Greensboro, NC: Summorum Pontificum applied

Here is a piece from the News Record about the application of Summorum Pontificum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

My emphases and comments.

Latin Mass fills pews
By Nancy McLaughlin
Staff Writer
Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 3:00 am

GREENSBORO — The pews quickly filled at Our Lady of Grace on Sunday for this special worship service, with many women wearing head scarves for the first time in decades and the priest speaking in Latin, an ancient language not spoken routinely in Catholic congregations since the 1960s.

"It’s as if your grandmother celebrated Christmas a certain way and your mother never did it the same way, and this is grandmother’s way," said parishioner Janet Morrison, who was wearing a scarf for the first time since 1963, when she was a teenager. "It’s bringing something back from my childhood, and it’s wonderful."   [So far, the article is focusing on the element of nostalgia.  But we all know that this is just a superficial way of seeing this growing phenomenon.]

Latin was the language of the church for centuries, [And it STILL IS the language of the Church.] before the Second Vatican Council of leadership suggested the liturgy of the Catholic Church be reformed to increase the participation of the people[There is a shallow understanding of "active participation" and a deeper, more accurate way.] Those reforms included a reduction of the number of blessings [An interesting way to put it.] and prayers that were spoken, the loss of age-old customs and that Mass be celebrated in the common language of the people. More recently, Pope Benedict XVI loosened restrictions of the Latin rite, [Grrrr] referred to as the Tridentine Mass, allowing parishes to celebrate in that way if it is the desire of the faithful. Some churches have slowly added Latin Mass [Grrr] as an option. Most remain in English and Spanish.

Fourteen priests from the Diocese of Charlotte, which includes Greensboro, recently studied the rituals of the prayers in Latin with the Rev. Robert Ferguson, who led the Mass at Our Lady of Grace — partly as a demonstration model for them.

Those in the pews came from across the state.

"Some of these people have been waiting for a long time," said Sister Sheila Richardson of Sacred Heart Mission Church in Wadesboro. She traveled the hour and a half drive with eight others. Some of those who showed up at Our Lady of Grace were too young to have witnessed a Mass in Latin, but said they were there to connect with the roots of their faith.  [Okay... this goes beyond the nostalgia angle.]

"My father sent me a videotape of a Latin Mass and it was so beautiful," said 32-year-old Jennifer Carter of Huntersville, who only five years ago joined the religion of her father. "The old prayers are so beautiful, so rich."

To help those in the pews, ushers passed out programs containing the Latin and English versions of the Mass — even instruction on when to stand and when to kneel.  [Let's be clear about something.  In the "old days" people had hand missals which told them the very same things.]

"I was trying to follow along," 12-year-old Chelsea Banks said.

Banks had as much success as others, judging from the waves of movement, from those slow to catch on to when a prayer was over and they were to take a seat.

Some things were more familiar for Banks and the others, ranging from contemplative worship to the use of incense as a symbol of prayers wafting to God.

The differences though, were many, such as the holy water the priest sprinkled onto the people as he made his way down the church aisle.  [Another poorly researched point.   The Asperges can also be done in the Novus Ordo.]

The sacred songs were in Latin but there also was Gregorian chanting.  [*sigh*]

In the more modern Mass, for example, the altar is placed in a central location in the sanctuary, allowing the priest to face the congregation during Eucharistic prayers. In the Latin Mass, the altar was placed against the wall at the back of the sanctuary, which meant the priest had to have his back to the congregation.  [What a mess this article is.]

Like those around her, Tina Witt of Charlotte knelt at the altar rail, which symbolized the gate to Heaven, [The altar rail symbolizes the gate of heaven?] and received communion on the tongue from the priest. Communion is given in many ways using the more modern Mass, including "by hand" to each parishioner.

"This is something we never should have gotten away from," Witt said of the customs surrounding the service.

Contact Nancy H. McLaughlin at 373-7049 or nancy.mclaughlin@news-record.com

Okay.  I think for the most part the writer was trying to be positive.  However, the article doesn’t demonstrate any real understanding of the context or the issues. It seems as if rather little background work was done.  Still, the article sets a positive tone.

