USA MP Celebrations

My friend the esteemed Fr. Robert Pasley of Mater Ecclesiae in the Diocese of Camden shared photos of their traditional use parish’s MP celebrations:

And with some of the fellows with celebratory cigars in hand:

Fr. gave a splendid sermon at the High Mass for the occasion:

“Factum est ergo magnum gaudium in illa civitate.” (Acts 8:8)

By Father Robert C. Pasley, KHS
Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, NJ

      These words from the Acts of the Apostles came to my mind as I awoke this morning. “There was great joy in that city.” As a matter of fact, I really recalled the now defunct 1970’s NAB translation of this phrase, which albeit more dramatic, is a typical mistranslation, “The rejoicing in that city rose to fever pitch.”  What is most important in this one case, however, is not the translation, but that at Mater Ecclesiae, in Berlin, NJ , which is, I’m sure, reflective of all such places that celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the One Roman Rite, the rejoicing and joy was so great that fever pitch doesn’t even begin to describe it.

     The Church was packed; visiting priests, members, visitors from all over (as far away as Rome and Ithaca, NY), reporters and photographers. As the organ swelled and the trumpet began to sound, we processed down the aisle. I could not hold back the tears. All around me I saw smiles and tears and swollen eyes.

     The Mass began and the words of the Mass for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost seemed to be personally selected by heaven to celebrate the events of 07/07/07, the 7th year of Mater Ecclesiae’s existence, on the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath, on first Saturday dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The prayers of the Mass are as follows;

The Introit – “The Lord is the strength of His people, and the protector of the salvation of His anointed,”
The Collect – O God… giver of all good things… increase in us true religion and by Thy mercy keep us in the same.”
The Gradual – “Lord, Thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation.”
The Alleluia  – “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in Thy justice.”
The Gospel – “ Jesus said, I have compassion on the multitude.”
The Communio –  “I will go round, and offer up in His tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation; I will sing and recite a psalm to the Lord.”

     As the incense rose to heaven, and I ‘went round His Tabernacle to begin the sacrifice of jubilation,’ the choir and the people sang the Kyrie and Gloria with such gusto that I thought the walls would explode – “The Lord is the Strength of His people.” During the sermon I have never felt such rapt attention. At the offertory, the five men in the Schola sang the Ave Maria by Arcedelt, a reminder of all the Rosaries worn out in prayer over these last 40 years. The consecration came in the hushed silence of the Ancient Rite, and Our Lord, “the giver of good things had compassion on the multitude.” At communion, wave after wave knelt at the altar rail; doctors, lawyers, engineers, tradesmen, mothers, fathers, teenagers and so many little ones. Finally, after the Last Gospel, the Te Deum was intoned, the bells began to ring and the chills ran down my spine. It truly was extraordinary or should I say it is Extraordinary, the Form that is.

     Off we went to Bishop DiMarzio Hall, a toast to Pope Benedict, the champagne cork popped in perfect rhythm, and the people clapped and cheered. On the cake, in beautiful Roman Script were the words, TE DEUM LAUDAMUS !!!!!!!! and the party began. Ubi Missa, Ibi Mensa. Finally, at 4:00PM, having extinguished the last Ashton on the porch, the Reverend Fathers having departed, the people having bid adieu, and about to close the door and collapse into the recliner exhausted form joy, a young father with his family returned. “Father, the boys want to say goodbye.” And I asked the oldest boy, why were we so happy today? And with a big smile he said, “Because Pope Benedict did a good thing.” Need more be said?

Kudos, reverend and dear Father.  I look forward to a return trip.

Meanwhile, in back in Michigan, fellow blogger Fr. Robert Johansen joins in the cigar and potable festivities:

Fr. J opted not for The Widow, but rather for 16 year Lagavulin and 1989 Barros Colheita Port.

He gave some very good words to his flock on the occasion.  Here is an excerpt:

It’s clear to me that the holy father is offering us an opportunity to enrich and deepen how we live our faith in the the liturgy. This is a great gift to the Church, and I think we’ll have a great deal to be thankful for.

That hits the right note, for sure.

