Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Father Z: Instructing parishoners on proper liturgical celebrations; Part II


Again, priest teaches his flock about liturgy - this guy gets it! (Part II)

CATEGORY: Brick by Brick, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 9:41 am

At St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT, Fr. Greg J. Markey is instructing his flock on liturgical matters.

I have written about this fellow before. He "gets it".

We saw Part I the other day.

Let’s have a look at Part I (of two) with my emphases and comments.

January 25, 2009

Part II: Yet beyond the lack of fidelity to the Vatican II liturgical norms there is still a deeper question which has only now begun to be addressed by Pope Benedict XVI: whether the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council that we have today was what the Fathers of the Council intended. [This is a good point. And it is nearly a forbidden question in many circles. The answer is, of course, "NO! What we got is nothing like what they asked for."] Addressing the discontinuity between the Council’s idea of liturgical renewal and the final form of the Vatican II Mass, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote: “(I)n the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it –as in a manufacturing process- with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”

For example, today much of what Catholics think is the Second Vatican Council liturgical reform did not in fact come from the Council: “To the ordinary churchgoer,” wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, “the two most obvious effects of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council seem to be the disappearance of Latin and [even more damaging] the turning of the altars towards the people. Those who read the relevant texts will be astonished to learn that neither is in fact found in the decrees of the Council.” There is a long list of other changes as well that are simply not in the Vatican II documents either: removing altar rails, Communion in the hand, altar girls, etc.

For this reason Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to liberalize the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) is essential to reconnecting us with our lost tradition, and understanding what authentic worship of God is all about. This Mass was the Mass of our forefathers, of countless saints, and which in its essence dates back to the earliest Church. [YES!]

Inspired by the Holy Father, I began the Extraordinary Form at the parish every Sunday over a year ago. As your Pastor I wish more people in the parish would understand that we have been given a treasure here at St. Mary’s with this Extraordinary Form, and while the Mass is definitely growing, it is still a disappointment that more people do not recognize what this is all about. [Sadly the case in so many places. It is hard to draw people upwards into something more challenging.]

If we look at the full array of Masses here at St. Mary’s, we see that there is a progressive solemnity to each of the liturgies on Sunday, with the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form representing the fullness of our liturgical patrimony. [That is a good idea. It is like… dare I say it… growing up in their Sunday worship.] The Ordinary Form at 4:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and the 8:00 am are done reverently, and has the fixed parts of the Mass (Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei…) sung in Latin during Advent and Lent. The Spanish 1:15 Mass has a beautiful choir which sings the Latin Mass parts all year round. The 11:30 am Ordinary Form of the Mass has the largest volunteer choir, with the Gloria, Credo, and Pater chanted in Latin every Sunday, and at least once a month the entire Mass is done in Latin, ad orientem (facing East). Finally, once again as the fullness of our liturgical patrimony, we have the Solemn High Extraordinary Form of the Mass, with a professional schola singing the Mass parts in Gregorian chant and renaissance polyphony, and a full set of servers. [If Fr. Markey needs another assistant….]

I encourage people to come and attend the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form so that they will experience what is in my opinion is the fullness of Catholic worship, and which communicates the Sacred to a higher degree than the other forms. The Ordinary Mass is a simpler version of this more ancient form, yet points to this fuller expression of worship. [I have written many times about the TLM being the "grown-up" Mass. More and more I think this is true.]

I ask you to attend a few times because it sometimes takes a little while to appreciate its subtly, beauty and order. Even if you prefer the Ordinary Form of the Mass, your attendance at the Extraordinary Form will at least help you understand our history and the Ordinary Form better.

With all of the liturgical growth here at the parish over the past five years I hope that these two Pastor’s columns would help people to understand the big picture of why I am making these decisions. It is not my own personal whim which motivates me, but my desire to have our parish think and worship with the mind and heart of the Church.

Furthermore I think it more than a coincidence that the crisis in the liturgy over the past forty years coincided with so many other ecclesial crises: [as our worship goes… so goes the rest of our Catholic lives. Change our prayer, you change our belief and who we think we are before God.] the radical decline in priestly and religious vocations, the shrinking and closing of Catholic schools, the breakdown of the family and the growth of the culture of death, the painful clergy scandals, etc. The Mass is the heart and source of our faith. If is the Mass is deformed and weak, then so is the rest of the body. [yes] As Pope Benedict XVI has written, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.” [Tell it, Reverend!]

In conclusion, nothing will affect a renewal in the Church and in the culture more than a renewal in the liturgy. The Mass not only expresses what we believe, it shapes what we believe. Come, open yourself to what the Holy Spirit is doing at this point in history, and worship our Lord in the coming year in spirit and truth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Greg J. Markey

Again, WDTPRS praises Fr. Markey for his sound insights and bold work.

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