Sunday, December 15, 2013

Low Mass {+2 New Altar Boys}

Joseph assists Father Saguto with candle lighting before low Mass on Gaudete Sunday, Holyrood Cemetery Chapel.

After almost a year of training and memorizing the Latin responses, Joseph and his friend Jonah had the privilege of serving their first low Mass in the Extraordinary Form at dawn on Gaudete Sunday in a cemetery chapel about an hour and half from home.  This 'old' form of the Mass appeals in a very particular way to many young people, our boys included.

Benedict XVI re-opened the door for the 'old' Mass in 2007 with his Apostolic Letter Summorum Ponitificum.  Interestingly, Benedict XVI specifically noted the appeal of the Traditional Latin Mass for young Catholics:
"Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them." © Copyright 2007 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Joseph and Jonah assist Fr. Vreeland at low Mass on Gaudete Sunday in Edmonds, WA.

A look around the congregation in the Extraordinary Form Mass seems to validate that the 'old' form of the Mass appeals to young people.  The pews are packed with young Catholics, truly engaged and actively participating in the Mass.  Many young men eagerly assist at Mass as altar boys, a great privilege to be sure.  Even the very small children are seemingly drawn into the mysteries of the Mass and show age-appropriate reverence and participation. 

Another interesting phenomenon to note in an Extraordinary Form congregation is the average size of the families in attendance.  These authentic Catholic marriages ~ couples living true to their sacred vows with an 'openness to life' and the faithful rejection of artificial contraception and sterilization ~ are truly inspiring to see on such a large scale.  Extraordinary indeed, and while large Catholic families are not found only in Latin Mass congregations by any means, they simply seem more plentiful here.

Before heading off to high school seminary, our youngest son, Peter, had nearly completed his formal training to serve Latin Mass, and was very eager to do so.  However, his distance from home and the infrequency of his home-visit weekends means that he will have to wait, perhaps until next summer, to serve the Latin Mass.  Peter greatly anticipates serving at the Ordinary Form (English Mass) at our home town parish during his home-visit weekends, as his opportunities to serve at the seminary are somewhat scarce.  Joseph, too, remains active as an altar server in our home town parish, hopeful that someday the cassock and surplice will be welcomed back.
In what can only be explained as "God's perfect timing," or better yet, Divine Providence, on this very same Gaudete Sunday, Peter served his first Mass in a cassock and surplice, assisting at dawn in the seminary chapel.  The Extraordinary Form (or Traditional Latin Mass) has not returned to Westminster Abbey, BC, but the vestments worn by the altar boys there are still the traditional (masculine) cassock and surplice.  The extremely reverent, chanted Masses at Westminster Abbey follow the prescribed rubrics beautifully and solemnly, at a measured monastic pace which allows for prayerful contemplation throughout.  An extraordinary ordinary, so to speak.

Jonah and Joseph vested in cassocks for the first time.
How blessed we are to have a wide range of reverent and authentic Catholic Masses to attend daily; from our small local parish in Bellingham, to our FSSP Latin Mass parish in Seattle, to our son's Benedictine community in BC; we are part of an awesome and truly Universal Church.

1 comment:

Paul Orlowski said...

Congratulations to Peter. My brother Father Joseph said a Latin Mass at Holyrood Cemetery on November 1, the day after my brother Dennis was buried there.
What seminary is Peter going to? - Paul O