Meanwhile, in yet another place, we find that celebrations are not confined to the flute or the curls of heavy smoke.  Argent writes that

After the dizzying spinning that my parish priest did at Saturday’s Vigil Mass, we decided to attend the indult Mass two hours away yesterday afternoon.

It certainly helped me live into the joy.  The priest let us know that our Bishop means to implement the letter and is in consultation on how to go about it.  Bp. ____ was thankful for the clear and unambiguous way that the letter was written.  I’m sure that this will help him with the liturgical changes that we’ve been expecting for a year now.

The pastor wanted to let you know that he was wearing buckle shoes in honor of the motu. (He actually whispered it to us, and stuck out one foot to show us).  He said that he spent a whole afternoon searching for these shoes on line after you posted that article.

Then my work here is done…. I think.  I should have bought stock in Veuve Clicquot and buckles.

Heading away from clergy for a moment, I got a great note from frequent participant Henry about a friend who also reads and posts here at WDTPRS about her going to participate for the first time at holy Mass celebrated with the older, extraordinary Rite.  Here is some of the letter passed along to me (my emphases):

My impressions of the Traditional Latin Mass
(____, Monday, July 9th, 2007)

First sight, many young families with small children.  Children were well-behaved and were quiet during Mass.  Big improvement over the typical parish when children are present!

Chapel veils!  Even the little girls wore them.  My first experience of wearing one, and I loved it!  It felt  so natural and correct.  It’s a custom I will adopt gladly, at least when I attend Mass at EWTN’s chapel or at the retreat house for Sister Servants of the Eternal Word  (Casa Maria).  My own parish has so few women wearing the veil that I would stand out, which I don’t feel is the correct thing to do.

Choir in an alcove in back of church, unobtrusive, out of sight.  Adding to the liturgy without being “on stage”.   Very well done!

The altar:  it was so beautiful!  No minimalist modern nonsense here!  And in the context of such a reverent display surrounding the Tabernacle, how could a priest even consider turning his back on that to face the people?   Facing the altar is just the only thing that makes sense when you have a REAL altar like that.  It makes my home parish’s modern altar look so bare and anemic by comparison!

Another good effect of the priest facing the altar:  it lets our worship and his look toward God, instead of our being distracted by the personality or theatrics of the priest himself.  We aim our worship at God better, when not distracted by having the priest facing us and drawing our attention more onto him than onto Christ on the altar.

Liturgy of the word:  I had no problem reading the English text of scriptures in my missal while the Latin version was being read aloud.  And then the priest re-read them anyway in English, so I got to absorb the content twice.

Liturgy of the Eucharist:  here I had to put the missal down because I couldn’t tell what stage of it we were into.  For a few moments I felt the priest had left us all behind, was doing his own thing, and we were doing our own thing.  But I think that initial impression is mistaken and based on lack of familiarity with the ritual.

Consecration:  beautiful even without hearing the words.  But I’m still trying to come to a better understanding of why it is “better” to have the priest not be heard by us at those moments.  That will take some thought, prayer, and more experience before I understand this mystery.

Communion:  so beautiful, so right!  To kneel, to receive from a priest, not a lay person, and to receive on the tongue.  Humble, child-like, reverent, perfect!

Silence:  again, so right and so perfect!  Time to hear one’s own thoughts and prayers at so many places in the Mass, especially following communion.  And even after Mass there was silence.  Nobody jumped up to rush out the door!   We all remained kneeling after the priest recessed out of the church.  Gradually, over a period of about 5 minutes, people began leaving (again quietly).  In contrast, the get-together in the parish hall following mass was happy and noisy and again very appropriate.

Overall impression:  Reverent, contemplative, God-oriented rather than oriented toward either the priest or toward the people.  Again, in a word, Glorious!

Notice the stress on reverence, keeping your own personality out of the way, silence and joy.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Brian says:

    Love the celebrations! Also like the account of the first time Mass attender: My first time assisting at the Extraordinary Use was almost identical to hers, I absolutely loved it and a little bit of a difficult time with the silent canon and the Mass of the Faithful, but it took me only a few weeks to appreciate the sacred silence, the utter mystery of it.