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33 Responses to Greensboro, NC: Summorum Pontificum applied

  1. joe says:

    Good news…badly reported?

    AMDG,

    -J.

  2. TNCath says:

    Welcome to Catholicism in the South, Father Z, where we routinely read such well-meaning inaccuracies, sometimes in our own diocesan newspapers! On the positive side, however, this would have been a rather in-depth article for a Catholic event in North Carolina. My favorite line in the entire article was, “The sacred songs were in Latin but there also was Gregorian chanting.” It reminds me of the lady at the wedding who commented to me about how beautiful the singing of “Ayve Moriah” was.

  3. Jim McCullough says:

    Your assessment is correct. The reporter has great good will, but no real
    background. Thanks for the newspaper link. They have a link beside the article
    with 1 min. 19 seconds of sounds and photographs from the service.

    Yours in Christ,
    Jim McCullough
    Dir. of Religious Education
    Our Lady of Grace Church

  4. Tom S. says:

    The article is weak, yes, but the “multimedia presentation” to which Jim refers is quite impressive.

    And I can tell you, the MASS was beyond description. Wow…

  5. jack burton says:

    Good article. I realize that my expectations are pretty low as far as news media is concerned but this seems to be a pretty positive article. B-)

  6. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    Our Lady of Grace church is a magnificent jewel in the Diocese of Charlotte.
    It was built in 1950 with money donated by a wealthy Catholic textile manufacturer.
    The neo-gothic structure has withstood the “wreckovations” of the past, and still has intact a beautiful high, white marble altar as well as a white marble communion rail,”gate of heaven”.
    The church also has, along with a spacious choir loft, three scola balconies that are adjacent to, and 15 feet above the sanctuary.
    I had the great honor of being part of the scola, and yes the Gregorian chant was in Latin.
    The choir was overjoyed at being able to sing sacred polyphony for the Ordinary parts. I believe the Kyrie was by Haydn and the Gloria was Mozart.
    Father Ferguson FSSP offered the High Mass and Father Parkerson was in choir.
    There was about 400 people assisting.
    Please pray that this unbelievable “mini-cathedral” offers this Mass again soon and on a regular basis. We were hoping Bishop Jugis could have been at the throne, but His Excellency was not there.
    What a powerfully apropriate and awesome Sacrifice for the return of the Mass of the Ages to the first Diocesan church in the Diocese of Charlotte in 38 years.
    God bless you.

  7. Sid Cundiff says:

    Fr. Z’s fisking is correct. For the sake of charity, let’s assume the author
    1. isn’t Catholic,
    2. lives in an area where Catholics are a decided minority,
    3. didn’t interview those in the know.

    I was there. It was a glorious Mass, the first High Mass in the Diocese of Charlotte, excepting the fine work of the SSPX, in many years.

    Let’s assume also the reporter doesn’t listen to Classical or Early Music, similar to 90% of Americans. The Music for the Commons was Mozart’s Coronation Mass, KV317, done by the Our Lady of Grace choir, with organ and strings. Heavenly! We of a 10 man schola sang the “Rossini Propers”. (We pray that our schola will be more permanent and can eventually do the “high Gregorian”.) Our Lady of Grace is a Catholic church so beautiful that would do any diocese proud. What is more, the “new” altar was portable! We “ported” it before Holy Mass, and used the “old” Altar, still up front in sumptuous marble, Our Lord’s tabernacle resting upon it.

    The Church was full. And it’s a big church. Am I wrong to guestimate 400-500 people? — no small crowd in an area where even as late as 30 years ago, Catholics were listed under “others”, and when gas ain’t cheap!

    Warm thanks to Fr. Fidel Melo, the pastor; to the music director Brian Marble, his musicians, and his choir; to the schola director, Chris Gramm, and to Tim Troutman and the St. John’s Sacred Ensemble from Charlotte who helped the schola out!

    In short, a glorious milestone for the Diocese of Charlotte. The MEF resumes next Sunday at Davis Chapel, Wake Forest University, Fr. Samuel Weber offering Holy Mass.

