There’s a first time for everything. First times rarely encompass all that can be encompassed. But, they are a beginning. After that, brick by brick.
From a reader…
Father, I’ve been reading your blog for a few years, and thought you might appreciate my first impressions on attending the extraordinary form.
The last time I attended the extraordinary form, it was the ordinary form, and I was still in diapers. I have no memory of those liturgies.
I’ve been interested in attending the extraordinary form for awhile, and due to circumstances, I was able to do so today. My 9 year old son attended with me.
We live in a faithful diocese in the south, and my parish is a Novus Ordo parish. The parish school teaches Latin to all the students, and we often use Latin mass propers during Advent and Lent in the Novus Ordo.
The parish ‘next door’ has a small extraordinary form mass each Sunday. This neighboring parish recently completed the building of a new church, alot larger than the small chapel which once was the main church when there were a lot fewer Catholics in the area. The extraordinary form mass is hosted in this older church, starting 15 minutes before a Novus Ordo mass in the main church. This is the mass we went to today.
The small church was packed. I estimate about 100 people, mostly families with young children or teens. About a third of the people appeared to be my age or older. The priest was attended by two servers in their teens.
It wasn’t all that difficult to follow along, having looked things up ahead of time. My 9 year old said he knew when the ‘Holy Holy’ was and the ‘Lamb of God’ was too, in part due to his Latin class. He felt he was clued in in part by the movements and gestures of the servers (he is one at Novus Ordo). The homily was solid.
I did not recognize anyone, and no one greeted us before or after.
I spent a little over an hour later in the day googling phrases such as ‘Orate Fratres’ and ‘Te Igitur’, linking those prayers and others back to what I am familiar with.
Right now, this is an academic excercise for me. I’ll probably be back with the rest of the family, but may see if we have a high mass somewhere nearby as well.
First, good for you for going.
A some points:
It can be nice to be left alone. If I stop at some parish and slide into the back, I find the ministrations of ushers highly annoying and, no, I don’t want a hug or to shake your hand.
Academic exercise: fair enough. I remember the first time I went to a Catholic church for a Mass. I was entirely lost. It took a while to get my bearings. Nevertheless I know that something really important was happening.
The use of Latin really helps. This was AND IS the language of the educated since… since whenever! It is amazing what Latin opens up.
Do go back. Often. Be patient.
Brick by brick.