  2. billsykes says:

    Fr. Z:

    The MP says in Article 6 that the vernacular forms of the Lectionary of the Mass may be used. In the good old USA, this means that wretched USCCB profit center, the NAB. This is horrible! Does anyone doubt that nine out of 10 ordinaries will MANDATE the NAB?? Somebody help me!!

  3. TAAD says:

    Could this be the fulfillment of St. John Bosco’s vision concerning the
    Pope anchoring the church between the pillar of the Eucharist and the
    pillar surmounted by Our Lady? Ave Maria!

  4. Matt says:


    Do you think it would be appropriate to start calling the extraordinary rite the “new mass” since for most people thats exactly what it is? :-)

  5. danphunter1 says:

    The Epistle and the Gospel if read in the vernacular will be right from the Epistle and the Gospel as read in the Missal of 1962.
    In other words,it will be a much more accurate translation than the confusion of the NAB
    Remember the Apostolic See must recognise these vernacular readings,not the USCCB
    God bless.

  6. dan: No. Any translation approved for liturgical use could be used. It doesn’t have to be like Fr. Guido O’Reilly did it at St. Ipsidipsy in Black Duck 50 years ago when the world was beautiful and clean. Any approved vernacular translation can be used. Even in the olden days, different hand missals had different translations.

  7. Romulus says:

    I’m still trying to come to a better understanding of why it is “better” to have the priest not be heard by us at those moments.

    Henry, I believe the silence, like the non-vernacular Latin itself, is a sort of “veil” that drives home the sacred nature of the Holy Sacrifice. Holiness is not about selfish exclusion, but it is very much about maintaining sharp distinctions between what’s sacred — reserved exclusively for God — and what’s not. It’s a very good thing for Catholics to be well-acquainted with the words of the consecration, etc. (that’s why the Church urges us to have missals, after all). But it’s even better that we not be deceived by notions that God, before Whom the angels themselves can only say Holy, Holy, Holy, is comprehensible to our meager understanding: concepts such as the Incarnation, transubstantiation, and the Lord’s atoning sacrifice are ultimately beyond our ability to grasp: praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui. It’s a sacred mystery being celebrated: the Lord never taught without parables after all, so it’s fitting that signs, including that of silence keep us mindful as members of Christ’s spouse to be humbly grateful for the awesome mystery that’s about to be shared with us on terms of deepest intimacy.

  8. Legisperitus says:

    Check out the small photo of Pope Benedict currently appearing on EWTN’s homepage! They’ve trimmed around the mitre so it resembles the shape of a tiara.

  9. Paul Dion says:

    If you don’t understand the language, how do you identify the sacred from the vulgar? Can you sing “Gaudeamus igitur, juvenes dum sumus…? Is that sacred because it is Latin?

  10. Dan Hunter says:

    thank you for the correction,father.
    so it seems that bad translations of the epistle and the gospel will be allowed as well as more accurate translations.
    thank you for this info,was unaware.

  11. Father Z. and others, my (perhaps incorrect) recollections of the “silent prayers” were that these are a kind of modernized remnant of the priest having been behind an iconostasis/rood screen with the doors closed at that point. That is, in keeping with their formerly liturgically invisible status (inside the Holy of Holies, if you will), the silent/quiet recital maintains this old distinction. Perhaps someone more familiar with the history of the liturgy can chime in? It’s a number of years since I’ve read Dix’s Shape of the Liturgy, so I may’ve botched the whole thing. I’m pretty sure it was something like that, though.

  12. danphunter1 says:

    It seems to me that the translation in the Angelus press Missal of Blessd John XXIII is much more elegent and beautiful than the St.Josephs missal, 1962.
    The Angelus translation matches the Latin language and the English more accurately as well.
    Have you found this to be the case?

  13. dcs says:

    Mr. Hunter:

    I suspect that the Angelus Press missal uses the Douay-Rheims-Challoner translation for the lessons at Mass. The St. Joseph missal uses the Confraternity translation, which seems to be an “updating” of the Douay. I agree that the Angelus (and, I assume, the Baronius Press missal, since both worked from the same out-of-print text) sounds better. The Confraternity Psalter, however, seems like it is a new translation from the Hebrew; so, for example, Psalm 50 “Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam gloriam tuam” becomes “Have mercy on me, O God, in Your goodness.”

