Brick by brick at Georgetown

Here is some brick by brick new from Georgetown University sent by a reader.

My emphases and comments:

Student Push to Reinstate Campus Latin Mass Succeeds
By Lenard Babus Feb 09 2010

A renewed push by students for the reintroduction of regular celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, or a traditional Mass conducted in Latin, will provide the Georgetown community with a new option for Roman Catholic worship on campus.

Starting Feb. 11, the traditional Latin Mass will be offered one weekday per week every other week. This will be the first time that this Mass has been offered on campus since May 2008.

The main advocate for the pre-Vatican II Mass (Mass said entirely in Latin]) Kieran Raval (COL ’13) describes the Latin Mass as a way to feel a greater connection to the long historical and religious traditions of the Catholic Church as well as to grasp a greater understanding of the Novus Ordo Mass (post-Vatican II Mass).

“I gained a sense of our Catholic spiritual and liturgical heritage by attending the traditional Latin Mass, which has helped me better understand the Novus Ordo,” Raval said.  [Get that?   This is my constant theme.  The older Mass is what we need to go deeper and to have continuity.]

He stressed that neither Mass is spiritually superior to the other, but that they can work in unison to enhance one’s overall religious experience. The two Masses are aesthetically different, and preference for one over the other is based upon personal choice[hmmm]

In the traditional Latin Mass, the Mass is celebrated in Latin and the priest faces away from the congregation as a gesture symbolic of leading the congregation toward God. The traditional Latin Mass uses Gregorian chants as well as a more complex set of actions, gestures and postures by the priest.

Fr. Stephen Fields, S.J., the priest who celebrated the traditional Latin Mass when it was previously offered on campus, indicated that the traditional Mass is very popular among young people, possibly due to its contemplative nature.

My assumption is that, in a world of constant [noise], [young people] find that the contemplative silence of the Extraordinary Form nourishes their lives of prayer,” Fields said.

The traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated by Fr. G. Ronald Murphy, S.J. when it resumes this week. Murphy agreed that aesthetics are an important factor underlying personal preference for either Mass. He said he believes that more important than individual preference for either Mass is the realization of what Mass itself signifies, however.

“I like any type of worship that helps people come to a realization about what they are saying,” Murphy said.

Murphy also described the difference between the two types of Masses as a shift in focus.

The old liturgy is very much God-centered and believes, in a way, that the best way to worship is to stand together and face God. The new liturgy wants us to face God and each other,” Murphy said.

Student support has been integral in reinstituting the Mass. According to Raval, approximately 30 students have shown enthusiasm for the Extraordinary Mass. Additionally, a lecture series that aims to educate the community about the traditional Latin Mass and to address any questions or concerns is planned for the future.

Andrea Pittaluga (SFS ’10), a student organizer of the lecture series, said that lecture topics may include explanations of the steps of the traditional Latin Mass, the different vestments and the connection to ancient Jewish temple worship. Dan Galloway (SFS ’13), another student lecture series organizer, indicated the lecture series would provide the community with knowledge about the subtleties of the traditional Latin Mass and would benefit observers’ religious experiences when in Mass.

Raval stressed that apart from providing an additional means of worship, the traditional Latin Mass will enhance religious experience on campus.

“Finally, I would like to note that all, Catholics and non-Catholics, are welcome to come and experience the beauty and reverence of this liturgy. By coming to a celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, even those who prefer the Novus Ordo will gain tremendous insight into the mystery of the Eucharist and the liturgy as a whole,” Raval said.

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18 Responses to Brick by brick at Georgetown

  1. Timbot2000 says:

    ”He stressed that neither Mass is spiritually superior to the other”
    and then
    “The old liturgy is very much God-centered and believes, in a way, that the best way to worship is to stand together and face God. The new liturgy wants us to face God and each other,”

    Help me, I’m confused.

  2. wanda says:

    Miracles do happen! At Georgetown, wow! Maybe, brick-by-brick, faith will be nourished and true Catholic identity will be restored. In the future, maybe, they won’t cover up the Crucifix, no matter who is posing for their photo-op!

    Deo gratias.

  3. TJerome says:

    Very positive news indeed. Again, I like the way the priest’s posture is described. Describing ad orientem as that “old back to the people” nonsense is
    beginning to wane. Tom

  4. patrick_f says:

    My own personal thoughts sort of echo the person in the article. WE NEED both forms right now… and they should compliment each other, not cause division.

    Both can either be beautiful or they can be arrogant, its all in the Celebrant, and the “active participants”. Either can be reverent and God centered, or irreverent and people centered, it all comes down to “Intent”. Last I recalled, sacraments needed intent did they not? Worship is the same way.

    ALSO if you truly understand the theology of the Eucharist, both forms have people facing God constantly (unless of course your church keeps him off to the side, then you face him during consecration, etc). Unless of course, someone would suggest that the reserved sacrament, in the tabranacle, somehow is not God…I highly doubt anyone would.

    To say that simply because you arent facing liturgical east or the Crucifix, is to not be facing God (considering the Blessed Sacrament is present either on the Altar or in the Tabernacle), is borderline not understanding your faith, and I would even say Heresy (lets all say it together so we can start identifying it )

    Yes, the old form encourages quite better proper worship, but as I keep stressing to people, you can have the most gorgeous EF mass, and either the Priest, the people, or both can totally miss the point, especially if its all done with a sense of “one-up-manship”, and not taking into account the hearts of the people who are in the OF, which though it might not totally be following the rubrics, are still worshiping their God, with all their heart, mind and soul. (and to point out…I am not excusing NOT following rubrics, just making a point)

    What I worry about the most, is one “abrogation” being traded for another. We cannot suggest that one form should out do the other. I dont believe that has ever been the Pope’s intent, and it certainly cant be good for all the souls involved.

