The Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Traditional Latin Mass, Old Form, whatever you want to call it) was celebrated in my parish for the first time in about 40 years!!
(It's kind of a big deal)
Now this I am excited about. ECSTATIC over!! This, is a dream come true for me!
Since my first experience with the TLM, I have been praying for it to spread to other parts of my diocese. My diocese is extremely large (10,419 sq. miles, 131 parishes, and approximately 330,000 Catholics), and there are currently only 3 parishes where the TLM is celebrated AT ALL, only one of which has it regularly (noon Mass on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. That's it). One has a monthly Saturday Mass (usually First Saturdays) and another just started having a weekly Sunday Mass. (Also, only 3 or 4 priests in our whole diocese know how to say the Latin Mass.) I currently drive an hour and a half to get to Latin Mass on Sundays (from the NO that I attend at 9am... I church-hop on a regular basis. NBD [to put it in perspective, in total I do an average of 4 hours of driving each Sunday... PHEW!]), and the milage on my car and the frequent gas-gauge-on-E show it. It's not easy commuting so far to see the old Liturgy, and I wish it was available closer.
[And no, it's not really okay for me to go without a TLM. I've learned that if I don't make it to a Latin Mass in 2 weeks, I go crazy and through withdrawals. Proven fact ;) ]
For the past few months, I, as well as a few others, have been trying to convince my priest (and Spiritual Director; you know, the one I talk about a lot) to learn the EF and to try it out. Since some of his parishioners don't like his already-Traditional style, he has been very VERY worried about taking such a leap. This evening, though, was awesome!
We had a wonderful, young, traditional, HOLY priest (from my TLM parish) drive 2 hours to celebrate Mass for us in the Extraordinary Form. He brought with him 3 servers, an MC, and members of the choir, as well as some laity to help lead the congregation. The MC gave a fantastic presentation before the Mass about the Liturgy and its history, as well as some aspects of Vatican II. Following the presentation, the congregation (of which we counted 70. There probably were more as many came in late) headed upstairs into the church to prepare for the Mass. And then it began.
Back up about two hours. I walked into the church at about 4:30 pm. My heart leaped. THE ALTAR!
Father's regal altar with its stunning Benedictine arrangement was turned around, fit for AD ORIENTEM! My heart was so happy to see this, that I had prayed and begged for for so long! Granted it was only to be for this evening, but WOW it was amazing.
Then it hit me. The Extraordinary Form is to be celebrated in MY parish! MY parish! I was brought nearly to tears to think this!
I was thrilled to be able to be present, and to see everything from a bird's-eye view, as I would be singing in the choir loft.
Like I said, over 70 people were in attendance. Mass began and we chanted the entrance hymn, then the introit, etc. As I expected, people didn't know when to sit or kneel, so many ended up standing for a while until someone cued them to kneel (LOL! I even told some to not sit first pew because they wouldn't know when to kneel, etc. I guess they didn't trust me... HAHA ). Overall, the community did a great job staying (fairly) focused from what I could see, and they figured out communion pretty well, so kudos for that. And HUGE kudos to my priest for learning the prayer for distributing Communion in Latin in like, 5 minutes. I'm Über impressed with him!
Reactions? Mixed, as I expected. One person said that once was enough for him (and that's fine; I'm just really glad that they showed up and were receptive to the idea. It doesn't have to be love-at-first-sight like it was for me), while others were hoping to see it again.
If anything, at least it sparked an interest in people (getting them to come to Church on a Thursday is a feat in and of itself!), and showed my priest that in fact, there are a number of people who would attend if he were to learn and celebrate the EF.
(HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM)
Please pray for my priest (Fr. T) to be guided by the Holy Spirit, and for him to learn and celebrate the EF if it is truly God's Will.
Thank you all so much for reading and for your prayers. Please also send prayers that God may bless the priest, servers, choir members, MC, and laity that made the 2-hour trek up North to do this. May God reward them.
~ (a very happy) SSWW