Here is some nice brick by brick news from Seattle.
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer with my emphases and comments.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Last updated 1:59 p.m. PT
Dominus vobiscum: Latin mass returns to Seattle
By JOEL CONNELLY
The chants are stuff of childhood memory for today’s middle-aged Catholics, but a ritual that has lately been resurrected and restored in the Archdiocese of Seattle — the Tridentine rite Latin high mass.
In what he calls a "personal parish, not a geographic parish," Archbishop Alex Brunett a year ago authorized patient advocates of restoring the Latin liturgy to form North American Martyrs parish in Seattle.
About 500 people packed into its temporary home, St. Alphonsus Church in Ballard, on Friday night as Brunett presided over a stirring, deeply spiritual high mass. [It is nice to read something like this in a major newspaper. Notice that the writer doesn’t lead with "it was really strange".] Saber-bearing Knights of Columbus in full regalia escorted the procession. Gregorian music wafted down from the choir loft, while sweet-smelling incense filled the air.
Many women’s heads were draped in lace. Young children, present in large numbers, were quiet as, well, church mice. There were no response readings by the congregation. No laypeople walked to the microphone to read scripture.
The congregation’s participation could be described in two words, prayerful and contemplative.
Only to the once-familiar words "Dominus vobiscum" (May the Lord be with you) did the congregation deliver a full voiced reply, "Et cum spiritu tuo" (And with thy spirit).
The priests, as in pre-Vatican II days, faced the altar. Why? "The same reason a bus driver faces the road and not the passengers: The priest is leading the congregation to the Mount of Calvary," explained Fr. Gerard Saguto, the parish pastor, who arrived from Indiana a year ago.
Fr. Seguto hails from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an order of priests founded by Pope John Paul II in 1988 to minister to the increasing demand for the mass in its older form.
In the past several decades, liturgical reform has swept out the old and ushered in a not-always-satisfying new [well put] in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Episcopal Church, which shares many of its worship patterns.
The result has been the "Kumbaya cult" of guitar liturgies with emphasis on informality. Often with a tin ear, language of worship has been "modernized" and adjusted to meet the requirements of political correctness. [This guy has got it figured out!]
A substantial number of the faithful have hoped that older forms of worship could at least be tolerated.
A prominent Episcopalian, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, has lamented the appearance of what he calls "an ordinary and genderless God."
In the Catholic church, the Tridentine rite has hung on for four decades until it received long-sought restoration from Pope Benedict XVI.
Where it survived, from St. Mary Mother of God parish in Washington, D.C., to Old St. Patrick’s in New Orleans — even St. Mary’s Cathedral in far off Sydney, Australia — the pews have been packed.
"We have about 150 regulars, and much larger attendance for a special occasion such as this," said Archbishop Brunett.
Nearby, Fr. Saguto was assuring a visitor: "We’ll get a mass in Tacoma."
The appeal of the Latin mass, in Fr. Saguto’s words, is "an evocation of the sacred." "Look at the world," he added. "There has been a loss of the sense of the sacred, the need for God. The mass conveys a real sense of that need . . . It is raising the heart and the mind to God."
At the well-attended Sunday night mass in St. James Cathedral, known for Gregorian music beautifully sung by a women’s choir, lay people read scripture. Members of the congregation join hands at the Lord’s Prayer. Priests and worshippers exchange a handshake of peace.
The Tridentine rite as practiced by North American Martyrs parish is different. The movement of priests and acolytes around the altar is intricate. There is no spontaneity. "There’s a very intense focus on the sacrificial nature of the mass, of Christ’s presence," said Fr. Saguto.
At a fast-busting dessert reception after Friday night’s mass, Archbishop Brunett joked about Western Washington’s Catholics. "I spend time with Korean Catholics, I spend time with Filipino Catholics, we have a large and growing Hispanic population: We are a very diverse people, and I try to accommodate them," he said.
North American Martyrs parish celebrates a high mass at 11:30 a.m. every Sunday at St. Alphonsus. Archbishop Brunett, 75, is waiting for his successor to be chosen, but told the congregation he hopes to preside when the new parish moves to a church home of its own.
The battle over Latin liturgy has produced rifts in places. In Paris, a breakaway group, the Society of St. Pius X, celebrates the Tridentine Latin mass a few blocks from Notre Dame. In response, the cathedral holds its own Gregorian mass on Sunday mornings. [Post hoc ergo propter hoc?]
Una Voice of Western Washington, a group led by lay people, spent years patiently working to see the Tridentine mass restored. Supplanted by a simpler Latin liturgy during Vatican II (the Second Vatican Council), the rite was brought back by Pope Benedict XVI, who encouraged its use.
Archbishop Brunett praised its local advocates. "The Latin mass community of the Archdiocese of Seattle has been led by lay people, responsible people," he said in his sermon.
"The mass should have a dignity: It should direct us to the Lord in the fullness of our faith," the archbishop added. "No matter how we celebrate the Mass, it should be celebrated with dignity and respect . . . It should be done with reverence and respect."
North American Martyrs parish takes its name from 17th Century French priests who gave their lives carrying their faith to "New France." Several were horribly tortured and scalped.
Joel Connelly can be reached at 206-448-8160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kudos to the writer.