    One “Indult” Mass I used to assist at occasionally used a vernacular translation with which I was completely unfamiliar. I think it might have been the Msgr. Knox.

  14. Felipe says:


    Congratulations for the interview you granted to Zenit. It is beautiful to see liturgist like you taken in account by the Mass Media.

  15. William says:

    To Paul Dion: I am much younger than you. I don’t have an STL. I have never studied Latin at all. Nonetheless I have attended Latin masses for about 6 years now.

    First, it was Latin Novus Ordo Masses in Germany. I didn’t look for Latin, the closest church to my apartment just happened to have a Novus Ordo sung mass every Sunday, alternating week to week between German and Latin. Even though I didn’t understand the language, I knew what was going on, because the form was the same. I loved those masses. I have attended other Novus Ordo masses in Asia, Europe, and America and never have I found any other Novus Ordo mass that could compare. In fact, most of them have been irreverent. Some have been sacrilegious.

    It was my search for a decent Novus Ordo mass that led me to the extraordinary rite. I found an indult parish and thought “oh it’s in Latin; maybe it will be like the parish in Germany”, so I attended the mass and cam away thinking “What in the world was that all about?!”. But I wanted to find out what was going on there, so I went back, and I went back, and I bought a hand missal, and read it and … now I know what it is all about. Now I know about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Now I have a parish where the entirety of the Catholic faith is taught. Now I never have to worry about seeing a sacrilege. Now I know what every word of the mass means, because I have studied my hand missal, although I still don’t know Latin.

    Your opinion that I am not worthy to hear mass in Latin makes me sick. I don’t know Latin, but I am not stupid. I have no trouble following Latin in the left column and English in the right. I was born after you completed your STL. Your generation, and your time, is finished. Good riddance!

  16. BWest says:


  17. dcs says:

    Is that sacred because it is Latin?

    Good question. Pope Paul VI answered it for us in 1969.

    8. It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.

    9. We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth. But why? What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church’s values?

  18. Dan O says:

    Sancte Ipsidipsi. Ora pro nobis

  19. Ann Walsh says:

    I was born in 1965 & have been raised with the Novus Ordo Mass. However, I am very disheartened with the abuses in liturgy that I have witnessed over the years and long for a reverent and sacred liturgy like the ones I have heard about from the “olden days”. I want to know what liturgy is really supposed to be. I know that the Novus Ordo celebrated well by all and according to the rubrics would be very good, but finding one in my area is extremely difficult. I am very much looking forward to my first traditional Catholic Mass because even though I don’t know Latin and won’t understand all the words being said, from everything I have heard, I believe I will experience there the sense of the sacred and supernatural that I am longing for in liturgy and I have no doubt that the people there will have much to teach us post Vatican II Catholics about reverent worship and how to behave properly in a church, among other things. I love the Church with all my heart and I have been waiting for something that will be a sign of a possible swing away from celebrations that seem to focus on what makes people “feel good” and towards tradition and a return to the sacred. I am hoping that, even though it will take years and years, what our Holy Father has done will bear the fruit of increased reverence in all of our liturgies around the world. I cannot imagine the joy that you feel if you have been waiting for over 40 years in the desert, so to speak, and are now being given what must taste like living water. I cannot help but feel a sense of joy myself over what has happened and I look forward to all that will follow from this when people start to realize what they have been given.

  20. Ann Walsh says:

    Forgot to mention that I am the music ministry coordinator in our parish and this past Sunday, even though only my family knew why, I played a shortened Te Deum as the closing hymn (Holy God We Praise Thy Name) in celebration of this blessed event :-)

  21. The Te Deum is very appropriate Ann Walsh. I share your sentiment for that which really satisfy.You have a very positive attitude in your approach and that will go a long way in helping you appreciate the beauty and awe that the older rite exude. I hope in the coming weeks, more people will join you in singing loud the Te Deum.

  22. dcs says:

    Here’s a link to Fr. Pasley’s sermon, by the way:

    Fr. Pasley’s Sermon on “Summorum Pontificum” – July 8 2007

  23. dcs says:

    Here’s a link to Fr. Pasley’s sermon, by the way:

    Fr Pasley’s Sermon on “Summorum Pontificum” – July 8 2007

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