Brick by brick in New Haven

I am on a plane waiting to take off so I can’t give this the usual treatment. I will add that later.

But this is a brick by brick moment.

Folks, in about five years or so we are going to see huge changes taking place.

Most of you seasoned readers of WDTPRS will find some of the strong points and weak points, but this is good.

From the Globe Gazette:

Ancient Rite Returns: Mass celebrated in Latin

Father Ray Atwood says a return to the periodic Latin Mass may help parishioners reconnect with their liturgical roots. He said the Mass on Sunday at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in New Haven. (DEB NICKLAY/The Globe Gazette )
NEW HAVEN — At St. Peter’s Catholic Church in New Haven, Father Ray Atwood, dressed in the deep purple of the Lenten season, began the Mass on Sunday:

“In nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti; Introibo ad altare Dei (In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. I will go in unto the Altar of God).”

For the better part of an hour, the Mass was spoken almost entirely in its original form — Latin — called the Tridentine, or Latin, Mass.

About 50 people attended the Mass at the small Mitchell County church, a rite celebrated every fifth Sunday for the cluster of churches that make up the Holy Rosary parishes.

For those who are not Catholic, it is a rite seldom heard. The Mass was celebrated for centuries until the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. At that time, the “vernacular” Mass was adopted, allowing the Mass to be spoken in a language familiar to the parish congregants.

Pope Benedict XVI, however, has since 2007 begun to encourage churches to celebrate the Mass periodically.

“I believe the Pope wants us to experience both forms; to see the history of the Roman rite,” Atwood said.

The word “Tridentine” refers to the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic ecumenical council that standardized the Latin Mass in the mid-1500s. The Mass was used until the Second Vatican Council.

The church began offering the fifth Sunday Mass in November, at the start of Advent — and it has not been without challenges.

Celebrating a Mass in Latin instead of English is not the only difference in the rites, Atwood said. The church liturgical calendar and ritual itself have distinct flavors, he said.

During a Latin Mass, the priest faces largely away from the congregation toward the Eucharist — the blood and body of Christ — known as the “liturgical east.” There is more time given to contemplation. Communion is given only at the altar rail.

The altar moved forward and the priest turned toward the congregation after the Second Vatican Council.

Atwood, fortuntely, is well-grounded in the Latin Mass, having said it frequently when he served as associate priest in Dyersville.

Technology helped to bring the Latin rite into the church, said Pat Wickham of New Haven, one of the choir members whose job it was to learn the Latin responses.

“Fortunately, we were able to put (the responses) on CDs so everyone could have one — and that helped tremendously,” she said.

She is one of 10 choir members who have labored to learn the Latin. All were intimidated at first, they said, but have worked hard to be proficient.

“And our organist, Betty Condon, makes everyone sound good,” said one of the members.

“It’s been hard but there are those who really enjoy the Mass,” said Marilyn Johanns, another choir member from New Haven.

Atwood finds the Latin Mass not a replacement for the vernacular but another option that helps widen the worship experience.

“For me,” Atwood said, “it is a rediscovery of our liturgical heritage.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    What a nice result, and most encouraging; gratifying to get a break in the press report.

  2. TNCath says:

    “She is one of 10 choir members who have labored to learn the Latin. All were intimidated at first, they said, but have worked hard to be proficient.”

    Honestly, our little choir of 10, primarily elderly, people sounds much better when singing in Latin than in English.

  3. DanW says:

    It would be nice if someday this is in every parish in the Archdiocese

  4. FrCharles says:

    As a native New Havenite (CT) I was very excited at first, especially since I think our “St. Peter’s” is Episcopalian! But then I figured it out and said a prayer of thanks to my New Haven brethren in Iowa. –Fr. Karolus Novi Portus

  5. wanda says:

    We are already being blessed here in our Parish cluster. Our young Pastor – over 2 Churches -had begun saying EF Mass in a small chapel under our sister Church. It has grown to the degree that now he celebrates the Mass upstairs in the main Church on the fifth Sunday of every month!

    In MD, near Baltimore.

    Deo gratias!

