Washington Times: the older Mass for the younger congregation

The Washington Times has a positive article about Summorum Pontificum.

My emphases and comments.

Article published Oct 28, 2007
Mass appeal to Latin tradition

October 28, 2007

By Kristi Moore – Roman Catholic churches nationwide are rushing to accommodate a surge in demand for the traditional Latin Mass, which is drawing a surprising new crowd: young people.  [This is certainly an exageration, but it is a nice one!]

Since July, when a decree from Pope Benedict XVI lifted decades-old restrictions [So much more accurate than saying "gave permission".] on celebrating the Tridentine Mass, seven churches in the Washington metropolitan area have added the liturgy to their weekly Sunday schedules.

"I love the Latin Mass," said Audrey Kunkel, 20, of Cincinnati. "It"s amazing to think that I"m attending the same Mass that has formed saints throughout the centuries."

In contrast to the New Order Mass, which has been in use since the Second Vatican Council in 1969 and is typically celebrated in vernacular languages such as English, the Tridentine Mass is "contemplative, mysterious, sacred, transcendent, and [younger people are] drawn to it," said the Rev. Franklyn McAfee, [HEY!  Know him?] pastor of St. John the Beloved in McLean. "Gregorian chant is the opposite of rap, and I believe this is a refreshing change for them."  [There’s understatment for you!]

Susan Gibbs, the director of communications from the Archdiocese of Washington, said the attraction demonstrated by the young adults is "very interesting." [Uh huh…]

Besides the liturgy"s rich historical content and spiritual significance, the younger generations show an interest in the old becoming new again, said Louis Tofari of the Society of St. Pius X, an order of clergy that opposed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

"People who never grew up with the traditional Mass are finding it on their own and falling in love with it."

The Tridentine Mass helps people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up in a culture that lacks stability and orthodoxy see something larger than themselves: the glory of God, said Geoffrey Coleman of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter"s Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Neb.

The Tridentine Mass "detaches me from the world and lifts my mind, heart and soul to heavenly things," said Michael Malain, 21, of Houston.

Kirk Rich, 21, of Oberlin, Ohio, remembers the first time he attended a Tridentine Mass and recalls thinking that a new religion had been invented.

"That"s certainly what it seems like when comparing the two forms of the Mass," Mr. Rich said.

The biggest difference between the two forms is that the Tridentine Mass is always celebrated in Latin, except for the homily. The priest also leads the parishioners facing east, the traditional direction of prayer. The New Order Mass can be celebrated in Latin, but usually is not. There are also differences in some of the prayers, hymns and vestments.  [Hymns are problematic and vestments are a mere external, but the observation is valid insofar as general practice is concerned.]

As a result, the overall feel of the Tridentine Mass is more solemn and serious.

"The coffee social is after the traditional Latin Mass, not in the middle of it," [I actually saw coffee and donuts served during "Mass" at a famous dissident parish in Minneapolis.] said Kenneth Wolfe, 34, of Alexandria. "No one can say, with a straight face, that the post-Vatican II liturgy and sacraments are more beautiful than the ones used for hundreds and hundreds of years."

Like the churchgoers now demanding the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, the priests learning the rite are usually younger as well.  [YES!   As I have been saying without ceasing, younger priests will learn the older form.  This will begin a slow by inexorable shift in the way the newer Mass is celebrated.  This part of the "gravitational pull" factor.]

The Society of St. Pius X trains priests in the liturgy of the Tridentine Mass and has received as many as 25 requests a week for instruction since July.

"The phone was ringing nonstop, and I was getting e-mail after e-mail,’ Mr. Tofari said. "The response was absolutely incredible; most of the people who call are below the age of 30."

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has collaborated with Una Voce America to host workshops for clergy in Denton, Neb. Una Voce America, which promotes the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, usually teaches the rite to 12 students a session. But in September, it increased that number to 22 to meet the increased demand for training.

Many priests think the changes approved by the pope will do more than bring young people into the church. They think the celebration of the Tridentine Mass will increase the faith of many followers.

The Rev. Paul Scalia, 37, has been celebrating the Tridentine Mass at St. Rita Church in Alexandria. He said the increase in young attendance is evidence that the Mass is something living and life-giving.