  8. Chironomo says:

    This does seem to be good news, but with a reporter who has little knowledge of Catholicism, but thankfully no negative agenda either! An interesting side note came up in a discussion with two parishioners from a parish in my diocese (I did not know them, but was at a table with them during a reception at an event we were at)concerning Summorum Pontificum, and I would like to know if others have run across this. Many of the parishes in our Diocese, thanks to the very strong leadership from our new Bishop, are beginning to introduce the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin at their Sunday Masses, and this was the case in this person’s parish. She commented, apparently wanting to seem “in the know”, that this was because of the Pope’s document that now allowed Priests to use Latin during Mass without permission from the Bishop. I’m not sure if I audibly chuckled, but I did take a few moments to clear up the confusion. What concerned me more was that two other people at the table who had actually heard about SP seemed to be under the same impression, that the recent movement towards using more latin at Mass was “mandated” by the Pope in SP, and that the point of the document was to “cancel” the Vatican Council’s decision to eliminate latin from the Mass. None of them were aware that it was about an altogether different form of the Mass, and more disconcerting was the fact that all of them were under the impression that latin had been “forbidden” by Vatican II. These were not “stupid” people, but were ordinary retirement aged parishioners who had probably been in their 30′s during the Vatican Council. As a person who is too young (42) to really know what was going on during Vatican II, I’m left to wonder exactly WHAT were people being told back then. Maybe an issue for a different forum…

  9. Patrick says:

    I agree with Dan and Sid. I was at the Mass yesterday and it was truly glorious. I have to confess that as a youth I never attended many High Masses. We were early risers and attended the Low Mass early on Sunday, and going to Midnight Mass on Easter or Christmas was a rartity. So I confess to having some difficulty following along yesterday because I was not prepared for the wonderful choral portions of the Mass. They were heavenly.

    I would say that anyone planning on offering the Holy Mass as it was offered last night should seriously consider providing an instruction sheet on assisting that would give the faithful a better idea of what to expect. I would also counsel that instructions for standing sitting and kneeling during the Mass be more extensive and clear. There was some confusion about when to stand and sit. Many people were clearly out of practice, or had never been to a Lating Mass, or like me, was fairly unfamiliar with the High Mass.

    The side by side translations (English/Latin) were excellent and easy to follow. The prayers were clearly enunciated, Altar servers well trained, and all in all a great and holy time.

  10. Boniface says:

    I am shocked at just how poorly written some of these articles are, just from a grammatical standpoint. I thought these people were rpofessional writers?

  11. Henry Edwards says:

    Chironomo: As a person who is too young (42) to really know what was going on during Vatican II, I’m left to wonder exactly WHAT were people being told back then.

    As you suggest, an extensive discussion probably would be thread drift here. But yes, in many places we definitely were told — plainly and most emphatically — all those things you allude to. That Vatican II had mandated no more Latin in the Mass, that it must be celebrated facing the people, that statues and communion rails had to be removed, the whole bit.

    Priests as well as lay people believed these statements were true. I had the impression that even many bishops thought so as well, seemingly not knowing precisely the contents of those dense Latin documents they had voted on. And because the actual documents of Vatican II were unavailable to ordinary people then (either in Latin or in translation) there was no way for anyone to know different, and most everything was done in obedience to “the spirit of Vatican II” rather than the Council itself.

    Apparently many instructions that many swallowed whole came down in off-channel fashion. I recall voting obligingly as a member of the newly-formed parish council to go along with things that I’d merely read about in the media, or from a circuit-riding expert who’d just sold us the bill of goods at a parish meeting the night before. Cardinal Ratzinger has commented on how the hierarchy lost control of the liturgy to groups of “experts” who effectively made and implemented decisions that should have been the province of bishops.

  12. smonaco says:

    Also being in attendance, I thought the Mass was wonderful and prayerful. The only sadness for me was where were the 15 priests from the Diocese of Charlotte who have been to training and that this was their opportunity to see the highest form of the Extraordinary form.

    I had seen on Bishop Jugis’ calendar that His Excellency was only scheduled on Sunday to participate in an Installation, but does that would not account for the missing priests would it? If they were there, they were hidden in the congregation since they were not in choir. I hope this is not a foreshadowing of their future support.