  5. TJerome says:

    patrick, if the celebrant follows the rubrics in the TLM there is little room for arrogance. The personality of the priest is virtually non-existent
    in the EF. In contrast, since the OF offers so little in the way of rubrical guidance it is ripe for priestly arrogance, condescension, and “creativity.” By the way, I attend both forms of the Rite. Tom

  6. Charivari Rob says:

    Timbot2000 – “”He stressed that neither Mass is spiritually superior to the other”
    and then
    “The old liturgy is very much God-centered and believes, in a way, that the best way to worship is to stand together and face God. The new liturgy wants us to face God and each other,”

    Help me, I’m confused.”

    Two different people talking. The first is a student, the second is one of the priests.

  7. Was this from a student newspaper? It was very well written, if so. It seemed to give a fair hearing to traditionalists and didn’t obfuscate certain things that typically are otherwise. It even got that ad orientem means the priest is facing the same way as everyone else, while still leading them in prayer.

    The article mentioned that the TLM uses Gregorian chant. Of course, we know that the Novus Ordo certainly should be using chant, also, though in regular practice this is certainly not normative.

  8. TJerome, I don’t think this is true at all. Many of the complaints from people regarding the Mass pre-Vatican II had nothing to do with the rubrics but had much to do with the celebrant. The rubrics don’t force a priest to be prayerful, to preside in a way that is truly reverential. We know well enough that before Vatican II there were plenty of priests who just blew through the Mass, and many Catholics were not being spiritually fed as a result. While there are many things that I prefer about the TLM, it is not true that just following the rubrics alone is enough to ensure that Catholics receive the Mass that they rightfully deserve. Obviously it is supremely important that we are faithful to the rubrics, but that alone is insufficient. I would venture to say that had priests pre-Vatican II generally been more concerned with the manner in which the presided there would have been less complaint about “not understanding,” because the understanding that is necessary in Mass is not in the words, per se, but in the beauty and mystery that attune the soul towards the Truth of God and order the soul towards Him. This requires more than just following the rubrics.

  9. dcs says:

    I think if I prefer X to Y, then I must hold that X is superior (for whatever reason or whatever combination of reasons) to Y. I would not say, for example, that I prefer the local Indian restaurant’s chicken curry to KFC, but then add that I don’t think it is superior. The reason I prefer it is that it is superior.

  10. John says:

    Fordham University is also offering an EF Mass… next Sunday! I am shocked (but pleased) to see this happening at two Jesuit universities. At Fordham, it is interesting to note that the servers will be Jesuit scholastics (seminarians); I am glad to see that young religious are supporting such a great effort.

  11. TJerome says:

    augustinianheart, what I said is true. I was around then, I served Mass then, and I can state that the priest’s personality was irrelevant. The rubrics
    handcuffed him. Not so today. Tom

  12. Mike says:

    I got my graduate degree (MA) from G-town in the 80s. This is marvelous news.

  13. M. K. says:

    As a Georgetown alumnus, I’m very pleased with this news and commend the students involved for the dedication and hard work it took to bring the TLM back to campus. It’s regrettable that the Mass won’t be celebrated every week, but I hope that this will establish the momentum for more regular celebration in the future.

    It strikes me that one of the special challenges facing efforts like these on college campuses is the transient population – not just in terms of maintaining a stable community, but in developing a pool of servers, perhaps a schola, and others to take care of all the practical logistical issues.

  14. JohnMa says:

    I’m a Georgetown student and didn’t know about this. Deo Gratias!! Although some priests at Georgetown still prohibit those assisting at Mass from using Latin at all (for example saying Laus Tibi Christe)it is good to see that our requests have not gone unheard. Now, to get them to actually tell people about the Mass.

  15. Mitchell NY says:

    Good news for all the Catholic Universities. Every University should have a Tridentine Mass on their schedule. If your parish won’t have it or a Priest will not say it then this is the only place young students can learn about the Traditional Mass. It is most appropriate. Hopefully every Diocease will one day offer at least 1 Mass per Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation. Having it there for people to “float” back and forth between the NO and TLM seems the best way to allow for its’ development naturally without coercion from either side. This is a bad example so please forgive it, but kinda like a strip mall where you walk down the walk and go into different clothing stores with different styles. In the end they are all clothes and will protect you and comfort you even though one may suit your style more than another. But having to argue, fight, petition, and constantly defend your taste just to open a store seems, to coin a phrase from the Holy Father, “downright indecent”. It should simply be there. It is what we have come to expect from a mall. But then again, when has anything been simple anymore since circa “1965″ in general?

  16. jasoncpetty says:


    It strikes me that one of the special challenges facing efforts like these on college campuses is the transient population – not just in terms of maintaining a stable community, but in developing a pool of servers, perhaps a schola, and others to take care of all the practical logistical issues.

    A challenge to replenish the ranks, sure, but not an insurmountable one. If the same Catholic schools can find five or six guys to lead their basketball teams into the NCAA tournament year after year, they can probably find five or six students to assist with various aspects of the Mass and build a strong liturgical program at their school.

    You know . . . if they care to. Priorities, etc.

  17. TJerome says:

    JohnMa, it must be a “state secret.” If I were a priest I would be thrilled that the students show this much interest in their Faith. Talk about misplaced priorities. Tom

  18. TJerome: saying it’s true doesn’t make it so. Following the rubrics alone is not sufficient, for the reasons I’ve argued and that you have not addressed. Just following the rubrics alone does not ensure that Catholics get the Mass they deserve. There’s a reason why pre-Vatican II many Catholics were subjected to rotten liturgies, and it had nothing to do with rubrics.