Brick by Brick in Greenville

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 19.05.39There is a good article at

Old Latin past illuminates future for Catholic church [Great headline]

Tom Kelly felt like something was lost 50 years ago this month, when traditional Latin Mass was abandoned by the Roman Catholic Church with a Second Vatican Council ruling that Mass could be said in local languages with alternate choreography. [Alternate choreography.  That’s about it.  BTW… I just saw videos of the “liturgies” from the annual Three Days of Darkness in LA.]

The intention was to make the ceremony more accessible, more understandable, simpler, but connection that lasted through centuries evaporated. [The problem was, the reform that was mandated by the Council Fathers is not the reform that we received.]

Holy reverence and awe seemed to be exchanged for colloquial comfort. [I can’t think of other words… ]

Now, though, the formal worship is making a comeback in South Carolina and at Catholic churches worldwide.

The daily Latin Mass held at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors – among services that also include English and Spanish Mass – led Kelly and his family to move to the area.

It’s so very reverent,” said Kelly, a native of Long Island, New York, who moved with his wife Donna and children from Rutherfordton, North Carolina, to Taylors in 2005 to be closer to Latin Mass. “You can go to a Mass in New York, you can go in South Carolina, you can go in Rome, you can go in China and it doesn’t really matter. You’re attending the same Mass.”

“I can tell my children this is the Mass that all of the saints that they’re learning about in school would’ve been at,” said Joel Raines, a Campobello resident who travels with his wife, Marty, and four children to Prince of Peace almost weekly. “From my perspective with my kids, I try to tell them that the Catholic faith is 2,000 years old, but the Mass that we were taking them to was kind of new. It had contemporary music. It was English. It was like handing them a penny and telling them it’s a 300-year-old penny, but it looks shiny and new. It’s kind of hard to buy into that if you’re a kid.”

Now, though, as the smell of incense rises through the sound of Gregorian chants, they more easily sense that they are part of a tradition that’s been handed down from the second century.

Prince of Peace Catholic Church, with more than 2,000 families as members, is one of the few churches in the nation to celebrate a daily noon Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It’s one of only two in the state – Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church on Sullivan’s Island is the other – to celebrate the Latin Mass on a weekly basis.

Father Christopher Smith, formally installed as the parish’s pastor just last week after three years as administrator, said it’s helping the church grow.

“I think that there are as many reasons that people come to it as there are people,” Smith said. “One of the things that we’ve found very interesting is that a lot of older people who grew up with the Latin Mass and then switched to the vernacular when they were growing up, a lot of them are just not really interested in the Latin Mass anymore. What we’ve found – and this is the case all over the world – a lot of younger people tend to be attracted to the Latin Mass.

“What they tell us is they see a great sense of beauty and reverence and devotion, and also a sense of historical continuity. You know when you come to a Mass that’s celebrated in Latin that you’re praying the same prayers that saints from 1,500 years ago were praying when they went to Mass, in the same language. There’s a great sense of connectedness, and I think a lot of young people are searching for something very concrete and very deep in their spirituality. The Latin Mass fulfills a need that many of them gravitate towards.”


This is a great development.  Kudos to all!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I have met a few people that have moved just to be close to the Latin Mass. Let us enjoy it while it lasts. Most of the world is not as fortunate as US.

  2. “Holy reverence and awe seemed to be exchanged for colloquial comfort.”

    Ooh-Rah! That is probably the best explanation about what happened.

    And we see how that turned out, right?

    Been considering where to retire to in a few years…have to put this on the list of ‘places to visit to see if it is somewhere I can see myself living out my days’.

  3. Scott Woltze says:

    Whenever I read one of these articles, the journalist always mentions that the vast majority of mass-goers who grew up before the liturgical changes aren’t interested in attending the TLM. That’s true, but only part of the story. The whole story is that many of the fallen-away Catholics left precisely because they found the new mass (and other substantial changes to parish life) uninspiring. There was a “sorting” process whereby those who liked the changes stayed and those who didn’t left (to over-simplify things). So just because most of the over-55 set in pews are apathetic or even hostile to the TLM doesn’t mean the TLM is unattractive per se, just that that group has already voted with their feet by remaining in place.

    In fact, I tell a story on my conversion blog how I twice went to the TLM with a Medieval Humanities class while at Reed College. Afterwards, every student was blown-away and enthusiastic: including Jews, hippies and atheists. This happened twice: when I went with my own class, and then the following year when I went with my girlfriend’s class. Now can you imagine what their reaction would have been if we went to a typical Sunday mass at a suburban parish? The TLM (when done right) is intrinsically beautiful and unforgettable. As Fr. Z says, it’s a great tool of evangelization, and should be in the forefront of any bishop’s plan for reviving his diocese.

  4. Nicholas Frankovich says:

    Good observation by Scott Woltze, about the sorting-out process. My mother had been devout all her life but abruptly stopped going to Mass in the 1970s. She was always reticent about why. In general she was pretty determined to avoid arguments about religion (and politics, for that matter). It wasn’t until a few years ago that I made the connection. I explained about my mother to a friend, describing it as mysterious. His clear-eyed response was, “Uh, it was the Mass that changed in the 1970s, not your mother.”

    And add my name to the list of people who move to be close to the traditional Latin Mass. I relocated to Charleston last fall. I came down here assuming I would find an apartment downtown. But the only EF Mass in the area is at Stella Maris on Sullivan’s Island (the most beautiful beach town in the United States, by the way). There’s no rental on the island, but in the adjacent town I found what to my knowledge is the nearest apartment complex. The church is 4.5 miles away, a nice jog or bike ride. Thanks be to God and to the pastor, Monsignor McInerny.


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