  13. Tom S. says:

    smonaco,

    I think the priests were in the scola balcony, on the right. My wife and I noticed quite a few men up there, watching closely throughout the mass. That was where the pictures were taken from that appear in the News & Record, and, as you can tell, it provided an ideal place from which to view the mass, and the priests actions at the altar.

  14. danphunter1 says:

    Tom S,
    Sorry to say that those men up in the schola balcony were just us choristers.
    Laymen who love Gregorian Chant, and one photographer for the paper.
    I was also wondering where those fifteen priests were.
    There was Father Parkerson from Raleigh, but he is a veteran of 11 years as an alter Christus, and then there was a priest from Mount Airy sitting next to him, in choir but that was it, unless they were tucked away in the throng.
    God bless you.

  15. Templar says:

    TNCath nails it: Welcome to Catholocism in the South. Even when we have good news it’s near impossible to get the word out without even our own Diocese newspapers reporting us like a circus side show.

    Siggghhh. Still, better than it was this time last year.

    From Georgia.

  16. Tom S. says:

    Dan, I hate to hear that. Surely they were there somewhere???? On the other hand, I noted at the time with some curiosity that Father Ferguson said in his remarks before the mass that “the original intention” of this mass was to serve as a demonstration for those priests learning the mass. I myself am curious if Father Melo was there and saw the mass, and the crowd…

  17. smonaco says:

    Tom S… I too caught Father’s subtle comment about the “original intent”… I am praying so fervently that we can get a regular TLM here in Charlotte.

  18. Sid Cundiff says:

    Let’s give the priests learning this Mass in the Charlotte Diocese a break. Most are not pastors, and Sunday is, to say the least, a busy and tiring day for priests.

  19. Tom S. says:

    Sorry, Sid. I did not meant to seem like I was giving anyone a hard time, I was just curious! And I know that Sunday is a busy and tiring day for them. I just hope that they were there to see it!

  20. Tom S. says:

    That church full of people makes me wonder about something else regarding the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. A curious thought about the collection at that mass has got me thinking.

    If a pastor having a nice church in an area with a lot of “underserved” tradition loving Catholics were to add a weekly mass using the Extraordinary Rite? If the mass was said to a “packed house” would that not constitute a significant financial boost to the parish? It seems like a fantastic opportunity to increase market share to me! Our Lady of Grace is a perfect example of such – an ideal facility in a central location which is underserved.

    If it is sinful to think of the Holy Sacrifice of the mass in such terms, I apologize. As my two-year old daughter would say “I sorry, I didn’t mean to. It my fault.”

  21. kat says:

    I was there too, here is my take of the service:

    This afternoon I packed the girls into the Jeep and took off west to the town of Greensboro following the latest sighting of a Traditional Latin Mass in central North Carolina. Motu Proprio fever has taken off here with a monthly High Mass in Raleigh and several training sessions for priests set up by FSSP, as well as other Tridentine Masses scattered across the state.

    Father Robert Ferguson filled in several times at St. Benedict’s in Chesapeake, Virginia and the parishioners were very grateful for his enthusiasm and love for the Catholic faith. Currently, I understand, he is teaching at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary and also training groups of diocesan priests who want to learn the Extraordinary Form. This evening’s Mass at Our Lady Of Grace was to show priests and faithful alike what a wonder and inspiration the Mass can be and it proved to be so. From the first note sung by the talented choir and the separate men’s schola, the music lifted all our hearts to Heaven. The majesty of Mozart’s Coronation Mass Gloria, the depth of Haydn’s St John of God Mass Credo, the loft of HJ Steward’s Sanctus was certainly some of the most beautiful music ever created for the glory of God. This was not just a Gregorian chant dialogue High Mass (which is extraordinarily beautiful); this brought to mind the singing of the angels.

