U. of Maryland: teaching the older Mass

Here is a great story from the University of Maryland‘s newpaper.

My emphases and comments.


A return to tradition for campus Catholics
Patrick Moehrle
Issue date: 12/10/07 Section: News

Students at the Catholic Student Center are trying to infuse the present-day Mass with some customs from the past[Does this sound like the "gravitational pull" I have been talking about?]

For the past two months, students at the CSC have gathered each Wednesday before the evening Mass, or the Catholic worship service, to learn prayers and portions of the service in Latin, the formal language of the Catholic Church. During the same time period, four students learned the traditional songs and chants of the church as part of the Schola Cantorum, an all-male choir with a name that means "school of song" in Latin.

The semester’s work culminated in an extra Mass celebrated Nov. 30 in Latin with music provided by the schola. Approximately 25 students attended that Mass, said the center’s chaplain, the Rev. Kyle Ingels.

Ingels, who taught the Latin translations for the service, said he decided to start the informal classes because he wanted the students to learn the official language of the church. Teaching the Latin traditions is also a way to diversify the activities offered at the center, he said, which helps the center reach out to a wider variety of students.

"There is a lot of interest these days in learning about some of the more traditional aspects of the faith, Latin being one of them," Ingels said. "Latin is a beautiful language, a beautiful tradition, and it is still the official language of the Catholic Church throughout the world."

The students are learning the modern Mass translated into Latin and accompanied by the traditional Gregorian chants rather than the older regimented Tridentine Mass, Ingels said. The Tridentine Mass, celebrated entirely in Latin, was discontinued in the mid-1960s after Catholics expressed concern that it had become too impersonal. Some churches have added Tridentine Masses since September, when Pope Benedict XVI decreed that they could be celebrated once more.

The schola was taught by Dominican Brother Louis Senzig, who has long had an interest in traditional music, Ingels said.

Students who learned the Mass in Latin said they have benefited from it.

"It is a return to tradition," said sophomore government and politics major Martino Choi. "It is a way to praise God in a vocal manner, which appealed to me."

Learning the ancient language is a way to separate everyday life from spiritual life, senior philosophy major Josh Guenther said.

"The saints talk about how spirituality is separate from the world, and Latin is separate from our everyday conversation, and I think that makes the Mass said in Latin all the more special," he said.

 These young people get it.

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  1. danphunter1 says:

    And Ecclesiastical Latin was seperate and different than street Latin, when Latin was the common toungue in Latin speaking countries.
    Father, correct me if I am wrong on this.
    Ut Prosim.

  2. Dylan says:

    The comment from the student about separating everyday life from spiritual life can of course be interpreted in a couple different ways. But it would seem that the student meant that the sacred must have its own form of expression that must remain distinct from our ordinary daily activities. Indeed, this is great sign of religious vitality in the life of this student. We cannot sanctify our daily work without maintaining this distinction.

  3. Eric the Read says:

    I think this is great news! I’ve attended one (1) TLM recently, and although it wasn’t quite the experience I was hoping for, it’s definitely increased my desire for a Latin NO Mass with Gregorian chant. I’m glad to hear that perhaps someday soon I’ll be able to attend one.

  4. dan: Yes… liturgical Latin was quite different from the ordinary daily Latin. This doesn’t mean that people listening couldn’t understand it. It means that liturgical Latin was highly stylized. It might be possible to get the idea by listening to some Shakespeare for a while.

  5. Matthew says:

    I live and work in the Washington, DC area. Today, I took an early lunch break and went to Confession at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception not long before noon. They have a 12:10 daily Mass in the Crypt Church, and the chapel with the confessionals in it adjourns the Crypt Church. After my Confession was heard and I received absolution, I walked in on the Mass as the Gloria was being sung (I guess the Gloria was being sung due to the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe). It was being sung in Latin. I’ve been in this area for over 4 years, and I can’t recall them ever singing the Gloria in Latin during a Mass. It could be that it has happened before and I wasn’t there or I don’t remember, but it was refreshing to walk in on that.