  6. rinkevichjm says:

    The choir sounds better merely because Latin is a highly inflected language. If you don’t think so here’s an example of singing the hymn “My dearest Lady, Heavenly Queen”(Lithuanian Text) MP3/Flash (Lithuanian has 7-10 cases, singular/plural(/dual), and 5 declensions or 70+ different inflections)

  7. chironomo says:

    For those who are not Catholic, it is a rite seldom heard.

    What an odd statement? Are we to assume then that the OF is often heard by those who aren’t Catholic? Then again, when you think about it….

  8. Lucas says:

    wanda: What church if you don’t mind me asking? I’ve been trying to find a church near Baltimore.

  9. wanda says:

    I don’t mind a bit. In the city of Baltimore itself you can check out St. Alphonsus Shrine on Saratoga Street. The Mass I mentioned here in our suburb south of Baltimore is at Church of The Good Shepherd in Glen Burnie. This is the one held on the 5th Sunday of the month. (Or on Thursday mornings at 7:00 a.m. It’s our Pastor’s day off! How selfless is that?) You may visit each of their websites for more information and phone numbers, etc. I’m sure there are more that I’m not aware of. Blessings on your quest.

  10. maynardus says:

    Father, It’s interesting to hear you say that “in about five years or so we are going to see huge changes taking place”. When I was intereviewed on the radio in Boston on 7/7/07 I predicted that we would be seeing a noticeable increase in vocations over the next five years. It’s really too soon for any meaningful statistics to bear this out, but from everything I hear there are indeed plenty of things stirring in plenty of places. I’m wondering if you were thinking along the same lines or something even better?

    Summorum Pontificum has indeed been a great gift to the whole Church. The T.L.M. is proliferating and it is especially edifying to see what is happenning in the most unlikely places; e.g. otherwise loopy parishes with, perhaps, one orthodox young priest and a few devout old ladies. First there is a weekday Mass one night a week, then an occasional Sunday Mass at an odd time, then a regular Sunday Mass with a small but trong core of “regulars”. This sequence used to be played-out over several years under the Quattour Abhinc Annos/Ecclesia Dei indults, but now I see this happening in 3-6 months in some places. And the remnants of “The Age of Aquarius” are trembling in their Birkenstocks!

  11. TJerome says:

    I like the way the author described the priest’s orientation during Mass. I get so tired of reading about that old “back to the people” canard.T om

  12. Athelstan says:

    How the traditional mass is growing is about what I expected: steady, considerable growth; but still on a limited scale, almost always at the request of small but highly motivated groups of laity, most of them long denied the option with a slow accretion in new interested persons. The fact is: even post-SP, the TLM has a tough time cutting through the static, and it’s easy to remain off most lay Catholics’ radar if they do not go out of their way to learn about it.

    This brings me to Fr. Z’s longstanding observation: Summorum Pontificum is a gift especially to *priests*, and it is there that it will work its most lasting changes in the Church.

    Priests were probably the aspect of the mainstream life of the Church buffeted most by the post-conciliar winds of change. The Council and its implementation raised up the authority of bishops and laypeople; but priests were in some critical ways diminished – theologically, ecclesiologically, liturgically. In this regard it is no surprise that vocations have suffered.

    But as more young new priests become acquainted with the TLM, we will see a lot more of what we have already begun to see: Priests launching regular parish TLM masses on their *own initiative*. And this in turn will make it much more visible to the laity, who will experience the beauty of the traditional mass (hopefully as high mass or missa cantata) for the first time. And in turn they will begin judging the ordinary form more and more by its sensibility.

    Critics on the (theological) left will retort: This is really change from the top down, and as such how is it really any different from the kind of top-down change of 1965-1975 you traddies complain about? And that is easy to answer. First, no one is taking away the ordinary form as a regular, dominant option – in 1970 no one was given an alternative. Second, *this* change at least has the virtue of being consonant with the whole 2,000 year sweep of our Catholic liturgical heritage, as opposed to a theoretical imagining (even if accurate) of what (some) believe liturgy was like in the very first years of the Church – what Pius XII warned against as an undue “archeologism.”

    And so: yes, I do agree that in the next 5-10 years we are going to see quite a shift. And in this next phase, it will be largely the work of new young priests. Who in turn will inspire the vocations of yet more new young priests.

  13. For those who are not Catholic, it is a rite seldom heard.

    Not quite sure what that means.