"The beauty is tremendous, as it draws us to God, who is beauty Himself," Father Scalia said.

What a nice and positive article!  It focuses on youth and growth and what works!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Jim says:

    My fondest hope is that I will be buried after a solemn high requiem mass with — YES! — black vestments, and Dies Irae sung by a full Gregorian schola. I should live so long!

  2. TJM says:

    But, but, Father McBrien said only nostalgia freaks want this. How can this be? Father McBrien knows everything about American Catholicism. Great article! Tom

  3. Daniel Anselmo says:

    Talking about vestments, even when they are external, could a Novus Ordo Mass be celebrated with maniples?

  4. Kirk M. Rich says:

    I’m so pleased with the way this article came out. It’s obvious that the writer herself is a traditionally-minded Catholic, and I’m glad she used her position to write such a fine article. Most of the time, the liberal media absolutely butchers everything regarding anything having to do with the Church.

    Amen to that Jim. I’ve actually considered making arrangements for my own requiem. The only thing we can do about people like Fr. McBrien is pray for them. I think, deep down, “they” know that things are changing, and, frankly, they’re probably quite scared. Our Holy Father, in his infinite wisdom, knows that this is the only way to reverse the errors which have occurred since Vatican II. May God bless Pope Benedict with many more years of stellar leadership.

  5. fxavier says:

    As someone in the age group mentioned in the article, I am encouraged by the fact that the TLM has a wide following among younger Catholics.

    It’s nice to finally see an article that is honest and follows one of the most involved groups in the TLM, who are in turn involved in the revival of the Church at large.

    Daniel: Yes. There was a discussion on The New Liturgical Movement blog. Check the comments:


  6. Sean says:

    …helps people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up in a culture that lacks stability and orthodoxy…

    Don’t forget us early 40s. We missed out as well. After over a year of the old mass near exclusively I feel that I have reached the stage that I should have reached at age 20. I think my life would have been very different if the old mass had been retained.

  7. Patrick says:

    Wow, seven churches are adding the TLM to the schedule! I live in a small town in Northern Arizona. The priests around here would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than offer the TLM. Today there will be African cultural celebrations (dances?) at one of the Masses. I don’t understand the point to that, since most of the people at Mass are grey haired white folks. I need to move.

  8. mark says:

    “seven churches in the Washington metropolitan area have added the liturgy to their weekly Sunday schedules”

    Wow. Are other metropolitan areas seeing similar numbers of churches offering the Tridentine Mass?

  9. Guy Power says:

    Patrick writes, … Today there will be African cultural celebrations (dances?) …

    Ya know … I think we ought to have Scottish Masses. Instead of a pipe organ we
    can have bagpipes. And the father’s vestments can be a tartan of the predominant liturgical color. Of course, father will have to say the prayers in Gaelic, and the readings & homily in a faked Glaswegian burr. OOOOH …. and we’d have shortbread and single-malt (Talisker) instead of bread and wine. I’d include haggis in this mess, but don’t know how to inculturate that! Perhaps at the after-Mass social. OOOOOOh — and our liturgical dancers could dance the fling or Gilliecalum … or “The Gay Gordon” (oops … that’s a Country Dance, not Highland).

    Responses would sound like this:

    V: “Och aye, ye dinnae ken, Jimmy!”
    R: “I’th name o’th wee Man!”

    Yeah, baby — Scottish-American Inculturated Mass.tartan of the predominant liturgical color.

    –Guy Power
    (just funnin’ ya, in case ya didn’t know)

  10. Jim R says:

    The seven parishes must be in the Diocese of Arlington. I dont know of any new ones in the Archdiocese of Washington.
    If anyone does, please publish them please.

  11. Bibliothecarius says:

    Guy Power: I really like the way y’think, laddie! and aye, it’s about time we took the Kirkin’ o’the Tartan away from the Covenanters, if ye know what I mean!

    BTW Isn’t the Rev. Paul Scalia mentioned in the article Justice Scalia’s own?

  12. David Andrew says:

    Here’s one that I’ve applied the “cut and paste” functions to. It now resides comfortably on my hard drive, and soon will makes its way to my printer, and ultimately to the mailbox of our DRE, who insists that requests by young people for the TLM is nothing more than a return to a “nostalgia that young people who never experienced the Mass in the ’50’s think they want.” (I wonder if she prefers the “reverence” that our young people show . . . arms folded, chomping on gum during Mass. . .Maybe we should move coffee and doughnuts to the loitering . . .I mean gathering space so people can help themselves during Mass. . .)

