Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bishop of Arlington and the Tridentine Mass

[It would be nice to see this develop as a trend, with bishops taking the initiative. There are some points that could be discussed, about the council, about active participation, but I think the good Father's do a good job, and we can be thankful to them and to the bishop for their openess.]

By Mary Frances McCarthy
Herald Staff Writer
(From the issue of 3/23/06)

Something old is something new for St. Lawrence Parish in Alexandria and St. John the Baptist Parish in Front Royal.

As a result of Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde’s reflection on how the liturgy is celebrated in the diocese, he has asked Fathers Christopher Mould and Edward Hathaway (pictured at right) to celebrate a weekly 1962 Latin Mass — sometimes known as a Tridentine Mass — at St. Lawrence and St. John Parishes, where they serve as pastors, respectively.

“… Wishing to make available to the faithful all of the options which the Church permits … I will extend the Church’s permission to allow the use of the 1962 Missal at one Mass each Sunday (at St. Lawrence and St. John the Baptist Churches),” the bishop said in a letter to the diocese. “Recognizing the riches which the 1962 Latin Mass offers, I pray that the spiritual needs and aspirations of those drawn to this liturgy will be met.”

“It is the bishop’s initiative,” Father Hathaway said. “He saw the need and is putting the (1962 Latin Mass) into effect.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It is something new for St. John Parish and gives people another option — hopefully to enrich our Sunday worship.”

A papal directive was issued by John Paul II in 1984 setting strict conditions for the use of the 1962 Latin Mass, which was replaced by the Missal of Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council. The main condition for those seeking to celebrate the old form was that they must accept the teachings of Vatican II and the validity of the Mass in its new rite.

“I am glad to help make this form of the Mass available to those who are attracted to it,” Father Mould said.

In his 1988 Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei, Pope John Paul II asked for a “wide and generous application” of his earlier directives permitting the use of the Latin-language 1962 form of Mass.

“John Paul II gave an indult (papal permission) that is meant to legitimize the aspiration of people and Bishop Loverde has agreed that people have the liturgical right to the Tridentine rite as a legitimate spirituality,” Father Hathaway said. “People can embrace the Second Vatican Council and also find a spiritual Mass celebrated in the Tridentine form. Bishop Loverde is extending that right and I think there will be a lot of rejoicing.”
While some might think that the 1962 Mass would be attended mostly by those born before Vatican II for nostalgic reasons, Father Hathaway believes there is a spiritual pull, not just an academic or sentimental attraction, to the 1962 Latin Mass.

“Some like to pray in Latin,” he said. “There is an interest in the spiritual heritage and patrimony as expressed in the Tridentine rite. Particularly those born after Vatican II, I think they’ll be curious of this history.”

Father Mould also warns that attendance at a 1962 Mass should not be simply a journey back in time to one’s childhood.

“The use of this ritual should not be a matter of nostalgia, but an encouragement of understanding of the mystery of our faith,” he said.

The principal Mass on Sundays at St. John Church already includes parts in Latin and Father Hathaway feels that is important.

“We shouldn’t lose in 50 years the language that was in place for 1,500 years,” he said. “The Latin language connects us in space and time with Catholics around the globe and in history. That said, many prefer to pray in the language they speak at home too. There are a lot of desires that can be united in a variety of Catholic worship.”

For those who may be concerned that the diocese may be turning back in time instead of advancing by allowing the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated, Father Hathaway said, “It is not a step backward. It is extending the universal Church and in no way denying the statements of the Second Vatican Council.”

“I see the goal of this Mass as partial fulfillment of the Second Vatican Council’s call for full, conscious, active participation in the Mass,” Father Mould said.
While he feels that the widespread use of the vernacular allowed many people a better understanding of the Mass and allowed them to participate more fully, “for many people, the use of the Latin and older rituals also allow a deeper participation,” Father Mould said.

“Understanding the words in one’s native language is only one level of one’s understanding of the Mass,” Father Mould said. “The mystery of our faith is not captured fully by hearing the words once or even hundreds of times. Respect for mystery and transcendence may be appreciated in silence and in the use of language and rituals that have stood the test of time.”

The most noticeable difference between the 1962 Latin Mass and the Mass that has been celebrated since the Second Vatican Council is that the priest as well as the lay participants all face the “liturgical east”, that is, toward the tabernacle.

“The sun rises in the east and Christ, the Son of God, is also compared in Scripture to the Sun of Justice. The direction of prayer turns us to the light that comes from the Lord,” said Father Paul deLadurantaye, Secretary for Religious Education and the Sacred Liturgy. “All things should be oriented to Christ.”
In addition to the language, the actions of the Mass and rituals of the priest are different. Priests must undergo training to learn how to celebrate the 1962 Mass.

“I’ve been a priest for almost 15 years so it’s kind of weird to be learning how to say Mass again,” Father Hathaway said, but he said he is looking forward to learning the older Rite.

The 1962 Latin Mass includes additional prayers at the beginning of Mass, usually Psalms, and Mass is ended with the Prologue of the Gospel of Saint John, John 1:1-14, read after the dismissal. There is also an option of adding the Leonine Prayers: the Prayer to St. Michael and three Hail Marys at the conclusion of the Mass. Pope Leo XIII added these prayers and in 1930 Pope Pius XI specified that they be prayed for the intention of the conversion of Russia.

There are various forms of the 1962 Latin Mass — the two most common are the low Mass and the high Mass. Initially the low Mass, which is mostly recited with little music, will be celebrated in the Arlington Diocese. One priest and one altar server will be involved in the celebration of the Mass. The server will have to learn the Latin responses and new ritual actions. As priest celebrants and servers gain more familiarity with the prayers and rites of the 1962 Mass, other forms of the Mass may be celebrated.
While the readings and Gospel will be read in Latin, they may be reread in English before the homily. It has not been decided if both the readings and the Gospel will be translated.

“Many who attend would probably have missals with translations so that they could follow along,” said Father deLadurantaye.

He said there have been requests by members of the diocese to have a 1962 Latin Mass for many years, even before Bishop Loverde came to Arlington.

“In October, the Synod on the Eucharist asked us to take a look at the Eucharist in our lives,” Father deLadurantaye said. “Bishop Loverde thought it was an appropriate and fitting time to allow the options in our diocese that the Church as a whole allows. It will meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of the faithful that have been requesting the 1962 Mass in the diocese.”

Those wishing to attend a Tridentine Mass have had to travel to Old St. Mary Church in Washington or to churches in the Richmond Diocese in the past.
The first Tridentine Mass will be celebrated at St. Lawrence Parish on April 30, the feast of St. Pius V. A time has not been determined.

The first Tridentine Mass at St. John the Baptist Church will be celebrated on Aug. 6. A time for the weekly Mass will be chosen once Father Hathaway consults with his parishioners.

Original Story: 1962 latin mass

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