5. ellen says:

    I do believe the most noteworthy aspect of the article is the diocesan communication director’s response. I can’t think of another response, filtered through a chancery employee, to all of this, that has been as positive, not to mention, enthusiastic.

  6. Juan says:

    I’ve never felt a “sense of community” more than at private Tridentine Masses with just the priest and me. Somehow, the very absence of sensible signs makes the belief that all the heavenly choirs are joining in this very event, as well as all the faithful on earth, much, much more vivid.

  7. Fr. Franklyn:  Fr.Z your comment seems to indicate that the faithful have the option for communion in the hand at the extraordinary rite.Is that correct? I detest that option but I dont want to prevent them if they have the right.I am speaking of the usus antiquior.

    Yes, in fact, they do.  In those places where the bishops have (sadly) permitted Communion in the hand, it is a person’s right to receive that way if he (sadly) decides to, so long as risk of profanation is avoided (cf. Redemptionis Sacramentum).  The older Missale does not prescribe how Communion is to be distributed.  The current laws govern these things.

  8. dcs says:

    Who determines whether there is a risk of profanation? Is one incident in which the Blessed Sacrament is profaned enough to make a determination against it?

  9. TerryC says:

    “Who determines whether there is a risk of profanation? Is one incident in which the Blessed Sacrament is profaned enough to make a determination against it?”

    One would hope not. After all it is possible to have an incident where the Blessed Sacrament is profaned while recieving on the tongue also. Someone could cough and expell the host from thier mouth as easily as drop the host.

    Reception in the hand is a valid practice where it has been authorized. The Church has determined it NOT to be profane in and of itself, and like reception under both species it is a lawful practice.

    Personally I will not receive on the tongue at any Mass where a paten is not used, as I have a greater fear of the host falling out of my mouth than I do of it falling out of my hand.

    Unfortunatly I have only seen a paten used at an ordinary Mass once. The priest involved is very orthodox and even uses bells. He also only uses a Extrordinary Minister of the Eucharist for the Blessed Blood, reserving the giving of the body to himself. From him I received on the tongue at an ordinary Mass.

    Since I expect a paten to be used for all extrordinary I expect I will continue to receive Eucharist on the tongue when I attend one. (Nice to know I have the option if they can’t find a paten though.)

  10. danphunter1 says:

    Why is anyone who does not have consecrated hands allowed by the Holy See to recieve Our Blessed Lord in his hands.
    In 1969 the vast majority of bishops condemned this profane practice.
    How could this most sacred manner of recieving Christ be defended so vehemently at one point in time and then a few short years later be permitted and in the case of the Church in Poland reception of Christ in the hand being permitted in 2006, the Holy See claimed that with “intense delight” they will permit reception in the hand.
    Confusing to the faithful.

  11. Maureen says:

    Re: hands

    Paging St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

  12. dcs says:

    TerryC writes:
    One would hope not. After all it is possible to have an incident where the Blessed Sacrament is profaned while recieving on the tongue also. Someone could cough and expell the host from thier mouth as easily as drop the host.

    I was thinking deliberate profanation, not inadvertent. Suppose Fr. Y is distributing Communion in the hand, and notices someone walking off with It, or perhaps breaking the Host in halves or quarters (and before you ask, Yes, I have seen this) before consuming It. That is deliberate profanation. Coughing, dropping the Host, etc., probably can’t be helped.

    Obviously such deliberate profanation is a bit more difficult if one receives on the tongue.

  13. Ted says:

    Profanation of the Blessed Sacrament also raises the issue of the use of the paten. Before communion in the hand was allowed, the altar boy would hold the paten under the mouth of the communicant, as every particle of the Host is sacred. This would seem to be the norm for the extraordinary form, but it is very rare to see in the Ordinary form any more. Is the latter profanation?

  14. Richard T says:

    “the celebration underscored the importance of community”

    Yes, this is something that I also experience in the Old Rite, and I’m disappointed that Fr Z doesn’t seem to appreciate it properly.

    Rev. Fr., please don’t relegate this to something after Mass – the community spirit is strong within the Old Rite. Perhaps it’s difficult for the priest to appreciate, but from the pews there is an overwhelming feeling that we are all involved together in something great. The priest facing the altar helps this, since he acts as the focus for the congregation’s turning towards God.

  15. In my years of the TLM at Holy Name, it was always on the tongue.
    I don’t think anyone DARED to receive in the hand.

    As for the Mass itself in the co-cathedral — any chance now that there will
    be more organ music regularly instead of three different folk groups?
    BMP

  16. Richard: I’m disappointed that Fr Z doesn’t seem to appreciate it properly.

    I indeed appreciate community properly, that is, in the proper way. I simply do not want it to be forced down people’s throats. The community that is there, will be and ought to be there, both naturally, as a result of people’s sentiments and commitments, and also spontaneously, rather than as an artificial concoction.

  17. Breier says:

    Father,

    Are you saying that communion under both kids and altar girls are authorized for the extraordinary rite?
    Can’t custom determine such things? I think an extraordinary Mass with those options would be
    hybridism of the worst kind.

  18. Breier says:

    Father,

    So communion under both kinds and altar girls are authorized for the extraordinary rite?
    Can’t custom govern the manner of the distribution of communion? Custom plays a role in canon
    law, it seems here that custom would be a strong argument for all male altar servers,
    communion under one kind, and kneeling on the tongue, even if canon law apparently allows such
    things. Moreover, don’t the rubrics for the missal imply the traditional practice? Can’t the
    authorization of the 1962 Roman Missal, in its entireity, be seen as as endorsing the traditional
    liturgical practices contained therein?

  19. As I said in one message board: the object is to SHOW that we are community
    by our actions… not BRAG about it in song (here we are, joined together, la la la).

    Fr. Z hit it right on the mark once again!
    BMP

  20. LCB says:

    The people have spoken. I can’t help but feel a bit triumphal. Deo Gratis!

  21. Andy K. says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    Thank you for showing the photo. It shows that any church, even one without the older high altar, can be used for celebrations of the Tridentine Liturgy. This part has confused me in the past, but the photo suggests it is possible to celebrate it without the altar attached to the wall.