  13. RBrown says:

    Isn’t the Rev. Paul Scalia mentioned in the article Justice Scalia’s own?


  14. Katie says:

    I can’t speak for the Archdiocese of Washington parishes, but I know Holy Trinity Parish in Bristow, VA (Arlington Diocese) will be adding the TLM once the new church opens in December (we are currently using the high school auditorium, which doesn’t allow for the TLM). The parish is organizing a schola, the parochial vicar went to training for the TLM in September, and there is talk of holding a few evening classes for those of us (like myself) who are not familiar with Latin but would like to learn what is being said. All in all, very encouraging!

  15. fxavier says:

    The Detroit metro area also has many interested priests. I think 12 expressed interest, perhaps half of them will actually start saying the Mass on some schedule, if not weekly.

  16. Tommaso says:


    Peace is breaking out all over. Same observations were made on SSPX. A year ago, would such candor be possible?

  17. dcs says:

    we are currently using the high school auditorium, which doesn’t allow for the TLM

    It might not be the best place for a TLM but there’s no reason one couldn’t celebrate the TLM in a high school auditorium, in a hotel room, or on the back of a jeep.

  18. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I think about of people are shocked and stunned (sometimes in a negative way…especially some priests and bishops), but the growing tide of support and interest in the Tridentine Latin Mass. I read of a religious Order of monks in Europe which instituted the Tridentine Latin Mass in one of it’s monasteries a few years ago, and has more vocations that it had in 35+ previous years. Now afew monasteries in the same congregation are contemplating doing the same.
    Many, many people might be surprised (some in a negative way) by the surge of popularity for the Tridentine Latin Mass. Many people except for Pope Benedict XVI. I don’t think He’s surprised. I think He knew this would be the result and reaction all along. And I think there will be more good projects and inititatives from Him along the same line to come shortly.

  19. RosieC says:

    Does anyone know if St. Matthews is one of the seven churches?

  20. Chris says:

    Father, I go to St. Mary’s and the Times has been great for us.

    And, since we’re in DC, the home of the USCCB, we also hear about things — not all are good.

    This weekend, I was told by a priest who is in the know, that the USCCB has sen six “dubia,” or questions, to Rome for answers on the traditional Mass. While he does not know the contents of all six questions, here are three of the questions he knows where asked:

    1. Can priests use “Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers” to hand out Communion during the traditional Mass?

    2. Can priests use “Extraordinary Girl Altar Boys” during the Mass?

    3. Can priests use “Extraordinary Readers” of the Gospel and Epistle during the Mass?

    I was also told that anyone who rationalizes this as “just an attempt for clarification” from the bishops either doesn’t understand what’s really going on or in favor of watering down the traditional Mass.

    Have you heard anything about this?

  21. Michael says:

    Matthew Mattingly,

    Which monastery was this?

  22. Jeff says:

    Yay, St. Mary\’s!

    My parish! (Beams with pride.)

    Fr. Harris deserves kudos to the hilt. He was simply pitched into the parish knowing nothing about the Trid Mass and little Latin. And he is unable to genuflect due to a war injury.

    But he has kept at it and really mastered it…he does simply a beautiful job. What\’s more, he\’s a good man and a good priest.

    We are lucky to have him.

    We also have a couple of wonderful young residents from the Archdiocese of New York. One of them is Father Daniel D\’Alliessi and he says a marvellous Trid Mass.

    And we frequently benefit from the liturgical grace and punchy, scholarly homilies of Msgr. Bruce Harbert, the ICEL chief.

    Msgr. Pope says the Trid Mass in the evening, too, though we rarely go to that one.

    A wonderful parish and lots of wonderful priests saying Mass for us.

  23. kat says:

    I’m so glad our next duty station is in DC! Right now we have to travel 70 minutes with 5 little kids to attend the TLM in North Carolina.
    What a great article!

