Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Latin Mass at Sacred Heart

Thanks to the heads-up from blog contributor "Anonymous", I attended a Latin Mass at Sacred Heart on a Saturday evening a few weeks ago.

Contrary to my expectations (and perhaps contrary to the hopes of those who scheduled it for 7:30 pm on a Saturday evening in October), there were about 100 people present. The Filipina ladies in mantillas that I have always seen at Latin Masses in New York City were present, kindly distributing booklets at the door to facilitate comprehension and participation. Yes, the majority of those present were senior citizens with a sprinkling of middle aged people, but there were also a surprising number of families with young children and some teenagers. In a clever move, the organizers posted signs requesting that worshippers confine themselves to the first 10 pews on either side of the aisle, thus avoiding the dispiriting sight of the usual Catholic seating arrangement (i.e. as far away from everyone else as possible). A holy silence prevailed as I entered the church, but the extraordinary atmosphere for this extraordinary Mass couldn't prevent the teenagers and some adults from doing that infuriating, bastardized form of pseudo-Catholic genuflection (slightly bend a knee and then swat away imaginary flies from in front of your face).

Father Jerome, the pastor, was the celebrant and did a wonderful job. He admitted, during his short sermon, that he had to teach himself the Latin, and so he apologized for any mispronunciations he might have made. That was a telling statement. Would a priest go to the trouble of teaching himself to say the Latin Mass just to appease a few cranks once or twice every 2 years? Or does Father Jerome believe in its spiritual value and does he plan to re-introduce the Old Mass into his parish on a more regular basis? If he can draw 100 people on a Saturday night, how many would attend at 10:30 on Sunday morning?

The Mass was beautiful and serene. The usual organist was on duty, but she played mostly Latin hymns rather than the awful, un-singable stuff she usually chooses. People sang. It was a great experience, which I hope will be repeated. The Filipina ladies were asking for names and email addresses afterwards, in order to organize supporters to agitate for more of the Latin Mass. I haven't heard from them yet, but time will tell. The Mass was a great success which I hope will be the sign of a resurgence of Tradition in our local churches.


Anonymous said...

Amen! I attended and found it wonderful as well. The number that showed up was truly remarkable for a Saturday evening at 7:30PM. I wasn't able to stay afterward as I brought my parents--they loved it--and had to drive them home. Luckily I was able to thank and compliment Fr. Jerome before I left. I made it clear that I was excited about the prospect of being able to attend the TLM on the Island regularly (I said I hope it would be celebrated weekly--or even monthly. He said he's working on it, which I took as an encouraging sign).

I followed up by calling the parish office to ask when it would be celebrated again (emailed too) and tried to make my enthusiasm clear. Unfortunately whomever I spoke did not sound particularly excited about it (maybe it was just my perception..) and said it would not be celebrated again any time soon. I asked her to let Fr. Jerome know that there was interest in having the mass celebrated again; she said she would pass it on. Hopefully she did.

Staten Pilgrim said...

You were told that "it would not be celebrated again any time soon"???? Oh my gosh, these people are unbelievable. As I said, I find it hard to believe that Father Jerome would_learn Latin_just to say the Traditional Mass once every couple of years. It wouldn't make sense. But then you hear an "official" answer like that. It's bizarre. Well, the proof will be in the pudding, but kudos for letting Father Jerome know that the Mass was appreciated and that you would like to see more of it. We all need to do that. His email address is FATHERLOUIS@aol.com and his phone number is 718-442-0058.

Anonymous said...

I agree: I can't imagine he would have worked so hard if he didn't have a longterm plan in view. I've been checking the online bulletins for announcements but nothing yet.

Maybe (hopefully) the receptionist was just uninformed.

Thanks for the contact info: I'll certainly use to lobby some more for the TLM. I was looking for this email but wasn't able to find it.

Vocatus said...

I have confirmation that a TLM will be celebrated at Sacred Heart on Sat., Feb. 15, at 2PM.

Staten Pilgrim said...

How did you find out? Was it in the Sacred Heart bulletin?

I'm glad to hear it's being offered again, but I'm very disappointed to hear that the time will be even more inconvenient than the last one, which was at 7:30 on a Saturday night. Were the powers-that-be so upset at the successful turnout that they ordered it to be held on a Saturday afternoon which, by the way, does not fulfill one's Sunday obligation. This is baloney. And I wonder why I was not informed, since I gave my name and email address to the Filipina ladies so I could be informed of upcoming Masses.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vocatus said...

A relative of mine called yesterday to ask, and thinks it may have been the pastor who answered. It may be that he'd only just decided on the date; perhaps the ladies w/ the list (I didn't get to sign it last time) don't know yet - just speculation.

It's very difficult to tell what's going on; as you pointed out - I think, correctly - the pastor would not have taken the time to learn the mass if he were not serious and sympathetic to it. Then again, who knows what the message or vibe coming from "above" is.. And how much has changed in the past year! It's possible that he'd been planning this during Benedict's pontificate as a loyal implementation of the Holy Father's vision (scilicet Summorum Pontificum, hermeneutic of continuity etc.), and then all of a sudden the resignation........ Enter Franciscus: "carnival over," Holy Thursday foot washing afair, TLM fine for those sentimentally "attached" unless indicative of IDEOLOGY, FFI crushed because of "definite "traditionalist drift" ("crypto-Lefebvrists!")

So by the time the pastor was ready to celebrate, the times had changed. Perhaps it's not in line with making all things "new" (in Latin, "Novus").

Then again, he may not be aware of much of this; it not be on his radar screen at all. Perhaps it's just that all the other time slots are filled by Novus Ordo masses (each of which is already part of the weekly routine of segments of the parish), and he has to fit it in before confessions around 4PM and get ready for the vigil mass that comes after.

"Were the powers-that-be so upset at the successful turnout..." The most ominous, discouraging part of the FFI affair is that they had tons of YOUNG vocations, both religious (male and female) and priestly, and many enthusiasm-filled lay faithful flocking to their masses...

Anonymous said...

Surfed the net and found it: http://www.cny.org/stories/Latin-Mass-at-Sacred-Heart,10047

Looking forward to this!

Vocatus said...

TLM canceled; I'm seriously thinking of driving in to NJ on Sundays.

Staten Pilgrim said...

Cancelled?? Why? And how did you find out?

I wasn't about to go to this gimmick Mass, which didn't fulfill my Sunday obligation, as it was held at 2:15 on a Saturday afternoon.