So we’ve been attending Latin Mass (i.e. the extraordinary form of the 1962 Missal). One of the CTales readers wanted me to talk a little bit about our new move toward the Latin Mass. So here goes:
We registered at Mater Dei Catholic Church, a parish served by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP). The move was not based on idealism or nostalgia. Nor did we seek it out in reaction to anything we had experienced. (There was, of course, that “Grover moment” that prepared me to at least give the Latin Mass a fair trial. Read about that here: Initial Doubts about the Latin Mass.) We tried it out and found that we loved it.
We simply wanted a parish where we were challenged to become saints. It’s not really about the Latin per se. (I teach Latin, so I am rather partial to it.) Instead, it’s about priests who constantly shepherd us as if their salvation depended upon it. If I could give one reason for why we go to Mater Dei, it would be the priests. Father Longua and Father Wolf are excellent. Each of them keep the parish focused on salvation, not on the minutia of being “traditionalists.”
Here are seven reasons why I like the “Latin Mass” parish:
- Confession is offered every day for at least an hour and the priests constantly challenge us to go to confession, at least weekly. Confession is offered before, during, and after Holy Mass. After every daily Mass, the priest returns from the sacristy, prays at the foot of the altar, turns to the people and says, “I’ll be in the confessional.” For me, this is a profound sign of priestly dedication. He doesn’t want to shake our hands or take compliments, he wants us to be reconciled to God. Let me add that I’m not saying that non-FSSP priests don’t do this. I’ve known many great parish priests who are in the confessional every day. I’m just saying that the FSSP priests seem to have this dedication consistently.
- The homilies are good and there is no fluff. It’s straight forward: heaven/hell, grace/sin, virtue/vice, be holy in the world, root out sin in your life, etc.
- Communion is received kneeling, on the tongue, and from the hand of the priest. When I was an Anglican, we received kneeling and I have never adjusted to standing for Holy Communion as a Catholic. The moment of Holy Communion becomes more reverent and shows honor to Christ.
- The parish promotes devotions like Eucharistic Adoration, Benediction, Holy Rosary, Novenas, Scapular, Marian devotions, etc.
- Since confession is offered so frequently, our family is going to confession on an almost weekly basis. I am finding that this is the secret to happy family life. The priests have also given me many tips and pointers on how to establish a nightly family Rosary.
- The music is well-prepared and beautiful. Our voices aren’t drowned out by someone up front with a microphone. This fact alone is an incentive to sing and sing loudly.
- Whenever the Latin Mass comes up, you sometimes hear Catholics say: “Well, I love the Latin Mass, I just can’t stand the Latin Mass people! They are so judgmental!” I’ve even said this before. However, we have not experienced any more “judgmentalism” there than anywhere else. No doubt, we’ve received “the evil eye” from people because of our five children are squirming around at the Latin Mass. But, heh, we got that at the Novus Ordo. So far, nobody has come up to me after Holy Mass and started in on why Latin is God’s language, or how Vatican 2 is evil, etc. It’s been pretty normal. In fact…dare I say it…the Latin Mass crowd is generally more friendly toward the children. They like to see large, growing families.
I’d love to hear more for yall. Have you attended a Latin Mass parish? What did you think? Was your experience positive or negative?