  24. danphunter1 says:

    Speaking of maniples,
    On the, Remnant, web site they have just posted an article that says, in Italian, that there will be a Tridentine Mass offered at St Peters Basilica on November 10 2007.
    I cannot make out the name of the priest who is offering the mass.
    Does anyone have any information about this?

  25. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    A priest I know from the congregation of St.John Cantius visited me this past Sunday.I asked him how business was for their tridentine store and he told me that it was very good.They have backordered the Roman missal.He said their best customer is the USCCB! Yesterday when I was greeting the congregants after our Usus Antiquior mass ,a young pleasant man came up to me and introduced himself.He was a staff member of the USCCB department of Liturgy!!

  26. James says:

    It is interesting to note that this article in the Washington Times was the front top center article of section A of the paper with picture.

  27. Ken says:

    To the people who asked for specific locations for the greater Washington, D.C. region, these are the traditional Latin Masses as of this writing (at least the ones I know):

    Weekly Sunday and holy day Masses:
    Saint Mary, Mother of God in Washington, D.C. (Chinatown)
    Old Saint John the Evangelist in Silver Spring, Md.
    Saint Francis de Sales in Benedict, Md.
    Saint Lawrence in Fairfax County, Va. (Franconia)
    Saint John the Baptist in Front Royal, Va.
    Saint Alphonsus in Baltimore, Md.
    Saint John the Beloved in McLean, Va.

    Churches that have occasional and regular weekday and Sunday Masses, but not yet regularly on all Sundays and holy days:
    Saint Rita’s in Alexandria, Va.
    Saint Andrew the Apostle in Clifton, Va.
    The Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (Our Lady of Lourdes chapel)
    Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C. (pilgrimages)
    Our Lady of Hope in Potomac Falls, Va.
    Catholic Student Center at Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Va.
    Dahlgren Chapel at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

    Church independent of the Diocese of Arlington (uses Society of Saint Pius X bishop), with daily Mass:
    Saint Athanasius in Vienna, Va.

  28. Jean-Luc DeLacroix says:

    I’ve got an idea…

    To usher out the era of the guitar mass we get Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey to play “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in St. Peter’s Sq.

    …just imagine it…


    then everyone can smash their untuned acoustic guitars right along with Pete.

  29. Derik Castillo says:

    Following the comment by Sean

    If I had known the Extraordinary Form ten years ago,
    by now I would be a Dominican Friar. Every Mass I attend,
    I regret being a coward when I heard the voice of
    Jesus Christ calling my name. Too bad for me I will have
    to answer for this in the final judgment.

  30. Brian says:

    One attraction of the TLM that wasn’t covered in the original article (good as it was) was the practice of receiving Holy Communion while kneeling. I firmly believe that there’s something *primal* in that.

    My father reminisces about the “good old Latin Mass [sic]” (though he also reminisces about the “good old 10-minute Mass”, too), and that–aside from a love of sacred polyphony picked up at a secular college–was my entire background in the TLM, since I was born post-VII.

    My first experience with a TLM was by accident (my wife and I hadn’t set our clocks for the daylight savings change), and we were desperate to get to Mass *somewhere*, so we went to “masstimes.org” and found a 1 PM Mass, 40 miles away, so we went–sight unseen. To our shock, it was a TLM; we figured, “oh, well… at least it’s a valid Mass!”, and we sat through it (gritting our teeth). Even though the priest spoke the Canon of the Mass aloud (I’m not sure why), it was still so soft and “mumbly” that my wife and I were left feeling very frustrated. (Even my meager Latin from college didn’t help much.)

    But when it came time for Holy Communion, and I watched what the others were doing, I went up and received Our Lord while kneeling, for the first time in my life. (I think I said “Amen”–mea culpa! :) ) I can’t tell you how deeply that impacted me…

    Our second experience was a sort of “experiment”; we attended a TLM (at an oratory maintained by Institute of Christ the King–we wanted to see the oratory, and we figured we’d like to attend Mass, as well), and this was even more baffling to us–since the Canon was silent, and since they used the Communion rail cloth (thank God there were people ahead of us for us to copy… and that one of our old holy cards shows a communicant placing his hands under that cloth! Never underestimate the value of holy cards… :) ). But the reception of Our Lord while kneeling was incredibly (and I’ll say again, “primally”) moving–and that deep impact was *intensified* by the “confusing” rail cloth, to my surprise.

