From a reader….
Our vicar is a very devout priest from Poland but today I heard him saying “the ordinary form is enough for me”. What do you suggest to do in order to convince him to offer the Holy Mass in the extraordinary form of the roman rite?
GUEST PRIEST RESPONSE: Fr. Tim Ferguson
How to convince a priest to embrace the extraordinary form. Hmmm.
First, recognize that most priests are busier than they would like to be. The demands of the office are huge in the best of times – and there are always those things that priests wish they could attend to, but just don’t have time. Few priests go to bed at the end of a day thinking, “Yep, I’ve pretty much done everything I wanted to today.” I suppose that could be said of just about everyone.
If a priest looks at the extraordinary form of the Holy Mass as “one more thing to do,” it can be daunting. If he can look at it, however, as “this will enrich my priesthood,” then you might be on to something.
First he’ll need exposure to the extraordinary form. Is there one celebrated regularly nearby? At a convenient time? Could there be an opportunity for you to say, “Father, Ss. Processus and Martinian is offering a High Mass for the feast of St. Cuthbert next month on a Tuesday evening. We’d love to take you – you can sit in choir, and not have to do anything – then we’ll take you out for a nice dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. There are six of us going, and we’d love to have you join us.”
Don’t be pushy. If he says no, or digs his heels in, then back off – and pray. Pray for him.
Would it be possible to bring in a priest from outside to offer the extraordinary form at your church? Or maybe even invite in a priest familiar with the EF to have a chat with your priest? Nothing confrontational, just a chat. Sometimes priests, depending on their formation, get some wild ideas about what “those priests” are like. Meeting them, and coming to know them as just men, as good men, as normal men can wear down some of the misconceptions. Of course, make sure that the priest in question IS a good and normal man.
Unless he expresses an interest, don’t flood him with books, DVD’s, articles – the flood of material a priest receives is often overwhelming and it can be easy to just simply ignore unsolicited literature rather than engage it. Speak to him openly and honestly about your love for the EF, and what it has done for your relationship with God and your faith life.
And pray. Keep praying for him, even if he digs his heels in. Prayer can truly move mountains.