Thursday, November 8, 2007

'Great Mass, Father!'

I think if Father Martin Fox of Piqua (near Dayton), Ohio, were hanging about here, he and I might enter into some boisterous debates on governmental philosophies, but I sure like the way he trains his altar boys.

Today St. Mary had its monthly Mass in Latin (per current Missal of Paul VI); only it was also a Mass for the schoolchildren, because they have no school on Friday.

Last week, I asked the principal if he saw a problem; he said no problem, it will be fine.

I prepared a shorter handout, since we only have about 50 booklets with all the prayers, and it would be a chore to make up another 150 more. To accommodate the children, I did the preface in English, and the Our Father and the prayers immediately afterward, but the opening rites were in Latin, as was the dialogue and the Eucharistic Prayer, and the conclusion. Right before Mass, I made sure all the children had the handouts, and I made a brief announcement explaining what we were doing. "By the way, you already know some of the Latin. Do you know how to say "Amen" in Latin? "Amen." "Alleluia"? "Alleluia." "Kyrie"? "Kyrie."

I also did a votive Mass for St. Martin de Porres, because here in the Archdiocese [of Cincinnati], the Dedication of the Cathedral takes precedence on his day (although I realize many priests don't observe that, but they should). So it's perfectly legitimate to celebrate Martin on another day, so long as there is no other saint or feast on that other day.

After Mass, two of the servers practically ambushed me in the sacristy: "Father, we loved that!" What did you like? "We liked the Latin." Why? "It really made us pay attention." And when I said, okay, we might do it again, they said: "can we serve when you do?"

A bit later, I stopped into the school office, and a boy came in. "Great Mass, Father!" Really, I said, what made it great? "The Latin; and when you did this"--he meant the Eucharistic Prayer--"I thought you were going to say the usual words, but you didn't!"

Sheesh--these kids today--what's wrong with them? Don't they know they're not supposed to like this sort of thing?
Bonfire of the Vanities

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