    I really think that the reception of Our Lord while kneeling touches a soul-deep need–it resonates with something fundamental to our creation in the image and likeness of God, in our membership in the Communion of Saints, and especially in the “soul’s need” expressed by St. Augustine: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord; and our souls are restless until they rest in thee.”

    I dearly hope that one facet of the “gravitational pull” (described by Fr. Z, between the uses) is a restoration of the reception of Our Lord while kneeling, no matter *which* form is used. There’s an unfading “ache” in me, now, whenever I receive Our Lord at a NO Mass (even though I “buck the USCCB guidelines” by genuflecting while in line–sorry, but a perfunctory “head-bob” just doesn’t do it for me)…

  31. Jordan Potter says:

    Brian said: (even though I “buck the USCCB guidelines” by genuflecting while in line—sorry, but a perfunctory “head-bob” just doesn’t do it for me)…

    I genuflect before receiving too. The “norm” calls for us to bow our heads as a sign of reverence — I am more than happy to bow my head as I genuflect to my Lord. :-D

    When I was received into the Church seven years ago, at my First Communion I knelt to receive my Lord. I didn’t plan to do that. I don’t know how, but somehow I just found myself on my knees, saying, “My King and my God,” as Father held the Victim for me to adore.

  32. Brian says:

    Jordan wrote:

    The “norm” calls for us to bow our heads as a sign of reverence—I am more than happy to bow my head as I genuflect to my Lord. :-D

    (LOL!) I have to remember that one! Thanks for the tip!

    In Christ,

  33. Jordan Potter says:

    Dan asked: Speaking of maniples,
    On the, Remnant, web site they have just posted an article that says, in Italian, that there will be a Tridentine Mass offered at St Peters Basilica on November 10 2007.
    I cannot make out the name of the priest who is offering the mass.
    Does anyone have any information about this?

    It says the celebrant will be His Excellency Msgr. De Magistris.

    It also has a link to an announcement of a Tridentine Mass at St. Peter’s on Nov. 23:


  34. Bernard says:

    Sean, Derik
    We are not responsible for the fact that the Traditional Mass was taken away from us. The responsibility before God is with those who DID take away the Mass. Our responsibility is to do all we can to aid the restoration.

  35. Bernard says:

    To follow through on my previous post; no doubt our lives would have been different if the Mass had not been sidelined. I think lives were ruined by the changes following Vatican II, real disorientation. I thank God for these young people and their love for the Faith. A lot of us are ‘the lost generation’ middle-aged now but thats not our fault, its wrong to turn that anger in on ourselves. A lot of the old “renewers” are in denial now because it would terrify them to think about the consequenses of their actions 30-40 years ago.

  36. RBrown says:

    If I had known the Extraordinary Form ten years ago,
    by now I would be a Dominican Friar. Every Mass I attend,
    I regret being a coward when I heard the voice of
    Jesus Christ calling my name. Too bad for me I will have
    to answer for this in the final judgment.
    Comment by Derik Castillo

    You’re being too hard on yourself. Attraction to a religious order is not the same as a vocation. Just because you are attracted to the Dominicans (or another order) doesn’t mean that God wanted you to enter, and you failed to respond.

  37. Diane says:

    Perhaps we should flood the paper with positive letters to the editor. It was indeed a good article.

  38. Mike Williams says:

    It is a good article, but there’s an important inaccuracy that is only clear in Sunday’s print edition. The seven churches that the reporter ays have “added” the Tridentine liturgy are in fact the seven that Ken mentions above, which were already offering it under the indult. She seems to have been unaware of the other, less-frequently scheduled ones. None of these are the result of the motu proprio, although I assume others will soon join them that are.

  39. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Mike, I beg to disagree.At least my parish,Saint John the Beloved,was not an indult parish.I added the mass (replacing one of the NO masses)in response to the fresh breeze of the motu proprio.

  40. Mike Williams says:

    Father Mcafee, that’s great to hear. But my point was simply that the seven masses listed by the Times as having been added since July actually were already in existence. I’m glad to hear that more are on their way!

  41. Mike Williams says:

    Wait, I see that St John the Beloved is listed above by Ken, and my reference to his list being the same as the Times’ was thus confusing. Sorry!

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