  14. robtbrown says:

    Question for priests:

    Do the altars (cf 1962 Missal) and the tables (cf. 1970 Missal) tend to be the same height?

  15. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Those CDs are a big help for those of us who labor to follow gregorian chants neumes & square notation.

  16. An American Mother says:

    There are lots of different reasons that Latin sounds better than English in singing.

    Most of us come from all over the U.S. and even further afield, so that our English pronunciation isn’t standardized. Every region of the U.S. has its problems with English in singing — but in the South we have particular problems with diphthongs, with the pronunciation of the long “I”, and in the northern (more mountainous) sections a very nasal twang.

    Also, sounds in English vary depending not only on where you’re from, but which word is being pronounced.

    Latin standardized on an Italianate pronunciation solves both those problems.

    And any singer will tell you that Italian is the easiest language to sing — so Italianate Latin is running very close behind.

    Another problem is that English composers (except the very best ones) seem to have problems marrying the English words to the music. Especially when somebody’s trying to translate. The most prominent exceptions to this are the 17th c. English composers, whose motets are a perfect marriage of text and tune (Tallis “O Lord Give Thy Holy Spirit” and Farrant “Hide Not Thou Thy Face” are excellent examples) — and the German hymn translations by Catherine Winkworth, who somehow preserved meaning, rhythm, and rhyme all at once.

    But the best rule of thumb is, “Sing it in the language in which it was composed!” That right there will solve a host of problems.

  17. Mitchell NY says:

    What a fantastic idea the cd’s. They cost little and are a great way of mixing the modern, cd technology and the ancient, Latin, the language of our Mass. I love this idea. Good news for the people of New Haven. I am still waiting to hear something good coming from our new Archbishop here in NY in regards to the Tridentine Mass. From what I see he is pretty silent and nothing is listed about it on the Archdiocease website, not Brooklyn. The 1996 Mass in St. Patrick’s showed then by overflowing onto the streets outside that even the city’s Cathedral could not contain the enthusiam and love people here in NY have for Tridentine Mass.

  18. Eyeawa says:

    We live about 90 miles from this church. The article was on the front page of the Globe Gazette today. Father, your question: “For those who are not Catholic, it is a rite seldom heard”, with the closeknit towns , everyone knowing everyone, funerals and weddings are attended by many faiths. The older non-catholics remember the Latin Mass.

  19. Lucas says:

    Wanda: Thanks, but they are still a bit to far for me. I was hoping for something a little closer to Ellicott City or Columbia. The church in Columbia leaves a lot to be desired.

  20. wanda says:

    Lucas: You’re not that far from us. Twenty minutes via Rte. 100 maybe, Columbia is a little farther. As an alternate, have you been to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ilchester? The Pastor there was ‘our’ Pastor a few years back. What a beautiful, holy Priest he is, I lost it when he said he was being transferred. He celebrates Mass in the most reverent, holy way, it’s hard to describe. The way he tenderly, lovingly cradles the Chalice and touches the know it’s Jesus.

    Do yourself a huge, huge favor and please visit there. They have a great website with a personal greeting from the Pastor. Blessings.

  21. wanda says:

    Lucas, I should have written on Ilchester Road in Ellicott City! But I think the area is called Ilchester. Try it!

  22. MikeM says:


    If you visit St. Alphonsus in Baltimore, there is a parking lot near there that opens itself to St. Alphonsus attendees. They have the EF every Sunday at 11AM, and it’s a beautiful church. I certainly understand the obstacle of the distance, but if you get the chance to go there, I think it’s a really nice church.

  23. Lucas says:

    Unfortunately I work Sunday mornings so I can’t make St Alphonsus. I am working on changing my schedule now though since I have a 18month old.

    I’ll look into Perpetual Help, I’ve been to the website before.

  24. ikseret says:

    Mitchell NY, we have quite a few regular TLMs in the Archdiocese of NY (albeit not mentioned on the webpage):
    Manhattan: Holy Innocents, Guardian Angel, St. Agnes
    Bronx: Mt. Carmel, Fordham
    Yonkers: St. Eugene
    Port Chester: Sacred Heart
    Sleepy Hollow, Tuxedo, etc. (This just come to mind.)
    But, I hope for more too!

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