GUEST POST: A 1st Traditional Latin Mass experience – at Holy Innocents in Manhattan, NYC

I received this from a reader:

First of all, thank you for your blog. It has been tremendously instructive and encouraging for myself and many of my friends.

I attended my first Traditional Latin Mass just over a year ago and it completely changed how I approach my faith. Since then I have tried to encourage my Catholic friends to attend as well, in the hopes that they experience the same “conversion,” if I may call it that.

This morning I brought a friend to the Sung Mass at the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan. I wasn’t sure how she would react – after all, you never know where someone is in their spiritual journey, and she had been apprehensive about being able to follow the Latin – and we were both silent for a time after leaving the church. Then, unprompted, she said, “I want to go here all the time. Kneeling for Communion, I got the sense that this is what it’s supposed to be like, this sense of awe. And the church is so beautiful! It really felt like Jesus was here with me and I could talk to Him.” She continued in this vein all the way back to campus (we’re both college students; it is my dream and prayer to one day have a TLM at our Newman Center). It was a powerful reminder to me of just how much the Mass offers us (TLM and Novus Ordo alike) and how blessed we are to have it.

Thanks again for all you do. You and your readers are in my prayers.

We need many and widespread celebrations of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  The Traditional Latin Mass will be a principle tool of revitalization of our sacred worship, without which there can be no meaningful revitalization of our Catholic identity or lasting New Evangelization.

Holy Innocents in Manhattan is a success story: it is reviving even through the area of Manhattan had a massive demographic shift and it is a spiritual oasis for many who commute to and through. Now that Fr. Rutler has the reins there, Holy Innocents could be poised for greater things.

See my most recent post about the church and one of my experiences there. HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Attended the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Rita of Cascia in Alexandria, Virginia, last evening. The Extraordinary Form is offered there every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

    One of the altar boys couldn’t have been more than nine years old, but seemed to have no trouble keeping up. Let us pray that the Traditional Mass can continue to inspire future generations of Catholics (and for their successful discernment of vocations!) as well as revivifying Catholics of my generation who are still shaking the effects of the silly 1970s.

  2. Sonshine135 says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Brick by brick! “I want to go here all the time.” Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be? The young people are going to save the Church. Many of the TLM Priests are the newbies just out of the seminary and they are attracting the college kids and us 30-somethings that never grew up with the Latin Mass. Thank you to the reader for this post.

  3. Gregorius says:

    This weekend I am taking a few friends of mine to their first TLM, a sung Mass. I pray that their hearts be open to it. Can any of you readers give advice for talking about this sort of thing to them?

  4. The Astronomer says:

    They’re a blessed parish. I used to be the MC for Fr. Rutler and other great traditional priests at the old Gothic wooden structure Church of St. Agnes on E43rd St. near Grand Central Station for the weekly Sunday Usus Antiquor Mass. Fond memories of choking on incense wafting up from the thurible while coping with bad winter colds…and I LOVED every minute of it.

    Old St. Agnes unfortunately burned down circa 1992 due to an electrical fire, but was replaced by a neo-Romanesque church equally beautiful in its own right patterned after the Church of Il Gesù in Rome.

  5. Priam1184 says:

    @Mike With regard to the altar servers in the Tridentine Rite my father told me a story about that. He told me that he served Mass in the pre-Novus Ordo days and that he had to undergo six months of training to learn the Latin responses all by heart, pronounce them perfectly, and know what they meant, plus everything else that a server must do. I asked him how old he was when he did this: seven years old! And now our wonderful world doesn’t care a jot whether or not people can even speak or read English when they graduate from high school… The widespread use of the Extraordinary Form would do so much to revitalize our society.

  6. Uxixu says:

    I was similarly moved by attending a somewhat local (about 20 miles away) Extraordinary Form mass. I not only hope to help establish a stable group of laity to entice the pastor to allow a regular EF mass but find myself constantly contemplating the diaconate.

  7. Holy Innocents may be poised for greater things– or it could be closed altogether. I picked up a bulletin in Manhattan last week that reveals that the archdiocese has a goal of reducing the number of parishes in Manhattan from 89 to 62. The fact that Father Rutler was given another parish at the same time and is only a non-resident administrator at Holy Innocents is a bad sign in my estimation. I know that lots of money has been spent restoring Holy Innocents of late, but the handwriting is still on the wall. Perhaps Holy Innocents might survive as a “worship site” and not a full parish, but I would not count on it. As Fr. Z always says, Jesus only guaranteed that the Church as a whole will survive– he did not guarantee that any particular parish or even any diocese would survive. A similar bloodletting is in process in the archdiocese of Philadelphia. We need to pray that the Church will begin to grow strong again and that she will actually grow in numbers and holiness as well.

  8. Hey everyone,

    Since the guest poster mentioned he/she wanted a TLM at their Newman Center, perhaps this will put a little inspiration for the both of them:

    This is a report I did on my blog for a Solemn TLM I did with my choir, St. Patrick’s Gregorian Choir, in Toronto (Which was featured once as part of a linked article on Fr. Z from either 2007 or 2011). I frequently hang out at the Newman Center and was grateful the pastor allowed this to happen and I got to serve it with my choir. With the right support, either student and/or pastor or student campus ministry head, (and generally, students associated with the Newman Centers in North America are more on the orthodox, practice-what-they-preach kind of Catholicism), it will happen! Pax tibi Christ.

  9. Mike says:

    In re collegiate offerings of the Traditional Latin Mass, the Extraordinary Form is offered several times each semester in Copley Crypt Chapel at (mirabile dictu!) Georgetown University, thanks in large part to the enthusiastic efforts of a (currently) small but robust student community of exactly the sort to which OP Julian Barkin alludes. There is hope in our day.

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  11. Per Signum Crucis says:

    I happened to see a copy of the LMS Magazine ‘Mass Of Ages’ the other day and the UK experience seems geared towards establishing at least one EF ‘shrine’ in each diocese rather than going for one EF in every parish every week (although that would be the long-term goal). This seems an eminently sensible approach; in the meantime, perhaps emphasising the devotional or contemplative aspects of the EF might also be a pathway to wider practice.

  12. Jamey Brown says:

    Fr. Z, does your comment imply that you weren’t the Celebrant on All Saint’s Day at Holy Innocent’s Church? If you weren’t I will change the post and I am sorry. Two ladies told me after Mass that it was you.

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