  6. Pavegs says:

    Now lets pray the the two seminaries in the Archdiocese will follow suit. It seems odd that a secular university is taking the lead here in Baltimore. We (Seminarians) have been working with the faculty at one of the seminaries (I will not mention which) to try and have the Novus Ordo in Latin occasionally, and hopefully the Usus Antiquitor (baby steps). The Seminarians are generally supportive of both, even the faculty is not completely opposed. Right now I think most of the problems are with benefactors.

  7. TJM says:

    I found the comment about the Mass going from Latin to English because it was too “impersonal” hillarious. Where do these people come from? Kudos to the students at the University of Maryland! Tom

  8. EDG says:

    “Modern Mass translated into Latin” – er, I am charitably assuming the writer is not Catholic. Of course, I live in a diocese with a bishop from MD who hates Latin and the classical rite, so maybe nobody there, Catholic or otherwise, knows much of anything.

    I think it’s great that they’re doing this in MD, and the reporter’s tone was positive. But when one reads things like above, well, it’s just hard not to realize that, 40+ years after the good old New Springtime, we practically have to start from scratch.

  9. Andrew says:

    I wonder if the writer of this piece is Catholic, since he uses language such as “the Catholic worship service” and “portions of the service in Latin” and “translations for the service”. Sounds pretty protestant to me.

  10. Braadwijk says:

    It’s always been my observation that my generation of Catholics has some innate sense that they missed out on something, or at least that something is not quite right with the stuff they get fed today by the 68er priests. I think it’s sad that most of them do not get the chance to find it because of the misinformation they get or the roadblocks they hit trying to discover it. They look for something deeper, they cannot reconcile it with what the pastors tell them, and they turn to the passing fads of Life Teen and other programs. When that gets old, they go down the road to apostasy and develop a deep hatred of religion much the way a child who was never disciplined properly grows up to resent authority figures. They were cheated, they know it, and they eventually resent the people who should have known better and still would not provide. My explanation may not necessarily be true, but as a 20-something who had to fight very hard for his right to decent liturgy it’s what I’ve noticed in my very few years. It all goes back to one of the biggest faults of the progressive clergy and sometimes the more faithful ones. The laity are not stupid and they do not appreciate being treated that way.

  11. Melody says:

    Well put Braadwijk. I am still working on absolute forgiveness toward the pastor of my former parish. It is my view that these ‘progressive’ priests are like malpracticing surgeons in the ruin they do to souls.

    I am also assuming the writer of this article is Protestant from His language, so I’m not going to nitpick.

  12. CPT Tom says:


    Amen, amen,

    It isn’t just your generation, but those of us in the ‘tweens the baby boom and Gen X. We lived the liturgical holocaust of “experimentation” after Vatican II as children. Some, like myself, were actual willing participants until we realized that a) something was missing b) alot beauty (Music, statues, churches) was being lost and c) We’d been “had” by the very people (priests, nuns, laypeople) who were supposed to teach us our faith.

    Usually this happened because we actually went to Mass at an unfamiliar parish that was either very traditional or very progressive. For me it was both. I first experienced a “mass” where the priest never approached the altar, the order of the mass was altered, and the consecration was done by not the priest, but, three families holding platters with jugs of wine and leavened bread on them. That was shock one…then I was in England on business and I went to mass and it was entirely in Latin (in the ordinary form) and it was simply beautiful.

    These two events a few years apart were jarring enough that I started reading about the Church and liturgy more. On closer inspection I found that I had been robbed of my Catholic heritage and it certainly wasn’t what was supposed to be what happened.

    Keep the faith, we have Papa Benedict and he seems to be leading us out of this wasteland of the last 40 years. Praise God.


  13. Paul Haley says:

    “The Tridentine Mass, celebrated entirely in Latin, was discontinued in the mid-1960s after Catholics expressed concern that it had become too impersonal.” I’d like to know which lay Catholics expressed such concern; I never heard such a complaint from everyday Catholics in the pews.

  14. Mike Williams says:

    The Basilica in DC often has had the Agnus Dei in Latin, and the Gloria occasionally. It’s also not unheard of for all to chant the Salve Regina at the end of Mass. Oh, and the Lourdes Chapel, near the Crypt Church, has for some time now been the site of one of Washington’s Tridentine Masses.

  15. U of Maryland has a lot of vocations. FOCUS is very active on the campus. 2 of the novices for this year’s class of St. Joseph’s Province is from U of Maryland. We have an aspirant also going to school year.

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