For the first time in over forty years, an Extraordinary Form (EF) Latin Mass (1962, Tridentine) was held Sunday at St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul. [There have been occasional celebrations of the EF at weddings and funerals by the family's request over the years].
They have been celebrating the Novus Ordo (Vatican II) Mass in Latin at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays, accompanied by orchestra and chorus/schola or by schola alone during Advent, Lent and the Summer months. They are known around the world for that. Now they will be celebrating the EF on the first, third and fifth Sundays of each month. The Novus Ordo Mass will be celebrated on the second and fourth Sundays.
About three quarters of the church was packed with chapel veils and bulky missals removed from home libraries and a congregation composed largely of adults, from twenty-somethings to people who were raised on "The Mass" (there were no options in the olden days).
The celebrant, St Agnes' pastor Father John Ubel, has been training his battalion of altar boys since August and they performed magnificently with no more mistakes than I would have made when I was their age. But with the reverence of the Mass in Latin, attention is placed on the celebrant's actions, not the servers (except of course, for proud parents and pals). Father, who is too young to remember much of the EF Mass, did a great job with his Latin, at least according to my rusty ears. He's got a great singing voice, too.
For those of us who possess 1962 Mass missals, it probably will take some time to become "fluent" with them. The parish did purchase excellent handbooks from the Ecclesia Dei group in Chicago that do a very good job of explaining what is happening on the altar and what the congregation should be doing. The congregation needs a lot of help with its postures. Few knew when to stand, sit or kneel right away.
For a complete report and more pictures, check out the wonderful blog report Chris of Chris & Co. posted last night.