    There were some rough spots like when a few dozen folks didn’t understand the rubrics and insisted on standing throughout the Gloria and Credo, even after Father sat down, and when many people started leaving during the final hymn. Also, most of the women did not cover their heads in imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in both her maternity and modesty. But the chatter I overheard as we headed back to the car, “Wasn’t that the most beautiful thing you have ever experienced?” pushed the little irritants aside. I am so grateful to be coming out of the desert of the past 40 years and personally experiencing the re-birth of the Church.

    Thanks must be given to Father Parkerson as well, who assisted in distributing Holy Communion to the full, but not uncomfortably packed crowd, and to the bishop of Charlotte, who I think was in attendance. May our hearts and minds focus on Our Lord and his sacrifice for us. May many souls be brought to Heaven from this Mass and the others like it to follow. Let us all pray for Our Holy Father, good priests like Father Ferguson, and seminarians who want to learn the Mass of the Ages.

  22. Chironomo says:

    Tom S. – It may be sinful to think in such terms, but it is also a useful exercise to undertake. Lat May…before SP was even out, I wrote a rather lengthy essay that mused about some possible scenarios. One of them was exactly what you were thinking, that if there is simply ONE parish in an area that offers a Traditional Mass, and there are perhaps 5% of parishioners at other parishes in the area that would like to attend said Mass, then that one parish will effectively “take” these parishioners from their home parish and add them to their own. In an area such as ours, that would mean adding perhaps 500-600 new attendees to your parish. But that’s not all… such parishioners, I would think, are more likely to be larger contributors, and would creat a substatntial windfall for the parish with the TLM. My conclusion was that Pastors, even resistant Pastors, are not going to allow that to happen for very long before offering a TLM at their parish. I’ve seen it happen OVER and OVER again with “Teen Masses”…. getting to the point of Pastors seeing the exodus of their Teens to a neighboring parish as a “crisis”… and concluding that we need to offer a Teen Mass NOW!! However, that is just a scenario that I mused about..if you would care to read it,

    http://chironomo.blogspot.com/2007/05/reforms-to-come-part-iv-latin-mass-motu.html

    we’ll see if that actually happens… probably a couple of years at least to take hold.

  23. NC momtraddie says:

    A couple of notes on the Greensboro Mass:

    1) Only 2 others priests were present for the entire Mass, Fr. Parkerson and Fr. Kowalski. Fr. Melo had Mass in another town. I feel sure he would have been there if possible. Msg. Begley made an appearance before Mass and maybe stayed for some, but left early. I am sure Fr. Ferguson was disappointed by the lack of attendance from the Bishop and the other priests whom he has tried to accomodate so generously. I am also sure that Fr. Ferguson was very edified by the turn out of the faithful who filled the church. Many were experienced Latin Mass attendees and others were curious onlookers or nostalgic oldsters, but all I am confident were in awe of the Holy Mass and magnificent setting. The church is what all Catholic churches should be!
    2) Three of the altar servers (AC1, AC2, and TH) were from the SSPX chapel, St. Anthony’s, in Mount Holly, NC. They served this Mass to insure that the serving sufficiently reflected the proper training needed to worthily perform this high honor and also as a courtesy to Fr. Ferguson who has so generously given of himself. The MC of the Mass intends to go to Christ the King seminary in the future.
    3) Many of the rubrics can be changed according to “local tradition” , so some may have been use to different rubrics. The singing by the choir also made difference at least for me, having not attended a Sung Mass where the polyphonic was sung in the Mass. (See http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/sacred_music.asp for a good synopisis of chanted Masses) It was obvious that they put many hours into the study and practice of singing for this Mass. I also thought the Schola did a great job of chanting the propers giving their short time together!

    All in all this Mass was a success firstly, in giving glory to God, and secondly, in expounding the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass and highlighting what is so lacking in the Novus Ordo.

