In the wake of Summorum Pontificum, we need patience and foresight in exercising our rights. Lot’s of patience.
In that light, check out this nice story is in the Naples [Florida] Daily News.
My emphases and comments.
A new old Mass
It’s not for every Catholic, but for some, the Latin Mass offers a kind of intimacy, a solemn focus
VICTORIA MACCHI, Special to the Daily News
Saturday, October 27, 2007
There is no music, no chatter [!] as people settle in for an early Sunday Mass. No one is late, [!] and the shuffling of feet is audible as the congregation rises and the priest enters.
As he reaches the altar, he turns away from the crowd so everyone faces the same direction. [Exactly right.] An altar server struggles to move a rail into place, closing off the altar from the congregation. Without a microphone, the priest’s recitation of the Mass in Latin is just loud enough for people to follow, [after all… how loud does it have to be?] in English, in the missalettes, but soft enough that as the parishioners kneel, sit and stand, the creaking of wood and knees echoes around the chapel.
At the Catholic Tridentine Mass, also known as the Latin Mass, [but not by the better informed] an average of 100 people attend every Sunday at St. Agnes Chapel in Naples since it began on Aug. 26
“People go to the old Mass to pray to God,” says the Rev. James Fryar, after the recently added Latin Mass at St. Agnes Chapel in Naples. “People go to the new Mass with more of an orientation on a ‘myself’ sort of thing. ‘What I understand, what I get out of Mass, how I can participate more.’ [Is that slightly unfair? Probably, but he has a point. That probably does characterize the majority of people in a regular parish with the Novus Ordo.] There is a certain amount of participation [I would say quite a lot, actually.] in the old Mass as well. … But it’s more oriented towards God.”
Treacy Gibbens switched from attending Sunday Mass at St. Williams Parish in Naples to the Latin liturgy this summer. “There are fewer distractions,” he says. “You can really pray. I love it.”
Born in 1923, Gibbens grew up with this Mass. As the director of the local chapter of Una Voce, an organization devoted to the promulgation of the Latin Mass, he is pleased with its addition to the schedule at St. Agnes.
“I can remember before Vatican II, as you’d be walking out of the church after the Mass, your mind was still on the Mass. There wasn’t all the talking after that Mass that there is nowadays,” he said of the new Mass, or the Novus Ordo. [This begs the question: If people behaved more reverently in church before and after Mass, would that do it for him? At St. Agnes in St. Paul, people are very quiet and respectful in Church, and the Novus Ordo is used. This isn’t an old Mass v. newer Mass phenomenon. A lot has to do with the way the priest has formed the flock.]
From 1962 to 1965, the Second Vatican Council promoted [mandated] a series of reforms to the Catholic Church, including changes to the liturgy, in an attempt to bring the Mass closer to the people. This included allowing for the use of the vernacular during Masses and the use of local customs as permitted by the bishop. Since then, the use of local languages has flourished in Masses around the world, leaving a small but vocal group of Catholic laypeople and clergy, who support the use of the Roman liturgy or Latin Mass.
In a statement issued by Pope Benedict XVI on July 7, he asserted that the Latin Mass [the OLDER form of Mass in Latin] was to be more generally allowed and that congregations wishing to celebrate it had only to ask their parish priest, rather than request it of their bishop. The issue, however, was that since the reforms not all priests studied the Roman liturgy in the seminary, therefore not all parishes could fulfill the need. [Give it time.]
This is why Fryar comes from Sarasota, where he arrived three months ago, to Naples every weekend to officiate the Latin Mass [Don’t phrases like this get you the sense that the author isn’t Catholic?] at 8 a.m. before heading back up to his parish of St. Martha’s for a 1:30 p.m. Mass on Sundays.
Three years ago, Fryar was ordained into [again] the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, a community of Roman Catholic priests who only celebrate the Latin Mass. In order to serve the needs of Catholics asking for the old Mass, he was brought down from Pennsylvania three months ago.
“I figured, look, if I want to be a priest, I want to go all the way and do the Mass as holy as I can,” says the 33-year-old priest. “You can tell it’s serious — this Mass, there’s no messing around.”
At the low Mass, which is the liturgy in its simplest form, the only sound that intentionally breaks the silences is when the servers ring small bells during the consecration. To receive communion, congregents must kneel at the altar rail, [Unless they have a broken leg or choose to stand…] and can only receive the host on their tongue, rather than in their hands as they do the new Mass. [Wrong… they sadly still have the right to receive in the hand, though we are very glad they don’t.]
Several women at St. Agnes also carry on the tradition of using the chapel veil, or mantilla, a triangle or semi-circle of lace of lace often in white or black placed loosely over their hair.
Starting a Latin Mass in Naples was motivated by a demand from local Catholics, and by geography, says Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice, of which Naples is a part.
“We have a Latin Mass scheduled in Sarasota and parishioners often traveled up from the Southern deanery to attend, so we responded to the requests that we had,” says the bishop. “The diocese wanted to make the Latin Mass convenient [HURRAY! Generosity rather than stinginess!] to parishioners and the chapel at St. Agnes Church was chosen.
