There is a good story in the online version of the Albuquerque Journal
My emphases and comments.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Church Offers a Weekly Mass in Latin
By Kiera Hay
Journal Staff Writer
If you happened into the San Miguel Mission Church on Old Santa Fe Trail some Sunday afternoon, you might think you were in another decade. [Or in 2008… this is more our future than our past.]
Starting last month, Santa Fe’s much-loved "oldest church," as locals often refer to it, began offering a weekly mass in Latin. [Novus Ordo?… Yah… yah, I know. I don’t want people to forget that Latin is the language of the Novus Ordo, too.]
The service is the first new Latin Mass [Look how confusing this gets.] offered in New Mexico since Pope Benedict XVI resurrected [It wasn’t dead.] the Catholic celebration of the Latin Mass in July 2007. The only other Roman Catholic church to offer a Latin Mass is the San Ignacio Catholic Church in Albuquerque, which has offered a Latin Mass for more than a decade. [See? It wasn’t dead.]
Benedict’s decree hasn’t been universally embraced by Catholics, but several of the faithful who attended San Miguel’s service on Sunday spoke passionately about their desire to take part in the Latin rite.
"It was the way I was raised and I was waiting for the traditions to come back to Santa Fe," said Tracy Crumbacher, 40. [This isn’t about nostalgia.]
Crumbacher, who was at the service with her husband and 2-year-old grandson, said she’s been a regular attendee of San Miguel’s Latin Mass since it began in January. She also attends St. Joseph Parish in Cerrillos.
"I think people want to raise their children in the traditional Mass. It’s beautiful. I think people realize it’s a beautiful way to get to know our traditional Catholic faith," she said.
Benedict’s decree has made it easier for Catholics to celebrate the Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine rite, by allowing a priest to conduct the service at the request of a group of the faithful. Previously, the approval of a bishop was required.
Crumbacher’s family was part of a crowd of 50 or so people at Sunday’s Latin Mass in Santa Fe. The new service has attracted some 40 to 60 people each week, said Brother Lester Lewis, mission director. Churchgoers are drawn from Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Española. [It will be interesting to track the growth, if any.]
"This is a rather conservative group and they’re concerned with tradition," [NEWSFLASH! DOG BITES MAN!] said the Rev. Arthur J. Jakobiak, who leads the Mass. "Here, they’re a better educated group. They’re business people and they come from professional backgrounds." [Interesting.]
Many were old enough to have at least vague recollections of the Latin Masses that took place before church reforms in the 1960s effectively replaced the traditional liturgical language with local tongues.
But San Miguel’s service did attract a few younger individuals, as well as a handful of families with small children and babies.
"It’s a misconception that people want the Mass out of some sort of nostalgic memory. In fact, there’s been a lot of young people interested in bringing this back," said churchgoer Raymond Saccoccia.
San Miguel— which also offers an English Mass on Sundays at 5 p.m.— is among the oldest churches that remains in use in the United States, Lewis said. The original church dates to 1610, but the structure was largely replaced in 1710, he said.
But the historical nature of the church had nothing to do with the decision to offer a Latin Mass there. Lewis said the Archdiocese of Santa Fe asked San Miguel to host the Latin Mass because other churches are booked up with funerals, weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies.
During the church’s service on Sunday, folks were aided by readers containing the Latin and its English translation. Jakobiak conducted most of the Mass with his back to the congregation— as is traditional during the Tridentine rite— but faced the congregation and spoke in English during his sermon and the Scripture readings.
The priest, a slight but spry man who says he is "pushing 82," had done Masses before in Latin in the U.S. Air Force. After spending 20 years as chaplain at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, he said he has been "brushing up" on the language.
It was the students from St. John’s College who triggered the move, Jakobiak said. "They got to me because somebody told them I could" do it.
Students Mark Scully and Murphy Harkins sent a letter, signed by several members of the college community, asking that the rector of the Cathedral Basilica implement the Latin Mass. The rector approved, Scully said, but couldn’t accommodate the request. So a second letter was sent to the Archbishop of Santa Fe, who arranged for Jakobiak to perform the rite at San Miguel.
Scully, 21, said he didn’t regularly attend Latin Masses while growing up in Washington, D.C., and has only a partial understanding of the language.
His desire for such a service, he said, was fueled by spiritual readings on subjects such as the lives of the saints, as well as the Gregorian chants and liturgical music he was required to read during his studies at St. John’s.
"When I realized I could express that every Sunday, I realized this was something worth pursuing," he said.
"My personal inclination is just toward the solemnity and the ancient traditions that are wrapped up in the old Mass," he said.
Journal staff writers Polly Summar and Olivier Uyttebrouck contributed to this story.