Great news was sent to me from Nashville! This is on the website of the Diocese of Nashville. My emphases and comments:
April 18, 2008
Priests receive training in celebrating Tridentine rite
Andy Telli, Tennessee Register
Father William Fitzgerald’s interest in the so-called Tridentine rite of the Mass began when he was a boy in Australia serving as an altar boy and singing in the choir.
“My preference is for the revised rite, but I see great beauty in the traditional rite,” said Father Fitzgerald, a Norbertine priest who was invited to come to Nashville recently by Bishop David Choby to instruct four priests – two from the Diocese of Nashville and two from the Diocese of Knoxville – on how to celebrate the rite that was used for more than 400 years before the new order of the Mass was implemented by Pope Paul VI in 1970, following the instructions of the Second Vatican Council.
In 1987, Pope John Paul II gave local bishops the authority to permit the celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, or Tridentine rite, under certain circumstances. Last July, Pope Benedict XVI liberalized the rules governing the use of the rite, now called the extraordinary rite, to allow parish priests to celebrate the 1962 Mass when a group of the faithful requests it.
“I don’t believe there has to be warfare over these things and there doesn’t have to be division,” said Father Fitzgerald, who is the former director of the office of worship for the Diocese of Covington, Ky., and the former director of liturgy at the Pontifical College Josephinum seminary in Columbus, Ohio.
In making the traditional rite more available, Pope Benedict’s vision, [Excellent language! "Vision" is good.] Father Fitzgerald said, is “that the modern liturgy and classical rite will inform each other.”
As he explained how the traditional rite is celebrated to the four priests – Father Stephen Gideon and Father John Sims Baker of the Nashville Diocese and Father Brent Shelton and Father Patrick Resen of the Knoxville Diocese – Father Fitzgerald also tried to explain why things are done the way they are, he said.
Much of the church’s history of liturgy can be seen in the Tridentine rite, Father Fitzgerald said, because even as new elements of liturgy were added over the years, the older elements remained.
“It was kind of the living historical record of worship of the Catholic people from patristic times, really,” said Father Fitzgerald, who served as the chaplain of the Dominican Campus in Nashville from 1997-98.
Part of the reforms of the liturgy, Father Fitzgerald said, “was a certain simplification.”
The rubrics of the Tridentine rite – or the rules of ceremony and form – are more exact and complicated than the revised rite.
One of the most obvious changes was to have the priest face the people rather than the tabernacle. Many people perceived the stance in the traditional rite as the priest turning his back on the people, Father Fitzgerald said, but the original symbolism was that the priest and people were facing the same way as they looked toward God.
“In the revised rite, it’s become a dialogue over the altar,” Father Fitzgerald said.
“It was very educational,” said Father Gideon, pastor of St. Christopher Church in Dickson, said of the training session with Father Fitzgerald. “It was really like a history lesson of liturgy, very interesting and also a bit overwhelming. It will take me a while to perfect celebrating the liturgy. …
“I realized how much I have to learn before I can celebrate it well,” Father Gideon added. “If I do it, I want to do it well.” [And, Father Gideon, you will learn a lot about yourself, too, and deeper things about Holy Mass beyond history!]
Both Father Gideon and Father Baker grew up in the Episcopal Church and had no or little experience with the extraordinary form of the Mass. “I had never attended Mass in the extraordinary form before, or even seen it,” Father Baker said.
At the conclusion of Father Fitzgerald’s training session at Assumption Church in Nashville, he celebrated a low Mass according to the Tridentine rite.
“I was pretty excited by the end of the day, more excited than I was going into it actually,” Father Baker said. “One of the things that surprised me, was at least for low Mass, I don’t think it’s going to be that hard to do.”
Father Baker has studied Latin extensively so the language won’t be a problem, he said, and the rubrics, though more complicated than the ordinary form of the Mass, weren’t as complicated as he feared they might be before the training.
“A great deal of the Mass was quiet,” Father Baker noted. “I was wondering what that would be like. I was kind of intrigued by it.” [Yes.... yes...]
Studying the extraordinary form of the Mass “has brought out some things I really like about the ordinary form too that I just took for granted,” Father Baker said, particularly the participatory aspect of the revised rite.
Bishop Choby asked both Father Gideon and Father Baker to learn to celebrate the Tridentine rite so he could meet the pastoral recommendation of Pope Benedict to make the rite available for people who desire it, Father Gideon said.
When they start celebrating the Tridentine rite will be up to the bishop, Father Gideon said.
“This is an extraordinary form of the Mass but is an important part of our tradition and should be available,” said Father Baker, the Catholic chaplain at Vanderbilt University. “I don’t think it’ll ever be the only thing, and I don’t think it should be.”
At St. Andrew Church in Sparta, Father Fred Schmit, S.D.S., celebrated on Sunday, April 13, the first of what is planned to be a regular celebration of the Tridentine rite at 11 a.m. on the second Sunday of each month.
“We had a pretty good crowd. I’d say close to a hundred people,” said Father Schmit, St. Andrew’s pastor.
Some of the people attending the Mass were from Kentucky, the Chattanooga area, and Smyrna, he said. “They’re coming from a great distance. We had very few from our own parish,” Father Schmit said. “It’s up to the people. If they want to come, they can come.”
Photos by Rick Musacchio
Father John Sims Bakers watches Father William Fitzgerald demonstrate the rubrics of celebrating a Tridentine Rite Mass at Assumption Church in Nashville. Father Fitzgerald conducted a training session for Father John Sims Baker and Father Stephen Gideon of the Diocese of Nashville and Father Brent Shelton and Father Patrick Resen, both of Knoxville.
Father William Fitzgerald leads a Tridentine Rite training session for Father John Sims Baker and Father Stephen Gideon of Nashville and Father Brent Shelton, and Father Patrick Resen, both of Knoxville, at Assumption.