For your “Brick by Brick” file, from the site of the Diocese of Duluth where the His Excellent Most, and I do mean Most Reverend Paul Sirba is Bishop, comes this. I have written about Bp. Sirba before, here.
The Northern Cross – Local News
Deacon gets first taste of solemn high Mass
By Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross
When Deacon Scott Peters of St. Benedict in Duluth was in deacon formation, he was told repeatedly that you never know just what ministry you will find yourself in. But perhaps the last thing he expected was to be preparing for a solemn high Mass as it would have been celebrated in 1962.
Yet that Mass, with a polyphony choir, a chant schola, servers and another permanent deacon who is coming up from a Twin Cities parish famous for its traditional liturgies to fill the subdeacon role, will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at St. Benedict. The liturgical celebration is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and it is the anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” which liberalized access to the traditional Mass.
“I never thought that I would be working in liturgy, especially the Traditional Latin Mass,” Deacon Peters said. When he was in formation, he was doing social work and thought his ministry might involve that. He says he didn’t even know what the old rite was.
He said the whole thing began with the Duluth Men’s Schola. (Full disclosure: This writer is the founder and director of the schola, which will be singing Sept. 14.) Then Father Eric Hastings, who will celebrate the Sept. 14 Mass, began to offer the simplest version of the Traditional Latin Mass, a “low Mass,” and there were no servers, so Deacon Peters learned how to serve.
From there, [Brick…] things began to develop slowly. The next step was doing the more complicated sung version of the Traditional Latin Mass, a “missa cantata,” culminating in a heavily attended missa cantata last year featuring a polyphony choir. (This year the choir will be singing William Byrd’s “Mass for Four Voices.”)
From there, [… by Brick] the next step was a solemn high Mass, which is vastly more complex — and a vastly more demanding liturgy for a deacon.
Deacon Peters said all along it was something meant to be guided by the Holy Spirit and carried out peacefully.
“There are no agendas, there were no expectations, it was just people who loved liturgy and wanted to be faithful to what the Holy Father was asking of us,” he said.
Deacon Peters freely admits that his work with the traditional liturgy has changed him as a deacon. “I’m a different deacon than I was before,” he said. He said he is more prayerful and reverent in how he approaches the sacrifice of the Mass, in whichever form it’s celebrated, a sentiment he has also heard from altar servers. [I have often written this about the effect the older Mass on priests who learn it. Why should it be different for deacons?… for lay people?]
He said the approach for this Mass and all the work associated with it is not confrontational or controversial but simply motivated by a desire to hand a “precious treasure” on, as a gift.
“We want it to be an act of love,” he said. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
He said the parish is inviting all the faithful from the region to attend. Priests and deacons from the diocese are invited to attend the Mass and sit in choir, as there is no concelebration in this form of the Mass. For details, contact the parish at (218) 724-4828.
WDTPRS kudos to Dcn. Peters and Fr. Hastings.