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While some of the older parishioners rise early Sundays for a dose of religious nostalgia [GRRRRRR…. this is condescending.] — and others for the convenience of the early Mass — younger families make up at least half of the Latin Mass congregation at St. Agnes chapel.
Fryar says more than 90 percent of the participants at Masses performed by his order are young families.
“We like to bring our kids because it teaches them better. The outward signs (of the Novus Ordo Mass) don’t really represent what’s going on,” says Jared Kuebler, 27. [Interesting observations.] He and his wife Maria, 26, moved to the area in August from California so Jared could begin graduate school at Ave Maria University. They have attended the Latin Mass at St. Agnes since then.
The couple believes that their children, a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son, pick up on the sobriety of the Mass.
“It’s not somewhere where they can play around,” says Jared Kuebler.
“There’s things here that remind you this is something special, outside of your daily life,” he adds. “They notice the difference. They sit quietly and they play quietly.” [Yes… I think this is about right.]
Music at other Masses, says his wife, had them wriggling around.
Gregorian chant, which is sometimes performed at the Latin Mass, might not be conducive to playtime. [Truer words were never spoken!]
Joseph Pearce, 46, a professor of literature at Ave Maria University attends the Latin Mass. He says his young son “is a handful whatever Mass we go to” but the family comes to St. Agnes Chapel for the smaller community and the more solemn nature of the service.
“I like the reverence of it. We’re not exclusively Latin Mass people,” Pearce says, adding that while he and his family have attended the new Mass as well, they feel particularly at home with the Latin Mass congregation because of its size.
“But I think that what we mustn’t lose sight of is the focus of the Mass is Christ, particularly Christ’s sacrifice … And if the community aspect of the Mass eclipses that dimension — and at it’s worst, there’s a danger of that — then we’ve lost focus.”
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But the issue of the Latin Mass is a sensitive one in the Church amongst the clergy and laypeople. [Only among some laypeople and clergy.] As the New Mass gained ground over the Roman liturgy following Vatican II, tensions emerged.
“People experienced the loss of the Latin Mass as the loss of something you love, and I think some of that is still there,” explains Fr. Robert Murphy, a priest at St. William Parish in Naples. “When the Mass went from Latin to the language of the people, there were a significant amount of people who never went to Mass again. It was a tough adjustment on everybody.” [Folks… the sloppy term "the Latin Mass" has me chewing my own tongue off, but we have to be patient.]
For many priests, however, the Novus Ordo was what they learned in seminary, and there is little inclination to change their ways.
“I have no inclination to. I never had it, and I still have a vocation, and I love the Church. I don’t see myself taking the time to learn (it). I’m perfectly content in English.” [I wonder if that does not smack slightly of laziness.]
Murphy, for example, says he has no inclination to learn to preach the Latin Mass.
”I never had it, and I still have a vocation, and I love the Church,” says Murphy, who has been a priest in the Diocese of Venice nearly 14 years. “I don’t see myself taking the time to learn (it). I’m perfectly content in English.”
The demand for the Latin Mass at his old parish of St. Andrew’s in Cape Coral only came from one or two people, he says.
He believes it is “perfectly OK” to worship in the vernacular, adding the local need for Spanish, Creole and Polish-speaking clerics. “We try to serve all people,” Murphy emphasizes. [Except those who want the older Mass?]
Fryar doesn’t disagree.
“People who are comfortable praying in English to God — by all means, pray to God the best way you can.” [Everyone do your own thing!]
After announcing the addition of Fryar’s Latin Mass to the congregation, Fr. Robert Kantor said people were curious about the larger picture concerning faith and church. The decision to bring it to St. Agnes was based on hospitality, [!] says Kantor, the administrator of St. Agnes. “I did want the people here to understand it was a result of need.
“These are people that are trying to be accommodated to celebrate a Mass that’s part of the Church,” he say “I don’t think this means anything other than the Bishop trying to serve people who like this Mass.” [Excellent.]
Fryar says he believes it is unfair to compare the Latin Mass to more contemporary interpretations. “The Latin Mass has been around for 2,000 years, and it took maybe three centuries to get it perfected to one stage. … What you have in the 20th century is that the Mass has been perfected for 20 centuries. The new rite Mass is valid; it’s good; it’s holy … but it’s only been around for what, 40 years?” [A good point.]
There are no immediate plans to expand the venues for Latin Mass in the Naples/Ft. Myers area, however, Bishop Dewane, however, “There are no immediate plans to expand the venues for Latin Mass” in the Naples/Ft. Myers area. [Is there an echo?]
“It’s hard to say about the future. It depends whether the new generation that was not brought up in it wants to go back to it,” said Murphy.
“The future is that it will always happen as long as there are priests who want to say it.” [That’s for sure!]
In the balance a very nice article, insofar as its content is concerned.