  24. NC momtraddie says:

    A couple of notes on the Greensboro Mass:

    1) Only 2 others priests were present for the entire Mass, Fr. Parkerson and Fr. Kowalski. Fr. Melo had Mass in another town. I feel sure he would have been there if possible. Msg. Begley made an appearance before Mass and maybe stayed for some, but left early. I am sure Fr. Ferguson was disappointed by the lack of attendance from the Bishop and the other priests whom he has tried to accomodate so generously. I am also sure that Fr. Ferguson was very edified by the turn out of the faithful who filled the church. Many were experienced Latin Mass attendees and others were curious onlookers or nostalgic oldsters, but all I am confident were in awe of the Holy Mass and magnificent setting. The church is what all Catholic churches should be!
    2) Three of the altar servers (AC1, AC2, and TH) were from the SSPX chapel, St. Anthony’s, in Mount Holly, NC. They served this Mass to insure that the serving sufficiently reflected the proper training needed to worthily perform this high honor and also as a courtesy to Fr. Ferguson who has so generously given of himself. The MC of the Mass intends to go to Christ the King seminary in the future.
    3) Many of the rubrics can be changed according to “local tradition” , so some may have been use to different rubrics. The singing by the choir also made difference at least for me, having not attended a Sung Mass where the polyphonic was sung in the Mass. (See http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/sacred_music.asp for a good synopisis of chanted Masses) It was obvious that they put many hours into the study and practice of singing for this Mass. I also thought the Schola did a great job of chanting the propers giving their short time together!

    All in all this Mass was a success firstly, in giving glory to God, and secondly, in expounding the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass and highlighting what is so lacking in the Novus Ordo.

  25. NC momtraddie says:

    Sorry for double post. Not sure why??????

  26. Tom S. says:

    Nice that the altar servers were from the SSPX chapel. I was wondering where they came from, as you could tell that that wasn’t “their first rodeo” so to speak. Father Ferguson was great, and I pray that he really was edified by the turnout. Makes me wish we could draft him permanently. No slight intended to our wonderful dioscean priests, of course. In fact, I find myself imagining Father Melo saying the traditional mass at that altar….

  27. Tim Troutman says:

    I was there and in the schola that you hear in the background. It was awesome!

  28. Charles Jackson says:

    I’m proud to have been one of the “eight others” who traveled with Sister Sheila to this beautiful Mass. Out of the eight of us, only three were Catholics.

    My Latin teacher (Agnostic) and several friends came (another Agnostic, a Baptist, and a Hindu).

    They found the Mass very inspiring.

    Excepting my teacher, we’re all teenagers. I’m 17. This Mass doesn’t attempt to water down the the Faith, and I appreciate that.

  29. Charles Jackson says:

    I’m proud to have been one of the “eight others” who traveled with Sister Sheila to this beautiful Mass. Out of the eight of us, only three were Catholics.

    My Latin teacher (Agnostic) and several friends came (another Agnostic, a Baptist, and a Hindu).

    They found the Mass very inspiring.

    Excepting my teacher, we\’re all teenagers. I\’m 17. This Mass doesn\’t attempt to water down the the Faith, and I appreciate that.

  30. Christus Vincit says:

    I was the MC at the Mass. Fr. Melo is indeed interested in learning the TLM, and he was VERY accomodating. He is a very holy, and very personable priest. The parochial vicar (I forgot his name) was insisting that we use the freestanding altar (not the high altar) because there was a Mass immediately following the TLM and he didn’t want us to move anything around, but Fr. Melo said it was ok. He was very kind and was very excited to have the Mass in his parish. He wished he could have been there.

    The serving was all thanks to AC1 (his two sons were AC2 and TH). He taught me how to serve High Mass when I was attending the SSPX chapel, and he held a training session the day before the Mass. He is a great teacher and if it weren’t for him, it would have been very sloppy. He goes by the rubrics used by the Archconfraternity of Saint Stephen Altar Server’s guild, which are pretty universal, even though some may be used to slightly different rubrics.

    Msgr. Begley was there for the entire Mass, but watched from the doorway to the sacristy. He is a very kind priest.

    It was a wonderful event!

  31. Tom S. says:

    I was so happy to see the high altar when I went into that church! Just the sight of it set up to be used as it was intended brought tears to my eyes. That alone was the answer to many prayers.

    And Msgr. Showfety is one of my heroes. He saved my life (so to speak) many years ago.

  32. I have the slide show if anyone is interested over at http://www.latinmassnetwork.net

    Mary Alexander
    http://www.latinmassnetwork.net